Top 5 Live-WURD Thursday April 23
1. Senate Unanimously Passes Human Trafficking Bill After Long Delay
The trafficking vote moved the chamber past legislation that has been delayed for about six weeks, since Democrats withdrew their support for the bipartisan bill over an anti-abortion provision. Senators finally reached a compromise on that provision on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, senators waded into a sea of amendments that would increase penalties for perpetrators and support for victims, particularly the preadolescent girls who are often targeted.
Though not related, the fates of the trafficking bill and Ms. Lynch’s nomination became entwined when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said he would not schedule a confirmation vote until the Senate finished the trafficking bill.
2. Judge OKs 65-year deal over NFL concussions; could cost $1B
A federal judge has approved a plan to resolve thousands of NFL concussion lawsuits that could cost the league $1 billion over 65 years.
The NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or moderate dementia someday. The settlement approved Wednesday by a federal judge in Philadelphia would pay them about $190,000 on average.
The awards could reach $1 million to $5 million for those diagnosed in their 30s and 40s with Parkinson’s disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, or for deaths involving chronic brain trauma.
The league has been dogged for years by complaints that it long hid the risks of repeated concussions in order to return players to the field.
3. Officials clash over city-owned surveillance cameras
PHILADELPHIA’S 250 police surveillance cameras in recent years have documented shocking crimes and helped convict the evildoers responsible for them. But just how many of those cameras are operational?
City officials say 93 percent are working and recording at any given time.
But City Controller Alan Butkovitz told City Council yesterday that one-third of the cameras are broken, and some that work aren’t even being monitored by human beings.
Butkovitz said two reviews of the cameras by his office – in June 2012 and May 2013 – turned up the same results.
“One of the problems is nobody’s watching the video as it happens in Philadelphia, anyway,” Butkovitz said during a hearing for his office’s proposed $8.3 million fiscal year 2016 budget.
4. Pa. to eliminate asset test for food stamps
Pennsylvania will eliminate the asset test for food stamps as of Monday.
The controversial test, initiated by then-Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012, ties federal food-stamp benefits to people’s bank accounts and car ownership.
Corbett saw the test as a way to cut down on fraud and waste.
During the campaign for governor, then-candidate Tom Wolf called the asset test “another example of how [Corbett] has embraced policies intended to hurt our most vulnerable residents.”
5. Police: Students Involved In ‘Horrifying’ Brawl At Subway Stop In Philadelphia
Authorities are investigating a SEPTA subway station beating.
Police say students were involved in the attack.
A video from a SEPTA security camera rolling around 315 p.m. Tuesday at the Spring Garden subway stop along the Broad Street Line shows the brawl.
One of the students swings at another and a full scale brawl erupts on the platform, with multiple groups of students fighting all over the area, as other people waiting for the train look on terrified.
Chief Thomas Nestel of SEPTA Police says, “It’s an outrageous event. It’s so dangerous it’s not even funny. We have operating trains down there. There are passengers waiting for the train.”
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon