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Domestic News | November 21, 2012

Crash Course 11.21.12

News roundup

Ron Paul hints at post-Washington plans, community college cuts hours and blames Obamacare, and two campus legal victories

In this Jan. 28, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, campaigns in Freeport, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

A fertile field: Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) evidently plans to head back to college when he leaves Washington at the end of the year. Paul, who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for president in the spring, did not seek re-election to the house seat he's held since 1997. But he's far from done with politics. Although he hasn't been specific about his plans, Paul appears ready to continue preaching his limited-government message to college students. In a recent interview with The Hill, he said college is "where the action is."

During the primaries, Paul drew some of his biggest crowds on college campuses, where more liberal politicians typically hold sway. But Paul says students are eager to embrace the Libertarian ideals he has advocated since before they were born: "The young people don't like the debt they are inheriting, the violation of their civil liberties. They don't like the war, and it's a fertile field. The people up here sort of ignore them," he told The Hill. Paul gave what likely will be his last address before the House of Representatives last week, an hour-long speech that touched on some of this favorite themes: less government and lower taxes.

Unintended consequences: The president of a community college in Pennsylvania announced this week he would cut hours for 400 temporary workers, including 200 adjunct faculty members, to avoid having to pay for their health insurance. President Alex Johnson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that budget cuts made it impossible for Community College of Allegheny County to take on the added expense. Obamacare opponents warned the healthcare legislation, which requires employers to provide health insurance for employees working more than 30 hours a week, would lead to layoffs and reduced hours, a consequence supporters brushed aside. Last week, a business owner who supported President Barack Obama's re-election to the tune of $2 million, announced he would cut 1,000 jobs from his company's 20,000 workforce. Grocery store chain Kroger also announced it would restrict part-time employees to 28 hours a week.

Legal victories: Alliance Defending Freedom announced victories last week in two cases we reported on earlier this year. In Florida, state officials agreed to give students at Kissimmee's Florida Christian College access to a state grant fund previously closed to them. FCC students previously did not qualify for the state's Florida Resident Access Grant program - which provides up to $2,000 per year to students at private colleges - because state education officials ruled the school did not serve a "secular purpose." But after ADF filed suit on the school's behalf in March, state officials decided they couldn't exclude FCC students from the grant program simply because they thought the school was too religious.

In another case out of Texas, conservative students at Texas A&M University in College Station successfully persuaded administrators to stop withholding student fee funding from political and religious groups. In December 2011, school officials denied a request for funding from the Texas Aggie Conservatives, which wanted to bring black social conservative Star Parker to campus. Administrators said only clubs not formed for political, religious or social purposes could qualify for the money. But in its suit challenging the policy, ADF lawyers noted administrators applied the policy inconsistently, granting funding requests from the NAACP, the Muslim Student Association and the Black Student Alliance. Rather than take the case to court, school officials agreed to change the policy to allow all student groups to apply for funding.