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    House Democrats and Republicans joined in a rare show of unity Wednesday, voting overwhelmingly to repeal an unpopular tax on generous health insurance that's a symbol of former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. The so-called 'Cadillac tax' never went into effect, since lawmakers kept delaying it. Wednesday's 419-6 vote increases chances that the Senate will follow the House, going for full repeal. Beginning in 2022, the tax would slap a 40% levy on the value of health insurance plans above $11,200 for single coverage and $30,100 for family policies. The idea was to help control costs by putting a brake on the value of health insurance plans. To avoid the tax, insurers and employers might have to shift more costs to policyholders. Based on Congressional Budget Office estimates, repeal would add $193 billion to the federal deficit from 2022-2029, by scratching projected revenues off the government's books. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation expects that about 1 in 5 employers offering health insurance would have at least one insurance plan subject to the tax in 2022, and the share would grow quickly over time. A broad coalition of business groups and unions is pushing to kill the Cadillac tax, while policy experts have mounted a lonely defense. Unions oppose a tax on health benefits because health insurance is one of the most important issues for their members, and union plans are generally a cut above what non-union employers offer. Insurers and employers oppose the tax because they'd be the ones most exposed to its bite. About 160 million Americans are covered by workplace plans, still the largest source of coverage. Despite the political risks of tampering with employer coverage, policy experts and economists across the political spectrum argued that the tax would start to get at a fundamental reason behind high U.S. health care costs. Economists see health insurance benefits as another form of compensation. While the government taxes salary and hourly wages, the value of job-based health insurance is tax-free to workers and tax deductible for employers. Economists see that as an incentive to over-spend on health care, creating an income stream that enables hospitals, drug companies, and medical specialists to charge high prices and subsidizing services of questionable value. Even if the Cadillac tax appears doomed, the idea of limiting government tax breaks for health insurance is likely to come back. Several such options are regularly listed the CBO's compendium of ideas for reducing government deficits.
  • Attorneys general for North Dakota and Montana asked the Trump administration on Wednesday to overrule a Washington state law that imposed new restrictions on oil trains from the Northern Plains to guard against explosive derailments. In a legal petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and North Dakota's Wayne Stenehjem said federal authority over railroads pre-empts the state law. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, in May signed the measure that requires oil shipped by rail through the state to have more volatile gases removed to reduce the risk of explosive and potentially deadly derailments. The move followed a string of fiery and explosive oil train derailments over the past decade, including a 2013 accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people. The explosions drew widespread public attention to the volatile nature of Bakken crude shipments. But opponents say the new restrictions would make Pacific Northwest refineries effectively off-limits to crude from the Bakken region, one of the nation's most productive oil fields straddling the North Dakota-Montana border. That's because the process of treating the oil to make it less volatile would be too expensive to justify, they said. 'It's pretty clear in this the state of Washington overstepped its bounds,' Fox said. 'The effect would be terrible, both on the economies of North Dakota and Montana and also how it offends the rule of law.' Fox and Stenehjem also warned that allowing Washington's law to stand could inadvertently undermine safety, by subjecting the railroad industry to a hodge-podge of state laws instead of a common federal standard. Shipping the region's crude by rail has become common practice due to a limited number of pipelines, which are considered a safer way to ship oil. In the first quarter of 2019, almost 16 million barrels of crude (670 million gallons) moved through Washington state, almost all of it from North Dakota, according to a recent report from the Washington Department of Ecology. Inslee communications director Jaime Smith said the state will defend its law. 'As Washington has experienced an enormous spike in the numbers of oil trains traveling through our state, this legislation is a reasonable approach to anticipated increased volumes of volatile crude oil,' Smith said. U.S. Department of Transportation representatives did not respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment. The agency has six months to issue a decision on the petition or explain why a decision is delayed, according to Fox spokesman John Barnes.
