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National Govt & Politics
Facing a Thursday shutdown deadline, GOP fills 515 page stopgap funding bill with legislative extras
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Facing a Thursday shutdown deadline, GOP fills 515 page stopgap funding bill with legislative extras

Facing a Thursday shutdown deadline, GOP fills 515 page stopgap funding bill with legislative extras
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Facing a Thursday shutdown deadline, GOP fills 515 page stopgap funding bill with legislative extras

With money for the federal government running out at midnight on Thursday night, Republicans in the House are pressing ahead with a plan that extends a temporary spending plan into late March, adding in full funding for the military, money for community health centers, along with dozens of unrelated provisions dealing with health care.

Because of all the legislative extras in the bill, the stopgap funding plan weighs in at 515 pages - as the House plans to vote on it today and then see if the Senate will simply accept it.

In legislative parlance, that's what is known as "jamming" - the House is trying to "jam" the Senate into accepting whatever is passed, no matter whether Senators like the details or not.

Here is some of what the GOP bill would do:

+ Temporary funding for the federal government would be extended through March 23 - just before the Easter break - to give lawmakers time to finish the spending bills for 2018. (That was supposed to be done by October 1 of last year.)

+ While non-defense programs would remain on a temporary funding plan, the bill includes full funding for the military, lasting through the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

+ Require the Secretary of Energy to sell off up to $350 million of crude oil stored in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help with maintenance of the facility.

+ $225 million in disaster relief funding for the Small Business Administration.

+ The bill also includes a laundry list of health measures, some pushed by Republicans, some supported by both parties, which cover everything from civil penalties for Medicare fraud to prostate cancer testing, and a provision that boots lottery winners off of Medicaid.

The GOP plan is so expansive, that the section-by-section summary is 29 pages long. You can read that here to get a better idea of what's in the bill.

This is how the GOP described all the extra items on health care, which take up 345 pages of the 515 page stopgap funding bill, which includes a legislative nickname, the "Strengthening and Underpinning the Safety-net to Aid Individuals Needing Care Act of 2018" or the ‘SUSTAIN Care Act of 2018':

Specifically, the CR will include language from or based on:

⦁ H.R. 3926, the Community Coordination And Resource Empowerment Act (Community CARE Act), authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), providing FY2017 and FY2018 funding for Community Health Centers.

⦁ H.R. 3935, the Bolstering Organizations and Options to Support Training in Primary Care Act (BOOST Primary Care Act), authored by  #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), providing FY2017 and FY2018 funding for the National Health Service Corps.

⦁ H.R. 3394, the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Extension Act, authored by House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), providing FY2017 and FY2018 funding for Teaching Health Centers.

⦁ H.R. 3924, to amend the Public Health Service Act to extend funding for the special diabetes program for type I diabetes, authored by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), providing FY2017 and FY2018 funding.

⦁ H.R. 3917, to amend the Public Health Service Act to extend funding for the special diabetes program for Indians, authored by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), providing FY2017 and FY2018 funding.

⦁ H.R. 3900, the Youth Empowerment Act, providing FY2017 and FY2018 funding for Title V Sexual Risk Avoidance Education, authored by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX).

⦁ H.R. 938, the Medicaid Third Party Liability Act, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess. As modified, the provision will improve Medicaid Third Party Liability rules and strengthen Medicaid’s role as the payer of last resort by requiring other liable insurers to pay claims for prenatal services before Medicaid pays.

⦁ A permanent repeal of the annual limit on per-patient therapy expenditures in Medicare (therapy caps), authored by #SubCommTech Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis.

⦁ Technical corrections to MACRA, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess.

⦁ H.R. 3263, to extend the Medicare Independence at home Medical Practice Demonstration program, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), would extend the Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Program (IAH), which provides a home-based primary care benefit to high-need Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions, ideally allowing them to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, ER visits, and nursing home use, for two additional years.

⦁ H.R. 1148, the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act of 2017, authored by  #SubOversight Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH). H.R. 1148 will expand the ability of patients presenting at hospitals or at mobile stroke units to receive a Medicare reimbursed neurological consult via telemedicine.

