- The lawsuit against the health care overhaul filed Tuesday by 13 state attorneys general is focused on a provision that's long been advocated by conservatives, big business and the insurance industry. Among the Republicans who had endorsed an individual insurance mandate: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and even Arizona Sen. John McCain.
- Maysoun al Damlouji has just one word for the male politicians who are sure to be upset when they find out their newly won parliamentary seats will be handed to female candidates under a quota to increase the role of women in the Iraqi government. "Tough," said Damlouji, who ran for office with the leading secular bloc.
- Leading a top-level Cabinet delegation to Mexico City Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. and Mexico were studying new strategies against narcotics, focusing not only on security but also on financial intelligence sharing and social development. The summit occurred just 10 days after the roadside slayings of three people connected to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's most violent city.
- The top prosecutors in 13 states — 12 of them Republicans — filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the health-care bill minutes after President Barack Obama signed the landmark legislation into law. Several noted law professors, however, said that there are significant legal hurdles in establishing the states' standing to challenge the health-care law and in persuading federal judges that it violates the Constitution.
- At a time when his colleagues in Congress and rivals in the U.S. Senate race are spurning federal spending on local projects, Rep. Kendrick Meek is asking House budget writers for nearly $238 million on so-called earmarks. Meek's requests range from $100,000 for "teaching healthy lifestyle choices to children" through the Haitian American Alliance Youth Foundation to $37 million for dredging Miami Harbor so it can accommodate larger vessels.
- The Kansas House went after SOBs on Tuesday. In legislative speak, an "SOB" is a sexually oriented business — strip clubs and pornography retailers. A bill endorsed by House lawmakers would prohibit those businesses from being within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, libraries, day-care centers or churches. The bill also would prohibit fully nude dancing or waitressing.
- Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio misspent donations to the Republican Party of Florida and his political committees "to subsidize his lifestyle," according to a sweeping complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics. The complaint filed by Michael D. Ryan of Fort Lauderdale also says Rubio — now a U.S. Senate candidate competing against Gov. Charlie Crist — used his public office to get an unadvertised job at Florida International University when it was laying off faculty.
- Tens of thousands of Californians are obtaining medical marijuana recommendations from physicians so they can use pot without fear of arrest. But they still can lose their jobs. California's Proposition 215, passed by voters in 1996, doesn't require employers to make accommodations or waive any workplace rules for legal cannabis users.
- Winter walloped the Burmese python, but not enough to wipe out the most infamous invader of the Everglades, scientists and wildlife managers told a congressional panel assessing efforts to control the exotic snakes. Still, nine of 10 pythons equipped with radio tracers in Everglades National Park died in the cold snap, according to one yet-to-be published study.
- A Cuban diplomat based in Mexico and her husband defected last week, but their whereabouts remain unknown, worried relatives said Tuesday. Yusimil Casanas, 25, head of the passport section of the Cuban embassy in Mexico City, and her husband, Michel Rojas, 32, disappeared March 17, said her uncle, Esteban Casanas Lostal, who lives in Canada.
- California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, saying she wants to stop the Legislature from acting like a "bill factory," said Tuesday that she would create legislative teams to focus on her top priorities as governor and veto most other legislation. Whitman has said she will concentrate almost exclusively on three areas as governor: creating jobs, cutting government spending and improving the state's K-12 education system.
- Like most bureaucrats, Robert Groves, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, has cultivated a poker face that works pretty well when he's fending off irksome questions from congressmen about why he spent $2.5 million on a TV ad during the Super Bowl or $3 million training employees who were fired before they worked a single day.
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