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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Missouri law that would have placed additional requirements on Obamacare's so-called navigators, groups that have received federal funding to help people sign up for coverage under the law.

U.S. District Judge Ortie Smith issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the navigator law. He suggested in his opinion that Missouri lawmakers did not have the authority to regulate the activities of navigators who were working on behalf of HealthCare.gov, the insurance marketplace run by the federal government, which is serving Missouri and 35 other states.

"The Court is of the view that any attempt by Missouri to regulate the conduct of those working on behalf of (HealthCare.gov) is preempted," Smith wrote in his order. "Missouri has opted not to be in the health insurance exchange business."

"Having made the choice to leave the operation of the exchange to the federal government, Missouri cannot choose to impose additional requirements or limitations on the exchange," Smith said. He added that those challenging the law "are likely to prevail" with their argument that the navigator law is preempted by federal statute.

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U.S. Olympic athletes have been warned by the State Department not to wear their uniforms outside the Olympic venues in Sochi, Russia, because of security concerns.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday on a memo that the U.S. Olympic Committee had circulated to U.S. competitors.

"The U.S. Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk," the memo said.

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Three million Americans have now enrolled in private coverage through Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday, reflecting a continued increase in sign-ups through the health care reform law.

Sebelius announced the new enrollment number during her remarks in Jacksonville, Fla., and they were reported by Bloomberg's Alex Wayne on Twitter. An administration official confirmed the figure to TPM.

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The U.S. uninsured rate tumbled more than a percentage point from December 2013 to January 2014, according to a new Gallup poll, indicating that millions of Americans became covered at the same time that Obamacare coverage took full effect this month.

The percentage of uninsured Americans fell from 17.3 percent in December to 16.1 percent in January, Gallup found. Among different subsets, the biggest drop was among the unemployed: 6.7 percent.

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Can Coloradans purchase their new-fangled recreational marijuana with food stamps?

The Associated Press calls it "an urban myth." The U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidance appears pretty explicit in forbidding anything like the procurement of narcotics, even legal ones, with government benefits. But Fox News is still sounding the siren that taxpayer dollars could be paying for people to smoke up.

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2013 hasn't exactly been a banner year for the Heritage Foundation, Washington's most well-known and influential conservative think tank.

In its first year under former senator and tea party godfather Jim DeMint, there was a growing consensus -- and concern -- that the foundation once renowned for its intellectual rigor might now be more of a political advocacy outlet than a home for scholarly research, albeit of the conservative variety.

Heritage saw a study on the supposed cost of immigration reform blasted by those within its own ideological sphere as methodologically shoddy. One of its authors was forced to resign after revelations of anti-immigrant views in his earlier work surfaced. Its Obamacare research has come under scrutiny for its inherent bias, as TPM has reported.

Those unforced slip-ups, and its advocacy arm's growing reputation as a bully toward any kind of moderation, have started to call the foundation's reputation into question on Capitol Hill. Conservatives lamented to the New Republic that Heritage had become a political action group "with a research division," burning bridges with the House GOP, something totally foreign to "the gold standard of conservative, forward-looking thought" that it used to be. The foundation's $82 million budget was reportedly being scaled back, with more money flowing to the advocacy efforts that have so chafed Hill Republicans.

That's why Heritage's most recent hire could mark a potential return to normalcy and respectability for the foundation.

The new man is Stephen Moore, most recently of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, who is joining Heritage as its chief economist. He has previously worked at Heritage in the 1980's, the Cato Institute, and Club for Growth before spending the last nine years at the Journal.

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Some 6.3 million people have enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program since Oct. 1, when HealthCare.gov and its state counterparts went live, according to a new report from the Obama administration. The report covers Medicaid enrollments through the end of December.

That figures includes people who are newly eligible for Medicaid because their state expanded the program under the health care reform law, people who were already eligible but not enrolled and, in some states, people who were renewing their eligibility.

Thirteen states included renewals in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report, though their exact number out of the 6.3 million could not be determined.

States that expanded Medicaid saw a boom in enrollments in December, corresponding with a similar surge in private coverage enrollees through the insurance marketplaces. Medicaid enrollments were up 73 percent in those states last month compared to the pre-Obamacare monthly average. In states that didn't expand Medicaid, enrollment was up 3 percent in December.

The U.S. Secret Service paid a visit to the Florida state House candidate who advocated for President Barack Obama's execution on Twitter.

Joshua Black, a Republican who is running in Florida House District 68, told the Tampa Bay Times that Secret Service agents had come to his home following the uproar over his comments.

"I'm past impeachment. It's time to arrest him and hang him high," read a message on Black's campaign Twitter page Monday.

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Bill Gates told BuzzFeed Tuesday that he voted in favor of marijuana legalization last year in Washington state.

The Microsoft founder said it would be "interesting" to see how legalization played out in his home state. Recreational pot is expected to be for sale some time in 2014.

“It’s an experiment, and it’s probably good to have a couple states try it out to see before you make that national policy,” Gates told BuzzFeed. The marijuana ballot initiative passed 56 percent to 44 percent last November.

He declined to say whether he had smoked pot in the past, though BuzzFeed noted that he is listed by the Marijuana Policy Project as one of the top 50 most influential pot users based on reporting in a Gates biography published in 1994.

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