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Illinois nears civil unions for same-sex couples

CHICAGO — Lawmakers in President Barack Obama’s adopted home state of Illinois approved legal civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, and sent the measure Wednesday to Governor Pat Quinn who was expected to sign it. Civil unions give gay couples some legal rights enjoyed by married couples, such as…

Arizona voters approve medical marijuana in nail-biter vote

UPDATE: Arizona voters have approved a measure that will legalize medical marijuana use in the state for people with chronic or debilitating diseases. Final vote tallies showed Saturday that Proposition 203 won by a tiny margin of just 4,341 votes out of more than 1.67 million votes counted. The measure…

Oklahoma voters may have also banned Native American rights

Voters in Oklahoma may have gotten a lot more than they bargained for when they passed a ban on Sharia law in last Tuesday’s elections. The ballot measures that order judges not to consider Islamic or international law may also affect Native Americans because tribes are considered sovereign nations. Oklahoma…

Oklahoma may have banned use of Ten Commandments along with Sharia law

Update: Court temporarily blocks Islamic law ban A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order against a constitutional amendment that would have banned Sharia law in Oklahoma. “U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled Monday morning in Oklahoma City following a brief hearing,” the Associated Press reported. “It prevents the…

Cato expert: Conservatives betraying small-government values by opposing pot legalization

A drug policy expert at the Cato Institute challenged conservatives to take a principled limited-government stance on marijuana, arguing that the feds are only exacerbating the problems with regulations. “There are conservatives who take a big-government stance on this,” Tim Lynch, director of Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice, told Raw…

Billionaire George Soros gives $1 million to Calif. marijuana legalization campaign

Billionaire financier George Soros has thrown his money behind California’s marijuana legalization measure with a $1 million donation a week before the vote. The contribution reported Tuesday by The Sacramento Bee is the single biggest donation from an individual other than Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, the main sponsor…

Would-be congressman Daniel Webster tried to ban happy hour

Daniel Webster, the Republican challenger to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), introduced legislation in 1991 that would have banned bars across Florida from holding happy hours. Webster, who served in the Florida legislature between 1980 and 2008, filed a bill in January 1991 that sought to prohibit selling alcohol on discount…

Holder: US will enforce marijuana laws despite how Californians may vote

Less than three weeks before California voters hit the polls, the Justice Department issued a preemptive message concerning a ballot measure making worldwide headlines. “Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government will enforce its marijuana laws in California even if the state’s voters approve a ballot measure to legalize…

Brewer condemns report to UN mentioning Ariz. law

Brewer condemns State Department for mentioning Arizona law in human rights report to UN. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer demanded Friday that a reference to the state’s controversial immigration law be removed from a State Department report to the United Nations’ human rights commissioner. The U.S. included its legal challenge to…

Senate breaks filibuster, passes $26B in aid to states

Senate Democrats on Wednesday overcame Republican opposition and cleared the way for a $26 billion measure to help states ease their severe budget problems and save the jobs of tens of thousands of teachers and other public employees. The bill advanced by a 61-38 tally that ensures the measure will…

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