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Newsweek: 18 VIPS Invited to Watch the State of the Union

President Barack Obama will come before a joint session of Congress tonight to deliver his last State of the Union address. And it’s the hottest ticket in Washington.

Lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and other government officials will pack the chamber of the House of Representatives to listen to the speech. In addition, dignitaries and honorees from around the country and the world will attend.

Traditionally, congressmen and senators receive one guest ticket to the event from the sergeant at arms of the House. Some invite friends, while others choose to highlight a praiseworthy constituent from their congressional district or state.

Here are 18 of the most interesting VIPs who will be in the audience for Obama’s final State of the Union address:

Star Tribune: Finally, Congress is set to adopt replacement for No Child Left Behind

By year’s end, the controversial No Child Left Behind federal education law likely will be history. Last week, the U.S. House approved an NCLB replacement, and the Senate is expected to pass the companion bill this week. President Obama is expected to sign the measure soon after.

Two Minnesota lawmakers, Republican Rep. John Kline and Democratic Sen. Al Franken, deserve credit for working out details of the long-awaited rewrite in conference committee. As committee chairman, Kline led the negotiations on the finishing touches, building on the bipartisan work of other lawmakers. The compromise attempts to strike a balance between the Democrats’ emphasis on the academic issues of poor and minority students, and the Republican focus on less federal and more state control of public schools.

New York Times: End the Gun Epidemic in America

It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.

All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.

Huffpost Politics: Provision Killing Net Neutrality Threatens Must-Pass Spending Bill

Republicans have tucked an anti-net neutrality rider into a government spending bill that would block the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing its open Internet rules.

The provision is just one of many riders in the financial services appropriations bill currently being hashed out by House and Senate negotiators. But as dozens of these unrelated policy measures are dropped, this one is sticking around — a fact that is especially troubling to net neutrality advocates, who worry it may make its way into a final must-pass spending bill, known as an omnibus.

The federal government is currently running on a stopgap funding measure, which will run out on Dec. 11. If Congress doesn’t reach a new agreement, the government will shut down.

We cannot turn our backs

The terrorist attacks in Paris were senseless and barbaric, perpetrated against innocent people who were simply living their lives. Countries all over the world, including our own, have come together to stand in solidarity with France and redouble our efforts to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups around the world. And as we remember the […]