Oct 5, 2017

Sessions reverses transgender worker protection policy

Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a memo to heads of federal agencies and attorneys reversing "a federal government policy that said transgender workers were protected from discrimination," according to BuzzFeed News, which obtained the memo.

  • Sessions wrote: "Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se." He added that nothing in the memo "should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity."
  • Devin O'Malley, Department of Justice spokesman, said in a statement to Axios: "The Department of Justice cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided...the last administration abandoned that fundamental principle.
  • DNC spokesman Joel Kasnetz responded: "This week, Jeff Sessions escalated the Trump administration's war on LGBTQ people...Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Jeff Sessions have revealed their real goal – turn the clock back to a time when life was even more difficult for LGBTQ people, transgender individuals in particular."

Why it matters: Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex," per BuzzFeed, but "does not address LGBT rights directly." Former Attorney General Eric Holder applied it to gender identity, but Sessions said it "only covers discrimination between 'men and women,'" BuzzFeed reports.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.