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It was a bad year for Southern California homebuilders – OCRegister

Excerpt:

It was a tough year for Southern California homebuilders.

As 2019 started, builders found themselves stuck with the largest inventory of unsold residences since the Great Recession. Rising interest rates and economic anxieties cooled house hunting, making the builders’ big bets on higher-priced homes a poor choice. So for much of the year, builders were forced to discount slow-selling homes while retooling plans to create lower-priced product.

Two new rankings of the nation’s fastest-selling “master-planned communities” — neighborhoods carved from large parcels of undeveloped…

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William K. Wells’s new book “Protecting Designs of Useful Products in America” explores the three modes of legal protection: design patents, trademarks, and copyright. – Benzinga

Excerpt:

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., Jan. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — William K. Wells, a former senior partner at Kenyon and Kenyon, a premier New York-based law firm specializing in intellectual property, now part of Hunton Andrews Kurth, and former chairman of the Industrial Design Committee of the American Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (AIPLA), who represented the association at an international conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on international design protection, has completed his book “Protecting Designs of Useful Products in America”: a detailed discussion of the…

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New tariffs on wine and cheese could devastate Maine specialty foods industry, small business owners say – Bangor Daily News

Excerpt:

PORTLAND, Maine — On Tuesday, Ned Swain traveled from Portland to Washington, D.C., to deliver testimony that he hoped would save his small business.

Swain runs Devenish Wines, a Maine-based wine distribution company that stocks restaurants and wine shops from Portland to Mount Desert Island and Down East. He’s one of many Mainers who have spent decades making a life in Maine’s hospitality, tourism and restaurant industries who fear a new proposal for 100 percent tariffs on European wine, cheese, olives and other agricultural goods that would “devastate” their business.

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Bridge Linking NJ Shore Towns to Close For Months of Emergency Repairs – NBC New York

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A bridge that links two towns on the New Jersey shore is expected to close for several months of emergency repairs, officials said.

The Ocean Avenue Shark River Bridge, which connects Avon-by-the-Sea and Belmar, will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians after the contract is awarded in the next two weeks, according to a statement from Monmouth County released this week.

Limited marine traffic will still be able to pass under the bridge.

The steel pinions that support the bridge where it opens and closes have deteriorated and need to be repaired, inspectors said.

The bridge is…

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Orange County schedules forums about hate incidents in schools – Los Angeles Times

Excerpt:

The Orange County Human Relations Commission will join the county Department of Education in presenting two public forums this month exploring the impact of hate-driven incidents among students, schools and their communities.

The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the department’s headquarters at 200 Kalmus Drive in Costa Mesa and will focus on discussions by parents and students on their experiences with hate on school campuses. Information gathered at the forum will then be used at a second meeting for teachers, counselors and school administrators scheduled for 8 a.m….

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GOP state lawmaker Kim Coleman enters 4th Congressional District race – KSL.com

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WEST JORDAN — Three-term Republican state Rep. Kim Coleman said Friday she’s in the race for the 4th Congressional District seat now held by Utah’s only Democrat in Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams.

“We’re in this. We’re viable. We’re strong. We’re moving forward,” Coleman told the Deseret News in advance of making a formal announcement Saturday morning and rallying supporters at the opening of her campaign headquarters in West Jordan.

She’s already been raising money for a congressional run, reporting more than $110,000 in contributions to the Federal Election Commission as of…

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Tech Veteran’s Fundraising Team Rakes In Cash for Pete Buttigieg Campaign – Wall Street Journal

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO—Three years ago, Swati Mylavarapu had never worked for a political campaign and attended just a single campaign fundraiser.

Now, the 36-year-old Silicon Valley investor is a financial force behind one of the best fundraisers in the Democratic presidential primary, serving as national investment chairwoman for Pete Buttigieg, a fellow Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar whom she has known for half her life.

The…

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The Looming Battle For Michigan’s Senate Seat – WKAR

Excerpt:

Another version of this story previously aired on Weekend Edition Saturday.

When Donald Trump won the state of Michigan in 2016, he did it by a narrow margin of just over 11,000 votes. The President’s victory in 2020 depends on voters in a coalition of battleground states, like Michigan, voting for him again.