  • The Latest on the House effort to hold Trump administration officials in contempt over (all times local): 6:50 p.m. The White House is slamming the Democrat-controlled House's vote to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is calling the move 'ridiculous and yet another lawless attempt to harass the President and his Administration.' Grisham says the departments of Justice and Commerce have produced more than 31,000 pages of documents on the issue, and that senior officials from both agencies have spoken on record to address the matter. The vote is largely symbolic because the Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute Barr and Ross. Trump last week abandoned his effort to add a citizenship question into the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked the move. ___ 6:35 p.m. The Democratic-controlled House has voted to hold two top Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The House voted, 230-198, on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt. The vote is largely symbolic because the Justice Department is unlikely to prosecute them. The action marks an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of the Trump administration. President Donald Trump last week abandoned his bid to inject a citizenship question into the census, after the Supreme Court said the administration's justification for the question 'seems to have been contrived.' Trump directed agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases. ___ 10:45 a.m. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says a planned vote by the Democratic-controlled House to hold him in contempt of Congress is nothing more than 'political theater' intended to embarrass and harass the Trump administration. Ross tells the Fox Business Network that his department has supplied more than 14,000 pages of documents related to the 2020 census and excluded only about 15 pages that the administration believes are protected under executive privilege. The House expects to vote Wednesday to hold Ross and Attorney General William Barr in contempt for failing to provide documents related to a decision to add a citizenship question to the census. President Donald Trump last week abandoned that his effort. He's directing agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases.
  • Congress is heading for a showdown with President Donald Trump after the House voted on Wednesday to block his administration from selling billions of dollars in weapons and maintenance support to Saudi Arabia. Trump, who has sought to forge closer ties with Riyadh, has pledged to veto the resolutions of disapproval that passed the Democratic-led House largely along party lines. Two of the resolutions passed with 238 votes, while a third was approved with 237. Each of the measures garnered just four Republican backers. The Senate cleared the resolutions last month, but like the House, fell well short of a veto-proof majority. Overturning a president's veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, accused the Trump administration of circumventing Congress and the law to move ahead with the arms sale. He called the resolutions 'extraordinary but necessary' to stop 'a phony emergency to override the authority of Congress.' The votes came against the backdrop of heightened tensions in the Middle East, with much of the focus on Iran. Tehran is pushing the limits on its nuclear program after Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal more than a year ago. Iran has inched its uranium production and enrichment over the limits of the accord, trying to put more pressure on Europe to offer it better terms and allow it to sell its crude oil abroad. The White House has declared stopping the sale would send a signal that the United States doesn't stand by its partners and allies, particularly at a time when threats against them are increasing. But opposition among members of Congress to the Trump administration's alliance with the Saudis has been building, fueled by the high civilian casualties in the Saudi-led war in Yemen — a military campaign the U.S. is assisting — and the killing of U.S.-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. The arms package, worth an estimated $8 billion, includes thousands of precision guided munitions, other bombs and ammunition, and aircraft maintenance support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had cited Iranian aggression when declaring an emergency to approve the weapons sales in May. The Saudis have recently faced a number of attacks from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. 'Right now as I speak Iran is stretching its tentacles of terror across the Middle East,' said the Foreign Affairs Committee's top Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who pushed for the resolutions to be rejected. 'If we allow them to succeed, terrorism will flourish, instability will reign and the security of our allies like Israel will be threatened.' Critics of the sale also had denounced the White House for bypassing congressional review of the arms sales, which was done by invoking an emergency loophole in the Arms Export Control Act. Pompeo had informed Congress that he had made the determination 'that an emergency exists which requires the immediate sale' of the weapons 'in order to deter further the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region.' The law requires Congress to be notified of potential arms sales, giving the body the opportunity to block the sale. But the law also allows the president to waive that review process by declaring an emergency that requires the sale be made 'in the national security interests of the United States.' Engel said there was no emergency, arguing that two months after Pompeo's notification not a single weapon has been shipped and many of them haven't even been built. 'What kind of emergency requires weapons that will be built months and months down the road?' Engel said.
