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Local Govt & Politics
Former Congresswoman rolls out anti-gun attack on Governor Rick Scott
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Former Congresswoman rolls out anti-gun attack on Governor Rick Scott

Former Congresswoman rolls out anti-gun attack on Governor Rick Scott

Former Congresswoman rolls out anti-gun attack on Governor Rick Scott

A group founded by former Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords is targeting Governor Rick Scott over gun control and ties to the National Rifle Association. 

Giffords gun control non profit has rolled out a new thirty second ad that begins with video from Florida shooting vigils and  singles out a law the Governor championed in 2011 that would prevent doctors and mental health professionals from asking patients if they owned a gun. The ad says the public needs "more than thoughts and prayers" from Governor Scott.   See video here in APP     https://youtu.be/5nmDHbNeFt8  

Giffords was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on Jan. 8, 2011 when a man opened fire at an outdoor event held by the Arizona congresswoman. Six people were killed and 19 others were injured in the shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords made a miraculous recovery and later resigned from the house to focus on her health.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Nearly a year after the drowning death of a Brevard County man, the State Attorneys office announced  Friday, there will be no criminal charges against a group of teens who mocked the man and recorded his death. Jamel Dunn, 31, of Cocoa, died in July 2017. Dunn’s body was found in a pond at Bracco Pond Park days after he had died.  Four teenagers and one adult were initially charged weeks after Dunn's death with failure to report a death. Cocoa Police acknowledged at the time that it would be difficult to make the charges stick because the Florida statute had never been applied in a similar instance.  A Florida state legislator later created a good Samaritan bill that would have made it a crime not to render aid to someone in need, but it was not passed by lawmakers.
  • Republican leaders have delayed a vote on a compromise immigration reform bill until next week, hoping to rally more support for the measure even as President Donald Trump casts doubt on its chances of success. >> Read more trending news Update 4 p.m. EDT June 22: Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a notice Friday that said it might seek as many as 15,000 beds to detain immigrant families. The notice came days after Trump signed an executive order that ended his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Hundreds of children have been separated from their parents as a result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which prompted authorities to separate children from adults who were being prosecuted for illegally coming into the country. The agency has about 3,300 beds for immigrant parents and their children in family detention facilities. The notice came amid a scramble by federal agencies to find space for immigrants. Official with the Pentagon said officials were also drawing up plans to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied children on military bases. Update 12:05 p.m. EDT June 22: Experts with the United Nations’ Human Rights Office said Friday that the executive order signed this week by Trump is inadequate to address the separation of migrant children and parents at the border. Officials with the U.N. called for the U.S. “to release these children from immigration detention and to reunite them with their families based on the best interests of the child and the rights of the child to liberty and family unity.” The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of entering the country illegally. The enforcement plan led authorities to separate children from adults who were detained as part of immigration proceedings. The executive order signed Wednesday by the president ended his administration’s family separation policy, but U.N. officials noted that no mention was made of the fate of children already separated from their parents as a result of the enforcement push. Authorities have said efforts are being made to reunite parents and children, although details about those efforts were not immediately available. Update 10:00 a.m. EDT June 22: President Donald Trump on Friday morning accused the Democrats of telling “phony stories of sadness and grief” and wielding the immigration issue for political gain in a series of tweets calling for immigration reform. >> What does the new executive order on immigration do; can migrants be held indefinitely? “We must maintain a Strong Southern Border,” Trump wrote. Earlier Friday he said America “has pathetically weak and ineffective Immigration Laws” and accused the Democrats once more of obstructing efforts to address immigration. The House is set to vote next week on a Republican immigration reform bill after a more conservative measure failed Thursday. It was unclear whether the bill would be successful. Update 7:34 a.m. EDT June 22: A senior Trump administration official told the Associated Press that approximately 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from families at the border have been reunited since May. But the official did not specify if the children remained detained with their families or if they have been released, the AP reported.  