Overnight Briefing & General Reality Check - Apr 1, 2015
April 1, 2015
Embattled IN GOP Gov. MIKE PENCE backed away a bit yesterday from his support for a controversial religious freedom law and asked his state legislature to immediately change it to, ensuring that it would not discriminate against gays and lesbians. At a news conference, Pence said, "After much reflection and in consultation with leadership of the general assembly, I've come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone."
He added, "We want to make it clear that Indiana is open for business, we want to make it clear that Hoosier hospitality is not a slogan, it's our way of life... The proper legislative remedy is to focus on the perception that has been created by the misunderstanding ...This was grossly mischaracterized by advocates who opposed the bill and frankly sloppy reporting." (Pacelli)
Meantime, the Arkansas legislature has approved a religious freedom bill similar to the Indiana law that's causing so much anger. The state House passed the bill by a 67-to-21 margin, sending it to the governor's office.
GOP Gov. ASA HUTCHINSON is expected to sign the bill, which says that "a state action shall not substantially burden a person's right to exercise of religion," unless it is "essential to further a compelling government interest" and is the least restrictive action possible. (Pacelli)
NY Democratic Gov. ANDREW CUOMO and Washington, D.C. Democratic Mayor MURIEL BOWSER both announced yesterday that they're banning all non-essential government-funded travel to Indiana in response to that controversial religious freedom law. In a statement, Cuomo said, "The ban on publicly funded travel shall take effect immediately ...New York State has been, and will continue to be, a leader in ensuring that all LGBT persons enjoy full and equal civil rights."
Cuomo added, "With this action, we stand by our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues to ensure that their rights are respected." (Pacelli)
The National Retail Federation says Easter is still the second-biggest holiday for retailers with Americans planning to spend the same amount as last year --$140 per person on stuff like candy, flowers, decorations, gifts, cards, family dinners and new Easter duds. Total spending for Easter, when you add it all up-- is expected to reach $16.4 billion.
The biggest percentage of Easter shoppers (87 percent) will shell out for candy, spending more than $2.9 billion dollars on jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, Peeps and other things like chocolate eggs. Cooking Easter dinner or brunch gets the next biggest shopping list from 85 percent of consumers, who will shell out more than $5.3 billion for groceries. Nearly half (45 percent) will purchase clothing, sprucing up the family's spring wardrobes. (Kaye)
Bid'ness is Bid'ness:
A former prisoner has created a clothing line based on his experience in the slammer.
44-year-old KEVIN FULGENZI of Long Beach, California, named his clothing line XCon. He started selling the jail-themed apparel within a week of his release from Los Angeles County jail. He did 16-months for petty theft. He says, "I thought about the artistic talents that were in jail and my own talents, and I put them together and came up with the brand." He sells the jail themed items at a store in Long Beach. Ironically, shoplifters recently tried to steal a bunch of stuff from his store. But, instead of calling the cops, Fulgenzi talked them into giving the stuff back. (Still)
Famed theoretical physicist STEPHEN HAWKING has applied to trademark his name in the United Kingdom. Hawking's trademark move was made to prevent others from profiting off of his name, and to allow him to establish a charitable foundation that would support research in either physics or A-L-S (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also called Lou Gehrig's disease. Hawking --who was portrayed by EDDIE REDMAYNE last year in this Academy Award-winning performance about the physicist's life in "The Theory of Everything"-- is a professor at the University of Cambridge. He was diagnosed with A-L-S at 21 and is completely paralyzed, only able to speak with a computerized voice synthesizer. If Hawking's trademark request is granted, LiveScience.com says it could be worth millions of British pounds. The trademark covers use of Hawking's name for computer games, powered wheelchairs, greeting cards and health care, according to news reports. (Bartha)
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