Morning, gorgeous! Today’s most important stories are below. You’re welcome!
South Carolina Officials Meet Today Over Confederate Flag
General Assembly members in South Carolina are gathering today to vote on whether they will adjust their agenda to review whether or not to keep the Confederate flag on state grounds. The move was requested by Governor Nikki Haley yesterday in a state conference addressing the debate over the flag and the recent terrorist attack on Emmanuel AME Church. Although lawmakers are already in discussion over the issue, they may not come to a final decision on whether to move the flag for months and there is a two-thirds majority vote needed in order to take down the flag.
Meanwhile, Walmart has announced that they’ve removed all Confederate flag merchandise from their stores and website in light of the recent controversy. Sears Holdings Corporation is taking its lead and removing confederate flag merchandise from Sears, Kmart, and third-party vendors online. Read more at USA Today and CNN.
The Uninsured African American Population Dropped By A Third In 2013
While the Supreme Court is deciding over a legal mandate that could leave millions of Americans without affordable health insurance, a recent study shows the reach and impact from Obamacare on America’s poor. In the first full year hat the Affordable Care Act widened health coverage to Americans, the number of uninsured Blacks dropped from 18.9 percent to 13.5 percent, the biggest change for all racial/ethnic groups since 1997. These gains are especially noteworthy as the Affordable Care Act was largely designed to help poor Black citizens from the outset. Read more at the New York Times.
Home Rental Prices Are Climbing Across The United States
If you’re looking to move to save money on rent, do your research and choose wisely. Rising home rental costs are now popping up in surprising locations nationwide like Jackson, MS, Portland, ME, Denver, CO as well as San Francisco, CA. Zillow has released research data showing that overall, rates rises at 4.3 percent but cities like Jackson and Portland are rising at whopping double digits—22.7 percent and 17.4 percent respectively. Read the story at USA Today.
U.S. Data Breach Possibly Reached 18 Million, 4X More Than Originally Projected
This hacking story is just getting worse and worse. The US Office of Personnel Management data breach could have hit about 18 current, former and potential federals employees, a rate that is quadruple what officials first believed. FBI Director James Comey made the announcement in a private meeting with senators. Read more at the Daily Beast.
Conservative Appeals Court Rejects Religious Groups’s Demands Against Contraceptive Coverage In Obamacare
An infamously conservative federal court has ruled against complaints from religious non-profits about an Obamacare mandate requiring them to provide a form listing their decision to not offer contraception coverage for workers. The non-profits claimed it was an infringement upon their religious freedom, yet the court stated that the plaintiffs are not being forced to provide or ease the process of garnering contraceptives for their workers and dismissed the case. Read more at Jezebel and read the ruling for yourself here.
BONUS ROUND: Obama’s Got Fast Track Authority On The Pacific Trade Deal!
The Senate is on Obama’s side today. In a vote of 60 to 37, President Barack Obama was given special negotiating authority to complete his Pacific Trade Deal, his last major legislative project during his term as president. This comes after Republicans found a special policy that allowed them to sidestep the House Democrats’ prior rejection of the bill. There will be an additional procedural vote tomorrow. Read more at the New York Times.