The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images
June 24, 2015 7:35 AM EDT

President Obama is revising the U.S. policy toward family members whose loved ones are being held hostage by terrorist groups, dropping the long-standing threats of prosecution for those paying ransom. The change follows the beheadings and failed rescue attempts of a number of hostages held by ISIS and other extremist groups in recent years. A government auditor found massive security gaps at the Office of Personnel Management, the beleaguered agency at the center of a massive hack of government employee data, allegedly carried out by China. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will become the latest GOP contender to enter the president race, but he faces a steep climb to the nomination as one of the least-known candidates in an already packed field. After years of being a litmus test for candidates in the South, the politics around the Confederate flag have dramatically shifted since last week’s Charleston shooting, but a host of U.S. remembrances to those supporting the rebel cause remain.

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Must Reads

Bobby Jindal’s Uphill Battle

The Louisiana governor is launching his presidential bid from the back of the pack [TIME]

Bipartisan Push for Criminal Justice Reform Sets Its Agenda

Momentum builds behind effort to reform sentencing laws, TIME’s Alex Altman reports

Democrats Borrow From the Republican Playbook

TIME’s Jay Newton-Small on the rise of Democratic hostage-taking in Congress
Obama Ordering Changes in U.S. Hostage Policies

Families of hostages won’t be threatened with criminal prosecution for paying ransoms under proposed change [New York Times]

New report blasts personnel office cyber security management

High risk failures at agency at center of massive hack [Washington Post]

Calls to Drop Confederate Emblems Spread Nationwide

A once-moribund effort to scale back the flag’s use picks up steam [New York Times]

Sound Off

“[Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker weighed in and said the 20-week abortion ban is something he would like to see hit his desk … It sent a message to us.” — Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to the New York Times. Walker had refused to take a position on the issue during his 2014 re-elect.

“One of my dorm mates in tenth grade is running for president also, Jeb Bush. We had some spirited games of ping-pong and our paths have not crossed much since high school but I think we still consider each other friends.” — Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a longshot Democratic presidential candidate, on his high school classmate.

Bits and Bites

Senate Clears Trade Bill’s Way to Passage [Wall Street Journal]

U.S. Flag Waves Over 10 Army Bases Proudly Named for Confederate Officers [TIME]

A field guide to the racists commemorated inside the U.S. Capitol [Washington Post]

Six plans to fix Obamacare should the Supreme Court eliminate federal subsidies [Washington Post]

Kasich: ‘I’m coming to Iowa … to show respect’ [Des Moines Register]

Pawn Stars host cuts video for Rubio

Families whose children were held captive in Syria felt that U.S. officials had abandoned them. So they secretly joined forces. [New Yorker]

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