A U.S. House Ethics Committee investigation into U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings relationship with a member of his staff was closed last month, ending another chapter of ethical questions in a long career filled with them.
The House Ethics Committee, chaired by a Palm Beach County colleague, said it closed the investigation after learning that the longtime congressman had married his aide in January 2019.
The committee did not name the staff member but The Palm Beach Post and other media outlets have reported that Hastings has been in a long relationship with Patricia Williams, a former attorney who was disbarred for mishandling the money of her clients.
The closure of the House Ethics probe was first reported by Roll Call and Politico.
In a totally normal and not at all capricious way of governing that is surely not borderline cruel to his constituents, Gov. DeSantis extended the statewide moratorium on eviction and foreclosures on Tuesday night mere hours before it was set to expire at midnight, July 1.
Though waiting until the last second for such an important measure that would prevent many Florida residents from being evicted from their homes might seem a little tone-deaf or excessive in the midst of exploding coronavirus numbers statewide, a reopening strategy that is not working out as planned, a broken unemployment system, and all of it right before a holiday that's supposed to mark everything that's great about America, maybe he has a good excuse?
Maybe DeSantis got caught up in the thrill of the cat-and-mouse game that was dodging reporters' questions on Tuesday about whether he would extend the moratorium? Maybe the parental-consent abortion bill that he quietly signed on Tuesday without any public comment took up all of his attention? Or possibly he got too engrossed in gutting the Complete Florida Plus program of virtual learning resources and services?
This executive order is set to expire in one month, on Aug. 1. In Orange County, there are currently almost 200 eviction petitions filed with the Clerk of the Court.
Read more: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2020/07/01/gov-desantis-extends-statewide-eviction-and-foreclosure-moratorium-mere-hours-before-it-expires
Former felons in Florida who owe fines and fees may not get to vote this year after all.
A federal court on Wednesday delayed a May 26 ruling by Judge Robert Hinkle that was one of the biggest expansions of voting rights in Florida history, affecting as many as 775,000 ex-felons.
Now, their ability to vote could be in limbo for months, well past deadlines to register for the August primaries and November presidential election.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued the stay after a majority of its judges agreed to Gov. Ron DeSantiss request for a rare review of Hinkles decision by the entire court.
Read more: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/2020-election/os-ne-amendment-4-stay-20200701-r5gjfmv27jfe5fm5xuvjtgfeua-story.html
Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales announced she is finalizing an order to prohibit vehicular access to beaches over Independence Day weekend.
The order will begin on Friday, July 3 and will end on July 7, Canales said during the area's COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.
The order will prohibit all vehicle access to beaches, including cars, trucks and golf carts.
"Its in the best interest of public health and safety," Canales said.
Beaches from Port Aransas to the National Seashore will be closed to vehicle access under the order.
Read more: https://www.caller.com/story/news/local/2020/06/30/nueces-county-judge-barbara-canales-issue-beach-order/5352565002/
(Corpus Christi Caller-Times)
Source: Texas Tribune
Hundreds of the country's immigration judges filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that the Trump administration is muzzling their right to free speech.
The lawsuit cites a 2020 policy enacted by the Justice Departments Executive Office of Immigration Review that prohibits judges from speaking about policy or law, even in their personal capacities, and requires immigration judges to obtain prior permission before speaking on any other policy, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in a Virginia federal court by Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University on behalf of the National Association of Immigration Judges, a nationwide organization of more than 460 judges.
The policy violates the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the judges argue, and the U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that people do not surrender their free-speech rights when they accept government employment.
The government can only prohibit speech if it can show that doing so outweighs an employees interest and the publics interest in hearing what that person has to say.
Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2020/07/01/immigration-judges-sue-trump-administration-free-speech/
Article by Julián Aguilar.
Sacha Baron Cohen drew eyes to Olympia, Wash., over the weekend by attending a far-right March for Our Rights rally. The comedian, known for bringing his satirical characters into real-world settings, posed as an event sponsor and led the crowd in an absurd singalong for several minutes.
