Mississippi

EPA finalizes clean water rollback amid science challenges
New rule removes federal authority over smaller bodies of water that feed larger water supplies. Opponents said states should handle such local regulation

President Donald Trump showed a hat that says "Make Counties Great Again" before signing an Executive Order in February 2017 to  roll-back of environmental regulations put in place by the Obama administration. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule that significantly reduces the federal government’s role in regulating waterways, fulfilling a campaign promise to farmers and energy interests and handing a win to conservatives who have pushed for changes to the Clean Water Act regulations.

The rule, which redefines what constitutes “waters of the United States,” revises decades-old standards for regulating waterways, a move environmentalists warn will lead to pollution of water that wildlife and people depend on, especially in low-income areas and communities of color. Several current and former EPA and Army Corps of Engineers employees and scientific advisers oppose the move, charging that political appointees blocked the use of scientific information in writing the rule.

Abortion policy activism heats up for Roe v. Wade anniversary
Groups gear up for ‘pivotal year’ with emphasis on states

Both sides of the abortion rights debate are doubling down on grassroots efforts to energize voters who share their beliefs about abortion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Groups pushing for the advancement of abortion rights and those looking to limit the procedure have an ambitious agenda starting this week, foreshadowing a year that could be critical for advocates on both sides of the debate.

In two months, the Supreme Court will hear its first major abortion case since 2016, and both sides are revving up for a major presidential election. States are also eyeing a number of new reproductive health bills as their legislatures come back into session.

Potential ballot confusion complicates California special election for Katie Hill’s seat
Voting starts Feb. 3, but there are two elections for the 25th District on the ballot

California Rep. Katie Hill resigned from Congress amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An unusual message will soon hit mailboxes and social media feeds in former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s Southern California district: “For once in your life, vote twice!”

The tagline will be featured in mailers and a digital media campaign from Assemblywoman Christy Smith, a Democrat running in the special election to replace Hill in the 25th District. The message underscores concerns that voters may be confused by multiple elections for the same office on the same day, March 3.

Photos of the week
The week ending Jan. 10 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and her husband Jeffrey Sprecher wait for Vice President Mike Pence to arrive for her swear-in reenactment for the cameras in the Capitol on Monday. Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Kemp to fill retired Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Emails show Boeing employees derided FAA and worried about 737 Max simulators
Chairmen investigating FAA's handling of ill-fated aircraft say 'incredibly damning' messages show 'troubling disregard for safety'

Boeing 737 Max airplanes are stored on employee parking lots near Boeing Field in Seattle. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Long before two separate Boeing 737 Max airplane crashes killed 346 people, employees of the company exchanged internal messages displaying deep concern about the aircraft’s simulators as well as disdain for federal regulators.

In dozens of pages of messages released to congressional committees investigating the October 2018 crash of a Lion Air jet in Indonesia and the March 2019 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft in Ethiopia, employees expressed dismay about a flight simulator used to test the aircraft, criticized the culture of the company and bantered about tricking regulators at the Federal Aviation Administration to certify the aircraft.

Businesses hit by mistaken tax penalty seek help from Congress
Drafting error in 2017 GOP tax overhaul hurt retail industry particularly hard

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally is the lead sponsor of a bill that would address an unintentional mistake in the 2017 Republican tax code overhaul over deducting net operating losses. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A one-word drafting error in the 2017 tax code overhaul has sent companies ranging from specialty retailer PetSmart Inc. to Nissan Motor Co. scrambling to Capitol Hill for relief.

As part of the effort to offset a dramatic reduction in the corporate tax rate in the 2017 law, Republicans limited the ability of firms to claim tax breaks on net operating losses, or when deductions exceed income.

Census estimates: Redistricting ahead for California, New York and Texas
Projections suggest AZ, CO, FL, MT, NC, OR and TX could gain seats

Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, speaks at a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Census Bureau gave a peek at a coming battle within states nationwide over the shape of the country’s congressional district map, with its latest population estimates hinting at fights within Texas, New York, California, Alabama and other states.

Those estimates give demographers and mapmakers the last hint of how the 2020 census will divvy up 435 congressional seats nationwide before the agency releases the official results later this year. The results will determine winners and losers for both the distribution of the districts as well as $1.5 trillion in federal funds each year.

South Dakota tribe clears hemp plan but governor opposes industry
South Dakota is one of three states that don’t allow production of industrial hemp

Hemp flower on display at the Tennessee Grown booth at the Southern Hemp Expo in Franklin, Tenn., in September 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Flandreau Santee Sioux cleared a major hurdle when the Agriculture Department approved its plan for growing industrial hemp on reservation land, but the tribe may face other obstacles in a state where laws still prohibit hemp farming.

Gov. Kristi Noem, a former Republican House member, vetoed legislation in 2019 that would have amended state law to allow South Dakota farmers to grow hemp after Congress legalized the plant and its products in the 2018 farm bill. Federal law had previously treated hemp, like its botanical cousin marijuana, as an illegal substance although hemp has a lower concentration of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Impeachment news roundup: Dec. 16
Vulnerable Democrats announce they’ll vote for impeachment; Schumer lays down marker for Senate trial

Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin was one of four vulnerable Democrats who announced they will vote for impeachment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four vulnerable House Democrats have announced they will vote for impeaching President Donald Trump.

Colorado Rep. Jason Crow announced his intent in a town hall meeting in his district Sunday and released a statement on Monday.

Marijuana criminalization could be clouding info on vaping deaths
Restrictions on THC-related research collide with a public health emergency

Demonstrators vape during a pro-vaping rally outside the White House on Nov. 9 to protest Washington’s proposed vaping flavor ban. (Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

In late October, as the number of people sickened with a mysterious vaping-related illness grew, federal officials turned to the nation’s leading academic researchers for help.

“They wondered what, in our opinion, they should be taking a look at,” said Robert Tarran, director of the University of North Carolina Center for Tobacco Regulatory Science and Lung Health.