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  • Haley says she raised a strong $12M in February, but can’t point to long-term plan to beat Trump
    on March 1, 2024 at 5:19 pm

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Friday that she raised $12 million in February, a haul that will likely allow her to remain in the Republican primary against former President Donald Trump past next week’s Super Tuesday — even though she can’t point to an upcoming state where she thinks she’ll beat him. The former ambassador to the United Nations noted that she outraised Trump in January and insisted that the donations have continued to flow despite her not having a long-term plan to challenge — or even really dent — the former president’s commanding lead in the primary. “When I go into a fundraiser,” she said Friday, “They don’t ask me, ‘What’s your strategy?’ They don’t ask me, ‘What’s your plan?’ All they say is, ‘Thank you for giving me hope.’” Haley’s announced February total has not yet been verified by official campaign finance filings. Still, Haley argues that another strong month with donors shows that Republicans are hungry for a viable alternative to Trump. Haley, who is also a former South Carolina governor, is the last Trump challenger standing from a field that was once crowded with more than a dozen Republican White House candidates. Trump has swept every early GOP contest heading into Saturday’s primary in the nation’s capital — including trouncing Haley in South Carolina. But Haley outraised Trump in January, taking in $11.5 million while her allied super PAC brought in another $12 million. The former president’s campaign raised $8.8 million in January with his primary super PAC taking in another $7.3 million. Asked about Haley announcing her strong February fundraising, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said, “Our focus is now on Joe Biden and the general election.” “Republican voters have delivered resounding wins for President Trump in every single primary contest and this race is over,” Cheung said. As Biden steps up his own fundraising and travel around the country amid his own reelection campaign, the president has also zeroed in on Trump while largely assuming the race with Haley is over — calling his presidential predecessor a threat to the nation’s core values and very democracy. Haley says she’s “not anti-Trump” and doesn’t fault Republicans for voting for him in the primary. She campaigned in Washington ahead of its Republican primary on Saturday — though the stakes are low given how Democratic the city is. She was also finishing the evening Friday in North Carolina, one of the 15 states holding GOP primaries on Tuesday. Haley ducked questions about where she might win a primary on Super Tuesday or beyond, saying, “I don’t look all the way down the road.” She has repeatedly refused to comment about long-term plans aside from saying that she will reevaluate after Tuesday. “Super Tuesday, we’re gonna try to be competitive. I hope we go forward. But, this is all about like, how competitive can we be?” Haley said in her Washington meeting with reporters. “Can we continue to show that there is a big number of Americans who are saying they want to go in this direction?” Haley has said previously that she has no interest in mounting a third-party presidential challenge against Biden and Trump with the centrist No Labels group. She said Friday that she’d not spoken to No Labels but didn’t plan on mounting a White House bid with them because she said it would require her to team up with a Democratic running mate. “I can’t do what I want to do as president with a Democrat vice president,” she said. “If I ran for No Labels that would mean it’s about me. It’s not about me — it’s about the direction I think the country should go.” Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • Olympic commission suggests SafeSport be independent from USOPC
    on March 1, 2024 at 5:18 pm

    A commission charged with reviewing the Olympic system in the United States recommended Congress rework key facets of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, including making it completely independent of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and reimagining the way it deals with cases in the grassroots. The commission released its 275-page report Friday, also suggesting Congress create a new federal office to oversee grassroots sports that are now largely under the auspices of the USOPC, which could then focus on its central objective of supporting high-performance athletes and Olympic teams. The tension between grassroots and elite sports is a common theme throughout the document, which suggests that some reworking of the 1978 law that created the modern-day Olympic structure in the U.S. could be in order. A big focus of the report was on the Denver-based SafeSport Center, which was established in 2017 to oversee sex-abuse cases in Olympic sports. It receives around $20 million annually from the USOPC and its sports affiliates, though the report called for a rethinking of the funding model. The center has long been dealing with an overload of cases and has been criticized for taking too long to resolve them. “The $20 million annually that USOPC must currently provide to SafeSport should instead be reinvested in improving conditions for our high-performance athletes so they will be less vulnerable to abuse,” the report said. Center CEO Ju’Riese Colon said the funding “is insufficient to meet the growing demands on the Center.” “Regardless of whether the additional funding continues to come through the USOPC as required by federal law, or directly from Congressional appropriations, it needs to increase substantially to allow the Center to better fulfill our mission of keeping America’s athletes safe,” she said. But some data embedded in the report suggested the center has bigger issues than mere funding. The report published polling information, previously reported by The Associated Press, that found 25.4% of 1,752 respondents found the SafeSport Center to be “not so effective” or “not effective at all.” Another 41.4% said it was only “somewhat effective.” While the center took a big portion of the heat, the USOPC also was criticized for being an unwieldy, not-too-transparent organization that would benefit from increased oversight and a streamlining of its mission. It also called on removing the idea of amateurism — once a key cornerstone of the Olympic movement — from the title of the 1978 “Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.” “We need a better long-term vision for how we organize Olympic- and Paralympic-movement sports in America,” the commission wrote as part of its conclusion. “One that ensures participants’ safety, promotes equitable access, and holds governing systems accountable through transparency and a commitment to due process.” ___ AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • New Jersey gambling regulator who advised nation on integrity and oversight retires
    on March 1, 2024 at 5:18 pm

