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  • The GOP push for a major tax reform bill in Congress took an important step forward on Thursday night, as the Senate approved a Republican budget outline for 2018, authorizing work on a tax reform bill that cannot be derailed by a filibuster, as President Donald Trump urged Congress to move quickly on a tax package. “Tonight we completed the first step to replacing our broken tax code,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Senate vote was 51-49, with only Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) breaking ranks, as he voted against the plan, saying he was standing up for “fiscal responsibility.” The vote was welcome news at the White House. “I will tell you, our country needs tax cuts,” the President said at the White House on Thursday afternoon, arguing tax relief would spur new economic growth in the United States on a large scale. “If we get this done, it will be historic,” the President said. “It will be bigger than any plan ever approved or – ever. It will be the biggest tax cuts in the history of our country.” President Trump: 'I think we have the votes for the budget' https://t.co/ZxIn3XEXMh — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 19, 2017 That point was repeated on almost an endless loop by GOP Senators during Senate debate on the budget outline for 2018. “This is the first step to getting us to pro-growth tax reform,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “It’s been more than 30 years since we reformed the tax code,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). “We have more preferences and loopholes and deductions than we know what to do with.” “If we don’t get that done, then I don’t think we have another opportunity to pass a tax bill in the next four years,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). “This budget allows us to cut taxes,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), as few Senators dwelled on the fact that the GOP plan would allow their party’s tax plan to create $1.5 trillion in extra deficits over 10 years. 'Lower taxes and better jobs are good things for Americans.' – @SenJohnThune #TaxReform pic.twitter.com/cCv8k1HtQl — Senate Republicans (@SenateGOP) October 20, 2017 For some, that wasn’t enough. “We should cut everyone’s taxes, to make sure we cut taxes for the middle class,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who offered an amendment to allow for deficits to go up by $2.5 trillion over ten years. Paul’s change was soundly defeated on a vote of 93-7. While Republicans rallied around the budget plan, critics of President Trump denounced it during Senate debate, in no uncertain terms. “This is not a bad budget bill, this is a horrific budget bill,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Republicans’ budget is not a bad bill. It’s a horrific bill. — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 20, 2017 GOP Congressional leaders must still sort out the differences between the budget outlines approved in the House and Senate, before starting on their effort for the first major tax reform plan since 1986. Some late changes made in the plan by Senate Republicans could pave the way for the House to simply accept the Senate version of the budget as early as next week, which would speed up the effort to begin debate on tax reform. As of now, the fine print of the GOP tax reform package remain a secret. Republicans want that to change in the next few weeks.
  • The Michigan judge behind a controversial ruling last month, which granted a convicted sex offender joint legal custody to the child conceived by his 12-year-old victim in 2008, has rescinded his decision, CBS News reports. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Woman’s rapist gets joint custody of child he fathered in assault Sanilac County Judge Gregory Ross ruled Tuesday that 27-year-old Christopher Mirasolo will not have any parental rights to the 8-year-old boy. However, he will still be expected to pay for child support. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Lawyer: Rapist granted joint custody of boy he fathered will not seek visitation Mirasolo was not seeking custody of the child. This odd scenario started when the mother, now 21, sought state assistance for her son. Ross ruled for joint legal custody after a DNA test verified Mirasolo was the boy’s biological father. >> On Rare.us: In wake of #MeToo, men are vowing to make changes with hashtag of their own Why did Ross initially grant Mirasolo legal custody? John Nevin, a spokesman for the Michigan Supreme Court, said that Ross wasn’t aware of Mirasolo’s two convictions, nor of how he and the mother were connected. After learning of Mirasolo’s record, Ross put the order on hold and rescheduled a hearing for Tuesday. In a statement released to the Port Huron Times Herald, Sanilac County Prosecutor James Young said he wanted to “express [officials’] apologies for the manner in which this case was handled.” >> Read more trending news  The mother, identified only as Tiffany, spoke to CBS News earlier this month and expressed dismay that the judge would grant her attacker joint custody of her son. She said she had to provide the father’s name as a condition of receiving state financial assistance. “I was receiving government assistance, and they told me if I did not tell them who the father was of my child, that they would take that away from me,” Tiffany said. She said “horrible things” and “flashbacks” still come to mind when she hears Mirasolo’s name.
