On Wednesday night, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a bill that prohibits transgender people in the state from using a restroom or locker room that doesn't match the gender on their birth certificate, bars local governments from passing their own anti-discrimination laws, and bans municipalities from raising the minimum wage above the state level. The Republican-controlled state legislature had called an emergency session on Tuesday to pass the bill, at a cost of $42,000, in order to quash an anti-discrimination ordinance set to take effect in Charlotte on April 1.
The hastily crafted law — which puts in place a statewide nondiscrimination measure that doesn't mention gay or transgender people — passed in the state House, 82-26, and unanimously in the Senate after every Democrat walked out in protest. "We choose not to participate in this farce," explained Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue (D). Republicans argued that the bill was necessary to ensure public safety and preserve the primacy of state law over local measures. "It's common sense — biological men should not me be in women's showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms," said Rep. Dean Arp (R) before the measure passed.
Similar measures prohibiting gender-identity bathroom use recently failed in Tennessee and in South Dakota, where the Republican governor vetoed it. "North Carolina has gone against the trend," said North Carolina ACLU head Sarah Preston. "And they crafted a bill that was more extreme than others. They specifically left gays, lesbians, and the transgender community out of the anti-discrimination policy. They want to make it plain that they think that kind of discrimination is okay."
The three hours of General Assembly debate on Wednesday included public testimony. People supporting the bill focused on the idea that predatory males could go into female bathrooms and sexually abuse people. Those opposed to the measure called that idea nonsense and argued that it can be dangerous and awkward for a transgender person to use a bathroom for his or her birth gender. "I can't use the men's room," said Madeleine Gause, a transgender woman who said she was bullied as a boy in Hickory. "It is unsafe for me.... And it freaks people out when I go to the men's room. Would you want to go to the men's room with me?" Besides, when transgender people go into a restroom, "people aren't getting raped and murdered," she added. "They are just going to the bathroom." Peter Weber
Texas authorities have found six bodies of people killed in Memorial Day weekend flooding, and an 11-year-old boy washed away in a swollen creek is missing and presumed dead in Kansas, as heavy rains caused flash flooding around the U.S. Torrential rains in central and and southeastern Texas prompted several evacuations and rescues, along with the six confirmed deaths, and near Houston, prison officials evacuated some 2,600 inmates. Separately, Tropical Depression Bonnie has reached South Carolina and is expected to continue dousing North and South Carolina with rain and strong winds, according to the National Weather Service. You can see some of Bonnie's impact on South Carolina in the Associated Press video below. Peter Weber
Early Monday, Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces started moving into southern Fallujah, one of two remaining large Iraqi cities controlled by the Islamic State, according to Brig. Haider al-Obeidi. He described the ISIS resistance as "fierce," with snipers, mortars, and car bombs. Iraq announced the offensive last week, but has so far been encircling the city and capturing the surrounding areas. There are an estimated 50,000 civilians trapped in Fallujah, and the Iraqi government is telling those who can't escape to stay indoors. In Baghdad, meanwhile, ISIS claimed responsibility for several bombings on Monday that have killed at least 24 people. The car bombings in Baghdad are widely seen as an attempt to divide and distract Iraqi security forces. Peter Weber
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson won the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination Sunday. He secured the win on the second ballot of the Orlando, Florida, convention with 55.8 percent of the vote.
Johnson, also the Libertarian Party's pick in 2012, has been polling in the double digits against both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. To qualify for televised debates, he'll need to hit 15 percent. Julie Kliegman
The family of a Pakistani taxi driver, Mohammad Azam, who was killed in May by an American drone strike, has demanded a criminal inquiry into the U.S. government. Following an investigative report filed by Azam's brother, Mohammad Qasim, local police are obliged to investigate the death.
Azam "was the sole breadwinner of our large joint family, [so] this was an attack on our family that hardly earns enough for two meals a day," Qasim said, noting that before he was killed Azam supported six family members, including a disabled brother. "Who will feed them now?" he asked, demanding compensation to maintain his relatives' livelihood.
There is some precedent for his effort: The families of some past drone strike victims who have been deemed innocent after the fact have received secret condolence payments from Washington.
The drone strike's target, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, happened to be Azam's taxi fare when the bombs hit. Bonnie Kristian
Bo and Sunny Obama are apparently just as busy as the rest of the first family. First Lady Michelle Obama told The Associated Press on Sunday that she's in charge of managing their schedule of appearances each month.
But don't worry, when the Portuguese water dogs, ages 7 and 3, aren't greeting tourists, they have some time to unwind.
"They can sit on my lap, they sit on my chair, they cuddle with me," Obama said. "I like to lay on the floor with them and blow in their face. I like to make them run and chase each other. But they're so cute, I just love to just cuddle them and massage them."
The dogs also get up to their share of mischief around the house.
“You know what [Sunny] does sometimes?" Obama said. "She leaves the kitchen and she'll sneak and she'll go poop on the other end of the White House." Julie Kliegman
The Amish are a unique Christian community known for their radical forgiveness, pacifism, and eschewal of worldly goods. Donald Trump believes he needs no forgiveness from God, advocates bombing women and children, and lives in a penthouse that is entirely covered in gold.
But Trump allies with ties to Ben Carson and Newt Gingrich think it's a political match made in heaven. In fact, they've formed an Amish PAC in an attempt to persuade the 70,000 Amish people in Pennsylvania and Ohio, both swing states, to turn out for Trump this November.
The project faces an uphill battle. Though a few Amish voters do show up at the polls each election, most do not vote for theological reasons. Of course, the Amish have been spared Trump's Twitter feed thanks to their rejection of computer technology — but it is difficult to fathom that a religious group that considers buttons too ostentatious will be persuaded to back the king of ostentation. Bonnie Kristian
A 4-year-old boy sustained serious injuries after crawling into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday, ABC News reports. A 17-year-old, 400-pound male gorilla named Harambe picked up the boy and dragged him around after he fell at least 10 feet into a moat.
A zoo employee fatally shot the gorilla so firefighters could enter the enclosure and rescue the child, whose name has not been released. The boy was hospitalized with injuries that are reportedly not life-threatening.
— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) May 28, 2016
"The zoo security team's quick response saved the child's life. We are all devastated that this tragic accident resulted in the death of a critically endangered gorilla," the zoo director said in a statement. "This is a huge loss for the zoo family and the gorilla population worldwide. Julie Kliegman