HLN's Nancy Grace is on 'Starting Point' talking with John Berman and Christine Romans about the latest developments in the Jodi Arias penalty hearing. On weather Jodi Arias will take the stand again during this stage of her sentencing, Grace says that, 'wild horses couldn't drag her away,' from the witness stand, and goes on to state that last night 'Arias was tweeting from behind bars again.
However, while Grace thinks she will want to take the stand again, she does not think it will help her case. Grace states, 'The last time she took to the stand for 18 days she got a guilty verdict.
More than a week ago, children at Park Elementary School in Maryland went home with a letter explaining there was a disruption in school caused by 7-year-old Josh Welch. He was accused of biting a breakfast pastry to shape it into an object that resembled a gun, while allegedly saying "bang bang" with it. Welch was suspended for two days, but insists he did not do anything inappropriate.
Now, a lawmaker in that district has introduced a bill to make sure something like this does not happen again to other kids. This morning, Maryland State Senator J.B. Jennings joins “Starting Point” to discuss his proposed legislation.
“The boards of educations have handcuffed the teachers and principals in these schools with this zero tolerance,” Jennings says. He adds that his proposed bill will give “discretionary back to the principals, back to the teachers.”
Senate Bill 1058, otherwise known as "The Responsible School Discipline Act of 2013" was introduced in Maryland State Senate on Friday. Jennings says his legislation has started a necessary discussion that he hopes the boards of education will take and “move forward with it.” He adds that his constituents want the zero-tolerance policy addressed so, “that these school boards will lay off some of these children [and] give the teachers and principals more flexibility to handle this in the classroom.”
Recreational marijuana has only been legal in the state of Washington for a few hours now, as a result of a landmark ballot initiative passed last month on Election Day but residents are already celebrating. Organizations such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws also known as “NORML,” have been fighting for the legalization of marijuana since it was founded in 1972. NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre joins “Starting Point” this morning to discuss the new Washington state law and the broader implications of how this law could lead to more states enacting laws to legalize marijuana.
St. Pierre says the midnight public festivities by Washington state residents were, “a celebration to be sure that’s pent up 75 years of marijuana prohibition in America.” The NORML Executive Director went on to predict that just like the 18 states that have passed the use of medical marijuana, other states will follow suit with legalizing it as well. St. Pierre says, “Almost the entire West Coast and all of New England are going to move in this direction. It will take decades to infill the middle of the country.”
On the subject of tourism St. Pierre says he suspects, “a few hundred other thousand people” will be frequent visitors of the centennial state and the nation’s capital. He adds, “Why go to Amsterdam? Why go to Jamaica? I love trout fishing and skiing, so I think I’ll be making more trips this year to Colorado and Washington.”
A new law legalizing recreational marijuana use in Washington takes effect today. Adults 21 and over are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, and while many in the state are lighting up and celebrating the law today, not everyone is supporting it. Steve Sarich is the Executive Director of the Cannibis Action Coalition and runs a local dispensary for medical marijuana patients. He’s also the Manager of the "No on I-502" Committee, which was the most vocal opponent of the Washington law being passed. He shares his view live from Seattle on “Starting Point” this morning.
Sarich and the “No on I-502” group have filed a lawsuit attempting to get the law overturned. The committee sites new DUI rules for their opposition. “My job is to protect patients in the state of Washington,” Sarich says. “And this law criminalizes every single medical marijuana patient every single time they drive,” especially for those under 21. Sarich explains that active THC can stay in the system for up to 30 days. So “that legal joint you smoked two weeks ago is still in your system today, and under the new law if you get pulled over, and they take your blood, you’re going to be guilty of per se DUID” which is “a life changing crime for those under 21.”
He considers the new driving laws and possession limit arbitrary. “We’re not talking about impairment. We’re not taking about highway safety. We’re talking convicting people simply for having trace amounts of THC in their blood,” Sarich says. “Now they’re saying you can legally have an ounce of marijuana, you just better not put it in your body.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this week on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The most contested portion of the bill which was passed in 2010 under President Obama, is the universal mandate, a requirement that all Americans get health care or face fines.
Acording to a CNN/ORC poll conducted in May, 43% of Americans support the health care bill, while 34% oppose it because it is too liberal, and 13% oppose it because it is not liberal enough.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has been vocal in her opposition to the bill and tells Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "Starting Point" she hopes to see a "full-scale repeal".
"This is absolutely unprecedented because government has never before, on the federal level, forced an American to purchase a product or a service just because that individual breathes," Rep. Bachmann says.
Watch more from Soledad's interview with Rep. Bachmann on CNN's "Starting Point" in the clip below.
Radaronline.com's David Perel and CNN sr. legal analyst Jeff Toobin react to the mistrial in the John Edwards case.
The battle over contraceptive access has been an ongoing conversation for the better part of 2012, with many arguing that the president's health care law infringes on religious rights laid out by the first amendment of the Constitution.
Under the original wording of the Affordable Care Act, all employers would be required to provide contraceptives free-of-copay to their employees.
In a revisionary statement issued last February, President Obama exempted religious hospitals and schools from directly providing birth control to their employees and instead designated that responsibility to insurance companies.
For the University of Notre Dame and 42 other Catholic institutions, that revision is not enough, and they've decided to sue the Obama administration.
Notre Dame Law Professor Carter Snead says it "seems unnecessary" for the the Affordable Care Act to involve the Catholic Church on Starting Point this morning.
"If the government wanted to provide maximum access to these kinds of drugs, there are ways to do it without conscripting us into the process," Snead argues.
On the other side of the aisle, Catholics United member Samantha Groark says that she thinks the lawsuit "does a great disservice to the religious identity of the church."
Less emphasis, she says, is currently placed on what she considers to be primary issues concerning the Catholic faith: "helping the poor, welcoming the immigrant other, and ending US sponsored torture in prison camps."
Instead, Groark stresses, a lot of "time, resources and energy is being funneled into these partisan, political issues."
State Sen. Chris Smith (D-FL) explains why he believes Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is being misunderstood and misused.
He also talks about starting a task force to review Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.
Special prosecutor Angela Corey explains what she's focusing on in the investigation into Trayvon Martin's death.