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — David Rebuck, who oversaw New Jersey’s development of nation-leading internet gambling and sports betting industries and advised more than two dozen states on setting up and regulating their own gambling operations, retired Friday after 13 years as one of America’s most influential gambling regulators. Rebuck, 71, stepped down as director of the state Division of Gaming Enforcement after leading New Jersey though a turbulent period when some Atlantic City casinos closed and the state became a leader in emerging forms of gambling including sports betting, which came about after the state won a U.S. Supreme Court case to permit it. “This industry is never dull,” he said. “There are always going to be challenges and opportunities. We wanted to be the pinnacle of regulating the industry so that the casinos would have a better chance of success while protecting customers.” Rebuck was appointed by former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2011 at a time when Atlantic City’s casinos were reeling from competitive economic pressures from casinos in neighboring states. “The marching orders were clear: to implement the law that had just passed,” he said. “There was a feeling on the part of the casinos that they were overly regulated by rules that hadn’t been updated since the 1970s.” A streamlined governmental oversight system helped reduce some of the casinos’ overhead expenses. But it would not prove enough to prevent five of the 12 casinos from shutting down in less than two years; two of them have since reopened. “You thought you were doing everything you could do to help them survive in this market, and it didn’t work,” he said. “It was a tough time.” A year later, in 2013, Rebuck presided over one of New Jersey’s greatest triumphs: the start of internet gambling. New Jersey led the nation in online gambling for 10 years until Michigan surpassed it by a small fraction last year in terms of the amount of money won from gamblers. When Democrat Phil Murphy succeeded Republican Christie as governor in 2018, he kept Rebuck on as chief gambling regulator. That year, Rebuck led the creation of rules and regulations for New Jersey’s sports betting industry after the state prevailed in its longshot legal battle to overturn a federal ban on it in all but four states. That U.S. Supreme Court ruling led the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting if they so chose; 38 states plus Washington, D.C, currently do. Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling market, said Rebuck helped launch “new gaming products that are changing the industry and keeping New Jersey at the top of the national market.” Rebuck has also been highly sought for his advice and technical expertise by other states considering adopting new gambling operations or modernizing existing ones. He said he has advised and worked with more than two dozen states in this regard. “We’d give them our actual book, and say, ‘This is what we do, this is how we do it and this is how you can do it,’” he said. “This is a copycat industry; once people see something that works, they want to do it, too.” Mark Giannantonio, president of Atlantic City’s Resorts casino and of the Casino Association of New Jersey, called Rebuck “a thoughtful and progressive gaming regulator who advanced so many aspects of gaming in New Jersey.” With internet gambling, “Dave led the team at DGE and built from the ground up the policies and regulations that created a whole new innovative business for New Jersey in a safe and secure manner,” Giannantonio said. “These regulations have been duplicated across the country.” Mary Jo Flaherty, deputy director of the gaming enforcement division, will serve as interim director for an unspecified period. ___ Follow Wayne Parry on X at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • NYC’s mayor says he stands by top aide at center of latest FBI raid on members of his inner circle
    on March 1, 2024 at 5:18 pm

    NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Friday stood by a longtime advisor whose properties were raided by the FBI and shrugged off concerns about the mounting federal probes of people linked to his administration. FBI agents searched two Bronx addresses Thursday owned by Winnie Greco, a former fundraiser for Adams who now serves as his director of Asian affairs. Greco is at least the third Adams aide whose home has been targeted by federal agents. Agents have also seized the mayor’s cellphones and an iPad in a separate federal probe focused at least in part on whether his campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive illegal campaign contributions from foreign sources. During a round of local media appearances Friday, the Democrat said his administration is cooperating with investigators and that he remains committed to serving city residents. “The inquiry is going to take its course,” Adams said on 1010 WINS news radio. “It’s imperative for me to stay focused on public safety, improving the city. That’s what I got to do.” “My job is to make sure trash is off the streets and the city is clean,” he said on NY1. “Those who are doing reviews of any actions that may be perceived to be incorrect, they’re going to do their job.” Adams also defended Greco, a prolific fundraiser who has worked closely with him for over a decade and served as his conduit to Asian American communities. When asked specifically if he still had confidence in Greco during an appearance on WPIX-TV, the mayor quickly responded: “Yes, I do.” A City Hall spokesperson said Thursday that Greco had been placed on administrative leave. But Adams disclosed Friday that she is on sick leave for now and that the question of whether she’ll be placed on unpaid administrative leave will be addressed later. The mayor’s office said later that Greco experienced a “medical episode” during Thursday’s raid that required federal authorities to request an ambulance to take her to the hospital. The administration declined to provide further details of the incident other than to stress that Greco will not be performing any city duties until the investigation is complete. Federal authorities haven’t revealed the purpose of Thursday’s raid — which was overseen by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn — including whether it is related to Adams. In November, the city’s Department of Investigation opened a probe into Greco’s conduct following a news report that raised questions about her political fundraising and whether she used her position in the administration to obtain personal benefits. According to that report, published by the local news outlet The City, Greco demanded that a city employee complete free renovations on her home when he was supposed to be working. Brought to you by www.srnnews.com

