Gun Reform, 'Abject Failure,' and a Guide to Aztec Gods Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 22, and we're covering an update on bipartisan gun reform legislation, more details from the police response in Uvalde, Texas, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Ruling on Maine Tuition Aid

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled Maine cannot exclude schools providing religious instruction from a taxpayer-funded state tuition aid program because it violates the First Amendment. The court voted 6-3 along ideological lines, with the conservative majority siding with two families who sued the state for religious discrimination.


Under Maine’s program, families who live in rural areas without public high schools can receive tuition assistance at private schools or public schools in other communities—as long as those schools are nonsectarian, or explicitly provide religious instruction. The court found that excluding private schools based solely on such criteria violated the constitutional requirement of religious neutrality.


Separately, the court has yet to release a highly anticipated decision that may overturn Roe vs. Wade, which established federal protections for abortions. The court has a limited number of days left before the session is expected to close at the end of June.

Gun Bill Moves Forward

Senate negotiators released the legislative text of a gun reform package yesterday, the output from a deal struck in the wake of high-profile mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. 


The bipartisan group resolved a number of outstanding issues in recent days, including disagreement over the "boyfriend loophole." Under the updated law, those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against an intimate partner would be prevented from purchasing firearms for at least five years. The reforms also increase resources for mental health, incentivize red flag laws, and more. 


Initial negotiations included 20 senators, 10 from each side—a sign that sufficient bipartisan support exists to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the evenly divided Senate. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has voiced support for the current agreement. 


A Senate vote appears likely by the end of the week, ahead of the July 4 recess, sending the bill to the House.

'Abject Failure' in Uvalde

The Texas public safety chief yesterday offered more details on the mass shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two teachers dead last month, calling the law enforcement response an "abject failure."


The armed officers at the scene could have stormed the classroom where the gunman was barricaded because the door was unlocked, according to Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Instead, the officers waited for over an hour in the hallway for a key to the classroom, security footage shows. McCraw, who spoke during a Texas Senate committee hearing, said a teacher had previously reported the lock was broken. 


McCraw also said officers were waiting for direction from the commanding officer and school police chief, Pete Arredondo. Arredondo has claimed he was trying to unlock the classroom door and believed someone else had been in command at the time.  


The testimony comes as officials investigate the delayed law enforcement response. See a timeline of events here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> NHL Stanley Cup Final resumes tonight (8 pm ET, ABC) with Colorado leading the series 2-1 over Tampa Bay (More) | Caleb Swanigan, former NBA first-round draft pick, dies at 25 (More)


> Civil trial jury finds Bill Cosby sexually assaulted minor in 1975 (More) | "Top Gun: Maverick" hauls in $900M at global box office (More) | Broadway theaters to lift mask mandate July 1 (More)


> Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson settles with 20 of the 24 women accusing him of sexual misconduct (More) | Five-time NFL Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski retires for second time (More)

Science & Technology

> Microsoft to shutter facial recognition software capable of detecting emotional states, among other characteristics like age and gender, citing ethical concerns (More)


> NASA successfully completes "wet-dress rehearsal" of its SLS rocket system, reaching 29 seconds before liftoff without error; vehicle to be used in upcoming missions to return humans to the moon (More)


> Study reveals how tuberculosis-causing bacteria are able to rapidly evolve in response to new environments; results may lead to more effective drug treatments against the disease (More)

Business & Markets

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> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +2.5%, Dow +2.1%, Nasdaq +2.5%), rebounding after last week’s losses (More) | Twitter’s board of directors unanimously recommends shareholders approve Elon Musk’s $44B potential takeover (More)


> US existing home sales dropped 3.4% in May, but low supply pushes prices 14.8% higher than last year to median $407,600 per home (More)


> Food giant Kellogg to split into three companies focused on snacks, cereals, and plant-based foods; shares up 2% (More)

From our partners: Final days to invest in one of the 10 most innovative companies in North America. Miso Robotics is turning heads with its kitchen robots that boost profits by 300%. That’s a lot, especially when restaurants see margins as low as 3% on an average day.  Major brands like White Castle and Jack in the Box are already jumping on this opportunity by adding Miso to their kitchens. Check out this investment opportunity in a $300B industry before the raise ends tomorrow.

Politics & World Affairs

> House Jan. 6 Committee holds fourth public hearing, with officials from Arizona and Georgia describing pressure by Trump administration to challenge election results; see key moments (More) | Panel subpoenas Trump 2020 campaign filmmaker (More) | Katie Britt tops Mo Brooks (R, AL-5) in Alabama Senate GOP primary (More)


> Attorney General Merrick Garland visits Ukraine to discuss efforts to prosecute Russian war crimes (More) | Russian forces control 90% of Ukraine's eastern Luhansk region; see updates here (More)


> Biden administration expected to unveil rule restricting nicotine levels in tobacco products to minimally or nonaddictive levels; the US records an estimated 480,000 smoking-related deaths annually (More)



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A visual guide to the Aztec gods.


Graduation photos in Ukraine's rubble.


... and a Russian journalist's Nobel Peace Prize is auctioned for $104M to aid Ukrainian children.


Florida snake catchers nab record-breaking python.


Canada to ban many single-use plastics.


High-speed rail project unearths a medieval cemetery.


Visualizing a decade of population change in US counties.


The Maldives plan a floating city.


Clickbait: Baby goat arrives with 19-inch ears.


Historybook: Department of Justice established (1870); GI Bill is signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1944); HBD Meryl Streep (1949); RIP Judy Garland (1969); RIP dancer Fred Astaire (1987).


"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

- Judy Garland

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