EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) – A former Kansas driving school instructor has been sentenced to three years of probation for having a 16-year-old student drive to a country road and inappropriately touching her.
The Emporia Gazette reports that Robert Jones, of Emporia, also was ordered to register as a sex offender and repay the victim’s family for the driving classes when he was sentenced Wednesday for sexual battery. He faces a 12-month jail sentence if he violates the probation terms.
The victim’s mother said her daughter wanted to die after the August incident and was hospitalized after taking two handfuls of Tylenol. She says her daughter is in counseling.
Jones said he was “deeply sorry” and “messed up on a lot of things.” He was the director of the since-terminated UDrive Kansas driving school.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The conservative Koch network is promising to spend millions of dollars to defeat the health care overhaul backed by President Donald Trump and top House Republicans.
The network’s leading organizations, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, announced late Wednesday the creation of a special fund to support House members who vote against the health care bill.
The announcement, which comes on the eve of the House vote, marks the influential conservative network’s most aggressive move against the health care proposal, which is under attack from the right and the left.
“The bill as it stands today is Obamacare 2.0,” said James Davis, executive vice president of Freedom Partners, in a statement announcing the new fund. He added, “We will stand with lawmakers who keep their promise and oppose this legislation — and work toward a solution that reduces costs and provides Americans with the relief they need and deserve.”
The organizations backed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch declared their formal opposition to the GOP health care proposal Monday.
Like other conservatives, they decried the legislation as a new entitlement program that doesn’t go far enough in repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law. Moderate Republicans, meanwhile, are concerned by projections of 24 million Americans losing coverage in a decade and higher out-of-pocket costs for many low-income and older people.
The Koch-backed fund is being described only as “seven figures” and will go toward political ads, direct mail and other grassroots activity.
“We have a history of following up and holding politicians accountable, but we will also be there to support and thank the champions who stand strong and keep their promise,” Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips said.
WASHINGTON (NBC) – In Washington, today’s the day, the vote to repeal and replace Obamacare.
NBC’s analysis shows Republicans may not have the votes to make it happen.
If the Republican led Congress with a Republican president can’t get rid of Obamacare as they’ve promised for years, it would be a huge defeat for the new administration.
President Trump on the phones all night meeting with the conservative freedom caucus today in a last ditch effort to flip six no votes to yes.
As of this morning, our count shows 29 Republicans likely lined up against it. Still, the House Speaker is confident.
“We feel like we are getting really, really close,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.
The White House admits that there’s no Plan B if today’s vote fails.
“This is the only train leaving the station,” declared White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Former Vice President Joe Biden rallied with Democrats marking the seventh anniversary of Obamacare.
“This is not going to pass,” said Former Vice President Joe Biden.
He questions whether President Trump has a grip on things in Washington.
“It’s getting down to the wire here in terms of whether or not he’s really going to take charge.”
During his long-awaited meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, President Trump talked about the next step which is lowering drug prices.
“Gonna bid out drug prices and try and have lowest prices anywhere in the world,” said President Donald Trump.
That’s part three. First he has to get through part one, today’s vote
Even if it looks doomed, House leaders have said they won’t pull the vote.
LONDON (AP) — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Thursday for an attack by a man who plowed an SUV into pedestrians on a crowded London bridge and then stabbed a police officer to death on the grounds of Britain’s Parliament.
The attacker was born in Britain and known to authorities who had once investigated him for links to religious extremism, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday in a sweeping speech in which she also encouraged Britons to go about their lives.
The Islamic State group said through its Aamaq News Agency that the attacker was a soldier of the Islamic State who “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of the coalition” of countries fighting IS in Syria and Iraq. In addition to the police officer and the attacker, who was shot by police, two people died on Westminster Bridge and at least 30 others were injured, seven critically.
British officials did not release the attacker’s identity or confirm a link with the Islamic State group, though May did say it would be wrong to describe the attack as “Islamic” extremism.
“It is Islamist terrorism,” she said. “It is a perversion of a great faith.”
The IS group has been responsible for numerous bloody attacks around the globe and has specifically called for Western followers to carry out this kind of attack in their own countries, though the group has also claimed attacks later found to have no clear links to it.
May set an unyielding tone Thursday in a sweeping statement before the House of Commons. While she honored the police, she also saluted the actions of millions of people who went about their lives as normal, describing it as proof that the act of terror failed.
“As I speak millions will be boarding trains and airplanes to travel to London, and to see for themselves the greatest city on Earth,” she told the House of Commons. “It is in these actions – millions of acts of normality – that we find the best response to terrorism —a response that denies our enemies their victory, that refuses to let them win, that shows we will never give in.”
Parliament began its moment of silence at 9:33 a.m., honoring the shoulder number of the murdered officer, Keith Palmer, a 15-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police and a former soldier. Then Parliament, which was locked down after the attack, returned to business — a counter to those who had attacked British democracy.
“Those who carry out such wicked and depraved acts as we saw yesterday can never triumph in our country and we must ensure it is not violence, hatred or division but decency and tolerance that prevails in our country,” Trade Secretary Liam Fox said.
“Hear, hear!” lawmakers from all parties responded in unison.
Police believe the attacker acted alone and there is no reason to believe “imminent further attacks” are planned, she said. He had been investigated before but police believed he was a peripheral figure, May said. At least eight people were arrested in raids, some in the city of Birmingham, in the central part of the country.
Mayor Sadiq Khan called for Londoners to attend a candlelit vigil at Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening in solidarity with the victims and their families and to show that London remains united.
