Trump Administration Rescinds Obama Rule On Transgender Students’ Bathroom Use : The Two-Way : NPR

The Trump administration has reversed federal guidance that directed public schools to allow students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their gender identities.

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The Trump administration has reversed federal guidance that directed public schools to allow students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that corresponded to their gender identities.

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

The Trump administration is rescinding protections for transgender students in public schools.

The move by the Justice and Education departments reverses guidance the Obama administration publicized in May 2016, which said a federal law known as Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

But on Wednesday, the two federal departments said the Obama documents do not “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process. This interpretation has given rise to significant litigation regarding school restrooms and locker rooms.”

A letter issued by the departments also says there “must be due regard for the primary role of states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

“The president has made it clear throughout the campaign that he’s a firm believer in states’ rights and that certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

About 150,000 young people ages 13 to 17 identify as transgender, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Civil rights groups say they worry that the reversal could lead to bullying and violence against vulnerable transgender kids. Some protested outside the White House on Wednesday evening.

When then-President Barack Obama issued the guidelines last year, the White House directed schools to allow students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities, citing a federal law that protects students from gender discrimination.

As NPR’s Scott Horsley reported, the Obama administration “warned that schools that defied the recommendation could be at risk of losing federal funds. Thirteen states challenged the Obama guidelines, and a Texas judge put them on hold.”

That administration said the directive was meant to help school districts avoid running afoul of civil rights laws, as we reported.

Under Obama, the Department of Justice sued the state of North Carolina over its so-called bathroom law, which prohibits municipal governments in the state from passing laws protecting the rights of transgender people. It also requires trans people in government facilities to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.

North Carolina has lost business over the law, including NCAA championship events that were scheduled to be held in the state.

State legislatures in New Hampshire, Colorado and Texas, among other states, have also considered bills that would restrict access to restrooms for transgender people.

On March 28, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments

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House Democrats will introduce bill creating commission to rule on president’s fitness for office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Jamie Raskin will introduce a bill on Friday to form a commission that would rule on the president’s fitness for office in order to “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership” in the presidency.

This panel, called the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office, would be “the body and process called for in the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Pelosi and Raskin’s offices said in a statement on Thursday. They will formally announce the bill at a press conference on Friday morning.

The 25th Amendment provides the procedure for the vice president to take over the duties of president in case of his death, resignation or inability to perform his duties. The amendment says that when the vice president and a majority either of Cabinet officials “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” determine that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” then the vice president shall take over the duties of president.

Pelosi and Raskin’s introduction of the bill comes after President Trump was hospitalized over the weekend after testing positive for COVID-19, raising concerns about presidential succession. The White House said that Mr. Trump remained on the job even while he was at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and that there were no plans for Vice President Mike Pence to assume presidential authority. Mr. Trump returned to the White House on Monday, and returned to work at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

Raskin previously introduced a similar bill in 2017 to impanel a group of physicians and retired public officials to determine whether the president was mentally and physically fit for office.

“The 25th Amendment was adopted 50 years ago, but Congress has never set up the body it calls for to determine presidential fitness in the event of physical or psychological incapacity. Now is the time to do it,” Raskin said in a statement introducing the initial bill in May 2017.

Mr. Trump retweeted several posts on Thursday evening criticizing Pelosi for appearing to consider implementation of the 25th Amendment.

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Stalled auction of 89-year-old’s house over 6-cent tax bill spurs new proposed rule

A law that allowed an 89-year-old woman’s house to be put up for auction because she owed 6 cents in back taxes would be amended under a bill that her state senator plans to introduce in the coming weeks.

The story of the octogenarian Ocean Township homeowner, Glen Kristi Goldenthal, drew international attention this week after her daughter in Virginia bitterly denounced township officials in a video she posted September 9 on Twitter.

“Today, I spent the entire day saving her home from a tax sale that was happening today that she didn’t want to tell me about because she has Alzheimer’s,” Goldenthal’s daughter, Lisa Suhay, said in the video, posted above.

“So, half the time she didn’t even remember it was happening, and the other half the time she was too terrified to tell me, and too ashamed, and too afraid and too worried,” Suhay said. “A tax sale for an 89-year-old woman’s home in the middle of a pandemic. And do you want to know how much my mother owed? Six cents. Six pennies. And for that, they put her house up for sale today.”

Goldenthal’s house didn’t get auctioned off. After the video was posted, Mayor Christopher Siciliano intervened to take the home off auction block. And since then, Siciliano said Suhay had paid what was owed on the property, which actually totaled more than $300, including fees.

Siciliano also reached out to State Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, asking the lawmaker to introduce legislation to prevent such a minuscule debt from threatening the loss of a home in the future.

Reached on Thursday, Gopal said he would do just that, with a bill that would set a minimum dollar amount owed, probably $100 or less, before a property was subject to auction.

As it stands now, state law governing tax sales, NJSA 54:5-20.1 calls for an auction when a lien exceeds $100, but leaves it up to the discretion of the local tax collector to decide whether and when to put a property up for a tax auction when the amount owed is less than that.