  • The Latest on a House Democrat's effort to impeachment President Donald Trump (all times local): 6:42 p.m. President Donald Trump is calling a derailed effort to impeach him the 'most ridiculous project I've ever been involved in.' Trump is responding to Wednesday's vote after landing in Greenville, North Carolina, where he'll be holding a campaign rally. He says 'the overwhelming vote against impeachment' is 'the end of it,' and is calling on Democrats to 'go back to work.' The House on Wednesday derailed an effort by a maverick Democrat to impeach Trump over his racial insults against four of the party's congresswomen of color. Wednesday's vote to kill the proposal by Texas congressman Al Green was 332-95. Democrats opposed the effort by a 3-to-2 margin, while all Republicans voted to kill it. It was the third time the Houston lawmaker has forced the House to vote on removing Trump. ___ 5:55 p.m. The House has derailed an effort by a maverick Democrat to impeach President Donald Trump because of his racial insults against four of the party's congresswomen of color. Wednesday's vote to kill the proposal by Texas congressman Al Green was 332-95. Democrats opposed the effort by a 3-to-2 margin, while all Republicans voted to kill it. Green's resolution did not mention special prosecutor Robert Mueller's unanswered questions about whether Trump obstructed his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. It was the third time the Houston lawmaker has forced the House to vote on removing Trump, but the first since Democrats took control of the chamber this year. Many liberal Democrats have favored impeaching Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has preferred a go-slow approach to develop a stronger case that could be more acceptable to the public. ___ 1:48 p.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says her chamber will derail a maverick Democrat's drive to impeach President Donald Trump. Texas Rep. Al Green's resolution cites Trump's 'racist' words this week urging Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their native countries. And he says Trump is unfit to be president. Pelosi and other party leaders worry that the vote needlessly forces vulnerable swing-district lawmakers to cast a perilous and divisive vote. Even if the House voted to impeach Trump now, the Republican-run Senate would be certain to acquit him. Pelosi tells reporters about Green's resolution, 'We'll get rid of all this right now.' Green's measure also risks widening the rift between liberal Democrats itching to oust Trump and Pelosi and others who want to first build stronger public support.
  • Going after four Democratic congresswomen one by one, President Donald Trump turned a campaign rally Wednesday into an extended dissection of the quartet, deriding for their liberalism and what he painted as extreme views. After Trump suggested they leave the country, the crowd cheered in response: 'Send them back! Send them back!' Trump accused the lawmakers, all women of color, of 'helping to fuel the rise of a dangerous, militant hard-left.' Trump's rhetoric at the North Carolina rally echoed the language he used to win in 2016. He said earlier he has no regrets about his ongoing spat with the four women, which began with tweets widely criticized as racist. Trump told reporters he thinks he's 'winning the political argument' and 'winning it by a lot.' Speaking as he departed the White House for a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump dug in on his attacks. Trump is showing no signs of backing down from his strategy of tying the Democratic Party to the four liberal lawmakers, even after a Democratic-led House voted to condemn his comments as racist. All four lawmakers are American citizens, and three of them were born in the United States. 'I'm enjoying it because I have to get the word out to the American people,' he said. 'They're absolutely wrong. That's not where our country wants to be. We're not going to go and we're not going to be a socialist country.' Trump began the week attacking Democratic freshmen Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and has not relented. In response to a question from a conservative news outlet about whether Omar should be investigated for possibly marrying her brother, Trump said: 'There's a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it. I hear she was married to her brother. You're asking me a question about it. I don't know, but I'm sure that somebody will be looking at that.' Omar came to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia. In 2016, as Omar was running for a seat in the Minnesota House, conservative bloggers alleged she was married to two men at the same time. Marriage records show that's not the case. Conservatives also alleged that one of those men, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, was her brother — allegations that Omar called 'disgusting lies .' Omar broadly denied the allegations in a statement to The Associated Press, but declined to provide documents or answer specific questions when pressed. Calls to Omar's press office Wednesday night went unanswered and a message could not be left. Her spokespeople did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment on the president's statements. A man who has the same name as Omar's ex-husband also did not reply to an email seeking comment. Trump narrowly won North Carolina in 2016.
  • The Pentagon says an additional 2,100 troops will be sent to the U.S.-Mexican border to help with security. Among them are 1,100 active-duty troops who will perform a variety of missions, including aerial surveillance and logistical and administrative support. The Pentagon says the new acting defense secretary, Richard V. Spencer, approved the deployment. Also deploying are 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard. They will be under state control. Most will assist Customs and Border Protection at the temporary adult migrant holding facilities at Donna and Tornillo in Texas. The new deployments are in addition to the approximately 2,500 active-duty and 2,000 National Guard troops already deployed to the border.
