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Government Shutdown Enters Third Week, Possible Breakthrough To Prevent Future Shutdowns

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As the shutdown of the federal government ties for the longest in U.S. history, a group of Republican senators, including senior Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, are proposing a bill that would permanently prevent shutdowns of this kind from ever happening again.

The bill, called the End Government Shutdowns Act, was introduced Friday by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Mike Lee (R-UT).

The bill will “permanently prevent the federal government from shutting down, ensuring that essential government services aren’t disrupted and protecting taxpayers who must bear the resulting cost,” according to the statement released by Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) office Friday.

In a statement Friday, Murkowski said of the shutdown: “The ripple effect of a government shutdown has consequences for all Alaskans– most directly on the thousands of federal employees and tens of thousands more that rely on our federal agencies.”

“This legislation permanently ends government shutdowns with a commonsense solution to avoid a funding lapse, ensuring the jobs and livelihoods of federal workers and contractors are not held hostage during political disputes,” she said. “For the sake of our federal employees, their families, and our nation, I’m proud to support the End Government Shutdowns Act.”


This post will be updated when new information warrants.

UPDATE (1/11/19 3:30 PM EDT): The House & Senate broke for the weekend Friday, all but ensuring that the partial government shutdown would become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, with no end in sight.


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All Charges Against Jussie Smollett Dropped

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CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have been dropped.


Smollett’s attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a Tuesday morning statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.” Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to messages requesting comment.

Police and prosecutors have said the black and gay actor falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career.

The prosecutor who made the surprise decision to drop charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett for allegedly making false assault claims said the dropped and expunged charges are not an indication of the actor’s innocence.

“We didn’t exonerate him,” Joe Magats, the top assistant to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, said in a statement tweeted out by New York Times correspondent Julie Bosman.

The prosecutor said he “saw no problems with the police investigation or the evidence against Smollett,” Bosman tweeted, adding that the actor’s charges were dropped “in return for his agreement to do community service” and for the forfeiture of “his bond to the city of Chicago.”

“We work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime,” Magats said. “Public safety is our number one priority. I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.”

“We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case,” the prosecutor said. “The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence.”

Magats’ statement contrasts claims made by Smollett’s lawyers, who said the dropped and expunged charges were not part of a deal and that the actor would not be doing any additional community service.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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US Chief Justice John Roberts Rejects Bid To Halt Trump Bump Stock Ban

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday rejected a bid by gun rights activists to put on hold President Donald Trump’s administration’s ban on “bump stock” gun attachments that enable semi-automatic weapons to be fired rapidly.


Justice Sonia Sotomayor has not yet acted on another similar request.

The ban goes into effect on Tuesday but lower courts have yet to rule on an appeals brought by gun rights activists. An appeals court in Washington already has said that the ban will not go into effect in relation to the specific people and groups involved in that case.

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Gun Rights Groups Ask Supreme Court To Halt Trump Bump Stock Ban

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Gun rights groups are asking the Supreme Court to stop the Trump administration from beginning to enforce its ban on bump stock devices, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.


The groups asked the court Monday to get involved in the issue and keep the government from beginning to enforce the ban for now. The ban set to go into effect Tuesday has put the Trump administration in the unusual position of arguing against gun rights groups. It’s unclear how quickly the court will act.

President Donald Trump said last year that the government would move to ban bump stocks. The action followed a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles he used to shoot concertgoers. Fifty-eight people were killed.

Developing…this will be updated.

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