Dec 21, 2017

Another federal judge temporarily halts Trump's birth control rule

A one-month pack of hormonal birth control pills. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / AP

A federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump administration from enforcing new contraception rules, Reuters reports. The rules would have allowed employers to deny an Obamacare requirement mandating them to provide insurance that covers women's birth control.

Why it matters: This ruling follows a similar decision made last week by a federal judge in Philadelphia against the policy. That judge said it would cause serious and irreparable harm, according to multiple reports.

On Thursday, Judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr., said the administration failed to carry out a notice and comment process before implementing the policy, which allows businesses or nonprofits to obtain exemptions on moral or religious grounds, per Reuters. The ruling puts the policy on hold while a lawsuit challenging its legality proceeds.

Background: The suit was filed by Democratic attorneys general in California, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Virginia, per Reuters. California officials reportedly said the federal directive would affect about 6.8 million residents.

Go deeper: Trump administration rolls back ACA contraception mandate

Go deeper

Virginia governor announces removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.