TIMELINES 6/15/17

Shooter Opens Fire on Republicans Baseball Practice
While practicing with the Republicans on Wednesday morning for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia, congressional staffer Steve Scalise was shot. The alleged shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Illinois, opened fire on the team’s practice after allegedly asking if the team was Democrats or Republicans. Scalise was shot in the hip but is now in stable condition. Capitol police officers Krystal Griner and David Bailey returned fire and the shooter fell to the ground. They suffered non-life threatening injuries. Congressional staffer Zach Barth and lobbyist for Tyson Foods, Matt Mika, were also wounded with Mika being the most seriously injured. The annual charity baseball game has been played since 1909 and will go on as scheduled on June 15. 

Coalition of Attorney Generals and City of New York File Lawsuit Against U.S. Department of Energy
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with 11 attorney generals and the City of New York, filed a lawsuit against Trump’s administration of the US Department of Energy (DOE) for failure to comply with federal law. The coalition claims that the DOE has been delaying energy efficiency standards for common consumer items including portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies, air compressors, walk-in coolers and freezers and commercial packaged boilers. By enforcing these standards, it’s estimated that in 30 years consumers and businesses would save about $11.6 billion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 159 million tons and conserve over 242 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

Department of Correction Captain Arrested in Undercover Sex Sting
Westchester County Department of Correction Captain Thomas Abrams was arrested in an undercover sex sting that involved underage girls. “Operation Spider Byte” was coordinated with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, state police and the FBI to target individuals who thought they were using social media to lure minors between ages 9 and 14 to participate in sex acts. Abrams is a 27-year veteran of the department and has been suspended without pay pending a hearing. He was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 3.

Man Shoots Himself at Harriman State Park
On June 12, an unidentified man killed himself in front of a police officer at Harriman State Park. The man shot himself around 1 p.m. at the park and did not harm the officer or any visitors. According to a spokesman for the park police, they are not releasing additional information regarding the incident.

Lenape Tribe Chief Accused of Accompanying Vandalism Incident
Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapo Lenape tribe was accused of being an accomplice to vandalism. When attempting to change the angle of a camera, 29-year-old Steven D. Smith caused over $5,000 in damages to a surveillance camera at the Ramapo Hunt and Polo Club. Cameras located on a bridge by the club showed that 69-year-old Perry drove Smith to the scene. These cameras have been involved in an ongoing dispute with the tribe. A court date is set for July 13.

Former Hudson Valley Student Pleaded Guilty for Hoax Threats
A former college student in the Hudson Valley region, 32-year-old Juan Thompson, pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court for making fake threats against Jewish centers in an attempt to harass an ex-girlfriend. Last year, Thompson started his harassment after the end of his relationship with the victim. He contacted the victim’s employer in July, making false allegations of possession of child pornography. Thompson made at least a dozen fake threats against Jewish community centers to frame his former girlfriend. He pleaded guilty to cyberstalking and making hoax threats and will appear in court for sentencing in September. Previously, Thompson attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie before dropping out in 2013. He also used to work for the news website, The Intercept, but was fired for fabricating sources and quotes in January 2016. He resides in St. Louis.

Low Voter Turnout for Puerto Rico’s Statehood Referendum
On June 11, Puerto Rico held a referendum in which 97 percent of the 23 percent of Puerto Ricans that attended voted in favor of becoming a US state. Although the turnout was low, Governor Ricardo Rosello insisted that Congress must consider the vote because he believes the island’s status as a territory has contributed to its 10-year economic crisis. When the ballot only included options for becoming a state and entering into free association/independence, the Department of Justice asked that the ballot be changed to include remaining a commonwealth as an option. This issue led voters to boycott, explaining why there was a low turnout. President Donald Trump said he would be open to Puerto Rico becoming a state, but that it is Congress’ decision. The last time Puerto Rico voted on statehood was in 2012 when a low turnout caused it to be an illegitimate vote.

Fighting Against the Rising Heroin and Opioid Use in New York
In response to the alarming rise of the use of heroin and opioids across New York State, Senator Catharine Young and her colleagues passed new legislation strengthening laws against the sale and possession of opiates and providing more treatment for addicts. The Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addition held hearings across the state, including input from experts, parents, recovering addicts and concerned New Yorkers. The Task Force issued a report focusing on prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement. Twenty-two of the 48 measures included in the package have passed Senate.

New Policy Prohibits Payouts to Third Parties in Settlements
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy prohibiting payouts to third parties in settlements reached by the Justice Department. For decades, the DOJ has insisted on donations to third parties as part of settlements it reaches with defendants. Under the Obama administration, the DOJ came to large settlements with big banks over many alleged unfair lending practices. A group of congressional Republicans raised questions about this method in 2015, which began again when President Trump took office. The US Attorneys’ Manual will be updated to show the change in policy that is effective immediately.

Senator Carlucci Tries Helping Immigrant Student Gain Temporary Stay
Senator David Carlucci sent a letter to the director of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting a temporary stay of removal for Ossining student Diego Puma Macancela so he could graduate high school. Carlucci defended Macancela, saying that he is a victim of this country’s unfair immigration policies that threaten hardworking immigrant families. Macancela continues to be detained by federal immigration authorities, but Carlucci’s office is working with organizations to secure legal assistance with state funds to families in these instances.