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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: 85,773

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

Town of Bennington announces settlement with Kiah Morris, James Lawton

The town of Bennington announced a settlement this week with Kiah Morris and her family following a yearslong investigation by the Human Rights Commission.

The commission was investigating the actions of the police department, and the town by extension, after Morris and her family experienced racist threats and harassment.

Morris represented Bennington in the Vermont House until 2018, when she declined to run for a third term because of continued harassment. Her family later moved away from Bennington.

The settlement requires Bennington to pay $137,500 to Morris’s family, which includes Morris, her husband James Lawton, and their son.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2021/04/29/town-of-bennington-announces-settlement-with-kiah-morris-james-lawton/

Jay Peak receiver, People's United Bank reach $1.75M proposed deal

The court-appointed receiver overseeing properties at the center of Jay Peak EB-financial scandal has reached a proposed $1.75 million settlement with People’s United Bank, which was accused in a lawsuit of misappropriating funds.

Seven EB-5 investors claimed the bank aided and abetted Ariel Quiros, Jay Peak’s former owner, in an alleged scheme to defraud investors.

People’s United Bank has denied wrongdoing.

The $1.75 million settlement figure is a paltry sum compared to other settlements the receiver had reached with some other parties, including one for $150 million with Raymond James & Associates for its role in the scandal.

Michael Goldberg was appointed receiver of the Jay Peak assets in April 2016 when federal and state and regulators brought investor fraud claims against Quiros and his former business partner, Bill Stenger, past CEO and president of Jay Peak.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2021/04/29/jay-peak-receiver-peoples-united-bank-reach-1-75m-proposed-deal/

New Hampshire Lawmakers Consider Bill To Blunt Any Biden Executive Order On Guns

A New Hampshire House committee took up a Senate-backed plan aimed at blunting the effects of any executive order issued by President Biden dealing with guns.

As drafted, the bill would prohibit any state resources from being used to enforce or assist federal authorities in enforcing any executive order on guns.

While supporters of tightening gun policies urged the committee to reject the bill, gun rights advocates like JR Hoell, of the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, said the Senate bill didn't go far enough.

"We would ask that you adopt an amendment that addresses all of the following: congressional actions, executive orders, and ATF rules. And that there be penalties for local and state officials who choose to follow federal rule over state law," Hoell said.

Read more: https://www.nhpr.org/post/nh-lawmakers-consider-bill-blunt-any-biden-executive-order-guns-0

Legislature looks at gun deaths across nation, says: 'We need more guns'

The news is so pervasive, it makes you not want to turn on the TV or look online at all: There’s been another shooting. Where? A home in Texas. A grocery store in Boulder. A spa in Atlanta. This place. That place. It can happen anywhere. And it does.

More than 100 people are killed by firearms in this country every day, and another 230 are wounded. People are killed via gun homicides, suicides, and gun accidents. No other wealthy country comes close to meeting these statistics; none of them would tolerate it. The United States of America is the only country in the world populated by more guns than people – approximately 400 million firearms for 331 million people – and which, suffering a death-by-firearm rate of almost 40,000 people per year, shrugs its collective shoulders and continually says, “This is fine.”

This is madness.

No country should find acceptable the slaughter of its citizens as they go about their daily business of living. Men, women, and children should be able to go to work, to school, to places of worship, to the grocery store with confidence that they will not be shot before the end of the day. Shootings should not appear on the news with the regularity of the weather report.

Yet here we are.

Read more: https://newhampshirebulletin.com/2021/04/29/commentary-legislature-looks-at-gun-deaths-across-nation-says-we-need-more-guns/

Mills pushes for 10-year ban on offshore wind development in state waters

The moratorium would focus commercial-scale wind power development in federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, where an offshore wind research project is planned.

As fishing interests geared up early Wednesday for a rally against offshore wind power development, the administration of Gov. Janet Mills introduced legislation to create a 10-year ban on new projects in state waters.

The proposed moratorium would set aside state waters, which extend up to three miles from shore, for fishing and recreation. It would focus commercial-scale wind project development in federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, where the Mills administration has proposed a first-in-the-nation research array to study floating offshore wind technology.

The ban wouldn’t include the already permitted New England Aqua Ventus demonstration project, a single floating turbine which is expected to be built off Monhegan Island in 2022-2023.

Lobstermen have shown their displeasure with the Monhegan project, engaging in a dispute last month with a survey vessel working to mark a route for a submerged cable that will connect the project to the mainland.

Read more: https://www.pressherald.com/2021/04/28/mills-advances-10-year-ban-on-offshore-wind-power-in-state-waters/
(Portland Press Herald)

Maine could end qualified immunity for law enforcement

Legislators in Maine have joined lawmakers in more than two dozen states and the U.S. Congress in considering ending or limiting qualified immunity, the legal defense often used to shield police officers from lawsuits.

