Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 3.31.15

Today’s edition of quick hits:
 
* It’s not just Indiana: “Lawmakers in Indiana are scrambling to clarify a religious freedom law amid a national firestorm. But their counterparts in Arkansas are pushing ahead with a similar measure – and the governor says he’ll sign it.”
 
* A flexible deadline: “With several sticking points still to be worked out, negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran will continue past Tuesday night’s deadline into Wednesday, the State Department said.”
 
* Criminal justice: “President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 22 individuals on Tuesday, more than doubling the number of commutations he has issued in the six-plus years he’s been in office. The men and women granted the reprieves had been imprisoned under an ‘outdated sentencing regime,’ the administration concluded. Eight of the 22 inmates had been sentenced to life imprisonment and would have died behind bars.”
 
* Climate: “The United States officially submitted its emissions-cutting target to the United Nations on Tuesday morning, formalizing its commitment to reducing emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The Obama administration had previously announced the goal in its work with China on a bilateral climate agreement. The Tuesday submission makes the pledge official.”
 
* Egypt: “The United States will resume its paused military aid to Egypt, the White House said Tuesday, signaling the Obama administration’s desire to help a key Middle Eastern ally confront militant threats despite concerns about its repressive stance on human rights.”
 
* Yemen: “An unlikely alliance with a deposed dictator appears to have helped Yemen’s advancing Shiite insurgents weather intensifying airstrikes directed at them by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition.”
 
* Follow-up on a story out of Alabama we discussed this morning: “Senator Larry Stutts announced Tuesday he is withdrawing his maternity stay Bill. The bill would repeal a code that says insurance must cover a minimum stay of 48 hours in the hospital after a woman gives birth.”
 
* Labor: “In his latest confrontation with Congress, President Obama on Tuesday blocked Republican efforts to overturn new union-friendly federal regulations issued by his administration.”
 
* He’s right: “The IRS commissioner on Tuesday brushed aside GOP proposals to abolish his agency, insisting the U.S. would have to have a tax collector one way or another.  ’You can call them something other than the IRS if that made you feel better,’ the agency’s chief, John Koskinen, said after a speech at the National Press Club.”
 
* What a sweet story: “The little girl who asked Obama last year why there aren’t any women on U.S. bills has finally gotten a letter back from the President – and she’s invited to the annual White House Easter Egg roll.”
 
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
 

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 3.31.15