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A Key West Ordinance Angered This Lawmaker So Much He Wants to Ban All Florida LGBT Non-Discrimination Laws – And More

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Key West, Florida is known to be very LGBT-friendly. But it was this one law the city passed – which ironically has nothing to do with discriminating against LGBT people – that has one Florida state GOP lawmaker so angry he’s working to ban all local non-discrimination laws, and many others, in the state.

The Key West law bans the use of sunscreens that contain a specific chemical, oxybenzone, because it can kill precious coral reefs. The Great Florida Reef is the largest reef in the continental U.S.

Banning the sunscreen, according to Republican State Rep. Michael Grant, is a “regulatory scheme,” The Orlando Sentinel reports. Grant is working on passing a House Bill 3 that would ban all local governments in the state of Florida from passing laws that regulate any businesses, and would retroactively rescind all such laws across the state – including non-discrimination ordinances.

The Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board calls it “a ridiculously overbroad measure that undermines the foundation of local control over local affairs.”

LGBT advocates agree, noting it “would sunset every single human rights ordinance that now covers 60 percent of the state’s LGBTQ population,” according to former Florida lawmaker Joe Saunders, now a senior political director at Equality Florida.

Rep. Grant’s reasoning does not appear to be based on scientific fact.

“Somebody told me today you’d need a half-a-billion people to jump in the ocean, all slathered in sunscreen lotion, to have an impact on the reef,” Grant said, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

The Sentinel notes that “the Florida Department of Environmental Protection — advises divers to avoid using sunscreens containing oxybenzone because it’s ‘lethal to coral reproduction in very small amounts.'”

Calling Rep. Grant’s bill “noxious,” The Sentinel says it is “an attempt to once and for all shift power away from local governments and into the hands of a more powerful state apparatus.”

What could be affected?

“We’re talking about local laws that regulate puppy mills, solicitors, adult entertainment, employment discrimination — you name it,” the paper says. Also “jettisoned: Guidelines that govern what solicitors can and can’t do. Ordinances that prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Standards for massage parlors and adult entertainment.”

Rep. Grant, it should be noted, ran for and won his Florida House seat in 2016.  He ran unopposed. No other Democrat or Republican even tried to win the seat. Grant received an “A+” score from the anti-LGBT group Florida Family Action.

Will House Bill 3 pass? Filed early last month, Rep. Grant officially introduced House Bill 3 today. And he happens to be the Majority Whip of House.

Image via Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ocasio-Cortez Takes Victory Lap After Amazon Goes to NYC — Even After She Helped Block $3 Billion in Subsidies

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was one of the progressive leaders in New York City credited with blocking $3 billion in public subsidies for Amazon to open an additional headquarters.

But Amazon is moving into NYC despite the lack of subsidies.

“The giant online retailer said it has signed a new lease for 335,000 square feet on the city’s west side in the new Hudson Yards neighborhood, where it will have more than 1,500 employees,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Amazon is taking the space without any of the special tax credits and other inducements the company had been offered to build a new headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, the company said.”

“The new lease represents Amazon’s largest expansion in New York since it stunned the city by abandoning those earlier plans. Amazon pulled back after facing a backlash from some politicians and activists over the roughly $3 billion in financial incentives the city and state had extended to woo the company and the 25,000 new jobs it had pledged to create,” The Journal explained.

Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, took a victory lap after her argument that the subsidies were unnecessary was vindicated.

“Won’t you look at that: Amazon is coming to NYC anyway – *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, and corporate giveaways,” she tweeted.

Here are some of her previous thoughts on the company:

 

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GOP’s Legal Expert Insisted Clinton Had to Be Impeached to Protect the ‘Existence of Government’ and Prevent ‘Anarchy’

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During Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings Democrats will call three expert witnesses and Republicans will call one. George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley is the constitutional expert chosen by Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) to represent the Republicans’ point of view, to oppose impeachment and to defend President Donald Trump.

Turley has released his 53-page opening statement, which some have already observed is more than twice as long as the combined statements of the Democrats’ three legal experts.

In it, he makes this statement that is getting a great deal of attention:

“I get it. You are mad. The President is mad. My Democratic friends are mad. My Republican friends are mad. My wife is mad. My kids are mad. Even my dog is mad . . . and Luna is a golden doodle and they are never mad. We are all mad and where has it taken us? Will a slipshod impeachment make us less mad or will it only give an invitation for the madness to follow in every future administration?”

Turley will argue that Trump should not be impeached, despite writing in that same statement: “The use of military aid for a quid pro quo to investigate one’s political opponent, if proven, can be an impeachable offense.”

But that same Jonathan Turley had a very different position on impeaching a sitting president when that president was a Democrat. Professor Turley, in a statement written  November 9, 1998, declared that impeaching President Bill Clinton was necessary to literally protect the “existence of the government,” and to prevent “contempt for law” and “anarchy.”

Professor Turley literally suggested that were President Clinton not impeached, anarchy would rain down on the nation.

“Allegations of criminal acts in office by a president are perhaps the greatest threat to the perceived legitimacy of a government,” Professor Turley wrote back in 1998. “When there is compelling evidence of criminal acts in the Chief Executive, an entire system of laws is undermined and demands some form corrective action.”

Turley did not stop there. He continued:

In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker; it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

The allegations against President Clinton go to the very heart of the legitimacy of his office and the integrity of the political system. As an individual, a president may seek spiritual redemption in the company of friends and family. Constitutional redemption, however, is found only in the company of representatives of all three branches in the well of the Senate. It is there that legitimacy, once recklessly lost, can be regained by a president.

Clinton was impeached for lying under oath and obstruction of justice.

His actions are dwarfed by what is charged in both the Mueller report and in the just-released House Intelligence Committee impeachment report, which spans 300 pages.

Professor Turley is getting some appropriate criticism on social media.

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump Held Undisclosed Meeting with Turkey’s Dictator Erdogan at NATO

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Not the first time a foreign power has been the first to reveal Trump met with their top leaders

President Donald Trump held an undisclosed meeting Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Erdogan during this week’s NATO summit. While Turkey is a member nation of NATO, President Erdogan is widely seen as a dictator for whom President Trump holds a special fondness.

The meeting had not appeared on President Trump’s official schedule, nor did the White House announce it later, until the Turkish government posted a photo of the two leaders in a tweet.

After the photo was released the White House put out a statement saying Trump met with Erdogan to remind him of “the importance of Turkey fulfilling its alliance commitments.”

Trump met with Erdogan at the White House last month.

The Hill reports White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, while confirming the meeting, “did not describe the meeting either as a full bilateral meeting or a pull-aside at the summit, nor did he confirm reports that the meeting lasted a half hour.”

“Pull-asides,” when two or more leaders casually chat on the sidelines, are not uncommon during summits like NATO. This meeting did not appear to be one.

 

Related: World Leaders Caught on Camera Mocking Trump During Buckingham Palace Reception: ‘His Team’s Jaws Drop to the Floor’

This is far from the first time a foreign power has been the first to reveal Trump met with their top leaders. For example, in May of 2017 President Trump secretly met with the then the Ambassador of Russia to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, in the Oval Office. Kislyak is seen by U.S. Intelligence as a top spy and spy recruiter.

During that now infamous meeting Trump disclosed classified information, leading to an international scandal. The White House had barred all U.S. reporters from the meeting but a photographer for Tass, the official Russian news agency, was present. Tass later published the photos.

That secret meeting came just one day after fired FBI Director James Comey.

On Monday U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) lambasted Trump for appeasing Erdogan:

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