⦁ H.R. 3163, the Medicare Part B Home Infusion Services Temporary Transitional Payment Act, authored by #SubEnergy Chairman Upton (R-MI). H.R. 3163 will create a temporary transitional payment policy, for services related to infusion drugs before a permanent payment policy, included as part of the 21st Century Cures Act is finalized.

⦁ H.R. 3271, the Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Susan Brooks, would address several issues beneficiaries have reported facing under the competitive bidding program regarding Diabetes Test Strips (DTS). Among them include: providing enhanced reporting that will aid Congress and CMS in ensuring beneficiaries are receiving the diabetic testing supplies they need to manage their condition.

⦁ H.R. 2465, the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act of 2017, authored by House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Rep. John Larson (D-CT). H.R. 2465 will make coverage of speech generating devices under “routinely purchased durable medical equipment” permanent under the Medicare program.

⦁ H.R. 3245, the Medicare Civil and Criminal Penalties Act, authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL). H.R. 3245 will update both penalties within the Medicare program, many of which have not been updated in 20 years.

⦁ H.R. 3120, to reduce the volume of future electronic health record-related significant hardship requests, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess and Rep. Debbie Dingell. H.R. 3120 would amend the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to remove the mandate that meaningful use standards become more stringent over time and allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be more deliberative in such evaluations.

⦁ Modifying the reductions in Medicaid DSH payments, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Burgess.

⦁ H.R. 2557, the Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Elimination Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), will provide for coverage of DNA specimen provenance assay (DPSA) testing for prostate cancer.

⦁ H.R. 829, the Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable Over Lottery Winners Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton. H.R. 829 will disenroll lottery jackpot winners from Medicaid, in order to prioritize the most vulnerable.

The new bill language doesn't have a table of contents, so I put one together for the health provisions included in this stopgap budget.

Section 2101: Extension of the Medicare-dependent hospital (MDH) program

Section 2102: Extension of increased inpatient hospital payment adjustment for certain low-volume hospitals

Section 2103: Studies relating to hospital programs paid outside of prospective systems

Section 2104: Extension of home health rural add-on

Subtitle B—Medicare Part B

Section 2111: Ground ambulance services cost reporting requirement

Section 2112: Extension of work Geographic Practice Cost Indices (GPCI) floor

Section 2113: Repeal of Medicare payment cap for therapy services; replacement with limitation to ensure appropriate therapy

Subtitle C—Miscellaneous

Section 2121: Providing continued access to Medicare Advantage special needs plans for vulnerable populations

Section 2122: Extension of certain MIPPA funding provisions; State health insurance assistance program reporting requirements

Section 2123: Extension of funding for quality measure endorsement, input, and selection; reporting requirements

Title II—Additional Medicare Policies Relating to Extenders

Section 2201: Home health payment reform

Section 2202: Information to satisfy documentation of Medicare eligibility for home health services

Section 2203: Voluntary settlement of home health claims

Section 2205: Extension of enforcement instruction on Medicare supervision requirements for outpatient therapeutic services in critical access and small rural hospitals

Section 2206: Technical amendments to Public Law 114-10

Section 2207: Revised requirements for Medicare intensive cardiac rehabilitation programs

Title III—Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (Chronic) Care

Subtitle A—Receiving High Quality Care in the Home

Section 2301: Extending the Independence at Home Demonstration Program

Section 2302: Expanding access to home dialysis therapy

Subtitle B—Expanding Innovation and Technology

Section 2311: Adapting benefits to meet the needs of chronically ill Medicare Advantage enrollees

Section 2312: Expanding supplemental benefits to meet the needs of chronically ill Medicare Advantage enrollees

Section 2313: Increasing convenience for Medicare Advantage enrollees through telehealth

Section 2314: Providing accountable care organizations (ACOs) the ability to expand the use of telehealth

