Category Archives: Religion

U.S. District Court for Hawaii issues nationwide restraining order against Trump’s revised travel ban

Second verse, same as the first” . . .

Donald Trump’s revised travel ban from earlier this month, issued after he dropped court appeals of his first badly flawed travel ban, faced immediate legal challenges in multiple courts.

Today the U.S. District Court for Hawaii issued a nationwide restraining order against implementation of the revised travel ban hours before it was to go into effect. Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Latest Travel Ban Nationwide:

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order (.pdf) Wednesday evening blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, dealing a political blow to the White House and signaling that proponents of the ban face a long and risky legal battle ahead.

The ruling was the second frustrating defeat for Mr. Trump’s travel ban, after a federal court in Seattle halted an earlier version of the executive order last month. Mr. Trump responded to that setback with fury, lashing out at the judiciary before ultimately abandoning [an appeal from] the order.

He issued a new and narrower travel ban on March 6, with the aim of pre-empting new lawsuits by abandoning some of the most contentious elements of the first version.

But Mr. Trump evidently failed in that goal: Democratic states and nonprofit groups that work with immigrants and refugees raced into court to attack the updated order, alleging that it was a thinly veiled version of the ban on Muslim migration that he had pledged to enact last year, as a presidential candidate.

Administration lawyers argued in multiple courts on Wednesday that the president was merely exercising his national security powers and that no element of the executive order, as written, could be construed as a religious test for travelers.

But in the lawsuit brought by Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin, Judge Derrick K. Watson appeared skeptical of the government’s claim that past comments by Mr. Trump and his allies had no bearing on the case.

“Are you saying we close our eyes to the sequence of statements before this?” Judge Watson, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, asked in a hearing Wednesday before he ruled against the administration.

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(Update) Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: state Supreme Court rules education funding is unconstitutionally low

Following up on an earlier post in which the right-wing Brownbackistan fna Kansas state legislature passed an income tax increase to balance the state budget after the devastating effects of Governor Sam Bownback’s “trickle down” tax cut utopia experiment, Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: pigs do fly!, Governor Brownback made his choice to veto the tax increase.

As I predicted, there were enough Tea-Publican anti-tax “trickle down” true believer zealots in the legislature to sustain the governor’s veto. Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax policies survive — barely — after Kansas Senate vote: “Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature tax policy was saved by three votes as the Kansas Senate fell short Wednesday of overriding his veto on a bill that would have generated $1 billion over two years.” “[M]any lawmakers in the House remain committed to rolling back Brownback’s 2012 tax cuts, which they blame for the state’s fiscal hole, and it could take months before they achieve a compromise.”

It is easy to imagine our Koch-bot Governor Doug Ducey and the anti-tax zealots in our lawless Tea-Publican legislature doing the same thing. Rather than raise taxes and reject the dogma of their “trickle down” tax faith, they would rather fiddle while Rome Arizona burns.

Now Kansas — as very well Arizona may face  from a future lawsuit — has another budget-busting disaster on its hands. Kansas Supreme Court Says State Education Spending Is Too Low:

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state’s spending on public education was unconstitutionally low, dealing a new blow to Gov. Sam Brownback, who is facing a rebellion from his own Republican Party over his trademark tax-cutting doctrine.

In a unanimous ruling, the court said black, Hispanic and poor students were especially harmed by the lack of funding, pointing to lagging test scores and graduation rates. The justices set a June 30 deadline for lawmakers to pass a new constitutional funding formula, sending them scrambling to find more money to pay for a solution.

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Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: pigs do fly!

News you never see reported in Arizona ….

Something truly remarkable happened last week: the state legislature of Brownbackistan fna Kansas passed an income tax increase to begin repairing the fiscal damage to the state caused by Governor Sam Brownback and Tea-Publicans’ religious experiment in creating a faith based supply-side “trickle down” utopia in America’s heartland. Pigs do fly!

The Kansas City Star reports, Kansas Senate passes tax increases opposed by Gov. Sam Brownback:

Gov. Sam Brownback has a choice to make.

After the Kansas Legislature on Friday approved legislation that would reverse his signature tax cuts, he can veto the bill or let it become law without his signature. He has already said he wouldn’t sign it.

“As with all legislation, Governor Brownback will review the bill closely once he receives it,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Melika Willoughby, said in an email.