  • An executive at Food Lion's corporate office was arrested Wednesday in a sting and charged with a sex offense. >> Watch the news report here Detectives from North Carolina's Hendersonville Police Department took Paul Robert LaCroix, 54, into custody following the investigation. Lacroix, from Concord, has been charged with conspiracy to commit a first-degree statutory sex offense. He is being held in the Henderson County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond. Investigators said LaCroix, a vice president with Food Lion, was communicating with who he thought was an underage girl online and attempted to meet her for sex, but the girl was a law enforcement officer, police said. >> Read more trending news  Officers are continuing their investigation after they took LaCroix's computers and cellphone. A spokesperson for Food Lion confirmed that LaCroix was a vice president with the company and has been suspended immediately. 'Food Lion was recently made aware of the situation involving Paul LaCroix today. He was suspended immediately from the organization, pending further investigation,' Food Lion said in a statement.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan said President Donald Trump's anger at NFL players' protests during the national anthem isn't about the protests themselves. He told USA Today  that for President Trump, it's 'a very personal issue with him.' Khan said Trump's anger is really about his failed bid in 2014 to buy the Buffalo Bills. “He’s been elected president, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely,' Khan told USA Today. 'So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated.” Khan also said Trump going after the NFL is 'about money, or messing with — trying to soil a league or a brand that he’s jealous of.' Last week, at an executive conference, Khan called Trump the 'great divider.'   Khan was one of seven NFL owners who donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, but changed his stance following the president’s comments regarding NFL players’ right to protest the national anthem. Khan linked arms with several players during the national anthem during the team's game in London. On Tuesday, Action News Jax reported that Jaguars President Mark Lamping sent a letter to the city of Jacksonville apologizing for the team’s kneeling during the national anthem during the Sept. 24 game in London.  The letter, dated Oct. 6, said the team was 'remiss in not fully comprehending the effect of the national anthem demonstration on foreign soil has on the men and women who continue to serve out country.' 
  • Neighbors in St. Johns County are outraged after hearing about plans to possibly build a massive gas station right across the street from where they live. The Texas based chain Buc-ee’s filed a pre-application to open the convenience store near World Golf Village. A massive gas station called Buc-ee's that houses 120 fuel stations could be coming to St. Johns Co @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/ctx1x71VuD — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) October 19, 2017 'I don't want it, it's getting too congested now,' neighbor Nancy Kohlbeck said.  And hundreds of people living in World Golf Village feel the same way about the Texas convenience store chain. 'Trying to be upscale and this will just kill the whole flavor of the neighborhood,' neighbor Michele Thomas said.  I spoke to neighbors about the site plans & they tell me they don't want it to be built in their area @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/Lqxr2HPw0Y — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) October 19, 2017 In less than 48 hours, close to 1,000 people signed a Change.org petition to stop it from being built near their neighborhood.  'I know that development is inevitable here, but I think it's our chance to control what kind of development we have,' neighbor Aaron Enos said.  The Texas based chain Buc-ee’s filed a pre application to open the convenience store near WGV https://t.co/wPVhW1YKmx @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/yvL1El3auV — Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) October 19, 2017 Buc-ee’s filed a pre-application for the 120 gas pump station and at about 53,000 square feet, it’s about the size of a football field.  'It will drive down our property values. There's no way people will want to live near something that huge,' Thomas said.  The property off Interstate 95 near World Golf Village is where the gas station would be built.  'I'm not against business, but put it in the right area,' Kohlbeck said.  Some neighbors call this a sign of the unstoppable growth in St. Johns County.  'It's just progress, it’s going to happen,' neighbor, Van Fuller said.  Others just wish the growth would come at a little smaller pace. 'Maybe we can have something like local businesses,' Enos said.  The petition will go before county commissioners in hopes of halting the construction. Michael Ryan, Communications Manager for the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, released the following statement on the proposed Buc-ee's station: “We are aware of community interest in the proposed service station project, but at this point in time we are only in possession of a pre-application and have not been provided with specific details related to the project. Once an application is filed, the project will undergo development review and will be subject to land use and zoning requirements. Should the developer request variances, those items will be considered by the Board of County Commissioners, where the public will have an opportunity to provide feedback. Residents are encouraged to email or call County staff or their Commissioner with any comment they may have about this project.”

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