Georgians will now be able to carry firearms in such places as schools, bars, churches and government buildings under a sweeping new law signed by the governor on Wednesday.
The Safe Carry Protection Act, also known to critics as the "Guns Everywhere Bill," was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, who said it will allow "people who follow the rules [to] protect themselves and their families from people who don't follow the rules.
President Obama, at the start of a four-stop trip to Asia, sought to reassure Japan that the U.S. is on its side in a dispute with China over the tiny Senkaku islands chain, which has led to bluster and naval jockeying between the two countries in recent years.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 1:44 pm
Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders serving time in federal prison could be eligible to apply for early release under new clemency guidelines announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.
Details of the initiative, which would give President Obama more options under which he could grant clemency to drug offenders serving long prison sentences, were announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:11 pm
On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.
ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.
President Obama is getting a new lawyer. Longtime Washington attorney Neil Eggleston will be the next White House counsel. The news comes just in time for midterm elections that could deliver the Senate to Republicans, and launch a new wave of oversight investigations.
NPR's Carrie Johnson reports Eggleston will have to muster all of his legal and political skills.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 8:31 am
When the next Congress is sworn in, Iowa's congressional delegation will be unusually green. Precisely half of its lawmakers on Capitol Hill are retiring at the end of this session, meaning the state will be losing decades of clout and seniority in Washington, D.C.
And Iowa isn't even the biggest loser this year. California is losing two House Democrats with 40 years of experience each — Henry Waxman and George Miller — along with Republican House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, who's been in Congress for more than two decades.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 11:12 am
The sponsor of a bill to make the Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana has withdrawn the measure ahead of a full vote in the state House of Representatives, saying the proposal has become a distraction.
As we reported last week, a mix of Republicans and Democrats had moved the largely symbolic bill, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Carmody of Shreveport, out of committee on an 8-5 vote.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 6:12 am
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday testing whether states can make it a crime to lie about candidates during an election campaign.
At issue is an Ohio law that imposes potential jail time or a fine for the first offense, and possibly loss of the right to vote for anyone convicted twice. The case before the court, however, involves not a person, but an organization.
During the 2010 midterm elections, the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List wanted to put up a billboard ad targeting then-Rep. Steven Driehaus, D-Ohio, for his vote on the Affordable Care Act.
Two important cases will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today. One of them involves a high-stakes, high-tech battle that has raised the possibility of major TV networks no longer broadcasting over the air. The other case involves the future of lying in political campaigns. Here's NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.
Since the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, more than 70 measures have gone into effect around the U.S. actually loosening restrictions on guns. And tomorrow the governor of Georgia is expected to sign a bill that will allow gung to be carried in more places. Among those against the gun bill are cities in Georgia concerned about having to spend more on security. Susanna Capelouto has this report.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 12:37 pm
For more than a year, GOP Sen. Rand Paul has been staking out positions on issues that resonate in the black community, including school choice and prison sentencing reform. And he's been showing up in some unexpected — for a Republican — venues, including historically black colleges.
It's stirred an unusual degree of curiosity about the freshman Kentucky senator — and 2016 GOP presidential prospect — among the Democratic Party's most reliable voting bloc.
Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:17 pm
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Obama administration is formulating new rules that would give it, and the president, far more latitude to pardon or reduce the sentences of thousands of drug offenders serving long federal prison sentences.
The move comes amid a broad national reconsideration of mandatory minimum sentences approved by Congress in 1986, when America's big cities were in the grip of a crack cocaine-fueled crime wave.
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President Obama sets off for Asia this week. He'll be visiting four countries - Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. The trip is part of the president's long-term strategy to refocus America's attention towards Asia, something that's proving a little bit hard to do.
NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now to talk about the trip. Good morning.
In the heated race for a congressional seat in northern California, Mai Xuan Nguyen fought for her candidate with another cold call.
"Yes, that's K, H, A, N, N, A," she patiently explained in Vietnamese to a potential voter, spelling out her choice for Congress, Democrat Ro Khanna, as she marked her call list one recent evening at a coffeehouse in San Jose, Calif.
It was all part of Nguyen's role in an only-in-America scene: a Vietnamese-language phone bank for an Indian-American lawyer, who's challenging a Japanese-American congressman.
For his second term, president Obama has touted that his administration would make a so-called Asia pivot - less focus on the Middle East, more on China. But history has a way of intervening. This week, the president will try to make something of his promise as he visits three U.S. allies - Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. He'll also be stopping in Malaysia, and he'll be the first U.S. president to do so in almost 50 years.
Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 5:46 pm
Few mixtures in American life are more emotionally combustible than the one formed by the combination of politics and race.
That helps explain why Democrats, in general, and President Obama, in particular, have tended to steer clear of overtly raising race as an issue to explain some of the opposition to Obama's presidency and agenda.
There seems to be a shift in recent days, however.
Top Democratic party officials have either directly or indirectly blamed race for some of the hostility to Obama, his policies, or both.
At a time when new technologies and social media are transforming politics, we turn to a decidedly old-fashioned campaign event. It's an annual festival known as the Shad Planking, a spring rite of Virginia politics for nearly 70 years.
It's a must-attend event for state politicians, who practice the oldest form of retail politicking among tall pine trees at a dusty campsite.
In Wakefield, about an hour southeast of Virginia's capital of Richmond, shad fish have been roasting by on an open fire since 5 a.m. They're nailed to oak planks.
Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 4:04 am
I officially became NPR's White House correspondent in January. But the job didn't seemreal until Thursday at 3:56 p.m., when the president of the United States looked down at a white note card and said "ahhhh, Tamara Keith."
That was my cue to ask a question — my first at a presidential press conference.
Here's what the experience felt like — and how it happened.
The Keystone XL pipeline remains a major point of contention within the Democratic Party, as green voters pull President Obama one direction and pro-energy senators and labor unions pull the other. It looks as though the "comment period" for the project will be extended, delaying a decision past the November elections.
Hundreds of people gathered on the National Mall Friday to see if they could break the Guinness World Record for the largest group dressed as comic book characters ever assembled.
It was the kickoff to Awesome Con 2014, a comic book convention that will take place in Washington, D.C., this weekend. In the end, the group came up short by several hundred people to break the world record.
But with so much superhero power concentrated next to the U.S. Capitol, NPR had to ask: Did the caped figures have any advice for Congress?