  • Facebook endured a second day of criticism from Congress over its plan to create a digital currency as senior House Democrats asked Facebook to scale back the project and threatened legislation that would block big tech companies from getting into banking. Facebook's massive market power and its record of scandals, fines and privacy breaches were on trial at a hearing Wednesday of the House Financial Services Committee. Lawmakers from both parties insisted they cannot trust the social network giant. 'I think you're pretty low on the trust spectrum right now, and understandably,' Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, told David Marcus, the Facebook executive leading the project. It was Marcus' second straight day of tough questioning by lawmakers. Among their concerns is the risk that the new currency, to be called Libra, could be used for illicit activity such as money laundering or drug trafficking. Lawmakers also worry that the massive reserve created with money used to buy Libra could supplant the Federal Reserve and destabilize the financial system, and that consumers could be hurt by Libra losses. The committee's leader, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has asked Facebook to suspend its plan for the new currency until regulators and lawmakers have a chance to fully review it. She renewed that demand to Marcus. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked that Facebook commit to starting with a pilot project with no more than a million users, overseen by the Federal Reserve. If Facebook cannot meet that request, Maloney said, 'then Congress should seriously consider stopping this project from moving forward.' Waters held out the prospect of legislation that would prohibit big tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple from becoming chartered or licensed as U.S. financial institutions, and thus able to offer banking services, and specifically from establishing a digital currency. Facebook, marshaling its more than 2 billion users around the world, 'is apparently trying to create a new global financial system that will compete with the U.S. dollar,' Waters said. The congressional criticism thickened the cloud over Facebook's plan, coming after negative statements and expressions of concern from the two most powerful financial regulators , Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as well as from President Donald Trump himself. In a rare endorsement of Trump's views, committee Democrats projected his negative tweets last week about cryptocurrencies and Libra on a giant electronic screen in the hearing room. Trump said Libra 'will have little standing or dependability.' As he did at Tuesday's hearing by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Marcus repeatedly took pains to assure lawmakers that Facebook would not launch the currency project until it had received all the necessary approvals from regulators and secured safeguards to protect the privacy of users' data. He said Facebook will not control Libra because Facebook will be only one of about 100 companies and nonprofits in an association that will manage the currency. Marcus said the plan would open low-cost online commerce to millions of people around the world who lack access to bank accounts and would make it cheaper to send money across borders. He did not agree to a suspension of the plan or a pilot project. 'We will take the time to get this right,' Marcus said. He said Facebook isn't looking to base the Libra project in Switzerland in order to evade oversight, but because that country is recognized as an international financial center. Acknowledging lawmakers' concerns over Facebook's record on data privacy , Marcus said, 'I think trust is essential and it's clear we've made mistakes. We're owning these mistakes.' The committee's senior Republican, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, said skepticism over the project is justified but the effort should not be prohibited outright. A thorough review is needed, 'instead of a knee-jerk reaction of banning something before it begins,' McHenry said. Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said the legislation Waters is proposing to ban big tech companies from banking 'has no constitutional basis.' Marcus' assurance that Facebook won't control Libra failed to convince Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., who focused on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 'This is the Zuck buck,' Sherman insisted. 'This is a godsend to drug dealers' and other criminals. 'Zuckerberg has billions but he doesn't have the authority to print more. ... This is an attempt to transfer enormous power from America to Facebook and its allies.' The planned digital currency is to be a blend of multiple currencies, which means the exchange rate will fluctuate.
  • Video footage unearthed by NBC News shows Donald Trump and wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein chatting at a party at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in 1992. NBC said the video posted Wednesday was recorded as part of a profile of Trump, who was newly divorced at the time. It shows the future president surrounded by young women, whom NBC identifies as cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills. Later in the video, Epstein arrives at Trump's Florida estate, and the two men are seen talking and gesturing at the women on the dance floor. Epstein is currently in jail, facing federal charges in New York of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s. His indictment, unsealed last week, shows conspiracy and sex trafficking charges that could result in up to 45 years in prison if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty. Trump has acknowledged that he knew Epstein but said he 'wasn't a fan.' 'I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,' Trump said earlier this month. 'He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years.' Trump's Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta stepped down last week amid the tumult over his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with Epstein. Acosta was the U.S. attorney in Miami when he oversaw a 2008 non-prosecution agreement that allowed Epstein to avoid federal trial but plead guilty to state charges and serve 13 months in jail. The deal ended a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls that could have landed Epstein behind bars for life.
