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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

Terri Lynn Land, the presumptive Republican candidate for Michigan's open Senate seat backed off her prior support for full Obamacare repeal Thursday, with her campaign saying instead that she "applauds" the state's decision to expand Medicaid under the law.

“Terri believes that healthcare should be affordable and accessible to all Americans and that we as a society have a moral obligation to help those who are not as fortunate and their children," Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for Land, told the Washington Post. "Terri applauds Governor Snyder for doing what he believes is best for Michigan families, while complying with mandates from Congress brought down in ObamaCare."

Land had said in a radio interview earlier this month that she wants "to go down there and repeal Obamacare." Americans for Prosperity, a conservative super PAC that has been attacking her likely Democratic opponent, has also campaigned against Michigan's Medicaid expansion.

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In 2010, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer first appeared on the national stage over her state's anti-immigration law, which eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court and a showdown with the Obama administration. As a result, her persona to those outside of Arizona was of a far-right conservative, looking to kick undocumented immigrants back over the border.

In many ways, that image has stuck. But after her veto Wednesday of the anti-gay bill passed by her state legislature, a new assessment might be in order: Jan Brewer, the Obamacare-loving gay rights warrior.

On two high-profile issues now, Brewer has bucked Arizona's hard-line conservatives and made what most would consider the pragmatic decision. In 2013, she persuaded the legislature to adopt Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, going so far as to threaten to veto any other bill that reached her desk until it acquiesced. And this week, with the eyes of the nation on her, she struck down legislation that had spurred a national backlash and had once again, as in the period after she signed the immigration bill, conjured the conception of her state as one of the more intolerant and backward states in the Union.

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A Mississippi "religious freedom" bill, similar to the one vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Wednesday, has had its most controversial provision stripped out by a legislative committee.

The Mississippi Business Journal reported that the language considered problematic by civil rights groups had been removed from the bill Wednesday by lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee. It would have allowed defendants in civil lawsuits to claim that their religious beliefs were being burdened.

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The Center for Arizona Policy, which helped craft the anti-gay legislation that Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed Wednesday, said the bill's rejection "marks a sad day for Arizonans who understand and cherish religious liberty."

"Opponents were desperate to distort this bill rather than debate the merits. Essentially, they succeeded in getting a veto of a bill that does not even exist," the group's president Cathi Herrod said in a statement. "When the force of government compels one to speak or act contrary to their conscience, the government injures not only the dignity of the afflicted, but the dignity of our society as a whole."

Like the Arizona business community, which has pressured Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to veto an anti-gay bill there, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce wants the Georgia legislature to reject the anti-gay bill that's been introduced in that state.

"We feel strongly that the laws of our nation and state already adequately protect the concept of religious freedom that this country was founded on," the chamber said in a statement to TPM after an inquiry about its position on the bill. "We encourage the General Assembly to reject proposals that would do little to enhance this basic right yet significantly threaten our business climate.”

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The National Football League has begun exploring its option for moving next year's Super Bowl out of Arizona if the anti-gay bill sitting on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk becomes law, according to Sports Illustrated.

The magazine cited "a source close to the situation." Tampa Bay, the runner-up to host Super Bowl XLIX, would likely be the first replacement option.

"No one wants to do this, but if the league's hand is forced, it would have to begin preparing for that process,'' the source close to the situation told SI. "If this doesn't get vetoed, it has to know, what has to be done next? That discussion has begun."

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A fact-checking organization run by Arizona media outlets concluded on Tuesday that the anti-gay legislation that has created a national firestorm in the state is not, in fact, discriminatory.

The organization examined an Arizona lawmaker's statement about the bill, known as SB 1062.

"This (bill) is not a discrimination bill," state Rep. Adam Kwasman (R) said. "It makes no mention of sexual orientation."

The fact-checking group -- a collaboration between the Arizona Republic, KPNX and Arizona State University's journalism school -- rated that statement "true." It reached that conclusion because the bill doesn't explicitly mention sexual orientation and Arizona law doesn't protect gay people through its anti-discrimination statute.

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An Ohio bill that would have effectively legitimized anti-LGBT discrimination, similar to the Arizona bill that sparked a national firestorm, will be pulled soon, according to its sponsors.

The Plain Dealer reported that the bill's authors would remove it from consideration Wednesday. The sponsors said it was after pressure from civil rights groups.

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In an upcoming decision, the U.S. Supreme Court could either open the floodgates for a new outpouring of anti-gay discrimination laws -- or constrict the "religious freedom" movement just as it's getting started.

Whether Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will veto Senate Bill 1062 has dominated headlines for the last week, and similar legislation has been introduced this year in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas, South Dakota, and Idaho. The proposed laws would greenlight the refusal by businesses and individuals to provide services to LGBT people by requiring the government to have a compelling reason to interfere with someone's religious belief.

A closely watched case currently before the Supreme Court, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., has nothing to do with LGBT rights, but everything to do with religious freedom. At issue is whether the federal government can require private businesses to cover birth control for their employees under Obamacare if the employer objects to contraception on religious grounds.

That's why advocates and legal experts say that if the justices rule that the health care reform law doesn't apply to those individuals and businesses, their legal reasoning could open the door for more discriminatory legislation. Or if they rule that it does, that could establish a new judicial foundation for striking down those anti-gay laws.

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