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The Latest News Headlines

  • A 39-year-old man has been arrested for a sexual assault of a teenage girl on Jacksonville’s westside.  Bjorn Soyland was arrested Sunday on charges of kidnapping and sexual battery.  Several witnesses observed a man they believed matched the suspect description.  According to police, a 13-year-old girl was pulled in to a wooded area in the Wesconnett area on Saturday.  The victim reported that the suspect pulled her shirt to get her in to the woods.  The victim reported screaming for help during the attack, and the suspect fled the scene. Soyland has a scheduled court appearance Monday morning.  He is not eligible for bond at this time.      
  • It’s news that drivers have been waiting for. The Florida Department of Transportation opened northbound lanes of the Overland Bridge this weekend. Once the newly rebuilt lanes of the highway are open, that will be how drivers travel to get to the Fuller Warren and beyond. The lanes that currently carry I-95 northbound traffic will convert to serving as dedicated access for Downtown. The existing lanes will not reconnect to the new lanes at Downtown- it will drop all traffic off in Downtown. The FDOT will have new signage up to help drivers navigate the changes. The southbound lanes remain under construction. The FDOT says the overall project is slated for completion in early 2018.
  •  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help as they try to find 77-year-old Lewis Charles Harris.  Police say early Sunday evening, Lewis who suffers from Dementia walked away from his home on Marsh Hen Drive. He was last seen wearing a black leather baseball cap, light green collared shirt, black pants, and white tennis shoes.  JSO says a bloodhound tracked Harris last heading north on Biscayne Boulevard towards the Jacksonville International Airport. They say Harris is capable of walking for long distances and he is unable to tell you his name or address.  If you have any information or have seen this man since 7:00 on Sunday evening, you are asked to call police at 630.0500. To remain anonymous you can call Crime Stoppers at 1.866.845.TIPS
  • Pushing the House to take another step this week on the road to major tax reforms, President Donald Trump used an op-ed in USA Today to argue that GOP tax plans will “ignite America’s middle class miracle once again,” as he channeled former President Ronald Reagan, saying with “tax reform, we can make it morning in America again.” “Revising our tax code is not just a policy discussion — it is a moral one, because we are not talking about the government’s money – we are talking about your money, your hard work,” the President wrote. Mr. Trump meanwhile used a conference call with House Republicans on Sunday to make much the same argument – that now is the time for action on tax reform. Here is where things stand on Capitol Hill when it comes to GOP plans to move legislation on tax reform. 1. The budget comes first for the GOP. Before they can focus solely on tax reform, Republicans must approve a non-binding budget outline for 2018, which would authorize expedited action on a tax bill – without the threat of a Senate filibuster. The Senate approved their plan last Thursday, and now the House seems ready to accept that this week, though the budget details are sure to give some GOP fiscal hawks some heartburn, as the plan would not ensure a balanced budget within ten years. But GOP leaders are basically telling rank and file Republicans that now is the time for tax reform, and that there is no use in getting caught up in a battle over budget cuts. Look for the House to vote later this week. 2. But ‘what if’ the House refuses to go along? If enough Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate-passed budget, then there would have to be formal House-Senate negotiations, which could take some time to hash out a deal on the budget resolution for 2018. That would obviously delay work on tax reform, and make it that much more difficult to swiftly get a tax bill moving on Capitol Hill. It seems unlikely that will happen, as more conservative lawmakers have been assured they will get votes on measures dealing with budget savings. But it is safe to say that the ‘normal’ Republican focus on budget deficits has melted away now that the GOP is in charge of the White House and Congress. Here is the sales pitch being made by the Republican Study Group, which says Speaker Paul Ryan has promised votes on some budget-related bills. 3. Let’s assume the House approves the budget – then what? If the House heeds the advice of President Trump, and votes for the Senate-passed budget outline this week, then the focus will shift to the tax-writing committees of the House and Senate – the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee, as they produce an actual tax reform bill. Remember – we don’t have a bill as yet from the White House – just some bullet points. In 1985, President Reagan sent Congress an actual 489 page bill as a starting point. President Trump’s bullet points are just a small piece of a much larger bill that is expected to be released by Republicans, as the scrums of reporters grow each day for key lawmakers, like Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. 