<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Philadelphia Political News and Philadelphia Politics]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usThu, 23 Feb 2017 11:42:33 -0500Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:42:33 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Treasury Secretary: Expect Tax Overhaul by August]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:21:01 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/632094848-Steve-Mnuchin-Senate-Hearing.jpg

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he would like to see "very significant" tax reform passed before Congress’ August recess, CNBC reported.

In his first television interview since assuming office, Mnuchin told CNBC Thursday that he’s been working closely with leadership in the House and the Senate to get the ball rolling.

Mnuchin said the administration is mostly focused on a middle income tax cut — a pledge that President Donald Trump ran his campaign on. Trump has promised to release a tax plan in the coming weeks.

Mnuchin added that simplification for business is another focus of the administration’s, and said that he’s focused on canceling out any tax cuts for the wealthy with closed loopholes. He said the administration's tax plan should be judged by the economic growth it could create, rather than by the how much tax revenue drops.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Host of Documents Still Missing From White House Website]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:12:12 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/whitehouseatnightfeuerherd.jpg

Public-facing documents scrubbed from the White House's website shortly after President Donald Trump was inaugurated — including White House visitors' logs, waivers of ethics regulations and a host of other records — still haven't been replaced, fueling advocates' concerns about the new administration's transparency, NBC News reported.

During the first week of February, 31 databases — reporting legally mandated White House payroll reports to Congress, budget documents, White House visitor records and public response documents — were removed from the White House Open Data portal, the platform created to disclose information about 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and its operations.

The previous presence of the documents was confirmed through publicly available archived versions. Some of the data, preserved by the National Archives and Records Administration, are also available on the White House website of former President Barack Obama.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Fox News Political Commentator Alan Colmes Dead at 66]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:25:15 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/colmes.jpg

Alan Colmes, the radio and television host and commentator best known as the amiable liberal foil to the hard-right Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel, has died.

Fox spokeswoman Dana Klinghoffer confirmed his death Thursday. Fox also aired a statement from his family saying that he died Thursday morning after "a brief illness." Colmes was 66 and is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Elise Crowley.

Colmes was a New York City native who worked for years in radio and standup comedy before joining Fox in 1996. That same year he and the conservative Hannity began a 12-year run as co-hosts of the popular "Hannity & Colmes" program. Colmes also was an author, his books including "Thank the Liberals" and "Red, White & Liberal."

Colmes' passing was mourned on social media by several news colleagues.

Photo Credit: WireImage
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<![CDATA[Sibling-Spouses Plead Guilty to Insurance Fraud: Prosecutor]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:13:35 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Gavel144096337.jpg

A New Jersey police officer and his sister pleaded guilty in connection to a health insurance fraud scheme in which they said they were married, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's office said Wednesday.

Alix Antoine, 38, and his biological half-sister, Patricia Louis, 44, pleaded guilty to charges of third-degree insurance fraud Tuesday, officials said.

Antoine, a 12-year veteran of the Asbury Park Police Department, and Louis, are due back in court for sentencing June 9. Authorities said they will both apply for admission to the pre-trial intervention program.

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An investigation by the prosecutor's office revealed that while employed by the Asbury Park Police Department, Antoine filed fake documents allowing his sister and his nephew to get medical benefits provided by the department that Louis wasn't entitled to, officials said.

The suspended officer claimed Louis was his lawful spouse from 2009 to 2013, officials said.

Louis' attorney, Mitchell Ignatoff, believes that the decision was an issue of marriage validity, not insurance fraud. Antoine and his half-sister filed for marriage in Haiti, but the union wasn't legally recognized by the state because of the nature of their relationship.

"If they were considered properly married, I don't think it would be an issue at all," he said. "It's perfectly legal for people to get married to get health insurance. Prosecutors can't be in the business of questioning a marriage under state law if it's legal."

Antoine was indicted on charges of official misconduct, insurance fraud and tampering with public records Jun. 27, 2016. His sister was also indicted on conspiracy to commit official misconduct and insurance fraud.

The siblings agreed to pay $189,645.84 in restitution to the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.

A Monmouth County judge ordered Antoine to forfeit his job at the police department Tuesday. Officials said he's indefinitely disqualified from holding public office or employment statewide.

Antoine's attorney, Richard Incremona of Freehold, says his client opted to plea to a lesser crime in order to avoid jailtime. He was indicted on three second-degree crimes, one of which carried a minimum of 5 years in jail without parole if convicted.

"This was a resolution by way of plea into pre-trial intervention," Incremona said. "[Antoine] can now start planning his future. He doesn't have to worry about jail hanging over his head."

As part of the plea deal, the charges against Antoine will be dismissed upon his completion of the pre-trial intervention program.

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Photo Credit: Education Images / UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Is CPAC's Conquering Hero, but Tensions Remain]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:33:17 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_907826241278.jpg

President Donald Trump is expected to be the headliner at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week in Maryland, where a slew of top White House officials will also appear, NBC News reported.

