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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.

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.

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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.

“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.

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“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.

“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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Former Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris flees the US as he faces two dozen lawsuits

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Facing more than two-dozen lawsuits alleging he committed real estate fraud, former "Fox & Friends Weekend" co-host Clayton Morris has reportedly fled the United States, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Morris, who previously resided in a $1.4 million home in New Jersey, moved his family to a coastal resort town in Portugal, the newspaper reported, citing a Facebook post from his wife.

Morris's wife and business partner, former MSNBC anchor Natali Morris, told the IndyStar that she and her husband plan to continue fighting the lawsuits from abroad.

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Trump defenders argued his latest tweets weren’t really racist — but he just completely undercut their arguments

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Donald Trump in coal helmet thumbs up

If you try to defend President Donald Trump, you will always end up having the rug pulled out from underneath you. It's a law of nature.

And yet, so many of the president's allies have failed to learn this simple lesson. So when Trump launched a new attack at progressive Democratic lawmakers that was one of his most obviously racist smears, inevitably, some of his defenders tried to deny the obvious truth.

His screed attacked a group of women who have come to define the left wing of the Democratic caucus, which includes Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Talib (MI), and Ayanna Pressley (MA). Though only Omar is an immigrant (she was a refugee from Somalia as a child), Trump seemed to assume all four women of color weren't born in the United States, and most egregiously, he suggested they should "go back" to other countries:

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Trump is facing massive criticism for his attacks on young women of color in Congress

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US President Donald Trump came under fire from Democrats and even some members of his own Republican Party on Monday after launching an extraordinary xenophobic attack on four progressive Democratic congresswomen.

"All they do is complain," Trump told reporters at a White House event featuring products "Made in America."

"These are people that hate our country," he said of the four lawmakers. "If you're not happy here, you can leave."

Trump also accused the four first-term congresswomen -- who are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African American origin -- of having "love" for US "enemies like Al-Qaeda."

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