While the number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma yo-yos between 70 to 100+ each day, the state’s Republican-controlled legislature made it a priority to pass a needlessly stigmatizing law requiring anyone handling human remains to be notified if a recently deceased person is HIV-positive.
Even though the bill is ostensibly meant to reduce possible infections, it’s not exactly clear what made this bill such a priority nearly 40 years after the start of the HIV epidemic. Nevertheless, Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 4041 into law on Thursday and the law will go into effect on November 1, 2020.
The bill seems all the more redundant, according to Allie Shinn, executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma, because, as Shinn explains:
“There are already so many guidelines in place for the safety of people who are handling human bodies and human remains. They are adequate safety measures, and they are safety measures that are in place that also treat the body with respect.
What this law would do is not make anybody safer. What it would do is lead to incidents of discrimination and revive tired stereotypes and stigmas that will harm people living with HIV.”
Oklahoma has the 31st highest rate of HIV among all U.S. states. It’s also one of 34 U.S. states with laws criminalizing the sexual behavior of HIV positive people to ostensibly prevent deliberate transmission of the virus. However, such laws were drafted during the panic of the 1980s and ’90s HIV epidemic and are predominantly used to harass and target queer men of color.
Chad Wolf’s authority is ‘illegitimate’: Hispanic Caucus chairman demands DHS chief ‘resign in disgrace’
Immigrant rights groups and Texas Democrats are urging a review on the legality of Trump administration immigration policies after a government watchdog found two of the White House’s top immigration officials are not legally eligible to serve in their respective positions.
The Government Accountability Office on Friday determined that Chad Wolf, acting Department of Homeland Security secretary, and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, aren’t legally qualified to hold those posts.
United We Dream, an advocacy group pushing for immigration reform, said the GAO’s conclusion calls into question the latest guidance from the DHS on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that was initiated in 2012.
Lots of red hats — but not many COVID masks — at Bedminster ‘Cops for Trump’ event with the president
Enhanced unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal on the next COVID-19 stimulus package, but the president of the United States left Washington, DC on Friday for yet another weekend at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
"This weekend’s trip to Trump National Bedminster is the president’s 23rd since taking office, and will increase his golf-related taxpayer tab to $142 million in travel and security expenses," HuffPost White House corresponded S.V. Dáte reported Friday. "Trump has already spent 268 days on golf courses that he owns in his 1,303 days in office, of which 85 have been at Bedminster."
Trump declares that Fox News is ‘no longer the big deal’ in the 2020 presidential campaign
Donald Trump on Friday reflected on what he sees as the key differences between his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.
"The biggest difference between the Presidential Race in 2020 and that of 2016 is the 2016 candidate, Crooked Hillary Clinton, was much smarter and sharper than Slow Joe, we have even more ENTHUSIASM now, and [Fox News] has become politically correct and no longer the big deal!" Trump tweeted after arriving at his Bedminster Golf Club for the weekend.
Trump has grown increasingly frustrated by the network and its polls, which gave him more bad news on Thursday.