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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 88,061

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Branstad 'likely' to sign medical cannabis oil expansion into law

Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday he expects to sign into law an expansion of the state's medical cannabis oil program, which lawmakers approved Saturday in the final hours of the 2017 legislative session.

"Certainly, it’s something I’m pleased was approved, and I’m very hopeful that we don’t find any major problems," Branstad told reporters. "So I think it’s likely that I will sign it."

Branstad said he will take the time to review the bill to ensure there are no "unintended consequences."

"Obviously, this was just worked out in the closing hours of the session, so we’re going to carefully review it," he said. "But I think this is certainly a subject that has a lot of interest and support."

Read more: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/24/branstad-likely-sign-medical-cannabis-oil-expansion-into-law/100846650/

Iowa activists confront Steve King's staff over tweets

An Iowa activist says a missed meeting with U.S. Rep. Steve King's congressional staff escalated into a Twitter exchange she believes is emblematic of a larger concern about his demeaning use of Twitter.

Vanessa Marcano-Kelly, an activist with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, tweeted Tuesday, "had mtg set up with @SteveKingIA staff in DC. 23 min later, staff no show. We're here all the way from IA. Way 2 serve the people, Rep. King."

King, a Republican from Kiron, tweeted back about 45 minutes later, "do you always lie in English?" in an apparent reference to Marcano-Kelly's Twitter feed, which had been written mostly in Spanish as she live-tweeted a conference. In her Twitter profile, she describes herself as a "healthcare & certified court SPA-ENG interpreter. translator | feminista. global citizen. secular. Venezuelan."

“It was precisely the kind of thing that he usually does and that we wanted to talk to him about," Marcano-Kelly said in an interview with The Des Moines Register Wednesday.

Read more: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/26/iowa-activists-confront-steve-kings-staff-over-tweets/100928070/

Court: DOT can order speed cameras removed from highways

The Iowa Department of Transportation has the authority to order cities to remove automated traffic enforcement cameras from highways and interstates, a Polk County judge has ruled.

The ruling is in response to a request for judicial review filed by Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine in 2015 after the transportation department ordered some speed cameras turned off because they did not make interstate highways or nearby intersections safer.

Des Moines will appeal the decision, a city official told the Des Moines Register.

Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Muscatine officials had argued that the DOT was infringing on cities’ ability to self-govern, a right guaranteed by the Iowa Constitution. Officials also argued that the DOT did not have the authority to decide how police officers enforced speed regulations and that state officials failed to consider relevant information when they ordered removal of the cameras.

Read more: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2017/04/27/iowa-dot-can-order-speed-cameras-removed-highways-court-rules/307287001/

Fraud case in Minnesota stirs new legal ripples years later

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota lawmakers are considering changing the rules on money that may be recovered for victims of businessman Tom Petters’ $3.7 billion Ponzi scheme.

The change would limit the recovery of investment income earned by charitable or religious organizations that took gifts from Petters or his associates, Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2oLahkO ) reported. The law change would make clear that multiple kinds of donations can be protected after a certain time limit.

Some charitable foundations confronted by claims from a court-appointed receiver support the change. But the receiver, Minneapolis attorney and former white-collar prosecutor Doug Kelley, says it could take $35 million off the table.

“That would be borne not by the taxpayers, but by the victims of the Ponzi scheme,” Kelley said Tuesday before a House-Senate conference committee hashing over differing public safety and judiciary budget plans.

Read more: http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/minnesota/2017/04/26/fraud-case-minnesota-stirs-new-legal-ripples-years-later/100936090/

Minnesota House OKs more abortion restrictions

Republican lawmakers sought tougher restrictions on abortions Monday, approving two bills in the House that would bar the use of state funds for abortion services and create a state permitting system for abortion facilities.

They face a tough path through Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. The governor vetoed similar regulatory legislation in 2012 and said earlier in the session he would oppose any bills that limit women's access to abortions.

The bill to regulate abortion facilities was overhauled after abortion rights advocates testified in committee that it put an undue burden on facilities to comply with unrealistic standards. The new version would require the state's health department to award permits to nationally accredited facilities that follow evidence-based clinical standards. Facilities would be subject to random inspections and the permit would be good for two years.

Democrats focused most of their ire on the permitting bill, even as Republicans said they had changed it to give greater voice to providers as they navigate the permitting process. GOP lawmakers said abortion providers would be able to choose the national accreditation rules they follow and providers such as local Planned Parenthood facilities would be able to use their own national policy guidelines when seeking a permit.