Trump is set to address the crowd on Friday at the annual showcase, run by the American Conservative Union. Vice President Mike Pence will speak on Thursday, with White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Seve Bannon participating in a panel discussion. Education Secretary Betsy Devos is also on the list of speakers.

This is an opportunity for another victory lap for Trump, who has had a rocky relationship with the conservative showcase. An estimated 9,000-10,000 people are expected to attend, according to a CPAC spokesman.

Trump enjoys strong approval ratings among Republicans, but the difficult lead-up to the event this year is a reminder that the conservative movement is still divided over the president and his ideas.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster]]>
<![CDATA[Local Supporters Push to Save ACA]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:49:01 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/aca+thumb_22657722+copy.jpg

One in every six adults in Philadelphia relies on Obamacare. Supporters made another push to protect it on Wednesday. NBC10’s Denise Nakano has the details.

<![CDATA[Bridgegate: Christie Under Fire]]> Sun, 26 Jan 2014 12:06:14 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/christie+gwb+scandal+inset.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Admin Lift Fed Guidelines on Transgender Bathroom Use]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:23:59 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Politics160222_MP4-148779938212700001.jpg

The Trump administration lifted federal guidelines for bathroom use that allowed transgendered students to use public school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity enacted during President Barack Obama's era on Wednesday, in a stark reversal of President Donald Trump's stance on the issue as a presidential candidate. Trump had supported use of facilities based on chosen gender identity as a candidate. 

<![CDATA[Emotions Run High During NJ Medical Marijuana Hearing]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:51:40 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/160*120/Leo+Bridgewater+NJ+Weed+Meeting.jpg

A young man sat in the back row of the Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel hearing Wednesday morning, swaying side to side and making small noises his mother tried to hush.

The pair came to Trenton to share their story in front of cannabis patients, doctors and advocates, many of whom had to stand or wait outside the room.

Choking back tears, Susan O’Mullen described how her family has been in “pure hell” as a result of her 23-year-old son’s debilitating medical conditions: severe autism, epilepsy, migraines and chronic pain.

Recently, he suffered brain swelling as a result of a 6-minute grand mal seizure. O’Mullen overheard doctors in the emergency room saying her son “would be better off dead,” she said.

“I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to help future generations,” the New Jersey mother added.

A chorus of frustration echoed O’Mullen’s testimony as dozens of patients petitioned to add chronic pain and other debilitating ailments to the list of conditions eligible for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.

Currently, cannabis is only available to people suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease or any terminal illness.

Gov. Chris Christie added PTSD to the list in September, however cannabis treatment must come after traditional methods of therapy and medication have been exhausted.

This qualification is a problem for veteran Leo Bridgewater Sr., a Trenton native who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as both a soldier and a contractor. It was during his military years that Bridgewater developed PTSD and chronic pain from a knee injury. Several surgeries and many therapy sessions later, Bridgewater is convinced that forcing veterans to seek pharmaceutical treatment for depression or mental health issues is only exacerbating the problem.

“Guys don’t want to touch those pills. We hear about it even before getting out, so we know. When you make it to where it’s a requirement before you can get to medical marijuana, that’s a problem,” he said.

Bridgewater testified before the state senate committee last year to add PTSD to the list of eligible conditions. He pointed to suicide rates among former service members, which is 32 percent higher than the general population, and how that speaks to the inadequacy of current mental health care practices. Doctors should reconsidered putting veterans on opioids or other heavy medication, he said.

“We have 20 to 22 guys take their lives every day,” Bridgewater said. “So what are we going to do about it?”

Now in its seventh year, New Jersey continues to grapple with implementation of its medical marijuana program. It lags behind other states with similar laws in both access and eligibility, and is the most expensive program in the country. Currently, people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain, lupus and Lyme disease cannot entire the program legally.

This is the first time since 2010 that the health department has considered adding more conditions. In 2014, a state judge ordered the Christie administration to issue an annual report as the first step in expanding the existing program. That ruling came after a patient and physician filed a lawsuit arguing medical marijuana was taking too long to implement.

“It’s a shame that we have to drag patients into a room to beg for their lives,” said Lucky Grimes, who suffers from chronic pain and is frustrated by his lack of legal access to cannabis.

“When you say cannabis, the first thing that pops into people's minds is Cheech and Chong. But these are people’s lives we’re talking about.”

Photo Credit: NBC10 - Alicia Lozano]]>
<![CDATA[Montco School District to Close Elementary School]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:30:16 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/195*120/Audubon+Elementary+School.JPG

This will be the final school year for students at a Montgomery County elementary school.

The Methacton School District Board announced Tuesday night that it planned to close Audubon Elementary School on Egypt Road in Eagleville, Pennsylvania in July.

The closure is due to declining enrollment and budget issues, the school board said. The district currently sends students to five separate elementary schools.

Opponents and supporters of the closure made public comment in front of a crowd of more than 100 people Tuesday night.