While the top of the ticket race may be the marquee for politicos, it’s not the only one. The reelection effort for Michigan’s junior Democratic Senator, Gary Peters, will be hard fought between Democrats, who need the seat to maintain their foothold in the Senate, and…

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Hassan endorses trade deal on eve of hearing – The Union Leader

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WASHINGTON — On the eve of a key hearing, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, has endorsed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The Senate Finance Committee on which Hassan serves will discuss and make a recommendation on the trade deal, Senate officials said.

Hassan spelled out the criteria she applies to all these proposals.

“International trade — when done right — helps business and consumers alike by expanding opportunity, reducing costs, and boosting economic growth,” Hassan said.

“In evaluating any trade deal, including the USMCA, I use two…

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Asian markets mostly higher on optimism about US-China deal – News 12 Westchester

Excerpt:

By YURI KAGEYAMA
AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) – Asian shares were mostly higher on optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal as regional markets opened the new year’s first day of trading Thursday.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.3% in morning trading to 6,704.00, while South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.8% to 2,179.25. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.2% to 28,516.99, while the Shanghai Composite gained 1.5% to 3,095.00. Tokyo was still closed for the New Year’s holiday.

Regional market sentiment has been on an upswing after President Donald Trump…

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Parson approves refugee settlement – Jefferson City News Tribune

Excerpt:

Gov. Mike Parson informed the federal government Monday that the state will accept resettlement of lawfully-admitted refugees — a choice given to state and local leaders in September by President Donald Trump.

Trump signed an executive order Sept. 26 that required consultation with and the consent of state and local authorities for resettlement of refugees to occur within those jurisdictions.

On the same day, Trump submitted to Congress through the departments of State, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services that the United States would resettle no more than 18,000 refugees in…

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In 1st year as AG, Aaron Frey has had to decide when Maine opposes Trump – Bangor Daily News

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It’s been just shy of a year since Aaron Frey went from being a state legislator and criminal defense lawyer in Bangor to managing one of the largest law firms in the state with more than 115 lawyers and 80 support staff.

In his first year on the job as Maine’s attorney general, Frey, 40, of Bangor has encountered a few surprises and found that he spends time each day deciding when Maine will join other states with Democratic attorneys general in challenging the policies of President Donald Trump. In a recent interview, he discussed how he makes those decisions, his expectations for a…

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‘Nothing is more important to me’ DNC, RNC delegate candidates push petitions, pump up prospective voters in the suburbs – Chicago Daily Herald

Excerpt:

Wanted: Energetic people with sufficient chutzpah to walk up to complete strangers and start talking politics. Must like walking in the cold. No pay or recognition, but you do help choose the free world’s next leader.

Who’s in to be a delegate to the Democratic or Republican national conventions in 2020?

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Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer endorses Joe Biden for president – kwwl.com

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Dubuque (KWWL) — Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-1) announced her endorsement of Joe Biden for President of the United States.

She released the following the statement:

I was raised in a small town in rural Iowa, where my family instilled in me the importance of hard work, caring for others, and most importantly the value of public service. I take those values with me every day in Washington, where I have made improving the lives of Iowa’s working families my top priority.

We need a President who reflects those same values and will make America’s…

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New Mexico background actors create ‘Background Bill of Rights’ for fair conditions on set – KRQE News 13

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s booming film industry has a group of actors looking to make changes on set. The background actors have put together a petition for better working conditions.

With big companies like Netflix and NBCUniversal setting up shop in New Mexico, there are even more working opportunities for background actors. They want these companies to make sure conditions are safe and considerate.

“Background is basically the palette of a movie or TV show,” said Bobbie Shelton, a background actor in the state. “They’re the individuals in the…

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Democrat-turned-Republican Jeff Van Drew pulls the rug out from under a carpet-bagger | Mulshine – NJ.com

Excerpt:

In his brief time in Congress, Jeff Van Drew accomplished the near-impossible: He has managed to get the national news media interested in a Congressional race in New Jersey.

The 66-year-old dentist from Cape May County did so by proclaiming that he would vote against the impeachment of President Trump.

This was hardly out of character. For the almost 20 years I’ve known him, Van Drew has made a career out of cooperating with the opposite party.

In the state Legislature, he kept his fellow Democrats from going too far to the left on issues ranging from gun control to energy policy.

He kept…

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In newly blue Orange County, Democrats struggle over how far left is too far – Los Angeles Times

Excerpt:

Emma Jenson, standing in front of over 200 Bernie Sanders supporters gathered in the parking lot of a Santa Ana office park, asked for a show of hands to see who had knocked on doors for the 2016 election.