Section 2315: Expanding the use of telehealth for individuals with stroke

Subtitle C—Identifying the Chronically Ill Population

Section 2321: Providing flexibility for beneficiaries to be part of an ACO

Subtitle D—Empowering Individuals and Caregivers in Care Delivery

Section 2331: Eliminating barriers to care coordination under ACOs

Section 2332: GAO study and report on longitudinal comprehensive care planning services under Medicare Part B

Subtitle E—Other Policies to Improve Care for the Chronically Ill

Section 2341: GAO study and report on improving medication synchronization

Section 2342: GAO study and report on impact of obesity drugs on patient health and spending

Section 2343: HHS study and report on long-term risk factors for chronic conditions among Medicare beneficiaries

Title IV—Medicare Part B Miscellaneous Policies

Subtitle A—Medicare Part B Improvement Act

Section 2401: Home infusion therapy services temporary transitional payment

Section 2402: Orthotist’s and prosthetist’s clinical notes as part of the patient’s medical record

Section 2403: Independent accreditation for dialysis facilities and assurance of high quality surveys

Section 2404: Modernizing the application of the Stark rule under Medicare

Subtitle B—Additional Provisions

Section 2411: Making permanent the removal of the rental cap for durable medical equipment under Medicare with respect to speech generating devices

Section 2412: Increased civil and criminal penalties and increased sentences for Federal health care program fraud and abuse

Section 2413: Reducing the volume of future EHR-related significant hardship requests

Section 2414: Coverage of certain DNA specimen provenance assay tests under Medicare

Section 2415: Strengthening rules in case of competition for diabetic testing strips

Title V – Public Health Extenders

Section 2501: Extension for community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, and teaching health centers that operate GME programs

Section 2502: Extension for special diabetes programs

Section 2503: Extension for family-to-family health information centers

Section 2504: Extension for sexual risk avoidance education

Section 2505: Extension for personal responsibility education

Title VI: Child and Family Services and Support Family First Prevention Services Act, Social Impact Partnerships, and Related Pay fors

Subtitle A: Family First Prevention Services Act

SUBCHAPTER A—PREVENTION ACTIVITIES UNDER TITLE IV–E

Section 2621: Foster care prevention services and programs.

Section 2622: Foster care maintenance payments for children with parents in a licensed residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse

Section 2623: Title IV–E payments for evidence-based kinship navigator programs.

SUBCHAPTER B—ENHANCED SUPPORT UNDER TITLE IV–B

Section 2631: Elimination of time limit for family reunification services while in foster care and permitting time-limited family reunification services when a child returns home from foster care

Section 2632: Reducing bureaucracy and unnecessary delays when placing children in homes across State lines.

Section 2633: Enhancements to grants to improve well-being of families affected by substance abuse

SUBCHAPTER C—MISCELLANEOUS

Section 2641: Reviewing and improving licensing standards for placement in a relative foster family home

Section 2642: Development of a statewide plan to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities.

Section 2643: Modernizing the title and purpose of title IV–E.

CHAPTER 2—ENSURING THE NECESSITY OF A PLACEMENT THAT IS NOT IN A FOSTER FAMILY HOME

Section 2651: Limitation on Federal financial participation for placements that are not in foster family homes.

Section 2652: Assessment and documentation of the need for placement in a qualified residential treatment program.

Section 2653: Protocols to prevent inappropriate diagnoses.

Section 2654: Additional data and reports regarding children placed in a setting that is not a foster family home.

Section 2655: Criminal records checks and checks of child abuse and neglect registries for adults working in child-care institutions and other group care settings.

Section 2656: Effective dates; application to waivers.

CHAPTER 3—CONTINUING SUPPORT FOR CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES

Section 2661: Supporting and retaining foster families for children.

Section 2662: Extension of child and family services programs.

Section 2663: Improvements to the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and related provisions.

CHAPTER 4—CONTINUING INCENTIVES TO STATES TO PROMOTE ADOPTION AND LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP

Section 2665: Reauthorizing adoption and legal guardianship incentive programs.

CHAPTER 5—TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS

Section 2667: Technical corrections to data exchange standards to improve program coordination.

Section 2668: Technical corrections to State requirement to address the developmental needs of young children.

