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News Brief: Week of April 7-13


Trump considering releasing migrants to sanctuary cities

In an attempt to retaliate against Democrats who oppose building a southern border wall, President Donald Trump said Friday, April 12, he is considering a plan to release detained migrants into sanctuary cities.

According to Trump, the plan would cripple the cities financially and test their infrastructure, causing them to re-think their strictness enforcing national immigration law.

While Trump tweeted about this strategy on Friday, senior White House officials stated the plan was proposed and quickly shot down in February. According to the New York Times, the Department of Homeland Security questioned the legality of the plan, and whether or not there would be enough budget appropriation to carry it out.

Severe storms kill four in southern U.S.

A severe weather outbreak across the southern U.S. on Saturday, April 13, left at least four dead and several others injured.

In Angelina County, TX, two young children died when a tree fell on the car they were sitting in and trapped them inside. Two others died in Louisiana and Texas as a result of storm-related debris and flooding.

The most destructive tornado of the day hit Franklin, TX, a community of 1,500 located approximately 110 miles northwest of Houston. While killing none, officials say the E-3 tornado with winds of more than 140 mph destroyed at least a dozen homes and caused several injuries.

The system moved further east on Sunday, April 14, affecting 80 million Americans in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

Mueller report to be released

A redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election will likely be released to the public this week, according to Attorney General William Barr.

According to a White House official who spoke to Politico, the report will increase public confidence that Trump did not participate in any criminal activity.

In anticipation of the report becoming public, Trump has assigned a team of six attorneys and staffers to analyze and respond to specific portions of the report.


Opioid trial to be decided by judge

A judge, rather than a jury, will decide the fate of Oklahoma’s public nuisance trial against opioid manufacturers.

Before Judge Thad Balkman in Cleveland County District Court on Friday, April 12, lawyers from the State of Oklahoma argued a judge should decide the fate of the case. Balkman ultimately ruled in their favor.

In June 2017, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sued 13 opioid manufacturers, alleging they created deceptive marketing campaigns which fueled thousands of opioid overdoses and deaths in the state. According to Hunter, more people in Oklahoma died from opioid overdoses than car crashes from 2009 to 2017.

Last month, Hunter dropped all fraud charges against the opioid manufacturers after entering into a $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharma. Last month, Purdue CEO Craig Landua said the company was considering bankruptcy.

A trial date is tentatively set for Tuesday, May 28.

Senate panel approves looser teacher gun laws

A Senate panel on Tuesday, April 9, approved a measure which would make it easier for teachers and school personnel to carry firearms in Oklahoma schools.

Proposed by Republicans Sen. David Bullards and Rep. Sean Roberts, H.B. 2336 would allow any teacher with a valid Oklahoma handgun license to carry in school. Individual districts would also be permitted to implement their own firearm regulations.

Currently, teachers must undergo a 240-hour Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training certification course if they wish to carry a firearm on school property.

H.B. 2336 will now go to the Senate floor for voting at the next legislative session.

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