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South Dakota House fails to override governor’s veto of anti-trans bill

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The South Dakota House of Representatives failed on Thursday to override a veto by Governor Dennis Daugaard of a bill that would have made the state the first in the United States to dictate what bathrooms transgender students can use in public schools.

By a vote of 36-29, supporters of the bill did not muster the two-thirds vote required in both chambers to override the veto. The Republican-controlled House had approved the bill beyond that threshold in January.

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The proposed law would have required transgender pupils to use restrooms and locker rooms in public schools that correspond to their gender at birth.

Supporters, including conservative Christian groups such as Family Heritage Alliance Action, said the bill would enhance the privacy of all students.

But civil rights groups said the measure would expose schools to legal challenges over access to restrooms and that it violated Title IX, a federal rule regarding discrimination in public schools.

“Fairness and equality have prevailed over this unconscionable legislative assault on transgender children,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, reacting to the vote on Thursday.

The bill would have required schools to provide “reasonable” accommodations for transgender students. Those accommodations include a single-occupancy restroom, a unisex restroom or the supervised use of a restroom, locker room or shower room designated for use by faculty.

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In vetoing the bill on Tuesday, Daugaard, a Republican, said it would invite conflict and litigation, diverting resources from education.

In December, a suburban Chicago school district reached an accord with the U.S. government over locker room access for a transgender student after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found the district discriminated against the student in violation of Title IX.

Daugaard’s veto came about a month after a U.S. appeals court heard arguments over whether a high school in Virginia should be ordered to allow a transgender male student to use the boys’ bathroom.

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Last week, local lawmakers in Charlotte, North Carolina, voted to allow transgender people to use public bathrooms matching their gender identity. Republican State House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore said he would consider legislation to block the measure.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Mitch McConnell says he’s in ‘total coordination with the White House’ on Trump’s impeachment

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said clearly on Thursday what many have assumed: When articles of impeachment come over from the House of Representatives, as is expected, to his chamber, he will be acting virtually as President Donald Trump’s defense attorney.

“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House counsel,” he said on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. “There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”

He noted that, unlike the many other issues that come to his chamber, he’s unable to block impeachment. If it comes, he has to hold a trial, he admitted somewhat ruefully.

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UK’s Boris Johnson looks set for big win in ‘Brexit election’

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday's snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU next month after years of political deadlock.

The Conservatives were forecast to win a thumping 368 out of 650 seats in parliament -- which if confirmed would be the party's biggest majority in three decades -- according to the survey published as polls closed.

The pound jumped by about two percent against the dollar on the projected results of what all sides had painted as the most momentous election in Britain in a generation.

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Maddow reports on ‘a tide of major newspaper editorials’ drowning Trump’s impeachment defenses

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On Thursday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted the sheer volume of editorial boards from newspapers across America calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment and removal from office.

"The editorials that Steve Cohen introduced into the record there that Doug Collins from Georgia said he wanted to read and Steve Cohen said 'I'd love for you to read them,' they're part of a tide of major newspaper editorials that have come out all of a sudden in the last few days in favor of impeachment," said Maddow. "USA TODAY's editorial board saying, quote, 'Until recently we believed impeachment proceedings would be unhealthy for an already polarized nation, rather than simply leaving Trump's fate up to voters next November. But Trump's egregious transgressions and stonewalling in his thuggish effort to trade American arms for foreign dirt on Joe Biden resembled Richard Nixon. It's precisely the type of misconduct the framers had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution."

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