The official, who spoke with AP on the condition of anonymity, said that many parents and children were reunited after a few days. But some parents have told reporters that they don’t know where their children are and can’t get answers from officials. Some say mothers were deported without their children, the AP reported. After Republicans delayed the vote on immigration reform plans, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter Friday morning, telling lawmakers to wait until November to take on the bill, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported.  Trump also called Democrats obstructionists who won’t give the bill the 10 votes needed to pass. >>From Jamie Dupree: Trump: GOP should give up on immigration until after 2018 elections Update 9:30 p.m. EDT June 21: Despite President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday rescinding his own policy of separating migrant children from their families during illegal border crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, multiple states are suing the Trump administration over the policy, according to The Hill. The states involved in the lawsuit contend the executive order does not solve the problems created by the separation of  families, The Hill reported. Democratic attorneys general from Washington state, Maryland and Massachusetts, among others, contend the administration “violated the due process rights of parents and children who were separated.” The lawsuit was expected to be filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington state. Some 2,300 children have been separated from their families during the past six weeks the administration has been enforcing its “zero tolerance” policy. Update 7:30 p.m. EDT June 21: President Donald Trump is criticizing Democrats for their opposition to the hard-line Goodlatte immigration bill, which was defeated in the U.S. House Thursday. Tweeting that “they won’t vote for anything,” the president complained that Democrats are blocking reform. “You cannot pass legislation on immigration whether it be for safety and security or any other reason including “heart,” without getting Dem votes. Problem is, they don’t care about security and R’s do,” Trump tweeted Thursday night. Update 7:00 p.m. EDT June 21:  House Republicans are delaying a vote on a so-called compromise immigration measure until next week, according to The Associated Press. A vote on the legislation was first rescheduled from Thursday until Friday after another, more severe immigration measure was defeated. Republican leaders reportedly hope they can get more support for the compromise measure by delaying the vote. Update 5:00 p.m. EDT June 21: The more conservative of two immigration bills in the U.S. House of Representatives went down in defeat Thursday as 41 Republicans joined the Democrats in a 231-193 vote against the measure, according to Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree.  The hard-line measure called for extreme limits on legal immigration and only temporary protections for “Dreamers,” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children by their parents. The second bill is seen as more of a compromise measure, but it’s unclear if Republican leadership can manage to get the votes needed to pass it on Friday, and even if they do, it faces an even bigger hurdle in the Senate, where Republicans don’t have the votes to pass an immigration bill on their own. They’ll need Democrats’ support to get it done. The Washington Post is reporting an important House moderate in the immigration debate, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) has said he won’t support the compromise measure. Hurd has said he opposes the measure because it includes funding for a border wall, a campaign promise Trump made to supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign. He called the proposed wall “an expensive and ineffective 4th century border security tool that takes private property away from hundreds of Texans,” according to the Post. Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 21:  The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to change the rules around the detention of child migrants one day after the president ended his administration’s policy of separating children from parents at the border, The Associated Press reported. Officials aim to change rules governed by the Flores settlement, which requires the government to release children from custody after 20 days to their parents, adult relatives or other caretakers, in order of preference. >> Time cover: Photo of little girl crying at border, Trump illustrates immigration debate The move is aimed at stopping the separation of children from their families amid a new policy where anyone caught crossing the border is charged criminally. Update 2:25 p.m. EDT June 21: The House of Representatives on Thursday rejected one of two proposed GOP immigration reform bills, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree. Meanwhile, aides said the House will wait until Friday to vote on a second immigration bill, The Associated Press reported. Update 1:18 p.m. EDT June 21: Trump discussed the need for immigration reform during a cabinet meeting Thursday, citing national security concerns. Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 21: First lady Melania Trump is making an unannounced visit to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday. Melania Trump was in Texas on Thursday morning and planned to tour two facilities holding child immigrants, CNN reported. She previously spoke out against the policy of separating migrant children and parents at the border. 'Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,' said her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, according to CNN. 