“This would remove the discretion,” said Gopal, who added that there was an increased likelihood that property owners of any age might fall behind on their taxes amid the coronavirus-related economic downturn.

“I think it’s a little ridiculous and unfortunate, and we need to do everything we can to make sure that those who are most vulnerable shouldn’t be shut out, especially during these tough times,” Gopal said.

In defense of Ocean’s tax officials, Siciliano said the six cents owed on the property was part of a years-long pattern of delinquency related to Goldenthal’s Redmond Avenue property that persists to this day. He said her address was among those on a computer-generated list of properties subject to auctioning due to non-payment of liens, without details of the property owners’ ages or other circumstances.

The six cents owed from 2019, he said, was actually the amount that a purchaser of a

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Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining

HAPPY TUESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.

a group of people on a sidewalk: Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining | Groups pressure Biden to exclude fossil fuel execs

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Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining | Groups pressure Biden to exclude fossil fuel execs

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THE LEAD STORY: Top Interior Department officials misled Congress when they claimed high office rent in Washington, D.C., was a factor in the need to move the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to a new headquarters in Colorado, the agency’s internal watchdog found.

A report on Tuesday from Interior’s Office of Inspector General found that two officials overplayed the cost of BLM’s M Street SE lease near Nationals Park as a motivating factor in the move, as the agency already had plans underway to return to office space owned by the government.

Joseph Balash, a former assistant secretary for land and minerals management who now works in the oil industry, and BLM acting Director William Perry Pendley, whose tenure with the agency is the subject of a lawsuit, are implicated in the report.

Both men wrote in correspondence with Congress that BLM would be unable to stay in its existing M Street SE office because the cost would exceed the $50 per square foot limit set by the government.

The report found the claims were “misleading” and said that “the future lease cost of 20 M Street was irrelevant.”

Interior announced in July 2019 that it would move more than 200 of BLM’s D.C.-based employees to existing offices across the West, while putting nearly 25 of its top-ranking leaders at a new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo. The move would leave just 61 of BLM’s 10,000 employees in Washington.

The move was considered a victory for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is facing a tight reelection campaign, but it raised the eyebrows of former BLM employees, who questioned why the agency would leave such a small footprint in D.C. and set up shop in a town four hours from any major airport.

But well before Grand Junction was on the drawing board, BLM was already planning to leave its M Street SE space.

“When we got that lease it was a bargain,” said Steve Ellis, who retired from the highest-ranking career position within BLM in 2016.

“Since we moved people in there, Nationals Park popped up across the street, the area’s become much more popular and built up. That’s a good thing, but it meant the lease would be cost prohibitive when it ended, so we we’re looking around at options.”

Rather than pay more than $50 per square foot, the inspector general found evidence from both 2016 and 2017 that the department “had longstanding plans” to move BLM employees either to the Main Interior Building (MIB) or another federal

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Choosing Kitchen Color – The 60-30-10 Rule

It's true that color influences our moods. That's why it's important to choose the right combination of colors for your kitchen to make it a pleasant place to be. Studies have shown that "hot" colors like reds and oranges can quicken the pulse rate, breathing rate and increase appetite. Soft yellows and blues can make people feel happier, and shades of green and earth tones found in nature-warm toasty browns and sandstone-can give a sense of calm and tranquility.

Color can also be used to highlight the architecture of your kitchen, or hide it, depending on your preferences. Some colors will cause cabinets and counter tops to pop forward, making them the main focus of the kitchen layout, while other colors are designed to blend with cabinets and counter spaces, giving your kitchen a more monochromatic look, with a sense of visual flow. You can also use colors to influence how large or small your kitchen will feel, and how it relates to the other adjoining rooms of your home.

While there is no "wrong" way to choose kitchen colors, be sure to take into account the cabinets, counter tops, and appliances that will be going into your kitchen. They have an overall color scheme, and make up the bulk of your kitchen space. With this in mind, choose colors that highlight and accent the counter tops, back splash tile and cabinets. The 60-30-10 rule is helpful:

1. With your kitchen designer, find the ratio of your new kitchen. 60% representing the main or dominant color, probably on the counter tops, walls or cabinets. 30% of a secondary color used in the flooring or rugs, as well as window treatments and some furniture, like bar stools and café tables. 10% for accents such as, dishes, artwork, utensils and other small counter top appliances.

2. Choose a kitchen color that will compliment the dominant, 60% color of your kitchen-meaning, it will cause your cabinets and counter tops to "pop" and give a feeling of warmth to the space. The accents (10%) can be a different color that goes well with your dominant color. OR …

3. Choose a kitchen color that blends with the dominant color of your kitchen-for example, white cabinets and gray / white granite counter tops, may benefit from a soft, blue-gray wall color and darker gray or blue accents, to give the kitchen a more clean and monochromatic look.

Based on the new appliances, hardware, cabinetry and counter tops, a professional custom cabinet manufacturer and installer can assist you in choosing the best color scheme possible, and can match color schemes using the most advanced, computer generated techniques, so you can see how your kitchen will look before a paintbrush is ever used.

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