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

Articles by Dylan

More than a decade ago, Arkansas Rep. Josh Miller (R) was in a catastrophic car accident that broke his neck and left him paralyzed. Medicare and Medicaid paid the $1 million bill for his hospitalization and rehabilitation.

But this week, as the Arkansas legislature has debated continuing its privatized Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, Miller has remained steadfast in his opposition.

The Arkansas Times highlighted the contrast in a Thursday report. The alternative newspaper reported that Miller receives ongoing coverage through the government programs, including Medicaid-covered personal care assistance.

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If the events of the last week are any indication, the anti-gay movement personified in the Arizona bill vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer Wednesday has already hit its high-watermark.

At the beginning of this month, by TPM's count, bills had been introduced in at least eight states that would legitimize discrimination against LGBT people. The Arizona bill advanced the farthest, clearing the state legislature before Brewer rejected it with her veto stamp. The rest are dead or dying.

Though they expect future fights, gay rights advocates portrayed this week as a "turning point" in the debate.

"I suspect the bright spotlight that’s been put on the broad potential adverse consequences means that a great many legislators and most governors now will think much harder about these bills and be reluctant to endorse them," Jenny Pizer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization, told TPM. "I do believe we’ve just witnessed a turning-point moment against these bills. But I also don’t expect the folks who hold this worldview to give up their political goals without further popular repudiation.

"We’ll probably see multiple further attempts before the book can be closed on this tactic."

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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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