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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: 77,874

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

Workers' Comp Rebate Nearly Refunds Employer Premiums

A large rebate is likely in the future for about 200,000 employers in Ohio. The state’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation hopes to send $1.5 billion back to companies that pay premiums.

The employers set to receive rebates include private businesses as well as local governments and school districts.

The $1.5 billion amounts to about 88% of employer premiums.

As Gov. Mike DeWine puts it, this becomes a near refund.

“The reason they can get a refund is because the BWC has done a good job in investing and this money is going to come directly back to companies. And for all of Ohioans it’s good news because when companies get this kind of money, this infusion of money they can create more jobs,” DeWine says.

Read more: https://www.statenews.org/post/workers-comp-rebate-nearly-refunds-employer-premiums

Christian Groups Drop Lawsuit Over South Euclid's Anti-Discrimination Law

A conservative Christian organization and a Catholic school have dropped their lawsuit against an Ohio city for its law protecting against LGBTQ discrimination.

The Alliance Defending Freedom was representing the Lyceum against South Euclid’s non-discrimination ordinance, which the school said might threaten its teachings on marriage and gender.

The school had claimed there were First Amendment issues involved, but the city’s Keith Benjamin said this is a civil rights issue.

“We can have laws and public policy in our country that protect members of the LGBT and respect religious freedom. And in South Euclid, I think that's what we did," Benjamin said.

Read more: https://www.statenews.org/post/christian-groups-drop-lawsuit-over-south-euclids-anti-discrimination-law

Bill That Subsidizes Nuclear, Scraps Renewable Standards Passes Ohio House

The Ohio House passed a sweeping energy bill, HB6, that would bail out the state’s two nuclear power plants and wipe out green energy standards, with the help of Democratic support.

The bill passed by a vote of 53-43. Ten Democrats voted for the bill while 17 Republicans voted against the measure.

The bill would add a $1 fee to residential ratepayers' monthly electric bill, generating about $190 million for the Ohio Clean Air Program. That pot of money will then be used for "clean air" credits, most of which will go to the state's two nuclear plants, Davis-Besse and Perry, owned by FirstEnergy Solutions.

A late change to the bill allowed certain solar energy projects to also recieve those credits. The solar project must already be approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board and generate more than 50 megawatts of power. Five projects match that description.

Read more: https://www.statenews.org/post/bill-subsidizes-nuclear-scraps-renewable-standards-passes-ohio-house

Democratic lawmaker's challenge to governor's residency continues

A Democratic lawmaker continues to challenge Gov. Jim Justice in court for failing to live in Kanawha County, with a hearing in the case set for next week.

Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, filed a petition for writ of mandamus against Justice last summer for allegedly living at his Lewisburg home instead of at the Governor’s Mansion in Charleston. The West Virginia Constitution and state law require the governor to “reside at the seat of government.”

Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King indicated skepticism regarding how any order compelling Justice to live at the mansion could be enforced or what it would look like. Attorneys for the governor have leaned into King’s line of questioning in their arguments.

King dismissed the original lawsuit after finding Sponaugle failed to file prior notice with the state of his intent to sue. The state Supreme Court declined to take the case up on appeal.

Read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/politics/democratic-lawmaker-s-challenge-to-governor-s-residency-continues/article_fcbc0bac-45d8-56eb-a6a9-eb4f175a77b2.html

West Virginia Teacher Unions Plan Saturday Protests as Senate Readies Work on Education Reform

With West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael planning to address public education during a one-day special legislative session this weekend, leaders of teacher unions are gearing up to have their members at the Capitol.

A Senate spokeswoman says Carmichael and his members will begin work at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 1, to consider the 144-page “Student Success Act.”

The bill would boost school employee pay, create an open enrollment policy for counties, provide mental health training for teachers and allow for four charter schools, among other reforms.

Leaders of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association have called on their members to be there as the “Student Success Act” is being considered.

Read more: https://www.wvpublic.org/post/west-virginia-teacher-unions-plan-saturday-protests-senate-readies-work-education-reform

Rise of HIV cases another effect of opioid epidemic in Appalachia

HUNTINGTON — For all of Appalachia’s much-profiled health concerns, HIV/AIDS has historically not been one of them.

