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Texas's Business Allure Defies Abortion Politics, for Now – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — If Texas is a test for how socially conservative US states will fare economically in the post-Roe world, then they’ll hold up just fine.

More than a year after passing the country’s most restrictive abortion law, Texas boasts the largest number of Fortune 500 company headquarters of any state. In the latest sign of the Lone Star State’s enduring allure, Chevron Corp. announced plans to relocate workers to Houston just hours after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

Other southern and Mountain states have been a magnet for Americans in recent years, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic and boosted growth in cities across Florida, Arizona, Idaho and Utah. These states, led by Republican governors, are now all trying to further restrict abortion — if not outright ban it.

“There will no doubt be people who won’t come to Texas or other southern states as a result of these policies, but, by and large, these things are determined by the dollars and cents,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “Businesses are getting more or less what they want from Texas — that is low taxes, modest regulation and the freedom to influence their own destiny.”

Texas has for decades hung its hat on being a business-friendly state. Its population boom propelled it to the second-biggest economy, after California, and it’s among the fastest-growing in the past 20 years. None of the restricting laws passed by the state legislature and signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott are threatening its prosperity in the foreseeable future. 

Even Austin, long a liberal bastion, hasn’t seen a brain drain. 

The economic risk is over the long term. Some state politicians, emboldened by a conservative Supreme Court, are already talking about punishing businesses that fund employees’ out-of-state travel for procedures. Reproductive-rights advocates have warned that in-vitro fertilization treatments could also be targeted. That would slowly chip away at the influx of people and companies willing to move to those places.

For now, low taxes on corporations and plenty of incentives outweigh any concerns about politics, reproductive rights and widening inequalities. 

Texans, whether newcomers or natives, are unlikely to leave. The state is the “stickiest” in the US, retaining more of its population than any other, according to a study by the Dallas Federal Reserve’s Pia Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny of the University of North Florida.

“Very few people leave Texas, largely because of abundant economic opportunities,” the economists wrote, adding that the state has an above-average business formation rate.

A low cost of living and plenty of space don’t hurt, either. Chevron specifically cited lower housing prices in its offer to relocate employees from California, where the median home price is more than double that of Texas. 

Diversified Economy

A relentless focus on growth has helped diversify the state’s economy beyond energy. 

The Metroplex, home to Dallas and Forth Worth, has seen an influx of financial services firms. Houston, once mainly an oil town, is home to the world’s largest children’s and cancer hospitals. Austin, Texas’s capital, has blossomed into a major tech hub — Telsa Inc. and Oracle Corp. are among the latest high-profile arrivals. 

But the fall of Roe may eventually become a deterrent. 

Cutting access to health care may pose challenges to businesses recruiting talent to the state, according to Shea Cuthbertson, president elect of Austin Women in Technology, a nonprofit networking organization. The state laws will add a financial burden on employers offering travel for care — something startups can hardly afford, she said. 

“The bottom line is that restrictive health-care policies significantly hurt people and will have a negative impact on the technology sector in Texas,” Cuthbertson said by email. “Ultimately, this will take away from diversity of thought, innovation, and equity in the workplace.”

The appeal of states like Texas may erode over time, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. 

“The overturn of Roe may also result in many smaller, but important, hard-to-see economic consequences,” Zandi said. Colleges in states that ban abortion could see fewer applicants from the rest of the country and world, who tend to be more socially liberal, he said.

Rising Inequality

Economists say bans will disproportionately hurt lower-income groups and minorities.

Professionals working for corporate giants like JPMorgan Chase & Co. or Walt Disney Co. will get travel expenses covered if they need out-of-state abortions — at least until states try to outlaw the practice. But the majority of women living in states with severe restrictions or bans don’t work for companies that provide that benefit — and Medicaid in most states doesn’t cover abortion.

Research shows that women forced to carry a child to term are four times as likely to live below the poverty line even years after the birth. They tend to have lower wages later in life. About 40% of Texas residents are Hispanic and the state has one of the biggest median-income gaps between White and Hispanic residents.

“There will be a negative macroeconomic effect,” said Sarah Miller, assistant professor of business economics and public policy at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

Miller was among more than 150 economists who submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court arguing to uphold Roe v. Wade, saying that access to reproductive care had a positive effect on women’s overall lives.

“This is going to increase inequality — we’re already seeing it,” she said.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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N.S. mass shooting: senior Mountie stands by allegations – CTV News

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OTTAWA –

The senior Mountie who made allegations of political meddling in the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting defended his position to members of parliament Tuesday.

Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Supt. Darren Campbell maintains his conversation with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on April 28, 2020 — which has since spurred accusations of political interference in the police investigation of the mass shooting — happened as he detailed in his handwritten notes.

