Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Political notebook

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Pelosi to announce her decision today

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says she'll announce today whether she'll continue in her current position or step down after her party failed to gain the 25 seats it needed to win the House majority. When a few undecided races are called, Democrats will gain less than half of that number. But Pelosi, who raised millions of dollars to put Democrats back in power, has refused to say whether she'll relinquish or keep her leadership post, serve out the two-year term to which she was just elected, or retire.

Ryan: Losing election 'a bit of a shock'

The polling and other data and all the smart people watching the election gave Rep. Paul Ryan an optimistic view on the night of last week's election. When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost, his running mate felt "a bit of a shock." "Going into Boston that day, we felt like we had a pretty darn good chance of winning," Ryan told ABC News in an interview broadcast Tuesday. "So as you can imagine, it was a bit of a shock when we didn't win, but that's just the way these things go." Ryan said President Barack Obama deserves to be congratulated for having "a fantastic ground game." "He won fair and square," Ryan said of Obama. "He got more votes, and that's the way our system works, and so he ought to be congratulated for that." Had he been at the top of the ticket, Ryan said, he would have run exactly the kind of campaign that Romney oversaw. Ryan said he and Romney "felt very good about the race we ran."

Jackson no longer a Mayo Clinic patient

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Tuesday, clinic spokesman Nick Hanson said. "He is no longer a patient here," Hanson said. "I don't know where he is." The Illinois Democrat, who is reportedly under federal investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds, has been on a leave of absence from Congress since June. He won re-election a week ago, issuing a statement of thanks from Mayo. Jackson suffers from bipolar disorder. He re-entered Mayo in October after spending weeks there last summer. He initially was treated at Sierra Tucson in Arizona after beginning his leave of absence.

Leaders introduce newest lawmakers

House and Senate minority leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell surrounded themselves with the triumphant faces of newly elected lawmakers Tuesday. But the glow of victory couldn't hide the leaders' own Election Day failures. Pelosi, the onetime House speaker and the first woman to hold the office, touted the diversity of her caucus, even though her quest to flip 25 seats and gain control of the House failed by two-thirds. McConnell declared his caucus was "ready to get started"— as a minority yet again and under a president whose defeat he had named as his top priority. "The election's behind us," McConnell emphasized with a tight smile. What lay ahead looked to be a bitter end to a presidential and congressional election year that consumed $6 billion in campaign cash, bombarded voters with political ads and changed nothing about who holds the presidency or which parties control Congress. Voters dashed the hopes of out-of-power veterans like Pelosi and McConnell while electing a dozen new senators and at least 82 new House members.

King expects to make caucus choice today

Independent Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine says he probably won't keep people guessing long about which party he will align himself with. The former governor said he's trying to make a decision on which party to caucus with in time for the leadership votes both parties will hold today. It's widely assumed he will caucus with Democrats, especially after GOP and conservative super PACs spent millions of dollars to attack him during the campaign. King is in orientation sessions for freshman lawmakers and has talked to both Democrats and Republicans. King will replace retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, a prominent GOP centrist.

Senate approves whistle-blower bill

The Senate has given final congressional approval to a bill that would significantly expand protections for federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse and make it easier to punish supervisors who try to retaliate against the whistle-blowers. The whistle-blower protection measure was sent to the president Tuesday by a voice vote. The legislation closes loopholes created by court rulings, which removed protections for whistle-blowers. One loophole specified that whistle-blowers were only protected when they were the first to report misconduct. The new legislation, however, would go beyond restoring protections, to expand whistle-blower rights and clarify protections that were not explicitly clear. For instance, the bill would clarify that whistle-blowers could challenge the consequences of government policy decisions.

Times wires

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Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts today

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts today

High school students from around the Tampa Bay area are participating in the National School Walkout today commemorating the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999 and calling for gun law reform.A large group of students from St. Petersburg High g...
Updated: 0 minutes ago
Top 5 at noon: Suspect in Gilchrist deputiesí slayings has Tampa Bay ties; man gets life sentence in Freedom High studentís 2015 shooting death; and more

Top 5 at noon: Suspect in Gilchrist deputiesí slayings has Tampa Bay ties; man gets life sentence in Freedom High studentís 2015 shooting death; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:SUSPECT IN GILCHRIST DEPUTIESí SLAYINGS HAS TAMPA BAY TIESThe man identified as the suspect who fatally shot two Gilchrist County deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways. In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall f...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Man gets life sentence in Freedom High studentís 2015 shooting death

Man gets life sentence in Freedom High studentís 2015 shooting death

TAMPA ó After David Brunson murdered an 18-year-old Freedom High School senior, he told a witness the victim was "just some ghetto kid nobody will miss."But people do miss Eion Gustitis.More than two years after Gustitis was shot in the head in a rem...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

Shaquem Griffin is about to join a long line of NFL draft picks from Lakewood

ST. PETERSBURG — Former Lakewood High coach Brian Bruch started each season with the same spiel. He cautioned his players about not becoming obsessed with a professional football career, reciting statistics to emphasize the difficult the odds o...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce, whose nine-year tenure in Columbus came after one season as coach of the University of Tampa's now-defunct program, passed away earlier this morning at age 87.Mr. Bruce reportedly had been battling Alzhei...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Wall Street Journal: Baseball in Florida Ďhas been a disasterí

Wall Street Journal: Baseball in Florida Ďhas been a disasterí

The Rays and Miami Marlins "are at a moment of reckoning" after histories of low attendance and an offseason in which they sold off many of their top players and were singled out by the MLB Players Association for failing to spend revenue-sharing mon...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chainís latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chainís latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giantís latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Parents sue Tampa football league, former coach accused of lewd conduct

Parents sue Tampa football league, former coach accused of lewd conduct

The parents of two teens have filed a lawsuit against the Tampa Bay Youth Football League and the man accused of harassing and molesting them while he was their coach.The parents say the organization and Davarius Durham were negligent and caused phys...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. In preliminary findings of ...
Updated: 1 hour ago