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Has there ever been a comprehensive accounting of just how much taxpayer money is lost defending conservative-backed laws that do not stand up to court scrutiny? Kansas Secretary of State and prominent Republican law-maker-upper Kris Kobach has made a point of using small cities as proving grounds for his anti-immigration agenda; now they're paying through the nose for the privilege.
In August, the Dallas Morning News reported that Farmers Branch, a town of 29,000 people, had already spent $6 million defending the law since it was first passed in 2006, and expected to pay $2 million in legal fees for its opponents if it lost in the courts. The town has already been forced to cut back in other areas of its budget in order to keep up with the costs of defending the ordinance, despite a $500,000 contribution from real estate heir Trammell Crow.

Meanwhile, Hazleton reported last year that it had spent nearly $500,000 on legal fees since 2006, financed mostly from donations from an online fundraising campaign, along with a $50,000 gift from Crow. But the Hazleton Standard Speaker reports today that the city’s legal defense fund has dried up and it’s facing the possibility of paying millions of dollars in legal fees for civil rights groups that challenged the law. The town of 25,000 faces these costs on top of a pension fund deficit of over $28 million.

Even Kobach-backed ordinances that fare better in the courts can still present huge costs for cities that take up his anti-immigrant crusade. Residents of Fremont, Nebraska, voted last month to keep a similar Kobach-written anti-immigrant ordinance after it was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Since the ordinance was first passed in 2010, the town raised its property taxes in order to set aside $1.5 million to pay legal fees and implementation costs; the town also risks losing millions of dollars in future federal grants.

A legacy of raised taxes and budget cuts? Truly, a master of the form. If you're in a town like Fremont that's had to raise taxes in order to help pay the legal bills, though, you ought to at least get a free Kris Kobach bumper sticker out of the deal. It's his campaign that you've been spending all that money on.



Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013Arkansas Republicans to ban abortion some more. And some more. And some more ...:

Did you know that absolutely everything in Arkansas is absolutely perfect? It's true! Legislators there have solved every single problem the state has, so, because they're dying of boredom and have nothing else to do, they're just going to sit around and ban abortion over and and over and over again.

Last week, the Republican-riddled state Senate voted to override the governor's veto on a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks, in blatant violation of Roe v. Wade. But hey, Arkansas Republicans have nothing better to do, so why not spend a ton of the state's money defending an unconstitutional bill in the courts, right?

Banning 20-week abortions—which are incredibly rare, since 88 percent of abortions take place during the first trimester—is so last week, though, so now, as Sarah Kliff reports:

The Arkansas legislature has the votes to override a governor’s veto, and become the first state to ban abortions after as early as 12 weeks of pregnancy. [...]


Tweet of the Day:  

For real headline from #Guantanamo prison public affairs team: "GTMO celebrates 50 years of civil rights in America." http://t.co/...
@carolrosenberg



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, a peek at the latest stupidly-named Republican attempt at repealing Obamacare. Michele Bachmann is very sad that American Jews aren't doing her Christian bidding. Who watches the watchers' watchers? The CIA. Next, GunFAIL "Where Are They Now?" featuring a two-time FAIL-er who's made the news again, this time for a pipe bomb. Freedom! Joan McCarter checks in on the CIA story, ACA Medicaid expansion, Lindsey Graham's Beghazi freakout, Harry Reid vs. the Kochs, and the ongoing minimum wage and immigration fights. And, Dalia Lithwick's "'Stand Your Ground' Nation."



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