Dodd-Frank » The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation on Wednesday, rewriting controversial Dodd-Frank banking rules.
AUDIO: The yeas are 67, the nays are 31. The bill as amended is passed.
President Barack Obama signed the regulations into law in 2010 after the 2007 financial crisis. The law was designed to rein in big banks and protect against a future collapse, but critics say it hurt the little guys more, running many small banks out of business.
Republican Senator Mike Crapo, chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, cheered last night’s vote.
CRAPO: When this bill is signed into law, it will right-size regulation for financial institutions, including community banks and credit unions, making it easier for consumers to get mortgages and to obtain credit.
Sixteen Democrats and one independent voted with Republicans on the rewrite, but others said last night’s vote puts the financial system at greater risk.
STOP act vote » Meantime, lawmakers in the House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill to improve school safety.
AUDIO: On this vote the yeas are 407, the nays are 10 — two-thirds being in the affirmative the rules are suspended, the bill is passed.
The measure, sponsored by Congressman John Rutherford, a former Jacksonville, Florida sheriff is the first gun-related bill passed in Congress since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.
The bill authorizes $500 million in grants over 10 years for training and technology. It will support security training, infrastructure, and mental health resources and other prevention measures.
Rutherford says the measure empowers students, teachers and law enforcement.
RUTHERFORD: And trains them how to recognize and respond to warning signs. With increased training, technology and coordination with law enforcement, we can be better prepared to defend students from violence and respond quickly and effectively to threats as they arise.
The bill will now go to the Senate.
Student walkout »
AUDIO: Sound of student walkout
And that vote came just hours after thousands of high school students across the country walked out of school on Wednesday, as part of a nationwide demonstration against gun violence.
AUDIO: End gun violence, no more silence…
The effort was timed to coincide with the one month anniversary of the Parkland shooting. Organizers called for a 17-minute walkout, one minute for each of the 17 students killed in the February 14th massacre.
18-year-old New York high school student Annabelle Hoffman was among the students calling for new gun control measures.
HOFFMAN: I think guns are the problem, but people are so adamant about having that right and having their guns.
Some school districts welcomed the walkouts, while others threatened disciplinary action.
PA-18 update » There is still no official winner from Tuesday’s special election for a U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania. As officials continued counting absentee ballots in the 18th district yesterday, Democrat Conor Lamb’s lead held up. He currently leading Republican Rick Saccone by just over 600 votes, though Saccone is not giving up.
Director of Elections for Washington County, Larry Spahr said it could be days or even weeks before results are official.
SPAHR: However long it takes the canvas board to audit each precinct. And then once they determine the — at least in their perspective, official results, then there’s a 5-day waiting period.
The two candidates are separated by just two–tenths of one percent in the vote count. But some analysts on Wednesday said that’s plenty.
The New York Times called the race yesterday for Lamb, noting that while some 500 provisional ballots remain to be counted, the results won’t be enough to erase lamb’s 627-vote lead.
Appeals court backs Texas in sanctuary city fight » A big legal win for the state of Texas in its crackdown on sanctuary cities. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Texas can punish sanctuary cities and force local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials. That’s the unanimous ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding rules Governor Greg Abbott signed into law last year.
That law says local jurisdictions have to cooperate with detainer requests from the federal government. It also prohibits any local governments or officials from adopting any policy that tries to block verification of a person’s legal status. And it states that officials can be fired or removed from office for not complying with the law.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
UK-Russia latest » British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday said the country will expel 23 Russian diplomats following this month’s nerve agent attack against an ex Russian spy in England. The expulsion is the largest since the Cold War more than 30 years ago. And May says that’s not all.
MAY: We will suspend all planned high level bilateral contacts between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation. This includes revoking the invitation to Foreign Minister Lavrov to pay a reciprocal visit to the UK and confirming there will be no attendance by ministers, or indeed members of the Royal Family, at this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
British officials have continued investigations after they found former spy Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter, Yulia, unconscious in a park in Salisbury last week. The two remain in comas. May said their attacker used a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent.
May said Russia has “provided no credible explanation that could suggest they lost control of their nerve agent.” The Russian Embassy in London said it considered May’s decision an unjustified hostile action.
Toys ‘R’ Us closing all US stores »
Toys ‘R’ US is calling it quits, at least in the U.S. The Wall Street Journal reports that the big box toy chain told its employees on Wednesday it plans to sell or close all of its stores nationwide. The company filed liquidation papers last evening ahead of a bankruptcy hearing today. The retailer filed for bankruptcy protection back in September.
The 70-year-old company could lay off more than 30,000 workers as it shutters more than 700 stores.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: More on Mike Pompeo, the man President Trump tapped as the nation’s top diplomat. Plus, Cal Thomas on a new climate change book. This is The World and Everything in It.