👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Georgia’s governor signed new voting restrictions into law. The overhaul of the state’s election laws would impose rigid absentee voter identification requirements, limit drop boxes, shortens state runoffs, and expand the Legislature’s power over elections. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the measure into law just over an hour after the bill passed both chambers of the legislature, calling it “common sense” legislation that ensure Georgia’s elections “are secure, accessible and fair.” Dozens of state legislatures are considering similar restrictions on voting following the 2020 presidential election. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution / NBC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / New York Times)
2/ Biden condemned the new voting restrictions in Georgia as “outrageous,” “un-American,” and “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.” Three voting-advocacy groups, meanwhile, sued Georgia state officials over the new law, claiming that it will unconstitutionally restrict voting rights of all Georgians while disproportionately impacting Black voters. “Georgia has a long and egregious history of implementing election laws that hinder Black and minority citizens’ ability to participate equally in the political process,” the groups said in the complaint. The defendants include Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and four members of the State Election Board. (NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post)
3/ Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that the network intentionally aired false claims that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election in order to boost ratings. Dominion argued that Fox News and several of its on-air personalities promoted baseless claims that the company had manipulated its machines to benefit Biden in the election, and allowed falsehoods by their guests to go unchecked. Those same claims were repeatedly pushed by Trump’s lawyers, Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell, during multiple appearances on Fox programs. Dominion has also sued Giuliani, Powell, and the MyPillow guy, Mike Lindell, for defamation, seeking damages of more than $1 billion. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)
4/ CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned of another surge in Covid-19 cases as the nation’s seven-day average of new cases per day jumped 7% over the last week. New hospitalizations are also up “slightly” at roughly 4,700 admissions per day. “I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory,” Walensky said. “And we know from prior surges that if we don’t control things now, there is a real potential for the epidemic curve to soar again.” (CNBC / ABC News)
😷 Dept. of “We’re gonna get through this.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~125,865,000; deaths: ~2,762,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~30,130,000; deaths: ~548,000; fully vaccinated: ~13.8%; partially vaccinated: ~27.0%
Johnson & Johnson will deliver 11 million doses of its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine to the U.S. next week. The U.S. received 4 million doses of the vaccine shortly at the end of February. (NBC News)
The U.S. administered 3.4 million Covid-19 doses in a single day, breaking the previous record of 2.62 million doses. (Axios)
The White House canceled a 50-person indoor party the Interior Department was planning to celebrate Secretary Deb Haaland’s confirmation after senior administration officials raised concerns that it could become a superspreader event. (Politico)
5/ Democrats introduced the “DEJOY Act” to block a piece of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year restructuring plan for the U.S. Postal Service. The Delivering Envelopes Judiciously On-time Year-round Act would prohibit the Postal Service from lengthening mail-delivery windows and require that it to adhere to current “service standards.” Under DeJoy’s plan, about 30% of first-class mail would take four to five days to arrive from the current standard of no more than three days. (Washington Post)
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