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5 Days in 5 Minutes

I’m sure many of us would love to have relaxing mornings that start with a fresh cup of coffee, well balanced breakfast, and the daily newspaper (very Miranda Priestly-esque, but with a nicer attitude). However for many of us, they actually consist of hitting snooze about 7 times before we realize we’re going to be late, jumping out of bed, grabbing the dry shampoo, and running out the door to just barely make it to our daily endeavors on time.

While current events are important, it’s easy to fall behind with such hectic lifestyles.

So if you’re trying to stay up to date but just don’t have the time, here’s a brief overview of a few things that happened last week that you should probably know about.  


New Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum


For those of you who aren’t sure (no shame), a tariff is essentially a tax that the government places on imported goods. This increases the price to use goods made outside of the country, and encourages companies to use materials produced in the United States.


President Trump has received a noticeable amount of support regarding this for a variety of reasons. During his presidential campaign, he expressed concern for the significant impact tariffs have had on the US economy. There has been a substantial trade imbalance with China and the EU over the last few decades. One example of this is the manipulation of currency: this results in US spending more than double the money on imports than what we are receiving from selling and exporting. These tariffs will encourage internal manufacturing and purchases, which in turn will open up more jobs and boost our economy. There’s also been some concern that because we import so much steel and aluminum, if we were to ever find ourselves at war with any of these countries we would be at a disadvantage because we would have difficulty producing our own materials.  


There is a lot of concern regarding this move because for one, it hurts our relationship with other countries. The United States gets the majority of its steel and aluminum from EU, China, and Canada. With these additional taxes in place we won’t be importing as many goods from them, and they’re less likely to import goods from us, which could start a trade war between various countries. Not to mention, over the last two decades the demand for steel in the US has significantly decreased, so there’s a lot of controversy regarding the “supply and demand”; if additional factories open up, and there’s a spike in production from those that are already in business, will they be able to make a profit or just turn out belly up in a few years?

Florida’s Gun Control Measures


After the Parkland School Shooting last month, which resulted in the death of 17 people, there has been an uproar of how the country should move forward from here. Do we make it harder for people to purchase and own guns? Do we arm teachers or place trained military vets on campuses for protection? What about addressing the underlying factor of mental health? There are so many options of how to approach this issue and a variety of ideas that may help. However, following the last several mass shootings, nothing was really done to prevent it. On Friday March 9th, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed gun legislation laws.


The bill starts by raising the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21 years old. A lot of people are upset about with the argument that if you’re old enough to serve in the military and be trained to use firearms, you should legally be allowed to purchase one of your own for protection or sport. Next, it requires those that are purchasing to wait at 3 days, or however long it takes for a full background check to be completed and cleared (with some exceptions). There’s a little tool that can be purchased and attached to fire arms which allows them to shoot quicker (essentially mimicking an automatic fire), that’s illegal now. The bill also allows superintendents and sheriffs to arm school employees, and will increased the funding to school security, in hopes of making an tragedy like this more difficult to carry out, and providing school personnel to fight back in the event of an attack. Finally, it addresses mental health by increasing funding to provide students with appropriate care, and allows third parties to review mental health history of those who wish to purchase, or already own a gun.


Many of those that are pro-gun are livid with this bill accusing the Governor of taking away their second amendment rights, so I think it’s also important to note what this bill DOESN’T do. It does not suspend the sales of high power rifles, including AR-15. This bill does not completely ban firearms, those that are responsible, mentally stable, law abiding citizens are still able to own rifles. While there is a lot of controversy over the law, it’s a start. For so long, things have gone unchanged and I think that everybody (gun lovers or haters) can agree that there needs to be some sort of change to address the variety of factors leading up to this most recent school shooting.


In response to recently signed law, the NRA filed a lawsuit against FL on March 9th (just hours after the bill was signed). The National Rifle Association is concerned that with the raising of the age to purchase guns, the new bill violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Resignation of Mississippi’s long time Senator, Thad Cochran


Thad Conchran has served as a senator for the state of Mississippi for 4 decades now. He recently announced that he will be resigning on April 1st due to age (80 years old), and failing health.

OKAYY….. SO…..

There is no term limit for the House and Senate (for example, the president can only serve 2 terms), meaning as long as a representative is re-elected, they can maintain their position. One reason many people disagree with this is that in the event that a senator keeps their position for a number of years (example, Cochran has held his position since 1978), they grow out of touch and have nothing in common with upcoming generations. In opposition to this, many people believe that if the representative is genuinely unfit or widely disliked, they won’t be re-elected.


Every state has 2 senators regardless of geographic size or population, and each senator has a term of 6 years. The state votes for their senators, and the senators write and vote on potential new laws (aka bills: if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the short video about how a bill becomes a law by schoolhouse rock).This year Mississippi’s other senator, Roger Wicker, is also up for re-election and the state will be voting for his position on November 6th, 2018. Given the circumstances, congress(wo)men will be able to run for Cochran’s position in a “special election” which will also take place on November 6th. Whoever wins this election (by more that 50%) will finish out the remainder of Cochran’s term until January 2021.


Although you may not live in MS, it’s important to know this because right now the national senator standing is 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and 2 independent members. With both of MS senators up for re-election, this puts the standing at 49R- 47D-2I, which means that this election could potentially change the way the senate sways when making decisions.     

Attorney General Sues the State of California


On February 25th, Oakland, CA mayor (Libby Schaaf) made announcement to her community informing inhabitants that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be conducting neighborhood raids. She states that her intentions were to warn constituents because its a “city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation”. While these may have been her intentions, many argue that she has put ICE members and other law enforcement officials in danger. 232 people were arrested at the time of the raid. It’s reported that 180 had a previous criminal record or were issued a final removal warning but had disregarded it, and 115 have been previously convicted of a felony.


Schaaf’s actions lead to further investigation of laws CA has in place that classify it as a “sanctuary state”. Sanctuary states are those that have laws in place to limit how much local police may intervene with ICE investigations. These include laws that block police from sharing some information regarding immigrants with the feds (such as release dates from prisons), and prevent employers from providing records regarding the person without a court order.


After further assessment, Attorney general (Jeff Sessions) has decided to launch a lawsuit suing CA for violating Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. The aforementioned section of the constitution is also known as the The Supremacy Clause which basically states that in the event of contradiction between the federal and state laws, the state must ultimately abide by federal laws. Throughout President Trump’s campaign and in the first year of his presidency, he has been adamant about addressing the number of illegal immigrants in the country. One of the various ways he plans to tackle this is by allowing local law enforcement to work with ICE directly. The goal of this is to decrease the number of illegal immigrants with criminal records, and push those who are eligible to apply for citizenship.

Whether she's in the studio dancing, or in the lab looking at the world through a microscope, Jenna always manages to keep busy. As a molecular biology major, you can usually find her in the greenhouse finding her "zen" among the plants. She intends to pursue a career in the medical field following undergrad, but in her spare time she loves to sleep. Because let's be honest, who doesn't love to sleep?
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