Jon's Feed
Apr 4, 2015

Reality TV burnishes image of the neighborhood pawn shop

AUSTIN, Texas, April 4 (Reuters) – After centuries on the
fringe of consumer finance, the neighborhood pawn shop is
pushing its way toward the mainstream, thanks to the power of
reality television and the long arm of government regulation.

The History Channel’s hit show “Pawn Stars,” featuring a Las
Vegas shop run by three generations of the quirky but endearing
Harrison family, has helped transform the image of the pawn
shop, portraying it as a fun place to do business and discover
one-of-a-kind buys.

Apr 2, 2015

Arkansas, Indiana lawmakers seek fixes of religion acts

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – Lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas plan remedies on Thursday to religion acts that were sent back to them this week following criticism from rights activists and businesses who said the measures allowed discrimination against gays.

In Indiana, lawmakers planned to unveil changes to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), enacted into law last week, which spurred protests, threats of boycotts and warnings from powerful U.S. firms about pending economic damage for the act’s perceived stand against U.S. ideals of inclusion.

Apr 1, 2015

Be kind to live long, world’s oldest woman says from Arkansas

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – The world’s oldest person, 116-year-old Gertrude Weaver of Arkansas, believes the key to longevity is treating other people kindly.

Weaver, born on July 4, 1898, lives at a senior care facility in Camden Arkansas, where she exercises in her wheelchair three times a week and eats three meals a day at the facility’s dining room.

Apr 1, 2015

Indiana Republicans meet with LGBT groups seeking fix to law

By Fiona Ortiz and Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – Republican lawmakers in Indiana were meeting with gay and lesbian groups on Wednesday as they rushed to re-craft a potentially discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act that sparked national outrage.

The rewritten law could be ready as early as Thursday, said Tory Flynn, spokeswoman for Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma.

Mar 31, 2015

U.S. Justice Department launches probe of Dallas truancy courts

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating truancy courts in Dallas County, Texas, for alleged violations such as blocking access to lawyers and excessive fines after complaints about a system critics say is one of the nation’s harshest.

The investigation of the Truancy Court and Juvenile District Court in Dallas County “will focus on whether the courts provide constitutionally required due process to all children charged with the criminal offense of failure to attend school,” the department said on Tuesday.

Mar 30, 2015

U.S. Justice Dept sues Oklahoma university over transgender professor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department filed a
lawsuit on Monday against Southeastern Oklahoma State
University, alleging the school discriminated against a
transgender assistant professor.

The DOJ said it also sued the Regional University System of
Oklahoma. The department said Rachel Tudor was denied a
promotion because of her gender identity and retaliated against
after she complained.

Mar 27, 2015

Arkansas Senate passes religion bill seen as targeting gays

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.

The Republican governor of Indiana signed into law a similar “religious freedom” bill on Thursday, prompting protests from human rights groups and criticism from some business leaders.

Mar 27, 2015

Arkansas Senate approves controversial religion bill

By Jon Herskovitz and Steve Barnes

(Reuters) – The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on
Friday a bill its authors said is to protect religious freedoms
but critics contend could allow business owners to refuse
service to gays and lesbians because of their beliefs.

As the bill advances in the Republican-dominated Arkansas
statehouse, the governor of nearby Indiana signed into law a
similar “religious freedom” bill on Thursday, prompting protests
from human rights groups and some business leaders.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. court halts Labor Department same-sex couple protections

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge in Texas on Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor Department from implementing a rule that would expand medical leave protections for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges on the rights of states that ban gay marriage.

The state of Texas, which has a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, last week sued the Labor Department over the rule that would grant family medical leave protections to all married same-sex couples.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. court halts Labor Dept. same-sex couple protections

AUSTIN, Texas, March 26 (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge in
Texas on Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor
Department from implementing a rule that would expand medical
leave protections for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges
on the rights of states that ban gay marriage.

The state of Texas, which has a state constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage, last week sued the Labor
Department over the rule that would grant family medical leave
protections to all married same-sex couples.