Trump declares national emergency
In an effort to secure funding to build a full border wall while also keeping the federal government open, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday.
After weeks of negotiation, Congress reached a bipartisan agreement Thursday to provide $1.375 billion–less than a quarter of the $5.7 billion Trump requested during the 35-day-long government shutdown in December and January–in funding for additional border security. The money will go toward providing humanitarian aid in Central America, hiring more immigration judges and building dozens of miles of fencing in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas.
After signing the bill Friday morning, Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, something he has threatened to do for months. The decision allows him to tap into defense and military funds without congressional approval in order to begin border wall construction.
Man kills five in Illinois warehouse
A disgruntled employee at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, IL, opened fire on co-workers and law enforcement Friday, killing five and injuring six others.
Authorities say 45-year-old Gary Martin, a 15-year employee of the Henry Pratt Co. industrial complex, suspected he would be terminated from his position Friday. After learning he would in fact be fired, he opened fire on the meeting, killing five of his former co-workers.
Martin shot at police upon their arrival, injuring six. All are in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.
After searching the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing complex for 90 minutes, police were able to locate Martin and take him into custody.
Despite having a lengthy criminal history, including a felony aggravated assault conviction in 1995, Martin was legally sold the weapon he used to carry out the attack in March 2014.
Barr confirmed as attorney general
By a vote of 54-45, the U.S. Senate confirmed William Barr as attorney general on Wednesday, Feb. 13
Barr, who served as attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration from 1991 to 1993, replaced Jeff Sessions, who resigned in November at President Trump’s request.
At his confirmation hearing, Barr said he viewed the position of attorney general as “the president’s lawyer,” and said he would work to be as transparent as possible on current issues, including the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Anti-abortion bill will not be considered
A bill, which would criminalize abortion in Oklahoma, will not be considered by lawmakers.
Senate President Greg Treat told reporters he maintains a passionate anti-abortion stance, but will not allow a committee to review Senate Bill 13 because it is likely to be ruled unconstitutional.
Proposed by Rep. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, SB 13 reclassifies abortion as murder and imposes strict punishment on those who perform and request the procedure.
Silk addressed a group of pro-life supporters gathered at the state capitol Wednesday, Feb. 13, saying he doubted the federal government could overturn a statewide abortion ban.
“Permitless” carry bill passes house
A bill, which would allow Oklahoma residents to purchase and carry a gun without training, passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 70-30 on Feb. 13 and will now head to the Senate floor for consideration.
The majority of no votes came from Democrats, who said the bill could endanger public safety by doing away with almost all firearm training laws.
The bill will likely move past the Senate, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 39-9, and reach the governor’s desk for signature.
A similar law was vetoed by former Gov. Mary Fallin last year, but Gov. Stitt says he is in favor of such a measure.
“Conceptually, absolutely I’m going to sign it,” Stitt told reporters earlier this month. “We are going to be a state that protects the 2nd Amendment.”
Bryan Stevenson speaking tonight
Lawyer, author, professor and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson will speak at 6 p.m. tonight in the Garvey Center Auditorium.
Tickets are currently sold out online. Those wishing to attend should contact the box office.