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

The growing specter of legalized gay marriage, which has been advanced by numerous court decisions starting with the Supreme Court's overturning of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, seems to have put a scare in GOP lawmakers.

So they've started legislating, introducing a string of similar bills that claim to defend religious liberty, but would effectively allow for lawful discrimination against same-sex couples by businesses or government employees on religious grounds.

The bills have appeared in Congress and at least six state legislatures. One cleared the Kansas House last week and a South Dakota House committee is scheduled to consider another Wednesday, while a Tennessee Senate committee at least temporarily killed its bill Tuesday. Advocates say that they combine to form a newly invigorated push for anti-gay discrimination.

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The Arkansas House rejected funding to continue the state's unique Medicaid expansion Tuesday, the Arkansas Times reported, but more votes on the issue are expected to come in the next few days and it could still pass.

The funding bill failed 70-27, not enough to meet the 75-vote supermajority necessary to accept federal dollars provided through Obamacare to pay for Medicaid-eligible Arkansans to purchase private health coverage.

About 85,000 residents have signed up through the so-called "private option" thus far.

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Multi-million dollar hotel deals and a prolific hobby as an alleged amateur pornographer. It appears Melvin Reynolds, the former Illinois congressman who left office in disgrace following his conviction of, among other things, having sex with one of his underaged campaign volunteers, has been busy in Zimbabwe.

Reynolds had tried to become something of a business mogul in the country, leading U.S. business delegations and helping strike a $145 million deal to build a Hilton hotel in its capital city, according to various published reports of his post-prison business dealings.

But Reynold's arrest Monday in the capital Harare has echoes of his past troubles. A report from the state-controlled Herald newspaper, cited though not independently confirmed by other news outlets, said Reynolds was charged with possessing pornographic materials and violating the country's immigration laws.

The Herald, relying on an aide to Reynolds identified as "Sunny" and another unnamed source, supplied the sordid details of the ex-congressman's alleged lifestyle while cutting business deals in the African country.

He shot more than 100 pornographic videos and snapped 2,000 pornographic pictures while in the company of up to 10 "beautiful women" -- "famous models" even -- at a time, according to the report, while four personal aides kept watch.

He also amassed more than $24,000 in bills at two different hotels and remained in Zimbabwe after his visa expired, the Herald said.

The Herald, which is owned by the Zimbabwe government, has been described by Freedom House, an international watchdog group, as a newspaper "whose propagandistic coverage favors [President Robert] Mugabe." Mugabe has been targeted with sanctions by the United States and European Union for alleged human rights violations and suppression of democratic values, including freedom of the press.

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Virginia Republicans have proposed a new plan to expand Medicaid under Obamacare -- while touting that they've rejected the law's expansion of the health care program.

The Washington Post reported that the state senate's finance committee has released a proposal to use Medicaid expansion dollars to help people purchase private insurance on HealthCare.gov, the same alternative model already being used in Arkansas.

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Against the tide of digitization, the paper industry is bent on convincing the federal government to either stop or slow its move away from paper products, the Washington Post reported.

One of the industry's top lobbying groups, Consumers for Paper Options, has launched a new campaign to hinder what has been a constant transition to digital materials in recent years. It is working to convince federal agencies to continue offering paper documents for Social Security and other programs, arguing they're a benefit for older, computer-illiterate Americans.

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A California bill would extend health coverage to undocumented immigrants, using an Obamacare-style program to assist those left uncovered by the health care reform law.

Kaiser Health News reported that the legislation, introduced by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, would use state dollars to pay for Medicaid coverage for low-income residents who are in the state illegally. No federal funding would be used.

It would also establish an online marketplace where undocumented immigrants with higher incomes could buy private insurance.

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Do Arkansas residents want to continue their unique expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare? That seems to depend on whether you tell them it's a part of the health care reform law or not.

A new poll found that Arkansans support the so-called private option and want to continue it -- 48 percent to 33 percent -- if the question doesn't mention that the state adopted it through Obamacare.

But if you add a reference to Obamacare, support drops significantly: 35 percent of residents support it and 39 percent oppose.

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In the Georgia Senate Republican primary, it seems supporting your party's national leader could be a liability.

Rep. Paul Broun, a tea party favorite, ripped his establishment rival Rep. John Kingston Monday for his support of House Speaker John Boehner. Kingston voted for Boehner's speakership last year; Broun opposed it. Broun questioned Kingston's conservative credentials, given his allegiance to Boehner, following a National Journal report on each member's ideological voting record.

“Congressman Kingston conveniently fails to explain that the National Journal uses Speaker Boehner’s position on issues as the benchmark definition of conservative," Broun said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "By that logic, the more one votes with the Speaker, the more conservative he is. While we all wish that was a reliable measure of conservative, experience has taught that it’s not.”

After news outlets reported that a Republican campaign group had set up fake websites for Democratic congressional candidates, the group has fixed the sites to clarify that money donated through them will go to the GOP.

As TPM and other outlets reported, some donors said that they had been duped by the websites, believing they were giving money to the Democratic candidates instead of the National Republican Congressional Campaign, which is working to defeat them.

The sites have innocuous URL's -- johnbarrow2014.com, for example -- and only a close read of the content would reveal that they are critical, not supportive, of the candidate.

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