A woman has a warning for people who use the changing rooms at a Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, mall. Heather Lapinski said that while she was trying on bathing suits at Macy’s in the Mall at Robinson, she noticed a cellphone under the door. She grabbed it, but a man’s hand grabbed it back. >> Read more trending news By the time she was able to exit the dressing room, the man was gone. “I got ahold of it and a man's hand came down and grabbed it. I couldn’t scream. I was in so much shock,” Lapinski said. “I was crying. I didn't have my top on (and) I’m not running out completely naked.” By the time she was able to exit the dressing room, the man was gone. Lapinski described the man as having a medium build and balding in the front of his head. She said she hopes that someone recognizes the man before he does it again. “I want someone to say, ‘I know him.’ He can't keep going back and keep doing this to women. I’m going to be traumatized for the rest of my life,” she said. “When I go to bed, I toss and turn thinking about his face.” Both Macy’s and the Mall at Robinson said in statements about the matter that the safety of customers is a top priority. They could not confirm whether other incidents were previously reported.
When a teenager in Texas borrowed a family friend's computer, he made a shocking and sickening discovery. The boy found nude photos of his 10-year-old sister on the computer of Joe Garza Jr., according to the Star-Telegram. >> Read more trending news Garza, 65, was arrested March 3 on child pornography charges, and faces additional charges after it was discovered that he allegedly molested an older sister in the family years ago. The Star-Telegram reports that the boy, who was trying to fix the hard drive on his own computer, asked to borrow Garza's computer. While using it, he clicked on a folder and discovered the images of his sister. He returned the computer to Garza and told his mother about the images. She asked the boy to request to use the computer again so she could see the images for herself. The mother confronted Garza about the images and police were called to the scene. Officer Domingo Martinez, who works for the Fort Worth Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Task Force, told the Star-Telegram that Garza admitted to the mother that he had a problem and said he would disappear if she didn't call police. In interviews with authorities, the 10-year-old victim said Garza bought her items and gave her money, and told her not to tell her parents about the abuse. Garza remains behind bars while investigators work to determine if there are additional victims.
A judge says Florida's governor can remove a prosecutor from a death penalty-eligible case and has denied a request to delay the proceedings. State Attorney Aramis Ayala today asked a judge to delay proceedings for two weeks while she prepares an argument for the Florida Supreme Court. But Circuit Judge Frederick J. Lauten denied her request Tuesday. NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS A STORY THAT ORIGINATED ON MARCH 16, 2017 Earlier today, Governor Scott called on State Attorney Ayala to recuse herself immediately from prosecuting Markeith Loyd after she refused to consider the death penalty in this case. State Attorney Ayala has refused to recuse herself and Governor Scott has removed her from the case and reassigned it to State Attorney Brad King. Governor Scott said, “Earlier today, I called on State Attorney Ayala to immediately recuse herself from this case. She informed me this afternoon that she refuses to do that. She has made it clear that she will not fight for justice and that is why I am using my executive authority to immediately reassign the case to State Attorney Brad King. “Let’s remember, Markeith Loyd is accused of executing a brave law enforcement hero and murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon. Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Norman Lewis was also killed while actively searching for Markeith Loyd following these heinous murders. I am outraged and sickened by this loss of life and many families’ lives have been forever changed because of these senseless murders. These families deserve a state attorney who will aggressively prosecute Markeith Loyd to the fullest extent of the law and justice must be served.”
A brushfire that broke out on Osteen Street has spread to about 20 acres and some nearby homes are being evacuated as a precaution. The Florida Fire Service and local firefighters are battling the flames in Volusia County.
A North Carolina county could be in major violation of HIPPA laws after mistakenly releasing hundreds of patients’ private medical records to a Charlotte TV station that was investigating a medical story. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, was enacted in 1996 to ensure patient privacy rights. >> Read more trending news Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio revealed Tuesday afternoon that the county mistakenly released the private medical records of some 1,200 patients to the media. The county attorney confirmed patient health information was compromised. 'I'm absolutely speechless with anger at how something like this could happen,' Diorio said. Channel 9 had requested public records related to the county's failure to notify nearly 200 women about abnormal Pap smear results. While WSOC-TV received that information Monday, the county also mistakenly included detailed medical history about hundreds of patients. The information included an Excel spreadsheets documenting the patients’ full names, addresses and dates of visits. For some patients it also included a detailed description of why they visited and what services they received. Diorio said the information should not have been in spreadsheets in the email and the practice of putting medical information in Excel sheets will end immediately. Diorio said she believes the release is a category 2 HIPAA violation with a minimum fine of $1,000 per violation up to $50,000. A county worker collected the records Tuesday morning from WSOC. “We do everything we can to protect the personal information for all of our patients,” Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said. “In this particular instance, the checks and balances were not completely followed and we had a lapse.' Diorio said an IT staffer mistakenly included the information in the public records request. She also said no one checked the file before it was released. >> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here “This was a person who works in our IT security area so it’s not as if everybody has access to this information,” she said. It’s unclear if the hundreds of patients will be notified about the information leak. Diorio is planning to discuss the next steps with the county attorney on Tuesday. >> Click here to read the full story.