  • What to know about the latest court rulings, data and legislation on abortion in the US
    on March 1, 2024 at 5:18 pm

    A judge in Montana rejected abortion restrictions, the attorney general in Missouri is accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally transporting minors for abortions and new data shows how the way abortions they’re provided continues to shift in a nation where some states have bans and others are protecting access. More than a year and a half since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled overturned Roe v. Wade and the nationwide right to abortion, the details of what that means are still in flux. With lawsuits still pending and ballot questions on the horizon, that’s the one thing that’s not likely to change quickly. Here are things to know about developments across the country this week. A Montana judge on Thursday rejected restrictions on abortion that were adopted in 2021, possibly setting up a chance for the Montana Supreme Court to revisit its 1999 ruling that protected a woman’s right to abortion until the fetus is viable. The 2021 laws were put on hold and never took effect. They would have banned abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, banned telehealth prescription of abortion pills, required a 24-hour waiting period after giving consent and required providers to show women an ultrasound or hear a fetal heart tone before providing an abortion. The state government plans to appeal the ruling, possibly putting it on a path for another showdown at the state’s top court. A judge last year also put on hold enforcement of more restrictions the state adopted last year, including a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions — the most common procedure after 15 weeks’ gestation. Abortion rights groups are pushing for a ballot question to amend the state constitution to protect reproductive freedom, including the right to abortion. There have been legal and legislative battles over abortion access in the U.S. for generations, but everything changed when the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that had protected access nationwide. Since then, bans have taken effect in most Republican-controlled states, including 14 where abortion is banned at all stages of pregnancy, with varying limited exceptions. Most Democrat-controlled states have sought to protect access. Those changes are reflected in data released this week by #WeCount for the Society of Family Planning. The group finds that the number of abortions per month nationally is similar to what it was before the court’s ruling. Although the number of monthly abortions has dropped to nearly zero in states with bans, they have risen in states that allow abortion — and a larger portion of them use pills prescribed by telehealth. West Virginia’s state Senate this week approved a measure to require eighth and 10th graders to see a video on fetal development. The “Baby Olivia” video is being used in classrooms in North Dakota and there’s legislation that aims to require it in Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. Though it was approved in West Virginia’s Senate, Republican Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo, a pulmonologist, objected, saying the video has “grossly inaccurate information” contradictory to science. The bill now heads to the House of Delegates. Meanwhile, South Dakota is looking to produce another video to guide medical providers on when to apply the one exception to the state’s abortion ban. Under state law, abortion is allowed only to save the life of the woman. This week, the state Senate approved the plan, which had already passed the House, this week. It now heads to Republican Gov. Kristi Noem for her signature. Missouri’s attorney general is suing Planned Parenthood, asserting that the organization is illegally transporting minors from Missouri — where most abortions are banned — to obtain them in Kansas. The claim is based on a conservative group’s hidden-camera video of someone seeking an abortion for a fictitious 13-year-old. Planned Parenthood denies the claim. The office of Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican running for election this year, has not said whether criminal charges could be filed, too. The abortion bans across the U.S. seek to criminalize doctors and others who provide abortions and in many cases those who help women seeking abortions — but they stop short of allowing charges against those women themselves. Still, a 26-year-old who self-managed an abortion in 2022 in Texas was charged there with murder and spent two nights in jail before being released and having the charges dropped. It was revealed this week that the prosecutor who oversaw the case has been disciplined for his role in it. Starr County District Attorney Gocha Ramirez must pay a $1,250 fine and have his license held in a probated suspension for 12 months under a settlement agreement with the State Bar of Texas. Ramirez says he made a mistake and agreed to the deal because it will keep his office running. Alabama lawmakers this week advanced bills to protect fertility clinics after the state’s Supreme Court issued a ruling last month that could be devastating for them. The court ruled that frozen embryos are the legal equivalent of children. Three large clinics quickly halted offering in vitro fertilization, a devastating outcome for people trying to expand their families. Abortion rights advocates — including U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on a visit to Alabama this week — have framed the court’s ruling as a consequence of overturning Roe v. Wade and part of a conservative effort to ban abortion by declaring that embryos and fetuses have the rights of people. Brought to you by www.srnnews.com