  • Judging by the social media metrics, it was a big week for the campaign of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Oh, wait. She's not running for president. But the Democratic representative from Queens dwarfed the Democrats who are actually seeking President Donald Trump's job in a measurement of social media interactions with news articles by the tracking firm NewsWhip. The statistics were first reported by Axios. For the week that ended on Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez, who is known as AOC, had attracted 4.8 million such interactions, NewsWhip said. By comparison, all of the Democrats running for president reached a combined 6.5 million. California Sen. Kamala Harris had 1.2 million to lead the way, with Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren getting around a million each. Given how Trump's tweets about Ocasio-Cortez and three of her colleagues have dominated the news since they were first made Sunday, that picture doesn't appear likely to change much this week. 'They can't get a breath because all of the oxygen is gone,' said Fox News Channel's Harris Faulkner on Wednesday. That would be a bigger concern if it wasn't mid-July, squarely in the middle of vacation season and 16 months before the presidential election. But since it's generally considered a goal of Trump supporters to have the liberal Ocasio-Cortez be top of mind when people think of Democrats, that indicates they are having some success. The next time for some concentrated attention for the Democratic candidates will come on July 30 and 31, when CNN will host the second presidential debate.

News

  • The brother of a woman shot by her husband at a medical clinic in Potts Camp, Mississippi is honoring his sister’s life. Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, state representative candidate Carl Robinson shot and killed his wife – Latoya Thompson – before turning the gun on himself inside the Williams Medical Clinic. The couple had been married since 2014, but court records show Robinson, 43, and Thompson, 33, had filed for divorce in April.  According to legal records, the two filed a joint complaint for divorce April 26. At the time, only one lawyer was involved.  That changed Tuesday morning. Records show that Thompson hired her own attorney and that she changed her mind about a previous agreement she signed about child custody, support and other details July 15.  Now, Thompson’s brother said his family is remembering her for her love of life and passion for singing. “She was a singer, she was our little songbird. Ever since she was a kid, she was always singing something. Beautiful smile, beautiful spirit,” said Kevin Thompson. Thompson said his sister loved her family, especially her 3-year-old son.  His last memory with her is from Saturday, when he traveled in town for their grandmother’s funeral in Lamar, Mississippi. “She was just real happy this weekend, and that’s what I take from all of this,” Thompson said. Three days later on his way home, Thompson found out his sister was shot by her husband.  Investigators said Robinson shot Thompson inside the clinic, where she worked as a receptionist. He then killed himself. Three staff members tried to help Thompson after she was shot.  According to Marshall County officials, staff attempted to perform CPR on Thompson to resuscitate her, but she died before she could be airlifted to a hospital. Robinson was running for state representative in Mississippi, officials confirmed. According to Robinson's campaign Facebook page, he was running in District 5 for the upcoming election. “I was mad at what happened to my sister. I was sad at the fact that I lost my sister, and I was numb because I couldn’t do anything about it,” Thompson said. Thompson said he knew her husband, but he did not know the specifics about their relationship. “I knew he had a temper like most of us did. I didn’t know to what extent,” he said. “You may know someone is off but never think they would go to this extent.” Thompson said his focus now is being there for her 3-year-old son. He said he will include Robinson’s family in the child’s life. “We are going to work together to make sure he has the best of both. It would be unfair for us to shield him and hold onto him,” he said. He said a memory he will hold close to his heart is their last conversation – when she told him that she loved him. Funeral arrangements have not yet been planned.
  • A Mableton man is accused of hiding his 5-year-old son from his wife — who has a temporary protection order against him — before leading deputies on a three-hour manhunt, authorities said. Quantavious Carrol, 27, faces 10 charges after the Thursday chase, which ended with deputies using a Taser on him, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Deputies tried to pull over Carrol’s vehicle, which also had a passenger inside, near Upper Riverdale Road and Tara Boulevard, the release said. Carrol, who allegedly knew he violated the restraining order, drove away from the traffic stop on I-75 North. While driving, he’s accused of throwing a stolen handgun of the window. The gun was stolen out of Gwinnett County, the release said. The chase continued onto I-285 and ended on Fairburn Road, where Carrol got out of the vehicle and ran away, the release said. The passenger was blocked inside the vehicle and was captured by deputies. His charges have not been released. Carrol continued to run, and deputies found him after searching for about three hours, authorities said. He allegedly fought with deputies after they located him, which is why a Taser was used. The 10 charges against Carrol include fleeing police, obstruction, not having car insurance, theft by receiving and multiple driving citations, records show. He remains held at the Clayton County jail without bond. The 5-year-old has been reunited with his mother, the release said. In other news:
  • An Indiana man has been charged with endangering the welfare of children after authorities said he took kids to Kentucky and forced them to sell candy for him. >>Read more trending news Shawn Floyd, 54, of Indianapolis was arrested last week in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said in a statement. The 12 children involved in the case were taken into protective custody. Floyd is accused of taking 12 Indiana children to Kentucky and forcing them to sell candy for profit, the statement said. The children were allegedly made to sleep in one hotel room with three adults, and had to purchase their own meals and water, according to the statement. The youngest child was 11, the office said. Kentucky labor law requires a person to be at least 14 years old to be employed. Beshear's office was notified July 12 of about 25 solicitor permits issued in Bowling Green, mostly for minors. The office had also received previously reports of Floyd possibly being involved in human trafficking in several Kentucky counties, the statement said. 'I want to commend the work of the Bowling Green Police Department and our human trafficking investigator,” Beshear said. “Their actions prevented any further possible exploitation or suffering for these children. When it comes to preventing such crimes, it requires cooperation across agencies and promoting awareness of such actions in every community.” Floyd has a pretrial conference scheduled for Sept. 4 in Warren County, Kentucky, WANE-TV reported. Online records show Floyd has bonded out of Warren County Regional Jail. Anyone who has information on people being exploited for commercial sex or labor can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888 (or text 233733) for immediate assistance.