Few had.

“Notice that my hand didn’t go up,” the San Clemente resident said. “But things are different now. This is what democracy looks like.”

The ostensible reason for the recent Sunday evening rally was the opening of Sanders’ Orange County campaign office. But Jenson’s remarks about how Democratic people power can beat Republican might resonated with the crowd for reasons…

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House passes Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act – Augusta Free Press

The House of Representatives passed on Tuesday the Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act (H.R. 729). This bipartisan bill contains an amendment from Virginia Democrat Elaine Luria advancing the coastal resiliency of military communities. “Rising sea levels and recurrent flooding present immense challenges to communities throughout Hampton Roads as well as our nation’s military readiness,” Congresswoman Luria said. “My amendment improves H.R. 729 to better position military communities in Coastal Virginia.” H.R. 729 would establish a grant program directing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award grants to state and local governments to implement living shoreline projects. These projects restore and stabilize shorelines, including marshes, wetlands, and other parts of the shoreline ecosystem by using materials such as plants and oyster shells.
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Oklahoma City residents vote in favor of MAPS 4 – KOCO Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City residents voted in favor of the MAPS 4 proposal Tuesday, approving a plan that would raise over $978 million over the next eight years for various city projects. "OKC voters approved the sales tax fund #MAPS4 in Tuesday's special election, moving forward with a unique and ambitious plan to transform our community," city officials tweeted.
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Jones’ military widows’ tax repeal included in final defense bill – alreporter.com

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) today announced the inclusion of their bipartisan Military Widow’s Tax Elimination Act in the final annual defense bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This marks a significant step in the 18-year effort to pass legislation to repeal the law that penalizes our nation’s Gold Star families by preventing them from receiving the full survivor benefits for which they have earned and paid for.
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Sessions leads GOP Senate primary field in Alabama, internal poll shows – The Hill

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions holds a wide lead in the race for the Republican Senate nomination in Alabama, according to an internal poll commissioned by Sessions’ campaign. The survey, conducted from Dec. 3-5 by the Republican firm On Message Inc., shows Sessions notching 44 percent support among likely Republican primary voters in Alabama.
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Denver professor joins Democrats vying for Cory Gardner’s Senate seat – The Denver Post

A University of Denver professor with a background in international relations and homeland security has joined the crowd of Colorado Democrats trying to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. David Goldfischer of Denver filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the seat Monday. He teaches at the university’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and was the founding director of the programs in International and Homeland Security.
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Trade tensions worry California farmers – WGNO New Orleans

.....Congressman Josh Harder, D-Calif., says it’s the tariffs themselves hurting farmers most. “Do they really want to reconcile with our trading partners, or do they want to continue to inflict needless pain on our families and farmers?” Rep. Harder said. Rep. Harder represents farming districts in California’s Central Valley. He says tariffs reduce access to international markets and that hurts farmers. “They’re on the front lines,” he explains. “We have to be able to sell our crops across the world.” Congressman Ami Bera, D-Calif., shared Rep. Harder’s concern and he thinks the new tariffs are really about the U.S. relationship with China. “He ought to work with Congress on this so we’re not blindsided,” Rep. Bera said. “If he’s concerned about the Chinese buying soybeans and other products from other parts of the world, not the United States, he ought to go back and think about some of the actions he took.
Turkey Launches New Website Denying Armenian Genocide – Armenian News by MassisPost
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Turkey Launches New Website Denying Armenian Genocide – MassisPost

The Turkish president’s press office has taken another step towards the denial of the Armenian Genocide by launching a new website, 1915.gov.tr, which is aimed at fighting against “Armenian Genocide claims”, Ermenihaber reports. “This website will respond to Armenian Genocide slander used against our country at every possible opportunity in the international area, by putting historical information and data to the fore,” Daily Sabah quoted Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun as saying.
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Report: Return of Medical Device Excise Tax Would Cripple Innovation – Watertown Public Opinion

The medical device excise tax, which has been suspended since 2016, will return in 2020 baring action from Congress between now and the end of the year. To ascertain the real impact of the tax, the Medical Alley Association took a survey of its members that will be affected by the tax’s return to find out what steps they will be taking to mitigate its impact. Though the ways the tax will impact businesses fall in line with expectations, the near unanimity of the results was quite surprising:
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This 17-Year-Old Slept in a Boat for a Week to Protest Climate Change – Free – Vice

