Weekly News Update


*Obamacare — the law that refuses to die — is suddenly under attack again. The GOP is seizing on leaked tapes in which MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, an architect of the law, said the “stupidity of the American voter” and a “lack of transparency” were vital to its passage in 2010. And, perhaps most importantly, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on subsidies that are central to the law. [CNN]

*Cynthia and Robert Gifford, devout Christians, found themselves being ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines after refusing to allow a lesbian couple marry on their farm in upstate New York. The Giffords were ordered to pay a total of $13,000 — a $10,000 fine to the state and another $1,500 to each member of a lesbian couple to compensate them for “mental anguish.’’ [New York Post]

*Pot isn’t legal in New York, but after this week, it might as well be. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told officers to stop arresting people carrying small amounts of pot. Instead, first-time offenders will get a court summons (basically a ticket; $100 for the first, $200 for the second) and walk away. [Bloomberg]

*When a wrongfully convicted person gets released from prison, it is a major news event. But when the limelight fades, the wrongfully convicted face the reality of navigating the world they were yanked from, often with limited financial and social support. [PBS]

*The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering whether a state law banning cursing in front of minors violates the First Amendment. The 70-year-old statute says any person caring for a minor can be found guilty of child neglect for habitual “profane, indecent or obscene language” in front of the child. [ABA Journal]

*Last week, Mayor de Blasio signed a law lowering New York City’s 30-miles-per-hour speed limit to 25. The change is the centerpiece of de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to drastically reduce New York City traffic deaths, which numbered 291 last year. [NY Magazine]

*A woman who admitted to killing a 91-year-old grandmother in The Bronx had her murder conviction overturned on a technicality. Sparkle Daniel was convicted in 2010 — thanks in large part to her admission to cops. But in a 4-1 ruling, the state Appellate Division found that Daniel had not been given her Miranda warnings by police as soon as she should have, and her statements to investigators should have been suppressed. [New York Daily News]