LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Engel wants road block to war with Iran

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If President Donald Trump wants war with Iran, he’ll have to get approval first. That is, if the U.S. House has anything to say about it.

U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel has joined forces with California congressman Ro Khanna in an effort to amend the National Defense Authorization Act with a measure that would prevent federal funds from being used for military force against Iran without congressional authorization.

“The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power to declare war,” Engel said, in a release. “This measure reaffirms our role and the importance of checks and balances on this critical issue. Congress is a co-equal branch of government, and we are going to assert our constitutional role whether Donald Trump likes it or not.”

The amendment also incorporates a measure from Michigan congressman Andy Levin clarifying that authorizations to use military force against Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2002 do not provide legal justification for the use of military force against Iran. Some members of Trump’s White House had reportedly considered using those older authorizations for any military action taken against Iran in the midst of rising tensions.

 

Gay, trans ‘panic’ no longer defense for murder

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law last weekend on the eve of WorldPride in Manhattan that would no longer allow “panic” for encountering a gay or transgender person as a justification for murder.

The law is designed to prevent courts from reducing murder charges simply based on discovery of a victim’s sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sex assigned at birth.

The new law takes effect immediately statewide.

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