  • A California family is mourning the loss of their 9-year-old daughter and warning others about the dangers of underwater pool lights. >> Read more trending news  McKenzie Kinley, who was just shy of her 10th birthday, was killed Sunday after she was electrocuted in her family’s backyard pool in Citrus Heights, according to news reports.  The child was killed after touching an underwater light fixture that was not sealed and was under repair, KOVR-TV reported. “As much as we know, she grabbed the pool light, and it electrocuted her,” the girl’s father, Cliff Kinley, told the news station.  Sacramento County rescue crews rushed to the scene, but were not able to save the child. “Thank goodness it didn’t get anyone else, because there were four other children in that pool,” Kinley said. Kinley said the family is talking about the tragedy to warn other people about the potential dangers in backyard pools. “If nothing comes from losing my daughter, at least this could save others,” the child’s mother, Lisa Moore, told KOVR. The family started a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses.
  • A former Atlanta attorney and his son were sentenced to nearly six years in prison Tuesday for a banking and investment scam that netted them more than $15 million, authorities said. Donald Watkins and his son Donald Watkins Jr. were convicted earlier this year  of deceiving former NBA star Charles Barkley and using the name of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to support the scam. Watkins was sentenced to five years in prison, while his son got 27 months behind bars, The Associated Press reported. The elder Watkins was also ordered to pay $14 million in restitution.  During the trial, witnesses including Barkley testified about losing more than $6 million in investments and loans to the former attorney. Barkley said he was friends with Watkins, who split his time living in Birmingham, Ala. and Atlanta. Other athletes who lost money in the scheme included former NBA player Damon Stoudamire and former NFL players Takeo Spikes and Bryan Thomas. Rice testified that Watkins used her name to promote an energy business without her permission, the AP reported. She declined to get involved, but Watkins included her name in emails to investors anyway, she said. As a lawyer, the senior Watkins once served in Montgomery as a city council member. He helped defend HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy in a fraud that nearly bankrupted the company, now known as Encompass Health. He has also worked on various civil rights cases. Watkins reportedly only had a net worth of few thousand dollars despite portraying himself as wealthy, the AP reported. He attempted to purchase a major league baseball team and the the St. Louis Rams before the team left for Los Angeles.  In other news: 
  • A couple in Clarksburg, West Virginia, is in jail facing child neglect charges after three children wandered off from their home. >> Read more trending news WBOY reported that Clarksburg Police Department officials said officers received a call on June 1 about three children who were seen in the area and were not wearing clothes. A criminal complaint obtained by WBOY said one of the children was carrying a steak knife. >> Read more trending news According to the complaint, the children were away from their parents for about 25 minutes. Police located the children about a quarter of a mile away from home. Two of the children, girls ages 3 and 2, had no clothes on, the complaint said. A 4-year-old boy was only wearing a diaper, which was full of feces. Police contacted the children's mother, 24-year-old Sarah Nardo. They learned Nardo and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Donald Johnson, were sleeping when the children got out of the house.  Johnson and Nardo were arrested and charged with gross child neglect creating risk of death or injury, WBOY reported. According to North Central Regional Jail records, they were booked Tuesday. They are being held on $50,000 bond.