In state legislatures around the country, lawmakers are debating important subjects — education reform, election laws, gun control and abortion. But in Florida, one of the hottest issues to come before the Legislature this term involves cats.
There, lawmakers are considering a contentious bill that would offer legal protection to groups that trap, neuter and return feral cats to their colonies.
If it seems perplexing why an idea that has broad support nationally could fail to pass the U.S. Senate, here's an important reminder: The Senate is not a democratic institution.
It never has been, and it was never designed to be. Rather, it was structured to give small or sparsely populated states the ability to stop the majority's will. And on Wednesday, that's how it worked out, as the Senate failed to reach a 60-vote threshold to support new background checks on gun purchases.
Neil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, holds a picture of the two of them as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
Family members of those killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting stand together as President Obama speaks at the White House on Wednesday, after gun control measures were defeated in the Senate. In the foreground are Mark and Jackie Barden with their children Natalie and James, who lost Daniel. Behind them are Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan, and Jeremy Richman, father of Avielle.
Credit Craig LeMoult / WSHU
Mike Cragin and his bulldog, Truman, stopped by the Dunkin' Donuts in Newtown, Conn., on Thursday. After the elementary school shooting in December, Cragin came to the same place and put up a sign inviting people to hug his dog.
Following the Senate's rejection Wednesday of a range of gun control measures, including universal background checks, many in Newtown, Conn., are reacting with surprise and disappointment. The town is still stricken with grief from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December that took the lives of 20 students and six adults.
On Thursday morning, Mike Cragin stopped by the Dunkin' Donuts in Newtown with his bulldog, Truman.