London went on. Parliament Square, Westminster Bridge and several surrounding streets remain cordoned off by police. Scores of unarmed officers in bright yellow jackets were staffing the perimeter tape, guiding confused civil servants trying to get to work.
In Parliament’s New Palace Yard, a blue police tent was erected over the spot where the stabbing and shooting occurred, and two forensic officers worked at a trestle table nearby.
Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley revised the death toll from five to four, including the attacker, the police officer and two civilians. He said that 29 people required hospitalization and seven of them were in critical condition. He also said that authorities were still working out the number of “walking wounded.” Police had previously given the total number of injured as around 40.
One of those killed was Aysha Frade, a British national whose mother is Spanish, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said.
A doctor who treated the wounded from the bridge said some had “catastrophic” injuries. Three police officers returning from a ceremony to honor their bravery were among the injured.
May said people from 11 countries were among the victims. They included: 12 Britons, 3 French, 2 Romanians, 4 South Koreans, 1 German, 1 Pole, 1 Irish, 1 Chinese, 1 Italian, 1 American and two Greeks required hospital treatment. Police earlier said that seven of the 29 who are hospitalized are in critical condition.
The threat level for international terrorism in the U.K. was already listed at severe, meaning an attack was “highly likely.”
President Donald Trump was among world leaders offering condolences.
London has been a target for terrorism many times over past decades. Just this weekend, hundreds of armed police took part in an exercise simulating a “marauding” terrorist attack on the River Thames.
May underscored that the attack targeted “free people everywhere,” and she said she had a response: “You will not defeat us.”
“Let this be the message from this House and this nation today: our values will prevail,” she said.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A few weeks ago KSN reported that the McAdams pool will be the first of several public pools around Wichita to close, leaving some parents concerned their kids won’t have a place to spend their summers.
The Wichita Park & Recreation Department wants to change that by offering need-based scholarships through the Wichita Parks Foundation to families for the Summer of Discovery camp at the Edgemoor Recreation Center.
The Kansas Department for Children & Families (DCF) will cover the costs for camp for families that qualify, but the City of Wichita sees a need to help middle income families that still might not afford it.
The camp costs:
$105 per week for the first child;
$95 per week for the second child;
and $85 per week for the third child and any after that.
“That’s a pretty big cost savings to families, especially if they’re wanting, if they have two or three children and they want to attend all 10 weeks of the summer program,” said Stacey Hamm, marketing director for the Wichita Park & Recreation Department.
The scholarship program would fund:
Up to 50 percent of the fees for the first child;
Up to 75 percent for the second child;
and up to 100 percent of the fees for the third child and any children after that.
KSN talked with one mom who believes the program is ideal for working parents and the scholarship is a bonus.
“It’s something they can be active with,” said Alyson Neal. “They’re not just sitting at home. We both work, my husband and I, so that gives them something to do instead of just sitting in the house.”
Neal’s husband works third shift so in the past, he’d have to stay up with the kids until she came home from work.
The couple make enough money to where they don’t qualify for the state to cover summer camp for their two sons, but not enough money to pay for it on their own.
“I think it’s great that they actually thought of families who are like us,” she said. “Who don’t qualify, we’re not low income, we don’t qualify for a lot of stuff but we also… It’s hard to pay for everything on our own, plus then be able to do this for our kids.”
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Scrambling to nail down votes for the House health care bill, Republicans are considering ways to ease federal requirements that insurers cover such basic services as prescription drugs, maternity care and substance abuse treatment.
Lawmakers emerging from a meeting late Wednesday of the conservative Freedom Caucus said “essential health benefits” are in play as party leaders and the White House explore ways to advance the House legislation. But undermining the Affordable Care Act’s benefits is likely to trigger a backlash from patient groups and doctors.
It’s also a tricky proposition for Republican lawmakers, because Democrats are certain to challenge any such move as out-of-bounds under special budget rules that would allow the GOP health bill to clear the Senate with just 51 votes. Until now, the ACA’s benefit requirement had not been considered a budgetary issue.
Traditionally, states have regulated the benefits that health insurers offering plans to individual consumers must provide. But the Obama-era health care law set a minimum floor for the whole nation.
The ACA’s “essential benefits” include outpatient care, emergency services, hospitalization, pregnancy, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, laboratory and diagnostic tests, preventive and wellness services, and pediatric care, including dental and vision services for kids.
In a letter to congressional leaders early this year, organizations representing nearly 400,000 doctors said “all health insurance products should be required to cover evidence-based essential benefits” in any new health care legislation. The letter was signed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Physicians. Many other organizations have taken a similar stance.
The required benefits are considered especially significant for women, since birth control and other routine women’s health services are now covered at no charge to patients.
Some White House officials have also acknowledged privately that essential health benefits are among the list of potential changes under discussion. While declining to elaborate on specifics, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We’re open to changes that help make the bill better.”
Republican advocates of undoing the federal benefits requirement say it drives up the cost of insurance. For example, before the ACA, a married couple in their early 60s might be able to purchase a policy that did not include maternity benefits. Now, the cost of caring for pregnant women and newborns is spread among the entire pool of people purchasing individual policies.
Doctors say plans with cherry-picked benefits have a way of backfiring on consumers, because you can never tell in advance what kind of medical care you might need.
“We need benefits to make insurance meaningful,” said Dr. John S. Meigs Jr., president of the family physicians association. “I’m afraid if they get rid of the essential benefits, you’ll have meaningless insurance. Meaningless coverage.” He practices in Centreville, Alabama.
But Republicans say consumers should have a choice of the benefits they purchase, and the entire issue is best left to states and not the federal government.