CHAPTER 6—ENSURING STATES REINVEST SAVINGS RESULTING FROM INCREASE IN ADOPTION ASSISTANCE

Section 2669: Delay of adoption assistance phase-in.

Section 2670: GAO study and report on State reinvestment of savings resulting from increase in adoption assistance.

Subtitle C—Supporting Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results

Section 2681: Supporting social impact partnerships to pay for results.

Subtitle D—Modernizing Child Support Enforcement Fees

Section 2691: Modernizing child support enforcement fees.

Subtitle E—Increasing Efficiency of Prison Data Reporting

Section 2699: Increasing efficiency of prison data reporting.

Title VIII—Offsets

Section 2701: Payment for early discharges to hospice care

Section 2702: Home health market basket reduction

Section 2703: Reduction for non-emergency ESRD ambulance transports

Section 2704: Extension of target for relative value adjustments for misvalued services and transitional payment rules for certain radiation therapy services under the physician fee schedule

Section 2705: Delay in authority to terminate contracts for Medicare Advantage plans failing to achieve minimum quality ratings

Section 2706: Medicare Improvement Fund

Section 2707: Payment for outpatient physical therapy services and outpatient occupational therapy services furnished by a therapy assistant

Section 2708: Changes to long-term care hospital payments

Section 2709: Non-Budget Neutral Transitional pass-through payment change for certain products

Section 2710: Third party liability in Medicaid and CHIP

Section 2711: Treatment of lottery winnings and other lump-sum income for purposes of income eligibility under Medicaid

Section 2712: Modifying reductions in Medicaid DSH allotments

Section 2713: Medicaid improvement fund rescission

Section 2714: Sunsetting the exclusion of Biosimilars from the Medicare Part D coverage gap