In a video uploaded to YouTube and shared on social media, a rally organizer said the production company at the last minute added a sponsor they hadn't worked with before. That man got onstage and about halfway through the set, according to the organizer, sang "pretty racist and divisive lyrics." The group attempted to get him off the stage, but Cohen's hired security stood in the way. They also blocked the generators, impeding the organizers' ability to cut power to the microphone.
Dressed in a cowboy hat and overalls, Cohen sang racist lyrics attacking President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Anthony Fauci, as well as CNN and the World Health Organization. He repeatedly mentioned "the Wuhan Flu," a phrase some lawmakers have used to blame China for the spread of the novel coronavirus, and talked about "chopping them up like the Saudis do." The crowd cheered and joined in.
The Saturday rally was a gathering of "constitutionalist" factions like the Washington Three Percent, which, as NPR noted in an interview with its founder, is associated with "the far-right Patriot and militia movement" as well as other groups that extremism trackers have placed in the anti-government category. The Washington Three Percent denied organizing the rally in a Facebook post, but expressed support for the cause and condemned Cohen's actions as a way of "tarnishing the image of our attendees, spreading hate, encouraging divide, and promoting their popularity in the current viral culture."
Read more: https://www.beaumontenterprise.com/entertainment/article/Sacha-Baron-Cohen-s-latest-prank-involves-a-15374412.php
Owners of a former Guam-based medical transport company were sentenced this week to years in federal prison in what the U.S. Attorneys Office called one of the largest single Medicare ambulance fraud cases ever prosecuted.
Clifford Shoemake, 63, former owner of Guam Medical Transport was sentenced to almost six years, or 71 months, in prison.
Kimberly Clyde Casey Conner, 60, was sentenced to a little more than five years, or 63 months, in prison, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
The two were charged for their roles in a health care fraud and money laundering scheme. Their company billed Medicare and TriCare for fraudulent non-emergency ambulance transportation services on Guam.
Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2020/06/30/clifford-shoemake-casey-conner-sentenced-guam-medicare-fraud-cases/5352755002/
(Guam Pacific Daily News)
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed an executive order Monday extending Guam's public health emergency until July 30.
Last week, the governor announced she would be extending the emergency and delaying the opening of tourism on the island.
The order noted that over the last 14 days, the island's positive COVID-19 case count increased by 68, including both military and civilian communities.
The increase "necessitates continued public health, public safety, economic and public welfare efforts to combat the effects of this global pandemic on our island," the order stated.
Read more: https://www.guampdn.com/story/news/local/2020/06/29/governor-signs-order-extending-public-health-emergency-due-coronavirus/3277124001/
(Guam Pacific Daily News)
SKYMARK and other Asian airlines will not have regular flights to and from Saipan until Sept. 30, the Commonwealth Ports Authority said.
CPA Executive Director Christopher Tenorio, in an interview, said Skymark, Jeju Air, Asiana and Sichuan have moved their fight schedules again.
Skymark Airlines notified CPA last week that it will resume its flight service on Sept. 30 in response to low demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Skymark, which serves the Narita-Saipan route, made an official announcement during the CPA airport operation committee meeting with airline representatives and other stakeholders on Tuesday morning, Tenorio said.
Read more: https://www.mvariety.com/cnmi-local/73-local/4803-no-regular-flights-from-asia-until-sept-30
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga will be extending for another 30-days his current COVID-19 emergency declaration, set to expire today, June 30th, but will also ease more restrictions, such as opening of schools and lifting the limitation of people in public gathering, but still requiring the enforcement of social distancing and wearing face masks.
However, the governor made very clear when making the announcement at Sundays ASG coronavirus task force meeting that all flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago will remain closed, reiterating his concerns of the spike of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii and the US mainland.
As for the borders of the two Samoas, flights will be reviewed while the Samoa governments Samoa Shipping Corporation, which manages and operates Samoa owned vessels, announced Monday in Apia that a weekly cargo only service will start July 2nd between Apia and Pago Pago.
As of 12 noon Sunday, June 28th, Hawaii state health authorities reported 27 new cases bringing the states total to 899, while deaths are at 18, according to the states online public records.
Read more: https://www.samoanews.com/local-news/some-covid-19-restrictions-ease-today-not-hawaii-pago-travel
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