Some of the public comment focused on the building of Skyview Upper Elementary School based on population projections that turned out to not come to fruition.

"They are going to close elementary schools after building a brand new school, it's shocking," Ryan Beil, who was in the first sixth grade class to go to Skyview, said.

The district doesn’t plan to make any grade reconfiguration this year. [[238427591, C]]

Photo Credit: Google Street View]]>
<![CDATA[Civics Lessons From the 'World's Best Democracy']]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 08:14:48 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/491899561-Norway-Constitution-Day.jpg

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Norwegians are more more likely to vote in their elections than Americans and their rival political parties focus on how they can collaborate, not attack one another, part of why the nation continues to be named the best democracy in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit, NBC News reported.

That same report from the London-based consultancy this year downgraded the United States from a "full democracy" to a "flawed democracy," linked to lobbying and American voters losing trust in political institutions.

Neither is a significant issue in Norway.

"There's something about our culture that says it's very important to vote," 18-year-old Aurora Aven explained to NBC News at an ice rink in Oslo. "Norway has such a good system, so no one feels left out and no one feels misunderstood. Everybody knows their voice will be heard."

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[Lawmakers Pressed on Trump Policies at Town Halls]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:22:56 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/643547066-Grassley-town-hall-raucus-crowd.jpg

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley was greeted at a town hall Tuesday in Iowa with a shouted question about "impeachment" as voters there and at other events across the country pressed lawmakers about the moves and goals of President Donald Trump's administration, NBC News reported.

"I am so unsettled. It feels like we have a juvenile running our country," Doug Thompson, a Democrat and farmer from Kanawha, told Grassley at an event in Garner. Grassley outlined the process but didn't give his opinion.

In Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back at around 1,000 anti-Trump protesters who showed up outside his event, telling a crowd of business leaders inside that "winners make policy and the losers go home."

And in Maquoketa, Iowa, members of a crowd booed and chanted "do your job!" at Republican Sen. Joni Ernst near the end of a roundtable, NBC affiliate WHO of Des Moines reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump Condemns Racism, Anti-Semitism]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:22:10 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Immigration0221_MP4-148771155634700001.jpg

President Donald Trump spoke out against racism and anti-Semitism Tuesday following a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Trump’s comments followed 10 bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country and the vandalization of more than 170 Jewish graves in a Missouri cemetery on Monday.   

The president’s concessions, however, were called inadequate by some Jewish advocacy groups. Critics have previously focused on the new administration’s failure to mention Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day and its silence on anti-Semitic attacks across the country, which increased from 13 to 28 in New York when compared to the same period in 2016. Pressure for the White House to condemn anti-Semitism rose further on Thursday, when the president interrupted a reporter from an Orthodox Jewish magazine asking about bomb threats made against Jewish centers recently.

<![CDATA[Couple Fined for Not Removing Racial Slur Spray-Painted on Home]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:23:00 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/STAMFORD+COUPLE+FINED+FOR+VANDALIZED+HOME+CT+VO+11P+-+00003214_+copy.jpg

A Connecticut couple whose garage door was spray-painted with a racial slur now faces hundreds of dollars in fines for refusing to remove it.

Lexene Charles, 56, and his common-law wife, Heather Lindsay, 59, discovered the graffiti on their Stamford home last month.

"Our civil rights are being violated," Lindsay told a local newspaper when the garage was first vandalized

Police had originally placed a tarp over the door, but it had been removed. 

The couple says they’ve left the slur scrawled across their garage so the community doesn’t forget what happened. 

The move hasn’t been sitting well with police, who have issued a blight citation. The City of Stamford has fined the couple $100 for each day the slur stays on their garage door.

Stamford Chief of Police Jonathan Fontneau also visited their home and said they face arrest in addition to the fines. 

Charles and Lindsay say they aren’t changing their minds and will fight the fines in court.

Lindsay said this isn't the first time there has been problems with the property. 

"We aren’t going to let it bother us, because from what we are understanding as it sinks in, as we cry, and as we talk about it, this is just saying the way we have been treated," said Lindsay. "This is how Stamford, Conn. is treating us."

Photo Credit: Lexie Charles/Heather Lindsay
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<![CDATA[Trump Picks McMaster as National Security Adviser]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:36:46 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/trump-mcmaster-annoucement-148762365967200001.jpg

President Donald Trump announces Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his pick for national security adviser at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Feb. 20, 2017.

<![CDATA[New National Security Adviser Grew Up in Philadelphia]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 04:15:51 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/AP_17051722575985.jpg

President Donald Trump selected Army Lt. General H.R. McMaster as the new national security adviser. McMaster grew up in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. NBC10's Keith Jones spoke to his family members.

Photo Credit: Susan Walsh/AP]]>
<![CDATA[New GOP Leader in Pennsylvania]]> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 20:17:35 -0500 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/val+thumb_22629452+copy.jpg

Val DiGiorgio is the newly elected chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party. NBC10’s Lauren Mayk sat down with him and found out how the GOP will vie for your vote.