Section 2715: Prevention and Public Health Fund

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A 3-year-old Georgia girl died Saturday after what police described as a heinous sexual assault and beating. The girl, identified by police as Janiyah Armanie Brooks, of Albany,  died at 12:15 p.m. Saturday at an Atlanta hospital, where she had been on a ventilator, WALB-TV reported. >> Read more trending news  Update 7:15 p.m. EDT May 21: A GoFundMe account has been set up in the name of Janiyah Brooks, who died Saturday after a brutal attack and sexual assault. So far, the fund has raised almost $4,000 of its $5,000 goal to help the family of the 3-year-old with burial expenses. The girl’s mother and stepfather were both arrested and are facing numerous charges in the case. Update 10:15 a.m. EDT May 20: Janiyah was unresponsive when Albany police responded to her home one week ago. She had been severely beaten with injuries to her head, ribs and hands, according to police. She also had injuries to her vaginal area. It wasn’t the first time Janiyah had been hurt, an investigation by the agency’s family protection unit and the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services found. An exam showed further evidence of old wounds, Albany police said in a news release. Her parents called 911 around 7:30 a.m. May 13, but they did not disclose the nature of the problem with their daughter. Her stepfather, 20-year-old Gregory Parker, only told officers the girl was unconscious, police said.  Parker was arrested on Friday in connection with the assault. The next day, Janiyah died, WALB-TV reported. Parker was initially arrested on charges of aggravated child molestation, rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated battery and first-degree cruelty to children. Police have not said if additional charges will be filed in light of his stepdaughter’s death. Original report: Albany police responded to the girl's home about 7:30 a.m. May 13 for an 'unknown problem,' the department said in a news release Friday. When officers arrived, Gregory Parker, 20, said his stepdaughter was 'unresponsive,' police said. Emergency personnel transported the girl to the hospital. Investigators said the girl 'had been severely beaten and sexually assaulted,' according to the news release. 'The child had injuries to her vaginal area, ribs, along with swollen hands and unknown trauma to her head,' the release said. 'She appeared to have old wounds, as well.' Parker, 20, was arrested and charged with rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated battery and first-degree child cruelty, authorities said. The girl's mother, 19-year-old Crystal Brooks, also faces charges of aggravated battery, battery, first-degree child cruelty and giving a false statement initially, police said. >> Read the Police Department's Facebook post here Medical examiners will perform an autopsy on the child Monday, officials said. Read more here or here.
  • The daughter of a Tennessee man executed for murder in 2006 is asking that DNA evidence in the case be tested to determine once and for all if her father raped and killed a U.S. Marine more than 30 years ago. Sedley Alley was put to death in the July 11, 1985, murder of Lance Cpl. Suzanne Marie Collins, who was stationed at the Naval Air Station Millington, as was Alley’s wife. Collins, 19, was abducted as she went on a run on the base, where she had just completed a nine-month course in avionics.  Her body was found the next day in nearby Edmund Orgill Park, according to The Daily Memphian. The Virginia native, who was set to graduate from the training school the day she was found, was severely beaten, with an autopsy showing she had been struck about 100 times, authorities said.  Collins was also strangled and sexually violated with a tree branch. The New York Times reported that her killer stripped the branch of its leaves and twigs, sharpened one end to a point and drove it repeatedly into her body with enough force that it pierced her lung. Alley, then 29, was arrested the following day and charged with Collins’ murder, the Memphian reported. He confessed but later recanted the confession, saying it had been coerced.  Alley said he could not remember what happened the night Collins was killed because he had been drinking heavily. He was convicted in 1987 and sentenced to death.  April Alley, who, along with her brother, witnessed her father’s execution, filed a petition May 1 in Shelby County Criminal Court seeking DNA testing on evidence found at the scene, including a pair of red men’s underwear investigators believe were worn by Collins’ killer. According to the Memphian, the petition seeks the post-conviction DNA testing that was denied Sedley Alley prior to his death. >> Read more trending news It also asks that Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee use his executive authority to order the testing on the evidence, which a legal team from the Innocence Project verified is still intact and housed in storage. That evidence includes the victim’s underwear, the 31-inch branch used to penetrate her and a sample of Sedley Alley’s DNA, which the Times reported was collected and stored before his death.  The case marks the first attempt to use DNA evidence to clear someone who has been executed for a crime, Stephen Ross Johnson, a Tennessee attorney working on the case alongside the Innocence Project, told the Memphian. “There have been other cases where certainly people have been exonerated and come off death row,” Johnson told the newspaper. “There have also been situations where DNA testing (was done) after someone died in prison, but this will the first one where someone was subjected to capital punishment and then their DNA tested.” The Innocence Project, which represented Sedley Alley in his appeals, sought to have the evidence tested for DNA before his execution. The Tennessee parole board recommended that then-Gov. Phil Bredesen order the testing, but Bredesen instead told Alley’s lawyers to seek relief through the court system. The courts denied Alley’s request. “The Tennessee courts incorrectly ruled that Mr. Alley was not entitled to DNA testing, even if the testing could produce a match to a third party with a history of committing similar offenses,” Innocence Project officials said earlier this month.  Watch April Alley and her lawyers announce their bid to have the evidence in Suzanne Collins’ murder tested. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the lower court’s denial was incorrect in 2011, five years after Sedley was put to death. The high court ruled in State v. Powers that Tennessee’s post-conviction DNA law intended to allow defendants to prove their innocence by comparing their DNA to that from other possible suspects, including suspects whose genetic profiles are in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. “The courts got it wrong in 2006 when they allowed Mr. Alley to be executed before testing the DNA,” said Barry Scheck, a co-founder of the Innocence Project. “If Mr. Alley were alive today, he would be entitled to DNA testing under the Powers ruling and the plain language of the post-conviction DNA analysis statute. We now have a chance to learn the truth in this case.” A recent tip has also raised the possibility that another man accused in a rape and murder in another state might be the true killer in Collins’ case, the Memphian reported. The court petition filed by April Alley identifies the potential alternate suspect as Thomas Bruce, who, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is accused of sexually assaulting two women and killing a third at a Missouri Catholic supply store in November.  Bruce was taking courses at the same avionics training school as Collins in 1985, the petition states.   “I just want the truth,” April Alley wrote in an email to the Memphian. “The DNA evidence should have been tested before my father was executed. It’s too late for my father, but it’s not too late to find the truth. The court or governor should order DNA testing.” The case against Sedley Alley The night she was attacked, Collins left the barracks for her daily 10-mile run, the Times reported. Around 11 p.m., two other Marines passed her, jogging in the opposite direction. The Marines moments later dodged a station wagon swerving in the road, headed in the same direction as Collins, the Times said.  