4. What’s the possible timing on tax reform? Ask veterans of Capitol Hill what they think about a GOP tax plan, and they cannot imagine it getting done this year (or even at all). But the White House and GOP leaders in Congress keep talking about doing it fast, maybe having a vote in the House before a Thanksgiving break, and a Senate vote in December. If we go back and look at the tax reform timeline in the Reagan Administration, it took a lot longer. The House Ways and Means Committee started work on a draft bill in late September 1985 – it took two months to finish. The deal almost fell apart in December, as the House voted to approve that plan just before Christmas. In the Senate, it took six months to get the bill out of committee and to a vote, in June 1986. In other words, Republicans think they can move at legislative warp speed compared to thirty one years ago in the Congress. House GOP leaders hope to pass tax reform by Thanksgiving, according to several ppl on House GOP conference call today w President Trump. — Ben Siegel (@benyc) October 22, 2017 5. Remember, there are a lot of details involved. If you are going to do just tax cuts, that’s pretty straightforward. But if you are going to try to do sweeping tax reform – for both the individual and corporate sides – that is very complicated. Just look back at 1986, and you can see that bill is filled with rifle-shot provisions intended to help just one company or group. Back then, there was no way to get this out to the voters. But with the internet and social media, these types of provisions will get a lot of attention and scrutiny. Will you be ready for the details of tax reform? I mean, the real nitty gritty details https://t.co/s7oyi1D2Bz pic.twitter.com/MQqHPgYpVX — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 22, 2017 6. One more thought on timing – from 1986. As I write this on October 22, it is 31 years to the day that President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act into law. But I clearly remembered the final agreement being struck in August – and the vote taking place soon after Labor Day. My memory was correct. So, why did it take another month for the President to sign the bill into law? For one, there were a number of errors in the final agreement, which needed to be fixed. So, on September 25, 1986, the House passed H. Con. Res. 395, to make “technical and clerical” corrections in the final bill. The Senate took that up a few weeks later, and made some changes, which were sent back to the House. The House made a few more changes. But no final resolution was agreed to, as the Congress adjourned for the year on October 18, 1986. So, four days later, the President signed the bill into law anyway. Want to do some more reading about what happened in 1986? Here you go: As we move closer to a tax reform bill, here's the breakdown of the 1986 Tax Reform Act – https://t.co/Zy4ycObxRl — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) October 20, 2017 And by the way, that explanation of the 1986 Tax Reform Act runs almost 1,400 pages. Happy reading!
  • UPDATE: Around 9:35PM, JSO confirmed a body believed to be Amari was located in an underground water holding tank in Bruce Park.  Police say the tank had an opening on the ground which was large enough for Amari to fit in. At this time, they’re not saying if foul play is suspected or if this was an accident, saying only that they will conduct a full investigation. More than 50 officers, detectives, supervisors and other parties took part in the search, with police called in after family couldn’t locate Amari. JSO says their air and K9 units were also deployed. They continue to interview the people who were at the park- there was a large gathering with many of Amari’s family members- while also searching for surveillance and other evidence as part of their investigation. JSO says the vehicle they were searching for earlier as potentially involved in Amari’s disappearance has since been determined not to have any connection to this investigation. An autopsy is expected to take place Monday to determine the official cause of death. Amari’s family will also positively identify the body, although police say every indication is that the remains are those of Amari. ======= UPDATE: Around 8:50PM, JSO confirmed Amari’s body has been located. More information soon. ==== UPDATE: Around 8:30PM, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement canceled the Missing Child Alert. There is no update yet from JSO about the search. Check back for developing details. ==== Jacksonville police are searching for a three-year-old who was last seen at a birthday party at Bruce Park in Arlington. A Florida Missing Child Alert has been issued. JSO says Amari Harley is a black male who’s about 3’, 30 lbs, with short hair. He has two moles under his bottom lip, one on each side. He was last wearing a Darth Vader shirt, black shorts, and gold and black shoes. JSO was contacted at 4:43PM and was told that, at that time, the boy had been missing for one hour.  JSO is asking you to be on the lookout, because they’re unsure if he’s in that area of not. JSO further says a “candy apple bright green” longer body style vehicle may be involved in the boy’s disappearance. The car is described as having no tint and fancy rims, but the make and model is unknown. There were three black men in the back seat. If you see this vehicle, JSO wants you to call 911. If you have any information about Amari’s location or have seen him since 3:30PM, you’re asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

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