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Ireland to Hold Referendum on Potty Mouth

The country is holding a referendum to determine if the blasphemy passage should be deleted from the Constitution

(Newser) - The Irish Constitution has a strict prohibition against potty mouth. “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law,” says Article 40 of the country’s 1937 Constitution. And a 2009 Defamation Act made the act... More »

Supreme Court Scraps Law on What Voters Can Wear

Minnesota barred political messages, but the justices said the rule wasn't specific enough

(Newser) - The Supreme Court has struck down a century-old Minnesota law banning political apparel at polling places. In a 7-2 ruling, the court said the law was written too broadly to be reasonably enforced without violating First Amendment rights, reports Bloomberg . All states regulate political apparel at polling sites, but only... More »

Judge Affirms 5-Year Sentence for Casting Illegal Vote

'Prison is a lot closer for her today,' Crystal Mason’s lawyer says

(Newser) - Civil rights advocates see this as a tale of two voters. Crystal Mason, who is black, was sentenced to five years in prison for casting a ballot in Tarrant County, Texas, in 2016 while being a felon under supervision. Terri Lynn Rote, who is white, was sentenced to two years’... More »

Seattle Kills Tax in Face of Formidable Foe: Amazon

City council rolls back tax it had unanimously approved last month

(Newser) - What does defeat sound like? This: "We have reached the conclusion that this is not a winnable battle at this time." That was the pronouncement of Seattle Councilwoman Lisa Herbold Tuesday in advance of what ended up being a 7-2 vote to reverse a new tax the council... More »

Mystery of Mitt Romney's Presidential Vote Solved

He wrote in the name of his wife, Ann

(Newser) - Mitt Romney said long before the November 2016 election he wouldn't be casting his ballot for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but the person he did vote for has remained a mystery—until now. "I wrote in the name of a person who I admire deeply, who... More »

State Lawmaker Earns Dubious Honor With a #MeToo Burn

Arizona Rep. Don Shooter may be first state lawmaker to be voted out for sex misconduct

(Newser) - The Arizona House voted Thursday to expel a Republican lawmaker after a report ordered by legislative leaders of his own party showed he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment toward women. Rep. Don Shooter of Yuma is believed to be the first state lawmaker in the US to be... More »

Vote by US Bishops Seen as Call to Resist Pope Francis

Conference picks conservative archbishop, rejecting Francis ally

(Newser) - In a move seen as pushback against Pope Francis' agenda for the church, US Catholic bishops broke with tradition and elected a conservative archbishop to lead a top committee. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 96 to 82 Tuesday to name Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann chief of anti-abortion... More »

Close House Vote May Not Bode Well for Tax Overhaul

Budget measure passes, but lawmakers from 'high-tax' states nearly derail it

(Newser) - The House has narrowly passed a $4 trillion budget that clears a key hurdle toward President Trump's goal of cutting taxes, per the AP . The 216-212 vote allows Republicans to begin work on a $1.5 trillion tax cut and move it through Congress without fear of blocking tactics... More »

What Could Happen If Catalonia Declares Independence

Madrid might declare a state of siege

(Newser) - Catalonia, one of Spain's autonomous regions, is threatening to declare its independence from Madrid following a disputed referendum that, it says, gave it a mandate to break away. Spain, which declared the referendum illegal and invalid, says it will do all it can to maintain the country's unity... More »

Chaos Erupts, Rubber Bullets Fly in Spain Amid Catalan Vote

Hundreds reported injured as government tries to shut down independence referendum

(Newser) - Spain erupted into chaos on Sunday as Catalonia held a referendum on independence, with police firing rubber bullets at protesters and smashing into polling stations in an effort to halt the vote, reports the AP . The officers fired the rubber bullets while trying to clear protesters who were trying to... More »

Kurds Vote Overwhelmingly for Independence From Iraq

Baghdad is unmoved

(Newser) - The Kurds clearly want their own nation: Monday's referendum on independence from Iraq was approved by more than 92% of voters, officials said Wednesday. Even with the strong support, however, the non-binding vote is unlikely to lead to formal independence, per the AP . But the vote has escalated long-running... More »

In Iraq, a Controversial Bid for Independence

Baghdad issues warning as Kurds vote on breaking away

(Newser) - Iraqi Kurds cast ballots on Monday in Iraq's Kurdish region and disputed territories on whether to support independence from Baghdad in a historic but nonbinding vote that has raised regional tensions and fears of instability, the AP reports. More than 3 million people are expected to vote across the... More »

When These Dogs Sneeze, They're Casting a Vote

Scientists spot the pattern in African wild dogs

(Newser) - It started with a simple enough question, "Why are these dogs sneezing so much?" But the subsequent research has led to a fascinating theory: The dogs, specifically African wild dogs in Botswana, use their sneezes to vote on pack activity, reports Atlas Obscura . "The sneeze acts as some... More »

Critics Worry Over Safety If 'Self Drive Act' Passes

States wouldn't hold sway over design, construction of autonomous vehicles

(Newser) - As Uber, Waymo, and other Silicon Valley companies duke it out on the autonomous-vehicle scene, a House vote Wednesday will determine how and when those vehicles hit US roads. The Mercury News reports on the ballot-casting for the so-called "Self Drive Act," which spells out what role states... More »

Illinois Ends Budget Standoff, Ups Income Tax Rate 32%

It was nation's longest fiscal impasse since the '30s

(Newser) - The Illinois House voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of a budget package, giving the state its first spending blueprint in more than two years and ending the nation's longest fiscal stalemate since at least the Great Depression, the AP reports. Thursday's action eases some financial... More »

How Private Is Your Web History? Not Very, Decides Congress

Repeal of internet privacy rule now headed for Trump's desk

(Newser) - A measure to repeal online privacy rules brought in under former President Barack Obama before they take effect is on its way to President Trump's desk after the House passed it with a 215-205 vote. The measure—which passed the Senate 50-48 last week—blocks the FCC from enforcing... More »

House GOP Blocks New Effort to Obtain Trump's Taxes

Democrats' 3rd, 4th attempts were voted down

(Newser) - House Republicans on Tuesday blocked more attempts by Democrats to obtain President Trump's tax returns from the IRS. House Democrats tried for a third and a fourth time to use procedural votes to pry loose Trump's returns. Republicans blocked both efforts, one on the House floor and the... More »

After Trump Ultimatum, It's Showdown Time

House to vote on AHCA Friday

(Newser) - Friday promises to be a dramatic day on Capitol Hill, with a House vote that could mark the beginning of the end for ObamaCare—or for President Trump's relationship with congressional Republicans. After a vote was called off Thursday, the president issued an ultimatum to GOP lawmakers in a... More »

Trump to House GOP: Pass Bill Friday or ObamaCare Stays

He delivers ultimatum ahead of key vote

(Newser) - "Leverage: don't make deals without it," President Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal—and he has now reminded House Republicans how much leverage he has in the fight over ObamaCare repeal. After the setback of a canceled vote on a replacement bill Thursday, Trump issued... More »

40K Separatists at Catalonia Pol's Trial: 'You Are Not Alone'

Ex-regional leader Artur Mas in hot seat in Spain for arranging 2014 independence vote

(Newser) - In 2014, the ex-leader of Catalonia helped set up a vote on independence from Spain—and on Monday, 40,000 protesters stood up for him outside a Barcelona court. The New York Times reports on the start of the trial for Artur Mas, who was charged with civil disobedience for... More »

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