With a two week break for Easter on the horizon, the stage is set for lawmakers in the Congress to get a bunch of things done over the next few days, or again run aground on the rocks of gridlock.
And once more, most of the focus will be on internal battles within the Republican Party.
For more than four months since winning control of both houses of Congress, that has been the dominant theme in the Congress – GOP leaders trying to do something, while always battling to smooth over divisions within Republican ranks.
And this week may be no different on the budget and more.
Here’s some of what’s on tap on Capitol Hill:
1. The Budget Resolution
This non-binding budget blueprint could give the GOP a big victory or cause the leadership to break out in hives, as the party’s fiscal hawks battle with Republican defense hawks over future spending plans. A large group of Republicans wants to spend more on the military, but another sizable group is dead set against more spending without offsetting budget cuts. Just getting these measures through the House and Senate this week is one hurdle; finding a compromise that can be approved in both houses will be challenging as well.
For example, when it came to extra money for defense, there weren’t enough votes for that in the House Budget Committee – so, the GOP leadership will simply add more spending authority to the plan (about $20 billion) before it reaches the House floor for debate this week.
2. Fixing the “Doc Fix”
Many times in recent years, both parties have tried to get rid of the so-called “Doc Fix,” a quirky provision from GOP budget balancing efforts of the late 1990’s, which tried to force some budget savings in Medicare. Instead, it’s become emblematic of the ‘kick-the-can-down-the-road’ mentality of Congress, as 17 times, lawmakers have stepped in to temporarily avert a large cut in payments to Medicare providers.
Last week, House Republicans and Democrats unveiled a bipartisan plan to finally update the Doc Fix, which would be partially paid for by other savings – that has some Republicans worried.
All the details on the legislation can be found here.
Will this be a bipartisan achievement? Or will enough members in both parties balk at the idea of doing something bipartisan?
3. Dems still filibustering sex trafficking bill
In the Senate, we enter a third week where Democrats are blocking action on a sex trafficking bill, demanding that Republicans remove language from the plan dealing with abortion. This story has several levels, as Republicans seemed to have slipped that language in the bill, but Democrats on the Judiciary Committee failed to even read the bill, which led to them being caught off guard.
The Washington Post in recent days labeled Democrats, “the new party of no” for their filibuster, as they keep rejecting Republican offers to solve the impasse.
4. The Loretta Lynch nomination
Caught up in the Senate impasse over the sex trafficking bill is the nomination of Loretta Lynch for U.S. Attorney General. Republicans know that President Obama and Democrats want action on Lynch – but the GOP also wants action on the sex trafficking bill. So, GOP leaders have said, as long as the trafficking bill is delayed, Lynch isn’t getting a vote.
This story hasn’t received that much attention in the news media, despite Democratic efforts to get reporters to focus more on it. But one would think that if the Senate leaves town at the end of this week without action, then Democrats will try to spend much of the Easter break hammering the GOP over the failure to vote on Lynch’s nomination.
5. The numbers on Loretta Lynch
If Lynch gets a vote this week in the Senate, it may take the vote of Vice President Biden to get her approved. At this point, there are a bare minimum of 50 votes to confirm her as U.S. Attorney General. (My colleagues in the Press Gallery scoffed at my assessment several months ago that her nomination was in danger; and yet, here we are.)
One other number to watch – the contention of the White House and Democrats that Lynch has waited the longest amount of time to be confirmed.
Yes, the President announced Lynch’s nomination in early November. But remember, Democrats decided against trying to get her confirmed before they lost control of the Senate. Lynch’s nomination was officially sent to the new Congress in early January of this year.