That’s the sign draped over the bow of the boat where Jordan McAuliff, a 17-year-old in Silver Spring, Maryland, slept all last week. Parked on a trailer just blocks away from her high school, it’s Jordan’s warning to her town that the streets could be underwater within decades. “The water is rising in our communities, around our schools and our houses,” she said. “Soon we might not be able to drive there anymore.”
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Bill offering financial relief to Virginia Beach mass shooting victims passes US House – 13newsnow.com WVEC

A bill that would make it easier for families of victims of the Mary 31 Virginia Beach mass shooting to receive needed financial support has passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday. Rep. Elaine Luria introduced the Virginia Beach Strong Act. Following the May 31 mass shooting, the City of Virginia Beach create a fund to help victims, survivors, and their families.
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Democrats go to court to gain top listing on Arizona ballots – Cronkite News

Democrats allege the design of Arizona ballots puts their candidates at an unconstitutional disadvantage, according to a lawsuit filed last month against Arizona’s Secretary of State. The suit takes issue with ballots in partisan races that routinely list Republican candidates before Democrats, and it recommends rotating ballot order to ensure no candidate has an advantage.
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Feds defend creation of fake school to fight visa fraud – Washington Post

The undercover operation that targeted students at the University of Farmington in Farmington Hills was legal and helped combat visa fraud, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s investigative division in Detroit said Friday in statements to the Detroit Free Press. “HSI special agents, as part of this undercover operation, made it abundantly clear in their interactions with potential University of Farmington enrollees that the school did not offer academic or vocational programs of any kind.
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US House passes legislation to combat voter suppression, discrimination – 13newsnow.com WVEC

The Voting Rights Advancement Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would restore the full strength of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which was nullified by the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Shelby v. Holder. A review by the House Judiciary Committee found that following the verdict of Shelby v. Holder, at least 23 states enacted newly restrictive voting laws, many of which marginalize people of color and language-minority communities.
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New Poll Shows Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden Tied With Donald Trump in Traditionally Republican Arizona – Newsweek

Two Democratic 2020 candidates, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden, are both in a dead heat with President Donald Trump in the traditionally Republican state of Arizona, a new poll shows. The latest hypothetical general election matchup poll for December 2019 released on Monday shows Biden with 44 percent of support among overall voters compared to Trump's 45 percent, while Buttigieg is at 43 percent to Trump's 45 percent in a head-to-head matchup.
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Protesters gather outside Bettendorf church to protest last week’s controversial immigration forum – WQAD Moline

Protesters gathered outside Pleasant View Baptist Church's Sunday service speaking out against a controversial gathering that took place there last Monday. People from the community as well as many church-goers gathered to demand responsibility from the church after the site was home to an forum on illegal immigration organized by the Scott County Teenage Republicans.
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Sen. Collins’ staff shared constituent information to smear a high school critic – mainebeacon.com

It appears Sen. Susan Collins’s staff released constituent information about a school trip to D.C. to a far-right former representative as part of an effort to falsely smear a Maine high school senior who was critical of Collins. On Nov. 14, Camden student Pearl Benjamin penned a column in The Camden Herald calling out the newspaper’s owner, local media mogul Reade Brower, for his strangely naive defense of Sen. Collins “the person.”
GOP set for all-out battle over Michigan Senate seat | TheHill – The Hill
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GOP set for all-out battle over Michigan Senate seat | TheHill – The Hill

Excerpt:

Michigan is headed for a hotly contested Senate race next year as Sen. Gary Peters (D) faces off against Republican John James, a 38-year-old African American military veteran who’s widely seen as a rising star within the GOP.

The Senate race will take place in a crucial battleground state that will be heavily fought-over in the 2020 presidential election after President Trump narrowly edged out Hillary Clinton in the previous contest.