Qualified immunity has no bearing on whether a prosecutor charges a police officer with a crime, but it does impact whether that officer can be sued for civil rights violations. The U.S. Supreme Court created the concept more than 50 years ago to protect government employees from frivolous litigation, but it has expanded in case law over decades. It has come under new scrutiny, especially since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, as activists push for greater accountability when police officers use excessive force.

Two bills proposed this year in Maine would address this doctrine in state courts, and the Judiciary Committee heard more than four hours of conflicting testimony on both Thursday. One – L.D. 214 – would eliminate qualified immunity entirely for police officers, sheriffs and other law enforcement officers in Maine. The other – L.D. 1416 – would deny qualified immunity to officers who have received training and work for departments that have use-of-force policies, yet still violate constitutional rights.

“It’s really important for us as a state to work together to improve the qualified immunity standard and have a really serious conversation about when law enforcement officers should or shouldn’t be liable,” said Sen. Anne Carney, a Democrat from Cape Elizabeth and the sponsor of L.D. 1416.

Read more: https://www.pressherald.com/2021/04/29/maine-could-end-qualified-immunity-for-law-enforcement/
(Portland Press Herald)

Wiscasset jail on lockdown after 27 test positive for COVID-19

Two Bridges Regional Jail is on lockdown and is diverting arrested individuals to other facilities after at least 27 people associated with the Wiscasset facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the outbreak Tuesday. The jail began universal testing for all inmates and staff after discovering the first few positive cases within the facility. All programming and non-essential services are suspended.

So far, 24 inmates, two jail staff members and one contractor have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 72 inmates at the jail and 41 employees who work there, according to Correctional Administrator James Bailey.

This is the first outbreak or more than two cases at a time at the jail since the coronavirus pandemic reached Maine in March 2020, Bailey said.

Read more: https://www.pressherald.com/2021/04/29/27-individuals-at-wiscasset-jail-test-positive-for-covid-19/
(Portland Press Herald)

Battle over South Portland tank emissions moves to Augusta

Anearly decade-long fight to regulate oil and fuel storage tank emissions in South Portland could advance to the state Legislature next week.

State Rep. Victoria Morales, D-South Portland, is sponsoring LD 1532, An Act to Protect Maine’s Air Quality by Strengthening Requirements for Air Emissions Licensing, which will be heard May 3. The bill would require specific and ongoing testing for the 120 oil and fuel storage tanks around Portland Harbor.

There is also potential for a related bill during this session, which is being written by the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee.

The grassroots group Protect South Portland has spearheaded the push against tank emissions, along with several environmental campaigns including a pesticide-control ordinance and fertilizer ban.

Read more: https://portlandphoenix.me/battle-over-south-portland-tank-emissions-moves-to-augusta/

Texas Republican Briscoe Cain blindsides fellow lawmakers in push for House version of new voting

Texas Republican Briscoe Cain blindsides fellow lawmakers in push for House version of new voting restrictions

by Alexa Ura, Texas Tribune

A raw power play by the chair of the Texas House Elections Committee came up one vote short Thursday, but the legislative blindside maneuver underscored the intensity behind the Republican push to get proposed voting restrictions to the governor’s desk — and the competing visions between the House and Senate for what those restrictions should look like.

With little advance notice, state Rep. Briscoe Cain brought up in his committee Senate Bill 7, the priority voting bill that has already passed the Senate, and moved to gut it entirely. His motion would have replaced the bill's language with that of House Bill 6, a significantly different voting bill favored by House leadership, and put the Senate on the defensive to resurrect its legislation.

Caught off guard, Democrats on the committee said they were handed the replacement language minutes before they were asked to vote, and repeatedly objected to the move, which would have preempted any public hearing by the House on SB 7’s provisions that differ substantially from Cain’s substitute.

“I feel that SB 7 is a significant piece of legislation that we should hold a hearing on it,” said state Rep. John Bucy, D-Austin.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/04/29/texas-voting-restrictions-fight/

Republican tries to strike word 'racial' from commission that addresses racial disparities

A Republican lawmaker, who came under fire earlier this month for sending an email to an Asian American woman calling COVID-19 the ‘China virus,’ attempted to remove the word “racial” from a legislative panel set up to address racial disparities.

Freshman state Rep. Michael Lemelin, a Republican from Chelsea, is a member of the legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. During a work session earlier this month, Lemelin caused confusion among his colleagues on the committee when he made a muddled attempt to change the purview of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations.

The panel, signed into law in 2019, is tasked with understanding where and how the state’s existing policies exclude or reinforce the economic disparities seen in communities of color, including Indigenous and new immigrant populations, and then advocate for policies that center those communities.

On April 13, the committee was considering a resolution proposed by state Sen. Anne Carney (D-Cape Elizabeth) that would direct the permanent commission to study racial disparities in access to prenatal care in Maine.

Read more: https://mainebeacon.com/republican-tries-to-strike-word-racial-from-commission-that-addresses-racial-disparities/
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