A few seconds later, the men heard a woman screaming, “Don’t touch me! Leave me alone!” They ran toward the screams and saw what they believed to be the same station wagon stopped alongside the road, the Times reported. It sped off as they approached. The men ran to the barracks gate, where a guard sounded an alarm for a possible abduction. Sedley Alley was stopped about an hour later near the base, driving a 1972 station wagon, the newspaper said. He did not have any visible injuries, according to a Navy investigator.  After talking to Alley’s wife, investigators concluded the two Marines had heard the couple arguing and, not knowing that Collins was then missing, canceled the alert for the station wagon, according to the Times. The Alleys were sent home and a guard was put on their home.  Collins’ body was found the next morning, and Alley was arrested. Read April Alley’s petition to have the evidence against her father tested for DNA. Investigators said Alley told them he had hit Collins with his station wagon while driving drunk and then accidentally stabbed her in the head with a screwdriver. The petition filed by his daughter states that the medical examiner determined neither of those claims was accurate. Alley later said investigators only turned on their tape recorder after he told them what they wanted to hear.  Physical evidence used to tie Alley to the crime included Type O blood on the driver’s side door of the station wagon. That type matched Collins, but it also matched Alley’s blood type, the Times said.  Paper napkins from a local restaurant were also found in the car and on the ground near Collins’ body, and an air conditioner pump found in the station wagon had reportedly been installed at a home near where Collins was jogging, the paper said.  No physical evidence from Collins was found inside the car or on Alley, the Times said. The petition for DNA testing also indicates that a witness on the base reported seeing a second station wagon carrying a couple -- potentially Alley and his wife -- around the time of Collins’ abduction. Despite the lack of direct physical evidence, Alley was for decades after his conviction assumed to be the killer. An investigator in 2003 found a handwritten note, however, in which the medical examiner in Collins’ case estimated she had died after Alley and his wife were sent home that night -- and while military police were watching the family’s home. Read the letter to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee from lawyers for Sedley Alley’s estate. The investigator also learned that a boyfriend of Collins’ drove a station wagon and matched the approximate height of a man seen near the site of her abduction, while Alley was about 8 inches taller, the Times said. Alley’s complexion and hair color also failed to match the description from a witness. Alley told his daughter a few weeks before his death that if he committed the heinous acts Collins was forced to suffer, he deserved to be executed, the court petition says. He told her he did not remember committing the crime, however, and did not believe he had.   Scheck said if the killer’s DNA can be pulled from the evidence, it can not only be tested against the known sample from Alley but can also be compared to profiles uploaded to public genealogy databases.  Dozens of cold cases have been solved over the past year using genetic genealogy, including murder cases decades old.  “The public’s interest in having the right defendant brought to justice extends beyond the life of a single defendant,” Scheck said. “If Tennessee executed the wrong person in 2006, the actual perpetrator may still be free to harm other people. This is a matter of public safety.”
  • The new Fairview Shores branch located in the Adanson Marketplace on Lee Road will host its grand opening on Saturday June 8. The commencement will take place after a three week long  hiatus that began with the closing of the Edgewater branch on May 18, after 22 years of operation. According to a statement from the Orange County Library System, “the library’s new home will allow it to offer more opportunities to partner with businesses and organizations in the community while continuing to offer more after-school activities and programming for all ages.” The event will be free and open to the public, featuring live performances from local freestyle hip-hop group Free Daps at 11a.m. and vocalist Shannon Rae at 2 p.m.  
  • So you are at Disney World but you forgot some things at home. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you'll be able to get it delivered to your resort. Amazon Prime has expanded one-day delivery for Orlando, Florida.   This is big for local residents, Disney visitors and people going to other theme parks like Universal Orlando Resort.   To get delivery to the resorts, just tell Amazon your name and where you are located. The package will be delivered to the front desk and you can pick it up when you come back from playing all day.
  • A newborn hospitalized in grave condition after police said he was cut from his slain mother’s womb last month has opened his eyes for the first time, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Police said the boy’s mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was killed April 23 by a woman she met through a Facebook group geared toward young mothers. Authorities said Clarisa Figueroa, 46, called 911 after cutting the baby from his mother’s body to falsely claim she’d given birth to a child who was not breathing. Tests later confirmed the boy was not Figueroa’s. >> 3 charged in connection with slain pregnant woman found with baby cut from womb The child, who family members have named Yovanny Jardiel, remained hospitalized Tuesday in critical condition, according to WMAQ-TV. He is not expected to survive. Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor who has been helping Ochoa-Lopez’s family, told CNN she was photographing the baby Sunday as his father, Yovany Lopez, held him at the hospital. 'We were just praying and praying, and he opened his eyes,” Garcia told CNN. “His dad said, ‘Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'' She shared images of Lopez and his son early Monday on Facebook. 'We've been blessed, although this is a really bad tragedy,” Garcia told CNN. “They're such a loving and humble family and it's just so wrong what happened to them.' Authorities said Figueroa plotted for months to get a newborn following the death by natural causes of her adult son, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors said she strangled Ochoa-Lopez with a coaxial cable while her daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, showed the pregnant woman a photo album of Clarisa Figueroa’s late son. >> Woman faked pregnancy for months before killing mother-to-be, cutting baby from womb, reports say Authorities have charged both Figueroas with one count each of first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child. Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, was also arrested on one count of concealment of a homicide. Police said first responders found Yovanny Jardiel blue after Clarisa Figueroa reported he was not breathing on April 23, according to The Associated Press. They tried to resuscitate the infant and transported the boy to a nearby hospital, where police said he was in grave condition. When Figueroa went to the hospital, doctors who examined her found 'no signs consistent with a woman who had just delivered a baby.' She also had blood on her arms, hands and face that authorities later determined was from Ochoa-Lopez, prosecutors said. It was not clear whether the hospital contacted police. In a statement issued Friday, Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn declined to comment, citing federal and state regulations. Oak Lawn police said they were not contacted about Figueroa by the medical center or any other agency, including the Chicago Police Department. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has asked the Department of Child and Family Services to determine whether hospital officials followed proper reporting procedures after Figueroa and the baby were brought to the hospital, WLS-TV reported. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Washington Insider