Read more: http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/minnesota/2017/04/24/republicans-tout-more-abortion-restrictions/100864832/

North Dakota Legislators Plan Study Of Gas Royalty Deductions

BISMARCK — A dispute between the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands and the oil industry over gas royalty payments will become part of a legislative management study under a bill lawmakers approved Wednesday, April 26.

The department says some oil companies owe the state money after taking improper deductions on natural gas royalties, a discrepancy discovered in recent audits.

The oil industry has a different interpretation of leases for state-owned minerals and claims the department is changing a decades-old policy.

Legislators decided to study the issue during the 2017-18 interim, along with other issues related to determining the value of oil and gas and the reporting of deductions on royalty statements.

Read more: http://oilpatchdispatch.areavoices.com/2017/04/26/nd-legislators-plan-study-of-gas-royalty-deductions/

3 SD college students sent to jail after alcohol-related death at party

WATERTOWN, S.D.—Three Watertown college students were sentenced this week to jail time for their connection with the death of a 19-year-old woman who died after drinking heavily at a house party last month.

The Minnehaha County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy that revealed the woman's blood alcohol level .33 percent after her death. However, the examiner concluded the alcohol concentration wasn't the cause of death, but rather that she was placed face down on a bed at the party and died of "positional asphyxia due to acute ethanol intoxication."

Codington County State's Attorney Patrick McCann said those sentenced in the death investigation Tuesday were Kayla Juhnke, 21, for buying alcohol for an underage person, Brady Johnke, 19, for furnishing alcohol to a minor and Logan Schilling, 19, for being the "social host" for the party.

Juhnke and Schilling each received 11 days in jail, while Johnke had his time suspended on the alcohol charge, but must spend 31 days in jail for use or dissemination of a visual recording or photographic device without consent.

Read more: http://www.wctrib.com/news/crime/4257931-3-sd-college-students-sent-jail-after-alcohol-related-death-party

Minneapolis woman gets probation in terrorism case at prosecution's urging

A Minneapolis woman who sent money to the militant group al-Shabab in Somalia was sentenced to five years’ probation on Wednesday after she cooperated with prosecutors, who said the light sentence would send a message to community members who shunned the woman yet supported other defendants who remained defiant.

Amina Mohamud Esse, 43, pleaded guilty in 2014 to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. She faced up to 15 years in prison, but prosecutors sought probation because she provided substantial assistance to the government.

“I accept responsibility for what I did,” Esse told the judge through an interpreter. “I’m willing to do all I can for the rest of my life to correct the mistakes I did.”

Her cooperation included nearly 60 meetings and phone calls with authorities, as well as testimony in the trial against ringleaders of an online network of women who used an internet chat room to raise thousands of dollars for al-Shabab, which the U.S. says is involved in terrorism.

Read more: http://www.twincities.com/2017/04/27/minneapolis-woman-gets-probation-in-terrorism-case-at-prosecutions-urging/

Eagan firefighter sues city, saying he was demoted because he is gay

An Eagan firefighter is suing the city and its fire chief, claiming he was demoted from a battalion chief position because he is gay.

In a civil lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court, firefighter Dan Benson alleges discrimination based on his sexual orientation and violation of his constitutional rights by Eagan Fire Chief Mike Scott and the city.

Benson joined the fire department about 18 years ago, moving up along the way to become battalion chief. As such, he was paid a monthly stipend. He also contributed to a fire department pension.

Sometime around November of last year, Scott told Benson and other firefighters at a meeting that they would have to reapply for their positions, according to the lawsuit.

Read more: http://www.twincities.com/2017/04/27/eagan-mn-firefighter-sues-claims-demoted-because-he-is-gay/

Ex-finance official allegedly embezzled more than $100,000 from Hamline University

A supervisor in the accounts payable department at Hamline University stole more than $150,000 from the school by creating fake vendor accounts and cashing checks issued by the university into her personal bank account, charges say.

Teresa Ann Garin, 51, was charged with three counts of theft by swindle for her role in an elaborate financial scheme that played out between the summer of 2015 and this past winter, according to the criminal complaint filed against her Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court.

Police began investigating her alleged embezzlement after Wells Fargo alerted Hamline’s chief financial officer that several of the university’s checks were being deposited into Garin’s personal account.

Officers later uncovered that Garin had issued or cashed nearly 70 checks from her employer totaling about $160,000, the complaint said.

Read more: http://www.twincities.com/2017/04/27/ex-finance-official-allegedly-embezzled-more-than-100000-from-hamline-u/
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