The Kansas Senate passed the bill 22-18 Friday morning. Because no amendments were made to the legislation first passed by the House, it heads to the governor’s desk.

The bill is projected to raise more than $1 billion over two years by raising income taxes and ending a tax exemption for roughly 330,000 business owners.

Sen. Barbara Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican who voted for the bill, said the governor could get a popularity boost if he lets the legislation take effect.

“I’m not sure his ratings can go any lower,” Bollier said. “That clearly isn’t going to impact his decision, I don’t think. I would say if he does (let the bill become law), his ratings will go up, and if he had the guts to sign the thing, then they really would.”

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JLBC Report: No savings from “vouchers for all” bill, it will cost taxpayers mo’ money

What a shock! Senator Debbie Lesko is a liar, but then, you already knew that.

Lesko is the prime sponsor of the school “vouchers for all” bill, SB 1431, claiming that vouchers will save the state money. This right-wing ideologue is no economist, and those who get paid to know such things beg to differ.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) has issued a report that says the “vochers for all bill” will actually increase costs to the state  and will not result in a savings as its prime sponsor is claiming.

Don’t you just hate it when they call you out like that, Debbie?

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, JLBC concludes voucher expansion will increase costs to state:

Making vouchers universally available to pay for all children to attend private and parochial schools will actually increase costs to the state according to a legislative budget analysis and not result in a savings as its prime sponsor is claiming.

The report by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee figures the state will shell out an extra $13.9 million by 2020 if 2.6 percent of students move from traditional public schools to private schools.

But that’s only part of the issue.

SB1431 also would allow parents of kindergartners to get vouchers without ever having to first enroll their children in a public school and without any evidence of whether they were going to put their children in private schools anyway. And the report puts the cost of providing vouchers for them at another $10.6 million above what the state would otherwise pay to educate them in public schools, putting the total pricetag by 2020 at $24.5 million.

Even that may not be the end: If more than 2.6 percent of parents are interested in getting $5,600 vouchers — formally called “empowerment scholarship accounts” — the hit to the state treasury would be even higher.
And budget analysts warn there are other changes in the legislation that could boost even further the number of students seeking vouchers.

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Senate Tea-Publicans advance unconstitutional school ‘vouchers for all’ bill

Don’t say that I didn’t warn you. School ‘vouchers for all’ bills scheduled to be heard beginning Thursday.

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislators advanced their unconstitutional “vouchers for all” bill in the state Senate to open the door to all 1.1 million students in Arizona schools to use state dollars to attend private or parochial schools. Lawmakers move Arizona closer to school-voucher option for all students:

The 4-3 vote by the Senate Education Committee followed hours of testimony from people who already get what lawmakers call “empowerment scholarship accounts,” detailing how they’ve helped their children. Eligible groups include children with special needs, those living on tribal reservations and those who attend schools rated D or F, among others.

Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, sponsor of SB 1431, said vouchers save taxpayer money. She said schools get an average of $9,529 a year for each student while a typical voucher is in the $5,200 range.

But Chuck Essigs of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials said that’s misleading.

He said the $9,529 figure includes federal aid to schools as well as locally raised dollars for bonds and overrides. Essigs said the actual amount paid in state aid to schools is an average of $1,100 less per student than a voucher for an elementary school child; for high schools the difference is $1,200 per child, he said.

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BREAKING: 9th Circuit Court panel unanimously upholds injunction of Trump’s Muslim travel ban executive order

The Washington Post reports this breaking news, Federal appeals court maintains suspension of Trump’s immigration order:

A federal appeals court has maintained the freeze on President Trump’s controversial immigration order, meaning previously barred refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries can continue entering the U.S.

Read the Per Curiam order HERE.

A panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the ruling of U.S. District Judge James Robart, who had decided Friday that Trump’s temporary travel ban should be put on hold. The Department of Homeland Security soon suspended all enforcement of Trump’s controversial directive.

The Justice Department, representing the Trump administration, could now ask the Supreme Court — which often defers to the president on matters of immigration and national security — to intervene. The Supreme Court, though, remains one justice short, and many see it as ideologically split 4-4. A tie would keep in place whatever the appeals court decides.

This is what occurred with the President Obama’s immigration orders challenged in a Texas court, United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, when the Supreme Court deadlocked and left an injunction in place. Supreme Court Tie Blocks Obama Immigration Plan.

Let the Trump Twitter rage commence!