November 2013 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of November 2013.
Gunman Opens Fire at LAX (Nov. 1): Paul Ciancia opens fire at the Los Angeles International Airport. One Transportation Security Administration agent is killed. Several more people are injured. Ciancia, age 23, is shot by officers at LAX and is in critical condition at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He is charged with the murder of a federal officer and acts of violence in an international airport. A note is found on Ciancia. The note says that Ciancia wanted to kill Transportation Security Administration employees to "instill fear."
Man Opens Fire in New Jersey Shopping Mall (Nov. 4): Richard Shoop, age 20, opens fire inside the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall in New Jersey. He fires his weapon, a modified rifle, at least six times. About 400 people are inside the mall at the time of the shooting. No injuries are reported. Police order a lockdown of the entire mall. Six hours after the shooting, Shoop's body is found. Authorities report that Shoop is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Virginia Elects a Democrat Governor, New Jersey Re-Elects Christie (Nov. 5): The Democrats get a key victory in Virginia when Terry McAuliffe is elected governor in a tight race. McAuliffe is a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as a key Democratic fund-raiser. In his victory speech, McAuliffe thanks the "historic number of Republicans who crossed party lines to support me." In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie easily wins a second term as governor. The decisive win cements him as a frontrunner for the Republican presidential contender in 2016. In New York City, Democrat Bill de Blasio is elected mayor in a landslide. He defeats Joseph J. Lhota, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman, by 49 percent. It is the biggest victory for a New York City mayor since Edward Koch won by 68 percent in 1985. "Make no mistake: The people of this city have chosen a progressive path, and tonight we set forth on it, together," de Blasio says in his victory speech. Boston elects a new mayor for the first time in twenty years in a nonpartisan election. Democrat Martin J. Walsh narrowly beats Democrat City Councilman John R. Connolly, 52 to 48 percent. Walsh succeeds Thomas M. Menino, the city's longest-serving mayor. Menino has been the mayor of Boston since 1993.
Illinois Becomes the 15th State to Approve Same-Sex Marriage (Nov. 5): Illinois becomes the 15th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the House of Representatives approves the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which passed the state Senate in February 2013. Governor Pat Quinn, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, will sign it into law. The new law will be implemented on June 1, 2014.
Hawaii Becomes the 16th State to Approve Same-Sex Marriage (Nov. 12): Hawaii becomes the 16th state to recognize same-sex marriages when the Senate passes a gay marriage bill, which had already passed in the House. Governor Neil Abercrombie, a vocal supporter of gay marriage, says he will sign the bill. Beginning December 2, gay couples who are residents of Hawaii as well as tourists can marry in the state. Hawaii is already a very popular state for destination weddings. State Senator J. Kalani English says, "This is nothing more than the expansion of aloha in Hawaii." To see a current list of all the states that have legalized same-sex marriage, go here.
Whitey Bulger Sentenced to Life in Prison (Nov. 14): Notorious Boston gangster James (Whitey) Bulger receives two consecutive life sentences, plus five years. Bulger, age 84, stares straight ahead and shows no emotion while Judge Denise J. Casper of Federal District Court reads through a list of his murders and how he stuffed the bodies in trunks or left them at the crime scene. "Unfathomable acts conducted in unfathomable ways," the judge says just before announcing Bulger's sentence.
Senate Limits the Use of the Filibuster for Most Presidential Nominees (Nov. 21): The Senate deploys the "nuclear option," voting 52–48 to end the minority's party right to filibuster executive and judicial branch nominees. Under the new rules, a simple majority is required to end debate and move forward with a vote on nominees. (A supermajority of 60 votes is still required to end the filibuster of Supreme Court nominees and legislation.) The vote is called a monumental, once in a generation change to Senate procedure. Republicans claim the move decimates the 200-year-old tradition of filibusters, considered an essential right of the minority party.