  • With former White House Counsel Don McGahn defying a subpoena for his testimony in Congress on the findings of the Muller Report, there was a noticeable jump on Tuesday in the halls of the Capitol in the number of Democrats publicly demanding that their leaders take the next step - to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. 'The facts laid out in the Mueller report, coupled with this administration’s ongoing attempts to stonewall Congress, leave us no other choice,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). 'It is time for Congress to officially launch an impeachment inquiry against the President of the United States.' 'More of my colleagues are coming around, reluctantly, to the reality that impeachment is necessary, unavoidable, and urgent,' said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA). 'This week feels like the tipping point.' 'I personally feel like we cannot tolerate this level of obstruction,' said Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), as a number of new - and more liberal Democrats - embraced the idea of impeachment more publicly today. 'Failure to impeach now is neglect of due process,' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Republicans said this was nothing more than political theater. 'Their single-minded goal is political revenge on someone who beat them in an election they thought they had won,' said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). 'The American people don't want impeachment,' said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). 'But the Democrats are so angry that our President is succeeding and so desperate to please their base that they'll do it anyway.' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned her rank-and-file away from impeachment for months, trying to keep the focus more on issues like health care. But after weeks of watching the White House directly tell Congress that it has no power to investigate on a range of topics - from the President's tax returns, to his past financial records, and issues related to the Russia investigation - there is a sense in the Capitol of a building desire to start a more formal investigation into Mr. Trump. 'No one is above law. It's time to start an impeachment inquiry,' said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA).