Voters in Oklahoma on Tuesday narrowly approved expanding Medicaid coverage to about 200,000 low-income adults.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, State Question 802 passed by 6,488 votes, The Oklahoman reports. This amends the Oklahoma Constitution, preventing the state's Republican-led Legislature from undoing the expansion.
Amber England, the campaign manager for Yes on 802, said in a statement that in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, "Oklahomans stepped up and delivered life-saving care for nearly 200,000 of our neighbors, took action to keep our rural hospitals open, and brought our tax dollars home to protect jobs and boost our local economy."
Oklahoma has until July 1, 2021, to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act; the state will be responsible for 10 percent of the cost, with the federal government paying the rest. About 800,000 residents are now covered by Medicaid. Catherine Garcia
Four Republican senators — including presidential candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — voted against a resolution that affirmed there would be no religious test for people entering the United States. The non-binding amendment was attached to an unrelated security bill and read that, "It is the sense of the Senate that the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion, as such action would be contrary to the fundamental principles on which this Nation was founded."
Cruz did not attend the meeting, so it was not immediately clear why he opposed the resolution that was aimed at formally rejecting Donald Trump's widely panned plan to bar Muslims from entering the country. However, Cruz hasn't joined the chorus of other candidates in criticizing the ban, having said instead that he "[commends] Donald Trump for standing up and focusing America's attention on the need to secure our borders." According to Politico, "Several Democrats grinned visibly when Cruz's proxy vote of 'no' was cast, with one uttering into a hot mic: 'Ohhh yeah.'"
Nevertheless, the amendment passed 16 to 4, with Republican Sens. David Vitter, Thom Tillis, and Jeff Sessions joining Cruz in opposing it. Jeva Lange
Marking the end of a two-week synod called by Pope Francis at the Vatican, Catholic bishops voted on the final language included in a report on the proceedings. Paragraphs intended to offer a more merciful, welcoming tone toward gays did not make the cut, The Associated Press reports.
One paragraph which read, "people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy," had already been watered-down from its original, more welcoming language. The line still failed to earn the two-thirds majority vote needed for inclusion. AP notes that the 118-62 vote on that paragraph in particular may have included some dissenting bishops who were upset that the rhetoric had been toned-down at all. Still, plenty of conservative leaders in the Church had vocally criticized the draft, which also offered a more tolerant take toward cohabiting, unmarried couples, along with divorced individuals.
"We could see that there were different viewpoints," Cardinal Oswald Gracis of India told reporters following the close of the synod. Sarah Eberspacher