'She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.' The Trump administration policy was ended Wednesday by an executive order from the president. >> Photos: Melania Trump visits facilities for migrant children in Texas Update 12:10 p.m. EDT June 21: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called a pair of proposed Republican immigration reform bills a “compromise with the devil.” She said that the bills make Republicans complicit in Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The policy, which directs prosecutors to pursue cases against any person suspected of coming to the country illegally, resulted in the separation of hundreds of children from their parents at the border. Update 11:55 a.m. EDT June 21: House Speaker Paul Ryan said officials are working on reuniting families that have been separated in recent weeks at the border. “I believe (the Department of Homeland Security) is working on that,” Ryan said Thursday at a news briefing. “We obviously want to have families reunited.” >> Airlines taking stand in immigration crisis, refusing to fly separated migrant children He said DHS officials are working with the Department of Health and Human Services to bring the families back together. “What we’re trying to do is put the families at the head of the queue so they can be adjudicated faster,” he said. The Trump administration in April directed prosecutors to pursue cases against all people suspected of crossing the border illegally as part of a “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. Parents were separated from their children as they faced prosecution. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security. >> First lady Melania Trump makes unannounced visit to child migrant detention center Trump ended the policy Wednesday with an executive order days after he first started calling on Congress to stop the separations through legislation. The House is set to vote Thursday on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills, although neither appeared likely to succeed. Original report: “The Border has been a big mess and problem for many years,” Trump wrote. “At some point (Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer and (House Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi, who are weak on Crime and Border security, will be forced to do a real deal, so easy, that solves this long time problem.” The president’s tweet comes one day after he ended his administration’s much-derided policy of separating migrant children from parents at the border and as the House readies to debate and vote on a pair of Republican immigration reform bills. >> Trump signs executive order ending migrant family separations It was not immediately clear whether the bills would be successful. House Republican leaders were still trying Thursday morning to build support for one negotiated among conservative and moderate factions of the GOP, although the measure is unlikely to pick up much, if any, Democratic support.  >> From Jamie Dupree: House to vote on two GOP immigration bills – both may fail Ahead of the planned vote, the president accused Democrats of “only looking to Obstruct” the immigration bills in order to gain political clout ahead of the mid-term elections. “What is the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms),” Trump wrote Thursday morning in a tweet. “Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!” >> Trump ends migrant family separations: Read the executive order Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to end his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from parents suspected of coming to the country illegally at the border. The controversial policy was a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement push announced in April. Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A man who as a teenager participated in a terrifying killing spree that left more than a dozen people dead has been granted a new sentencing hearing in Virginia. Lee Boyd Malvo, now 33, was sentenced in 2004 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a series of four murders he and John Allen Muhammad committed as the Beltway snipers. Malvo was just 17 at the time of the slayings, and Muhammad, his mentor, was 41.  The snipers terrorized the greater Washington, D.C., area during a three-week span in 2002 that saw them kill four people and injure three others in Virginia. Another six people were gunned down in the Maryland suburbs in that same time frame.  The pair was captured in October 2002 as they slept at a rest stop in a Chevy Caprice they had modified so they could fire a rifle, undetected, through a hole in the car’s trunk. The Washington Post reported that Muhammad and Malvo were tied to another 11 shootings across the country, five of them deadly.  In the years since Malvo’s and Muhammad’s convictions, and Muhammad’s subsequent 2009 execution for his Virginia crimes, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that defendants who committed serious crimes while under the age of 18 cannot be sentenced to death. They also cannot be sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, the ruling stated. The new laws became retroactive in 2016, meaning that sentences of death or life without parole that were legal at the time they were handed down could now be vacated.  A three-member panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled on Thursday that Malvo falls into that category and vacated his four life sentences. His case has been remanded to a lower court for resentencing.  >> Read more trending news “To be clear, the crimes committed by Malvo and John Muhammad were the most heinous random acts of premeditated violence conceivable, destroying lives and families and terrorizing the entire Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for over six weeks, instilling mortal fear daily in the citizens of that community,” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in the ruling. “But Malvo was 17 years old when he committed the murders, and he has the retroactive benefit of new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently for sentencing. “We make this ruling not with any satisfaction but to sustain the law. As for Malvo, who knows but God how he will bear the future.” See the appeals court’s entire ruling below.  The order for a new sentencing applies only to Malvo’s Virginia crimes. He also pleaded guilty to six murders in Maryland, where he was given six life sentences.  Thursday’s ruling does not affect his prison time in Maryland, according to The Washington Post. A Montgomery County judge last August upheld those sentences because they were not mandatory life terms.  A spokeswoman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring told the Post that his staff attorneys plan to “review the decision closely and decide how best to proceed in a way that ensures this convicted mass murderer faces justice for his heinous crimes.” The attorney general can either ask the entire appeals court for a rehearing, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or go forward with the new sentencing hearing. If the sentencing hearing goes forward, Malvo could still be sentenced to life in prison. The appeals court ruling indicated that it depends on whether the district court finds that Malvo’s crimes reflected “permanent incorrigibility” or the “transient immaturity of youth.” The appeals court’s ruling listed a timeline of most of Malvo and Muhammad’s crimes: Sept. 5, 2002: Malvo shot a pizza restaurant owner six times in Clinton, Maryland, and stole the man’s cash and laptop. The man survived and, according to the FBI, his laptop, which was found in the snipers’ car when they were captured, was used to plot out attack sites and getaway routes.  Sept. 15, 2002: Malvo shot a man in Clinton as the victim closed a liquor store for the night. Sept. 21, 2002: Muhammad used a high-powered Bushmaster rifle to target two women closing down a liquor store in Montgomery, Alabama. Claudine Parker, 52, was killed and her coworker, Kellie Adams, was wounded by a gunshot to the back of her neck and into her jaw. Adams told The New York Times shortly after the shooting that she thought she had been struck by lightning. Witnesses, including two police officers, spotted a man rifling through the women’s purses before escaping during a short foot chase, the Times reported.  A blue sedan was also spotted near the scene, which helped lead investigators to the snipers after Malvo’s fingerprint, found on the page of a magazine he dropped in Montgomery, identified him as a suspect.  Sept. 23, 2002: A Baton Rouge, Louisiana, woman, identified as 45-year-old Hong Im Ballenger, was killed as she closed the store where she worked. Again, witnesses later placed Malvo at the scene, fleeing with the victim’s purse.  Oct. 2, 2002: Back in the D.C. area, the snipers shot and killed James Martin, 55, in a Montgomery County, Maryland grocery store parking lot.  Oct. 3, 2002: Five people were gunned down, four at different sites in Montgomery County and a fifth in Washington, D.C. James “Sonny” Buchanan, 39, was killed as he mowed some grass; taxi driver Prem Kumar Walekar, 54, was killed while gassing up his cab; Sarah Ramos, 34, was killed as she sat on a bus bench and read a book; Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, was killed as she vacuumed her van at a gas station.  The four Montgomery County victims were killed in the morning within a span of about two hours, according to authorities. Around 9:20 p.m. that same night, Pascal Charlot, 72, was shot while walking in D.C.  Oct. 4, 2002: A woman was shot and seriously wounded as she loaded goods into her car in a Spotsylvania County, Virginia, parking lot. Oct. 7, 2002: A 13-year-old boy was shot and wounded in Prince George’s County, Maryland, as he went to school.  Oct 9, 2002: The snipers shot and killed Dean Harold Myers, 53, as he put gas in his vehicle at a Prince William County, Virginia, gas station. Oct. 12, 2002: The snipers killed FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, outside a Home Depot in Fairfax County, Virginia. Oct. 19, 2002: They shot and seriously injured a man leaving a restaurant in Ashland, Virginia. Oct. 22, 2002: The snipers shot and killed bus driver Conrad Johnson, 35, in Montgomery County. The bus driver, who was gunned down as he stood on the steps of his bus, was the last of their victims.  Oct. 24, 2002: The pair was apprehended at a rest stop in Frederick County, Maryland.  The shootings on the appeals court’s list are not all of the crimes that Malvo and Muhammad have been linked to, and Malvo has said that the pair shot more people than those investigators have identified.  Malvo told Virginia investigators after his arrest that he and Muhammad, who he considered his father, acted as a sniper team in order to extort $10 million from the “media and the government,” the appeals court ruling stated. He initially confessed to being the shooter in 10 of the incidents.  