Campbell said he has a “distinct recollection of the content of that discussion,” and reiterated the commissioner said she’d made a promise to the government, tied to pending gun legislation.

Campbell testified before the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee on Tuesday as part of ongoing meetings looking into allegations of political interference in the investigation of the 13-hour shooting rampage in 2020 in Portapique, N.S., which left 22 people dead.

Seven people were slated to appear before the committee Tuesday, including Campbell, Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada François Daigle, and Lia Scanlan, a strategic communications director.

Campbell and Scanlan have both made accusations of political interference, saying officials put pressure on police to release details about the gunman’s weapons following the shooting in an effort to push new gun legislation.

As part of the Mass Casualty Commission — an ongoing independent public inquiry created to examine the worst mass shooting in Canadian history — documents were released showing Campbell had handwritten notes from a meeting with Lucki in the days following the shooting. The notes indicated Lucki said she’d assured Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office the RCMP would release information about the gunman’s firearms.

Campbell has said releasing that information would have jeopardized the investigation into the killings.

“It was never my intention to enter into a political or public disagreement or discussion as to what took place in that meeting, nor was my response to the meeting based on any personal issues with a commissioner or indeed any other individuals. Nor was it based on politics,” he said. “At the heart of the issue was a matter of principle and sound investigative best practices related to protecting the ongoing investigation, which at the time was in its early stages.”

Campbell added he never had any direct conversations with anyone from the government on the issue.

Blair and Lucki have both repeatedly denied pressuring the RCMP or interfering in the investigation. Lucki told the Public Safety and National Security Committee in July it was a ‘miscommunication’ during the meeting.

But Campbell is sticking by what he wrote following the meeting.

“The commissioner made me feel as if I was stupid and I didn’t seem to understand the importance of why this information was important to go out, information specific to the firearms as it was related to the legislation,” Campbell told MPs on Tuesday. “She didn’t seem to appreciate or recognize the importance of maintaining the integrity of an investigation.”

Scanlan, who was also on the April 28 call, said she interpreted the meeting — and Lucki’s alleged comments — in the same way Campbell did.

“It was a feeling of disgust,” Scanlan said. “I was embarrassed to be a part of it. I was embarrassed to be listening to it. And message received, I understood exactly what was being said.”

Meanwhile, earlier in Tuesday’s committee meeting, Canada’s deputy attorney general said that though lawyers and paralegals working for the Department of Justice are responsible for reviewing and delivering documents to the Mass Casualty Commission, the justice minister and ministerial staff had “no involvement whatsoever” in that process.

While Campbell said he turned over his notes relating to the investigation early on, they were not discovered by the commission until June 2022.

Daigle told the committee there were 2,400 pages worth of handwritten notes to be presented to the Mass Casualty Commission as part of its inquiry.

Thirty-five pages of those notes were withheld pending a review to examine whether some of the information was privileged. Of those, 13 were written by Campbell, and four detailed the April 28 conversation between Campbell and Lucki.

Daigle emphasized to the commission that Justice Minister David Lametti and ministerial staff were not involved in the process of withholding, reviewing or producing any documentation to the Mass Casualty Commission.

The RCMP has faced criticism for its lack of communication with the public during and after the shootings, and a 126-page document released by the commission in June states there were significant confusion and delays.

The Public Safety and National Security Committee is set to meet next at the end of September.

With files from CTVNews.ca’s Rachel Aiello and The Canadian Press

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Timeline: Liz Cheney's political career, from Republican scion to champion of democracy – CNN

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(CNN)Tonight’s primary election is a crucial test for Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney. She has been one of former President Donald Trump’s biggest and most outspoken critics in the Republican Party. Today, the three-term conservative congresswoman faces multiple Republican opponents, including the Trump-endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman.

Although Cheney voted in line with Trump’s agenda 92.9% of the time, her vote to impeach the former President in January 2021 led to her ouster as GOP conference chair. A year later, the Republican National Committee took the unprecedented step of formally censuring her for serving on the House January 6, 2021, committee.
Now voters will decide her future in the House. For Cheney, tonight’s election represents another chapter of a tumultuous political career.

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Politics Briefing: Federal government invests in protecting against quantum threats – The Globe and Mail

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Hello,

This morning, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced $675,000 to help keep Canadians safe from quantum threats, which he called “one of the most serious threats” to Canada’s cybersecurity. The funding will go to the non-profit organization Quantum-Safe Canada for a project to raise awareness and preparedness for such threats.

“The reality, which many Canadians likely don’t know, is that current infrastructure is vulnerable to the quantum technology of tomorrow,” Mr. Mendicino said at a press conference today.