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Trey Gowdy blasts Lisa Page: ‘The word “loathsome” really doesn’t need to be put in context’ – Fox News
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Trey Gowdy blasts Lisa Page: ‘The word “loathsome” really doesn’t need to be put in context’ – Fox News

New York’s most vulnerable Democrat — freshman Congressman Max Rose — joined the legions of Republicans criticizing the state’s criminal justice reforms Monday, blasting the measures as going “too far, too fast.” “We can and we must ensure our justice system is fair and maintains our public safety — but the fact is with the bail and discovery reforms Albany went too far, too fast,” Rose said in a statement. Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy responded Monday to former FBI attorney Lisa Page after she broke her silence in an interview with The Daily Beast. "When she says things need to be put in context, the word 'loathsome' really doesn't need to be put in context," Gowdy said on "The Story with Martha MacCallum." "And when you say somebody will be a national security disaster, that doesn't need to be put in context."
Bloomberg Poll Bump Shows That Money Talks – New York Magazine
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Bloomberg Poll Bump Shows That Money Talks – New York Magazine

In two new national polls appearing today, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is experiencing a jump in support attributable to his massive ad spending. In the huge Morning Consult tracking poll, Bloomberg’s up to 5.3 percent. Last week in the same survey he was at 2.4 percent. Similarly, in the HarrisX/Hill poll, he’s doubled his support from three percent two weeks ago to six percent now.
Democratic Rep. Max Rose blasts New York’s new criminal justice reforms – New York Post
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Democratic Rep. Max Rose blasts New York’s new criminal justice reforms – New York Post

New York’s most vulnerable Democrat — freshman Congressman Max Rose — joined the legions of Republicans criticizing the state’s criminal justice reforms Monday, blasting the measures as going “too far, too fast.” “We can and we must ensure our justice system is fair and maintains our public safety — but the fact is with the bail and discovery reforms Albany went too far, too fast,” Rose said in a statement.
If Republicans join in with climate alarmists, the party is doomed – Lifesite
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If Republicans join in with climate alarmists, the party is doomed – Lifesite

Anxiety about global warming is skyrocketing in the Western world to the point one psychiatrist says, "I believe that everyone now has some climate anxiety." It's no wonder. Western leaders stoke the fires. On November 28, 2019, the European parliament declared a global climate emergency. Its members were responding in part to a children's crusade to save the planet. In March 2019, millions of children in over 120 countries skipped school to embark on what has become a series of "climate strikes." Young speakers raised alarming...
Congressman Rose Wants To Ban Pressure Cookers on Airplanes – Shorefront News
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Congressman Rose Wants To Ban Pressure Cookers on Airplanes – Shorefront News

Staten Island, parts of Southern Brooklyn), as the Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Counterterrorism, along with other Congresspersons, held a press conference at Newark Liberty International Airport to demand that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ban pressure cookers. Pressure cookers have in some cases in the past been used as bombs by terrorists. “To be quite honest, I couldn’t believe that pressure cookers weren’t already prohibited from being a carry-on.
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Illinois Supreme Court disbars four in latest disciplinary orders – Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

The Illinois Supreme Court suspended seven attorneys, disbarred four and reprimanded one in its latest round of disciplinary orders entered Tuesday.Disbarred on consentWilliam Keith Bulmer II of Minneapolis was disbarred on consent for having sexual relations with a client’s wife and making false statements about the relationship to the prosecutor in the client’s criminal case.
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Two North Texas congressional races could chart new political course – The Dallas Morning News

North Texas will feature two intriguing congressional races that will determine if Democrats are truly gaining ground on the GOP. One of the biggest contests in the country is the fight to replace retiring Republican Rep. Ken Marchant of Carrollton. That district, which includes parts of Denton, Tarrant and Dallas counties, has been undergoing population shifts that make it attractive to Democratic candidates.
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Christopherson: Utah Democrats Play a Critical Role in Moderating Conservative Leadership – Daily Utah Chronicle

As a resident of Salt Lake City and a student at the University of Utah, I’m constantly surrounded by people who share my liberal values — in school, at my job and even within my religious congregation. While canvassing for Ben McAdams last fall, it seemed everyone whose door I knocked was planning to vote for him or already had. Dozens of the yards I approached had signs reading “In This House We Believe: Black Lives Matter. Women’s Rights Are Human Rights. No Human is Illegal. Science is...
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Changes to independent contractor bill could rein in affects of legislation – NJBIZ

New Jersey’s top Senate Democrat is proposing a change to a controversial bill reclassifying freelance-workers that would effectively scale back how many people would qualify as employees. Lawmakers rolled out the measure – Senate Bill 4204 – shortly after November midterm elections. It would reclassify thousands of independent contractors in the state as regular employees.