When testifying at trial in Fairfax County, however, Malvo admitted only to shooting the 13-year-old boy in Prince George’s County and the Montgomery County bus driver who was killed. All others, Muhammad shot, the teen claimed.  At that point, Malvo’s defense team was asserting an insanity defense, alleging that the boy, who had an abusive and lonely childhood in Jamaica and Antigua, was indoctrinated by Muhammad, who took him under his wing when Malvo was 15. Muhammad had taken his own three children to Antigua without their mother’s knowledge, the court ruling stated.  Muhammad, a U.S. Army veteran who ultimately lost custody of his children, trained Malvo intensively in military tactics for almost a year, telling the teen that he had a plan to get his children back, the ruling stated.  Mildred Muhammad, his ex-wife, has said she believed she was the ultimate target of her former husband’s rage, CNN reported. Prosecutors during John Muhammad’s trials argued that the sniper shootings were a smoke screen to hide his goal of killing Mildred and regaining custody of their children.  Malvo told “Today” in 2012 that he was sexually abused by John Muhammad. He also described the psychological hold he said Muhammad had on him.  “I couldn’t say no,” Malvo said. “I had wanted that level of love and acceptance and consistency for all of my life and couldn’t find it. And even if unconsciously, or even in moments of short reflection, I knew that it was wrong, I did not have the willpower to say no.” In interviews with the Post, Malvo called himself a “monster.” “If you look up the definition, that’s what a monster is” Malvo told the newspaper. “I was a ghoul. I was a thief. I stole people’s lives. I did someone else’s bidding just because they said so. There is no rhyme or reason or sense.” Malvo told “Today” producers that the interview would be his last about the crimes, he said he had forgiven himself for his crimes because that is the “only way (he) can live with (himself.)” He also urged the families of the victims to find peace and forgiveness. “Please do not allow my actions and the actions of Muhammad to hold you hostage and continue to victimize you for the rest of your life,” Malvo said. “If you give those images and thoughts that power, it will continue to inflict that suffering over and over and over, and over and over again. Do not give me or him that much power.” Malvo is housed at Red Onion State Prison in Pound, Virginia. 
  • Chef and author Anthony Bourdain did not have narcotics in his body when he died on June 8, a French judicial official told The New York Times. Bourdain, 61, was found dead in a hotel in a small village in France on June 8. He was staying in Kaysersberg, a small village in the Alsace region of France, filming a new episode of his CNN show “Parts Unknown.” Police ruled his death as suicide by hanging. Local prosecutors say Bourdain, who was open about his lifelong struggle with drugs and alcohol, was not intoxicated when he died. “No trace of narcotics, no trace of any toxic products, no trace of medicines, no trace of alcohol,” prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny told Reuters. >> Read more trending news  Bourdain skipped dinner the night before his body was discovered, The New York Times reports.  When he did not arrive for breakfast with Eric Ripert, Bourdain’s close friend and chef of Le Bernardin in New York, a hotel receptionist went to his room to check on him and found his body. Bourdain was cremated in France. His remains and travel belongings have been sent to his younger brother, Christopher. Gladys Bourdain, Anthony Bourdain’s mother, told the New York Times that the family will likely hold “a small, private ceremony of some kind.” Italian actress Asia Argento remembered her boyfriend Anthony Bourdain on Twitter Friday, marking two weeks since his death. “Two weeks without you,” she tweeted, along with a smiling photo of them together.
  • The families of 15 young boys have filed a class-action lawsuit against Target and the makers of a popular potty training seat, over claims toddler boys’ genitals can get stuck in the seat, causing serious lacerations. The weePOD potty training seats are manufactured by Prince Lionheart Inc.  “Like an old leather car seat and you're wearing a tank top and it sticks, so it's the same mechanism,” attorney John Kristensen told KNBC. “When you pull it off, the penis is still stuck but the rest of the body is moving. That skin is so sensitive that it rips.” >> Read more trending news  Attorneys said that Prince Lionheart knew the seats were defective and made corrections, but over 500,000 defective potty seats are still being sold on store shelves.  Daniel, one father who is participating in the lawsuit on behalf of his son, said he was lifting the 4-year-old out of the family’s weePOD Basix potty when the boy started screaming. “We were, I don’t know how to explain it, horrified to see that happening to our son,” Daniel told KABC. “There was blood, skin, everything everywhere.” The parents said they took the boy to the emergency room. Attorneys representing the families said that Prince Lionheart is refusing to pull the defective child product from store shelves. “They've modified it, but the defective ones are still out there, and they're going to be hurting kids in the future,” attorney John Carpenter told KSAB. An attorney for Prince Lionheart stated that the company disagrees with the claims. Target also issued a statement, saying it requires all vendors to follow product safety laws and Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines.