After six people were shot less than a mile from the Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field Sunday, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is committing to an enhanced presence to ensure the safety of everyone at the Georgia/Florida game this weekend. Tens of thousands of college football fans will descend on Downtown Jacksonville for the game Saturday, with many in the area immediately surrounding the stadium for tailgating around the 3:30PM kickoff. “More than 600 police will be assigned on game day to secure not only the venue, but the larger footprint of downtown and into the surrounding neighborhoods including those on the other side of the river,” says a statement from Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams. JSO did not have numbers immediately available with respect to how many police have worked that footprint in prior years, but confirms they are increasing staffing, because of this past Sunday’s shooting. They are also increasing the number of “Rapid Deployment Teams” that will be staged and ready as needed. JSO further says they are bringing in more lighting systems than prior years, to set up along main thoroughfares. “We are all committed to ensuring that Jacksonville residents and visitors enjoy this annual celebration,” Williams says, in the statement. Three people remain in critical condition, among the six victims in Sunday’s shooting, according to JSO. We’re told the victims range from their 20s to 70s. They were on the sidewalk on A. Philip Randolph Blvd near Pippin St.- less than a mile from the stadium- about a half hour before kickoff, when at least one suspect opened fire. JSO believes the shooting may be gang-related, but there is no additional information that’s been provided on who the intended target was and what specifically led up to the incident. The suspected shooter and at least one other suspect, who was acting as a driver, fled in a gray or silver four-door sedan. JSO has reviewed surveillance footage and spoken with some witnesses, but they’re asking anyone else with information to come forward. “I share the community’s frustration in the violence that is impacting our city. We will turn the tide on the violence, and we will do it sooner with the community’s help,” says the statement from Williams. If you have any information you can contact JSO at 904-630-0500. You can also submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers by calling 1-866-845-TIPS. The City of Jacksonville has spent the last few weeks focusing in on trying initiatives to fight violent crime. The City’s recently approved budget for the upcoming fiscal year funnels hundreds of thousands of dollars toward small grants for community groups that are already on the ground working anti-violence efforts, but need more financial support. Williams previously announced refocused efforts on gang violence specifically, and WOKV confirmed JSO is looking in to some sort of reboot for the Gun Bounty program.
A Jacksonville man convicted of aggravated sexual abuse on a developmentally delayed teen aboard a local cruise ship has now learned his sentence. The U.S. Attorney's Office confirming to WOKV on Monday that Brian Holland has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for the crime. Holland was arrested in early March for the assault aboard the Jacksonville-based Carnival Elation, which prosecutors say happened as Holland and the victim were in a hot tub on the ship. Family of the victim has said while she was 18-years-old at the time, she only has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old. Holland had faced life in prison for the crime.
With sharp debate between the two parties over how best to deal with health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions, the Trump Administration unveiled new rules on Monday which would make it easier for states to apply for waivers from the Obama health law, allowing companies to offer insurance which is less expensive, but also which has less coverage for consumers. “States know much better than the federal government how their markets work,” said Seema Verma, the head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Releasing new rules for plans to give states more flexibility on what type of health insurance polices can be sold, the feds made clear that the goal of the Trump Administration is simple – to move ‘insurance markets away from the one-size-fits-all rules and regulations’ of the Obama health law. In other words – Republicans say it’s another effort to try to get around some of the rules and insurance limits under Obamacare. . @CMSGov has released NEW guidance for State Relief and Empowerment Waivers! This guidance gives states tools to choices + premiums! https://t.co/xjKkpM4ZjZ #StateInnovation pic.twitter.com/RXCDUFP40H — Administrator Seema Verma (@SeemaCMS) October 22, 2018 Critics of both the Trump Administration and the GOP Congress denounced the new rules, arguing it will result in consumers buying insurance plans that don’t cover everything, and opening up coverage questions for those with pre-existing conditions. “This is major. The impact really cannot be overstated,” said Topher Spiro, a frequent critic of the Trump Administration’s efforts to repeal the Obama health law. “States that do this will bifurcate the market, segregating healthy people from sick people.” “This new guidance from the Trump administration on state waivers continues a theme of trying instead to make end-runs around the ACA’s rules,” said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “This will likely widen the gap between red states and blue states for access, affordability, regulation, and protections for pre-existing conditions,” Levitt added. The ACA created state-based insurance markets with minimum federal rules on benefits and pricing. New 1332 guidance allows much greater state-to-state variation in the availability and affordability of insurance products. — Caroline Pearson (@CF_Pearson) October 22, 2018 What’s at work here is that the Trump Administration is using the immense rule-making powers granted to the feds under the Obama health law – the Affordable Care Act – in order to shape the law more to the liking of Republicans and the White House. The new rules were issued as Democrats have been attacking Republicans over the issue of coverage of pre-existing conditions, arguing that GOP plans – like those issued on Monday – would have the effect of putting people in insurance coverage which does not coverage all pre-existing medical problems. “President Trump is desperate to change the subject from health care to immigration because he knows that health care is the number one issue Americans care about,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Republicans in Congress are putting health care coverage for the elderly and Americans with pre-existing conditions on the chopping block,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Republicans look at it much differently – they say these efforts are the natural backlash to a system set up by the Obama health law which forces a system upon many Americans that doesn’t work for them.