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Alabama House panel approves school prayer bill even though majority votes no

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The Alabama House Education Policy Committee approved legislation by a voice vote that would allow public school teachers to lead students in a daily prayer, even though the majority of the committee members voted against it, according to The Montgomery Advisor.

Three lawmakers — Reps. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), Elaine Beech (D-Chatom), and Phil Williams (R-Huntsville) — voted against the bill. Three other lawmakers — Reps. Marcel Black (D-Tuscumbia), Mac Buttram (R-Cullman), and Kerry Rich (R-Albertville) — did not vote.

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Only two lawmakers — Committee chairwoman Mary Sue McClurkin (R-Indian Springs) and Rep. Lesley Vance (R-Phenix City) — voted in favor of the bill.

But McClurkin claimed she heard more “yeas” than “nays” during the voice vote.

“House Clerk Jeff Woodard said the chairman of each committee has the discretion to decide the outcome of a voice vote. Committee members can request roll call votes if there’s a dispute, but none of the Education Policy committee members did,” Kala Kachmar of the The Montgomery Advisor reported.

The legislation, introduced by state Rep. Steve Hurst (R-Munford), requires teachers to begin each day by reading the opening prayers recited before sessions of the U.S. Congress. Teachers would be allowed to devote up to 15 minutes a day to the prayer.

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“If Congress can open with a prayer, and the state of Alabama Legislature can, I don’t see why schools can’t,” Hurst said.

But the group Americans United for Church and State disagrees. They described the legislation as “egregious” and said it was clearly unconstitutional.

“Using Congressional prayers does not, in fact, make this bill constitutional. A teacher-led prayer in a public school is undoubtedly different than a prayer in a legislative meeting. First, congressional prayers are directed only at the legislators themselves, who are adults, rather than young and impressionable students,” the group wrote on Thursday.

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“Second, the opening prayers of a legislative session typically has an atmosphere where adults are free to enter and leave without notice. Students in a classroom, on the other hand, are a captive audience and legally mandated to attend school.”

[Man and teen praying together on Shutterstock]


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Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

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"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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