Quantum threats refer to the capabilities of true quantum computers, which have yet to be realized, but could be a reality in around 10 years. Quantum computers would allow for the hacking of mass quantities of encrypted materials – and quickly. They “break the codes underpinning Internet security and the security of things like the ArriveCan app,” explained Michele Mosca, executive director of Quantum-Safe Canada and deputy director of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

Quantum threats were also discussed by experts in April during hearings of the House standing committee on industry and technology, and whose testimony seemed to stun some MPs.

“Everything that’s been sent on the Internet since essentially the beginning of time will become an open book when a quantum computer is available,” Gilles Brassard, a professor in the department of computer science and operations research at Université de Montréal, told the committee. “Therefore, there’s no way to try to protect the past. The past is gone forever — forget about it. But we can still hope to protect the future.”

Asked what should be done to increase awareness, Mr. Brassard replied: “There needs to be education. There is no magic bullet. People are not sufficiently aware of the threat, and when they are told, they might panic.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Marsha McLeod, who is filling in for Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

TODAY’S HEADLINES

LAFLAMME BLINDSIDED BY CTV – Lisa LaFlamme was let go as anchor of CTV National News after 35 years at the network in a decision that the veteran journalist said blindsided her and one that prompted shock from colleagues and viewers. Story here.

DELAYS AT PEARSON – The chaos at Toronto Pearson has laid bare a broken governance system, not only in the Canadian airport model itself but among the multiple federal agencies serving the aviation industry, The Globe and Mail has found. Story here.

ATTENDANCE DOWN AT WORLD JUNIORS – While the time of year is a key factor in the low attendance at a winter sporting event, Hockey Canada concedes that concerns over its handling of sexual-assault allegations have also affected interest in the tournament. Story here.

INFLATION SLOWING – Canadian inflation slowed in July as consumers paid much less for gasoline, marking what could be the start of a long journey back to low and stable rates of price growth. Story here.

EXPLOSIONS IN CRIMEA – Explosions went off Tuesday at a military base in Russian-annexed Crimea, which is an important supply line for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Story by Reuters here.

THIS AND THAT

The House of Commons is not sitting again until Sept. 19. The Senate is to resume sitting on Sept. 20.

The Canadian Health Coalition released a statement criticizing the possibility of Canadian Blood Services partnering with a multinational company to pay Canadians to sell their plasma. “Once payment to Canadians for their plasma becomes the norm, recruitment of voluntary donors will decline, as experienced in European countries,” said health safety expert Dr. Michèle Brill-Edwards.

THE DECIBEL

Parasite ecologist and University of Washington associate professor Chelsea Wood makes her case to The Decibel listeners for parasite conservation, and why they’re actually beautiful, complex forms of life. Episode here.

PRIME MINISTER’S DAY

The Prime Minister is holding private meetings in Outaouais, Que., and the National Capital Region.

OPINION

Marcus Gee (The Globe and Mail) on the beauty and wonder of Canada, from the view of a recent cross-country odyssey: “It’s impossible to believe the sheer size and natural variety of this country. We’ve passed through the wild north shore of Lake Superior, crossing the countless rivers and streams that spill into that great inland sea; the vast boreal forest in northwest Ontario; the still vaster prairies, green and gold in their midsummer splendour; then the Rockies, where we hiked through an alpine meadow bursting with paintbrush and arctic lupine and along a famous gorge, Johnston Canyon, filled with roaring waterfalls.”

Sabine Nolke, Phil Calvert, Roman Waschuk, John Holmes, Louise Blais (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Ottawa’s centralized decision-making puts local embassy staff at risk: “Recent reports have revealed that on the cusp of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine earlier this year, plans were made to evacuate Canadian staff at the Canadian embassy in Kyiv. However, Ukrainian employees were not adequately informed of the dangers facing them and they haven’t been given sufficient assistance since. As former ambassadors, reading the reports hit a chord and did not entirely surprise us.”

Ali Mirzad (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on Canada’s need to deliver on its moral obligation to the persecuted Hazaras of Afghanistan: “It is true that the Liberal government cannot evacuate those trapped behind the Taliban’s walls. But it has also strategically ignored people it could actually help – the thousands of highly vulnerable and at-risk individuals, such as the Hazaras, who have fled but remain in limbo in refugee camps. While Canada continues to fail in delivering on its moral obligations, the persecuted Hazaras – who have historically been deprived of basic human rights – must continue to live each day in the midst of persecution and tragedy.”

Michael Bociurkiw (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how Canada is falling short on its promises to Ukraine: “From the very start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has bungled its response to the crisis on almost every step of the way: from the inexplicable tardiness to send lethal weaponry to circumventing its own sanctions on Russia by approving the release of repaired turbines for that country’s Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.”

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at tips@globeandmail.com. Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.

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