AP NEWS
Related topics

AM-Prep: Cooler Copy

May 17, 2019

LGBT EQUALITY ACT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats in the House are poised to approve sweeping anti-discrimination legislation that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Dubbed the Equality Act, the bill is a top priority of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said it will bring the nation “closer to equal liberty and justice for all.”

A vote is scheduled for today.

The legislation’s chief sponsor, Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, (SIH’-sil-lean-ee) said it affirms fairness and equality as core American values “and ensures members of the LGBTQ community can live their lives free from the fear of legal discrimination of any kind.”

Republicans say the bill would jeopardize religious freedom by requiring acceptance of a particular ideology about sexuality and sexual identity.

ROY MOORE MAY RUN AGAIN

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative lightning rod Roy Moore of Alabama is considering a fresh run for Senate next year.

The former state Supreme Court chief justice was the narrow loser of a turbulent special election for the same Senate seat in 2017. His campaign was battered by allegations of long-ago sexual harassment of teenagers, which he denied.

National Republican leaders are signaling that they’ll try preventing their party from nominating Moore — as they unsuccessfully tried doing two years ago.

Moore’s defeat made him the first Republican in reliably red Alabama to lose a Senate race in a quarter century. National party leaders say a Moore nomination would endanger what they view as a strong shot at defeating Sen. Doug Jones, the Democrat and former federal prosecutor who upset Moore two years ago.

PA. SCHOOL DISTRICT DEFENDS HAVING “SHOOTER” IN SAFETY VIDEO CLAD IN MUSLIM HEADDRESS

HARRISON CITY, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania school district is defending itself after video surfaced of a safety drill that had a teacher posing as a shooter and donning what appeared to be a Middle Eastern headdress.

The video appears to show the actor wearing a kaffiyeh (keh-FEE’-yuh). The Penn-Trafford School District said Wednesday that organizers didn’t intend to portray the shooter as Arab or Muslim at the January training.

The district says volunteers were provided costumes by a consultant group and that there was no intent to represent any particular culture or religion. The statement pointed out that the person portraying the shooter also wore a long blond wig and a paintball mask.

The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh says “to stereotype the shooter is appalling given the data on active shooters and the recent shootings at the Tree of Life and Christ Church.”

The video was for internal teacher training only, but footage was posted on social media this week.

MAINE SCHOOLS TO BAN MASCOTS DEPICTING NATIVE AMERICANS

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine public schools and universities will soon ban the use of mascots and logos depicting Native Americans.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ office says the bill she signed yesterday will become effective 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.

Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Dana says the law is “a huge step toward trust and respect” for indigenous people. Democratic Rep. Benjamin Collings said members of tribal communities are people, not mascots.

Mills’ office says California, Oregon and Wisconsin have similar restrictions, while South Dakota, New York and Michigan have called for the end of the use of mascots.

Republican opponents have argued that local boards should decide such issues.

The last Maine high school to use such a mascot, Skowhegan Area High School, voted to stop using it this year.

SUSPECT CHARGED IN SLAYING OF CHICAGO WOMAN WHOSE BABY WAS CUT FROM WOMB

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say the woman who was strangled before her unborn son was cut from her womb had bought baby clothes from her alleged killer before the day she died.

At a news conference announcing first-degree murder charges against 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa and her 24-year-old daughter, Desiree Figueroa, police said that 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was returning to the Figueroa house after the mother posted an offer of free baby clothes on a Facebook chat room.

They say the daughter has confessed to helping her mother kill Ochoa-Lopez and that the mother’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, is charged with concealment of a homicide.

Police say the investigation is continuing but that Clarisa Figueroa’s adult son died of natural causes two years ago and they believe the woman was hoping to raise the newborn as her own.

The woman called police April 23 hours after Ochoa-Lopez was killed to report the baby had stopped breathing. The child that Figueroa said was hers was rushed to an area hospital where he remains in grave condition and is not expected to survive.

FLA. PROSECUTORS BARRED FROM USING MASSAGE PARLOR VIDEO IN CASE

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A judge is barring prosecutors from using surveillance video taken inside a Florida massage parlor in a prostitution case, days after another judge suppressed video in a similar case involving New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

The Indian River County judge ruled yesterday that agents fell short in minimizing invasion of privacy for legitimate patrons. Hidden cameras were installed inside the East Spa by Homeland Security agents working with Vero Beach police.

A Palm Beach County judge Monday blocked use of video allegedly showing Kraft engaging in paid sex at a Jupiter spa. Kraft has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor solicitation of a prostitute.

A Martin County judge recently made a similar ruling involving two other spas.

Some 300 men were charged after busts at 10 massage parlors in February.