A judge in Georgia ruled the state’s university system must allow immigrants granted temporary immunity by the federal government to pay in-state tuition. Until now, the Board of Regents, the government panel that controls state universities and colleges, said that immigrants who qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a 2012 Obama administration program protecting some undocumented immigrants from deportation, could not prove “lawful presence,” and therefore were not afforded in-state tuition. The Board of Regents has appealed the judge’s ruling, which was released Tuesday. Republican members of the state legislature have also discussed a bill that would further limit in-state tuition to students with legal status beyond DACA. As I’ve reported, without in-state tuition, the 28,000 undocumented immigrants in Georgia who have qualified for DACA are financially hindered from attending state universities and colleges. Georgia is one of three states—the others being Alabama and South Carolina—that in some ways ban undocumented immigrants from attending public universities and colleges. In Georgia, undocumented immigrants are still banned from attending the top five state universities in the state. The status of DACA is unclear in the upcoming Trump administration.
—Megyn Kelly, the anchor who is one of Fox News’s biggest stars, is leaving the network for NBC. More here
—House Republicans reversed course on gutting the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. More here
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
DACA-Protected Immigrants Granted In-State Tuition in Georgia
Paul Ryan Re-Elected House Speaker
All House Republicans, save one, voted Tuesday to re-elect Paul Ryan to another term as speaker of the House. Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky voted for Daniel Webster, the Republican congressman from Florida. On the Democratic side, Nancy Pelosi was re-elected minority leader, though four of her fellow Democrats—Representatives Jim Cooper of Ohio, Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Kathleen Rice of New York, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—voted against her. Cooper and Rice voted for Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democratic congressman; Kind voted for Cooper; and Sinema for Congressman John Lewis.
Megyn Kelly Leaves Fox News for NBC
Megyn Kelly, the anchor who is one of Fox News’s biggest stars, is leaving the network for NBC, NBC News announced Tuesday. There she will anchor a new one-hour daytime program, as well as a new Sunday evening news magazine show, and will contribute to NBC’s news, political, and special-events coverage, the network said. Kelly, whose contract with Fox was due to expire later this year, had been wooed by several networks. The New York Times adds: “Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, … had offered Ms. Kelly more than $20 million a year to stay after her current contract expires this year.” She’d been fielding offers less than that amount, the Times reported, but even a modest salary increase would make Kelly one of the highest-paid anchors in the country. The move would add to a period of instability at Fox News, the top-ranked cable news network. Fox lost its chief, Roger Ailes, over the summer amid allegations of sexual harassment. Kelly, in a statement, said:
Ford Cancels Its $1.6 Billion Plant in Mexico, Will Expand Michigan Facility
Ford canceled plans Tuesday to open a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico and will instead invest $700 million to expand a plant in Michigan. The proposed plant, which will build electric and self-driving cars, will create about 700 jobs, the company said. Ford had taken flak from President-elect Donald Trump for its plans to invest heavily in foreign-based factories, especially those in Mexico. Trump even took credit this November for a decision Ford made not to close a plant in Kentucky—a claim Ford later called untrue. This time, Ford’s CEO, Mark Fields, preempted any tweet by Trump when he told CNN Money the company “didn't cut a deal with Trump. We did it for our business.” The statement Ford released Tuesday backed this up, and outlined a broader plan that seems to underline how this transition has less to do with U.S. politics, and more to do with the future of cars. Instead of investing money into the Ford Focus—which the factory in Hermosillo, Mexico, was slated to assemble—the redirected millions will expand Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant. That plant is part of a larger move to introduce 13 new electric vehicles in the next five years, and to invest $4.5 billion into electric cars by 2020.
UPDATE: House Republicans Reverse Course on Killing Ethics Office
House Republicans have reversed course on limiting the power of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics after severe criticism.
BREAKING - House Rs reverse course on OCE— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) January 3, 2017
Earlier Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that while the watchdog might be “unfair,” Congress should focus on more pressing matters.
Our original post at 7:20 a.m. ET
House Republicans voted Monday without notice to limit the authority of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which was established in 2008 after three members of Congress were jailed for corruption. Congressman Robert Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, announced the move late Monday, adding a new Office of Congressional Complaint Review would report to the House Ethics Committee. The House committee has previously been accused of ignoring allegations of corruption by lawmakers. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, opposed the change, which came a day before Congress begins its new term. More here
For the Second Time, a Federal Judge Finds Dylann Roof Competent to Stand Trial
A federal judge ruled for the second time on Monday that Dylann Roof, the man convicted of shooting nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church in 2015, is competent to stand trial and represent himself. Roof’s lawyers had filed a petition last week for another competency hearing, saying new details had emerged since the judge’s first ruling in November. Federal law says a person is competent to stand trial unless that person is “unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense … ” Roof was evaluated over the weekend by a psychiatrist, and the results were presented to the court during a closed hearing Monday, presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel for the District of South Carolina. Gergel said “the serious nature of the proceedings” called for re-evaluation so the court could “confirm there were no material changes in his mental status.” Roof was convicted in December of all 33 counts against him, including 18 that carry the death penalty. His trial enters the sentencing phase Wednesday. Roof has said he’ll represent himself, and will offer neither witnesses nor evidence in his defense—only an opening statement. Jurors will then determine whether Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist, will spend the rest of his life in prison, or whether the state should execute him.
Deadly Weather Hits the U.S. South
Heavy winds and rains lashed the Southern U.S. Monday, leading to the deaths of four people in southeastern Alabama after a tornado threw a tree into their home. All four victims were inside during the tornado, one of many reported in the area, that was accompanied by strong winds, rain, and hail. In some places, between four and 10 inches of rain fell over the weekend, with flood warnings posted for much of the Gulf Coast. The National Weather Service had preliminary reports indicating six tornadoes touched down in Alabama and Mississippi, though no other deaths have been attributed to Monday’s storm. The four victims lived in the town of Rehobeth, in a mobile-home community, and by early Tuesday morning emergency workers were still trying to pull three other people from the same crumpled house. Winds all over the South and along the Gulf Coast snapped power lines and left thousands of people in the dark. They also caused air-travel delays, including at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport, one of the nation’s busiest airports.
Syrian Rebels Halt Talks With Government, Citing Ceasefire Violations
Syria’s main rebel groups say they are suspending talks with the Syrian government over what they allege are violations of the ceasefire that was announced last week. In a statement, the rebels said the Syrian government “continued their onslaught and committed many big breaches especially in the Barada Valley, Eastern Ghouta, Hama suburbs, and Daraa.” The government argues that some of these areas don’t fall under the area covered by the ceasefire, which was announced last week by Russia and Turkey. The two countries said they would act as guarantors of the truce while negotiators meet this month in Astana, the Kazakh capital.
Freezing all discussions regarding the Astana or any other consultations regarding the ceasefire agreement until it is fully implemented pic.twitter.com/hLugie8yqU— أسامة أبو زيد (@oabozayd) January 2, 2017
Trump, While Dismissing North Korea's Nuclear Program, Chides China
President-elect Donald Trump dismissed on Twitter North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s claim that his country had reached the “final stage” of a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the U.S.
North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
Global Times, a Chinese state-run tabloid, accused Trump of “pandering to irresponsible attitudes.”