FROM Patrick Leahy
Will Voters Be Kept from the Polls…Again? Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that key parts of the Voting Rights Act, signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965, had outlived their usefulness. By a five to four majority, the court lifted burdens imposed on states with histories of discrimination in voting. Almost immediately, North Carolina, Texas and other states passed Voter ID laws, cut short early voting and eliminated same-day registration. The Court also invited Congress to update the Voting Rights Act. Are those needed protections against voter fraud or a return to the past? Is there evidence of renewed hardship for minorities, the elderly or women voters? Voter ID warning outside the polling station of Ward 1 in Nashua, New Hampshire, 2013 Photo by Mark Buckawicki
Will Patent Reform Invigorate Innovation? The idea of the patent is to protect inventors from copycats who steal their ideas. Patents are crucial to US dominance of the world economy. But the US Patent Office is 700,000 applications behind. It takes so long to get one that, before it's issued, an invention often becomes obsolete. Facing competition with China, the US has revised the patent process with that rarest of legislative enactments, a bipartisan bill, signed into law today by President Obama. But with the America Invents Act , why will patents now go to the "first to file" instead of the "first to invent?" Will the big corporation have an advantage over the backyard genius?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.