In 2017, when West Virginia flashed in national headlines detailing the carnage of the opioid epidemic, the Mountain State still had one of the nation’s lowest rates of HIV diagnoses (4.3 cases per 100,000 residents), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Neighboring Kentucky (7.9 per 100,000) and Ohio (8.8 per 100,000) have fared similarly.

Traditionally, it’s been a disease contained to the nation’s urban coasts and Deep South, spread mostly through unprotected sex, the bulk being men having sex with men.

But a recent HIV cluster in Cabell County, along with a scattering of others beginning to crop up across the region, reflects a shift in how HIV is being transmitted — potentially devastating for communities already ravaged by the opioid epidemic.

Read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/health/rise-of-hiv-cases-another-effect-of-opioid-epidemic-in/article_4e2305c3-d06b-5bd0-b3d9-33f056838e8c.html

Guam could get more access to federal medical funding

A bill that was passed by the U.S. Senate last week could provide Guam more access to federal medical funding.

The Disaster Relief Package passed by the Senate, which still needs to be approved by the House, would give Guam relief from the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage program, or FMAP, to tap into federal money.

The program requires Guam to match federal funding before federal money can be used.

The package includes language that increases the Affordable Care Act subsidy to Guam to 100 percent, according to a release from the governor's office.

Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2019/05/28/disaster-relief-package-more-access-federal-medical-funding/1255434001/

Guam government argues recreational marijuana law doesn't violate federal law

The government of Guam argues that a local law that legalized recreational marijuana doesn't violate federal law.

The lawsuit filed in the District Court of Guam by Sedfrey Linsangan seeks to void the Guam Cannabis Industry Act of 2019. He asked the federal court to strike down the new law and ban the local government from allowing marijuana to be sold and distributed legally.

The Guam Cannabis Industry Act, Public Law 35-5, decriminalizes the personal use of marijuana for individuals who are 21 years old and older. It also places restrictions on cultivation, regulates cannabis-related operations, and imposes a tax.

The Office of the Attorney General filed an opposition stating Guam isn't in violation of federal law.

Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2019/05/28/guam-government-argues-recreational-cannabis-law-does-not-violate-federal-law/1256021001/

Judge says Hansen Helicopters executive poses a flight risk if allowed to go to Philippines

Guam -- A federal judge rejected a travel request filed by a Hansen Helicopters executive facing criminal charges, stating the executive "poses a flight risk if permitted to travel to the Philippines," court filings state.

Phillip Kapp, listed as Hansen's director of maintenance, asked the court for permission to fly to the Philippines for work. On Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan Jr. denied his request.

In his order, the judge noted that “there are many discrepancies in [Kapp's] filings and statements to this court.”

Manibusan's order also said Kapp had travel documents and identification cards that "indicate the defendant had strong ties to the Philippines that he had not previously disclosed to the court."

Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2019/05/29/judge-denies-travel-hansen-helicopter-employee-accused-aircraft-scam-guam/1265449001/

Man posing as Beto O'Rourke campaign worker arrested for breaking into South Austin home, affidavit

Man posing as Beto O’Rourke campaign worker arrested for breaking into South Austin home, affidavit says

A man who said he was campaigning for Beto O’Rourke was arrested Tuesday after breaking into a South Austin home and stealing a Popsicle, according to an arrest affidavit.

James Bradford Gibbon II, 28, has been charged with burglary of a residence, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. He was being held Wednesday at the Travis County Jail on $12,000 bail, online jail records show.

Austin police said they were called about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to the 800 block of Barton Avenue for a report that a person had broken into a home. When officers arrived, they said they caught Gibbon coming out of the home and took him into custody, the affidavit said.


Police charged Gibbon with burglary, saying he was attempting to steal property when he was caught and had committed theft by taking a Popsicle from the kitchen, the document said.

A spokesman for O’Rourke said Wednesday that Gibbon is not and has never been employed with the campaign.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190529/man-posing-as-beto-orourke-campaign-worker-arrested-for-breaking-into-south-austin-home-affidavit-says
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