👋 Away Message: So we had a little scheduling snafu here at WTF HQ, where both myself and Joe (voice of the pod) double-booked ourselves with personal and professional obligations next week. Oopsie! Not a very great job using a calendar on my part, I guess. On the other hand, it appears the government isn't going to be open for business anyway... Unless something truly WTF-y happens, I'll see you all again on Tuesday, October 10th, because Monday is a holiday (Indigenous Peoples' Day).
In the mean time, try our little news aggregator tool – currentstatus.io – to keep you up-to-date on the daily shock and awe. Thanks for understanding and for being here. I'm going to miss you.
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1/ The Human Rights Campaign issued a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people living in the U.S. The declaration – a first in the organization’s more than 40-year history – comes after state legislatures have passed more than 75 anti-LGBTQ bills this year, more than double last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record. “The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived — they are real, tangible and dangerous,” the president of the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement. The organization also released a guidebook summarizing state-by-state anti-LGBTQ laws, as well as a “know your rights” guide for LGBTQ+ travelers and those living in hostile states. (NBC News / Axios / CNN / USA Today / ABC News)
2/ A federal judge temporarily blocked portions of a new Florida law that prohibits gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. “The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset. Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear,” Judge Robert Hinkle said, adding: “Florida has adopted a statute and rules that prohibit these treatments even when medically appropriate.” In May, Ron DeSantis signed off on a first-of-its-kind rule making it illegal for health care professionals to provide gender-affirming care – including puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and surgeries – to transgender minors. Several other states, including Texas, have also recently enacted bans on gender-affirming care. (Axios / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)
3/ A Texas sheriff recommended criminal charges for the flights that Ron DeSantis arranged to deport 49 asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last year. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office filed several counts of unlawful restraint, both misdemeanors and felonies, with the local district attorney, but didn’t name any individual suspects. “At this time, the case is being reviewed by the DA’s office. Once an update is available, it will be provided to the public,” Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputy Johnny Garcia said. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, threatened DeSantis with kidnapping charges after Florida flew three dozen migrants from Texas to Sacramento. Newsom’s administration is investigating who paid for the plane trips, if migrants were misled, and if any laws, including kidnapping, were violated. (Axios / The Guardian / Texas Tribune)
4/ A state school board in Oklahoma approved the nation’s first publicly funded religious school despite the state’s attorney general warning that the decision was unconstitutional. “The approval of any publicly funded religious school is contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers,” Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said. “It’s extremely disappointing that board members violated their oath in order to fund religious schools with our tax dollars. In doing so, these members have exposed themselves and the state to potential legal action that could be costly.” The online public charter school – the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School – will be open to students across the state in kindergarten through grade 12. (Associated Press / USA Today / Politico)
5/ Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office recently issued federal grand jury subpoenas to multiple witnesses associated with the classified documents investigation involving Trump. The subpoenas were sent from southern Florida. For more than a year, the Justice Department’s investigation has been presenting evidence and witness testimony to a separate grand jury in Washington, which has focused on the possible mishandling of national security information and obstruction. It’s not clear what the Florida activity means for the direction of Smith’s work. One witness already testified before the grand jury in Florida, with at least one additional witness expected to appear. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Bloomberg / NBC News / CNN)
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