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Group: Kentucky ‘religious freedom’ bill would allow discrimination over birth control

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“The Religious Freedom Act,” a bill created in response to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage mandate, cleared Kentucky’s Senate Thursday night despite activists’ warning that it could topple years of civil rights progress in the state and “make discrimination legal.”

“[The] legislation could be used by an individual or entity under the guise of a ‘sincerely held religious belief’ to violate the constitutional and civil rights of other persons or organizations,” the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights warned on Tuesday. “In other words, it could make discrimination legal if the discrimination perpetrated is claimed to be due to ‘a sincerely held religious belief.'”

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Despite the potential for abuse, state senators advanced House Bill 279 Thursday night by a vote of 29-6, leaving its fate in the hands of Gov. Steve Beshear (D).

The bill originated as a response to a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance policies offer contraception to women free of charge — a measure that some religious organizations objected to, despite a compromise that places the financial burden on insurance companies.

Kentucky Democrats joined with Republicans in the General Assembly to pass House Bill 279 by a vote of 82-7 last week. It’s not clear whether the governor will sign it into law.

If it does become law, Kentucky’s “Religious Freedom Act” could enable discrimination against more than just women seeking birth control. Civil rights advocates worry that landlords and employers could also use the law to justify discriminating against LGBT people and minorities as well, all in the name of “religious freedom.”
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Photo: Shutterstock.com.

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COVID-19

One-third of Americans will Ignore CDC warnings this Thanksgiving: report

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A new study shared exclusively with Axios has revealed that approximately one-third of Americans say they're likely to ignore health officials' warnings about the risks of getting together for Thanksgiving.

The coronavirus pandemic is creating an overflow at hospitals around the nation -- a real threat of being turned away for needed care is possible if the course of the virus is not altered within the next few weeks.

"Solid majorities said they're likely to follow CDC guidelines and avoid traveling or gathering with people who don't live in the same home," Axios reported Wednesday. "But the 25-30 percent who don't plan to follow those guidelines represent millions of people. And when millions of people are traveling or gathering indoors, that represents a real risk of new or worsening outbreaks — especially right now, when infections are at an all-time high."

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2020 Election

Georgia GOP secretary of state: Trump ‘threw my family under the bus’ even though we voted for him

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Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state in Georgia, has written an angry editorial for USA Today in which he details the harassment he and his family have been subjected to because he followed the law and certified President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Raffensperger starts out his editorial by praising the Peach State for holding a free and fair election under difficult circumstances stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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Breaking Banner

‘The election wasn’t stolen — he blew it’: Michigan Republican says Trump ‘did everything possible to lose’

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President Donald Trump insists the election was stolen from him in Michigan, but Republicans there haven't been willing to indulge his fantasy.

The president has zeroed in on the state, which he narrowly won in 2016, in his effort to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden by claiming widespread fraud and pressuring legislators to overrule the will of the voters, but few Republicans are buying in, reported Politico.

“We must not attempt to exercise power we simply don’t have,” said Aaron Van Langevelde, who sits on Michigan’s board of state canvassers, which was statutorily obligated to certify the election win by Joe Biden. “As John Adams once said, 'We are a government of laws, not men.' This board needs to adhere to that principle here today. This board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election.”

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