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News you might have missed: Virginia bans harmful 'therapy' for LGBTQ kids

Also this week, Tennessee deported a Nazi, and gun safety advocates won a victory at the Supreme Court.

By Dan Desai Martin - March 06, 2020
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Protest against anti-LGBTQ conversion

This week, a new study shows a link between more health care in the form of Medicaid expansion and lower maternal death rates. In New Mexico, students won’t have to worry about paying for reduced-price lunch, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s dog Bailey made headlines for scarfing down a burrito.

Read on to see what you might have missed in the news.

Virginia becomes 20th state to ban harmful anti-LGBTQ practice

Virginia’s Democratic governor signed 68 bills into law on Tuesday, WSET reported, including legislation to stop discrimination against LGBTQ youth and racial minorities.

Gov. Ralph Northam signed H.B. 386 into law, which prohibits the controversial “conversation therapy” practice for minors. The American Psychological Association stated that “conversion therapy,” which attempts to convince people to change their sexual orientation, can have harmful impacts on the mental health of subjects and is not based on science. Virginia joins 19 other states that have already banned the practice.

Northam also signed H.B. 1514, which prohibits racial discrimination based on hair. The law makes clear that it is illegal to discriminate bases on “traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.”

Medicaid expansion linked to fewer deaths die in childbirth

A new study published in the journal Women’s Health Issues shows a strong link between improved health outcomes and a key part of Obamacare.

The study showed a significant association between states that expanded Medicaid and a decreased likelihood of mothers dying during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first six weeks after delivery, CNN reported Tuesday

“The largest reduction was among non-Hispanic black women, which I think is particularly significant because they have such a higher maternal mortality rate than Hispanic or non-Hispanic white women,” study author Erica Eliason told CNN.

Since the Affordable Care Act became law, all but 15 states have opted to expand Medicaid.

New Mexico eliminates student co-pay for reduced-price breakfast and lunch

Low-income students will no longer have to worry about paying for reduced-price breakfast and lunch in New Mexico schools, thanks to a law signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Los Alamos Daily Post reported on Monday.

“A 40-cent copay should never come between a child and the food they need to grow and learn,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement about the signing.

The new law is accompanied by $650,000 in funding to cover the cost of reduced-price breakfast and lunch for local schools. The bill passed both chambers of the New Mexico Legislature by a unanimous vote.

Supreme Court leaves ban on bump stocks for guns in place

The Supreme Court delivered a victory to gun safety advocates on Monday by allowing a lower court ruling on the prohibition of bump stocks to remain in place, CBS News reported.

The ban on bump stocks, a modification that enables semiautomatic weapons to fire at a faster clip, went into effect in December 2018.

The ban followed the deadly 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds of people injured.

Tennessee judge deports Nazi back to Germany

A former Nazi concentration camp prison guard is being deported back to Germany after living in the United States for decades, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

A federal judge in Memphis ordered Friedrich Karl Berger to return to Germany after evidence proved he served at a concentration camp near Hamburg during World War II. Berger, who served in the German navy, said he was just following orders as a 19-year-old when he was detailed to work at the concentration camp.

U.S. officials said Berger is still receiving a pension from his service in the war. Berger has up to 30 days to appeal the decision.

South Carolina may soon stop shackling pregnant people during childbirth

The South Carolina Senate voted unanimously to advance legislation to outlaw the practice of shackling incarcerated pregnant people during labor and childbirth, the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network reported on Thursday.

The legislation also limits the types of restraints used on pregnant people, ensures pregnant people are given bottom bunks in prisons, and limits the situations pregnant people can be held in solitary confinement.

“We are encouraged that the Legislature may put an end to this inhumane practice and encourage policymakers to continue to work to ensure that all people have the support they need to have healthy pregnancies, deliveries, and births,” Ann Warner, CEO of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network, said in a statement.

The legislation now heads to the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Watch Sen. Elizabeth’s dog, Bailey, swipe someone’s burrito

Shortly after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced she was dropping out of the race for president, her dog, Bailey, may have been caught stress-eating.

Warren’s press secretary Gabrielle Farrell caught Bailey on video scarfing down someone else’s food.

“Bailey legit just swiped someone’s burrito,” Farrell posted on Twitter, along with the video.

Bailey, a 2-year-old golden retriever, was a fixture of the Warren campaign, often appearing on the campaign trail and in social media posts. Despite the burrito incident, there is near-universal agreement that Bailey is a good boy.

Check back next week for more news you might have missed.


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