North Carolina Ordered to Redraw Congressional Map Because of Gerrymandering; Death Toll in California Mudslides Increases to 15; Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration’s Decision To End DACA; ICE Agents Enters 7-Eleven Stores Nationwide To Investigate Hiring of Undocumented Workers; Outspoken Louisiana Teacher Arrested During School Board Meeting; Florida Exempted From Offshore Drilling by Trump Administration, Other States Want Same Waiver; Deaf Columbus Man Killed in Hit-and-Run; Deaf Man from Pennsylvania Sentenced to Prison for Arson; Deaf Bing: Wardrobe Malfunction
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, January 10. Ready for news?
Yesterday a panel of federal judges said North Carolina’s map of congressional districts was unconstitutional because it was illegally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans.
Gerrymandering is when congressional districts are drawn up in a way that voters from one party will easily defeat another party, or to limit voters who lean to a certain party to a small number of districts to keep them a minority.
Judge James Wynn Jr. wrote that Republicans in North Carolina’s legislature were “biased” when they drew the 13 districts in 2016 — saying the districts would give Republicans an unfair advantage and violate the 14th amendment guarantee of “equal protection.”
The federal judges ordered the North Carolina legislature to create a new map for congressional districts by January 24. They warned that if the new map was still “illegal,” the court would draw it themselves.
This is the second time in the past 10 years that North Carolina has to re-draw their maps. In 2016, another panel of federal judges said the prior map, drawn in 2011, was drawn up based on race.
There are two other states that have similar legal fights against gerrymandering that has gone to the Supreme Court — Wisconsin and Maryland.
The Supreme Court has not made a landmark decision — a standard — on what constitutes an illegal map. They probably will have to soon, as accusations of gerrymandering has increased lately, from both parties.
The southern California mudslides has caused more deaths — now at least 15 people have died. This is in Montecito, which is next to Santa Barbara on the coastline, with mountains and canyons.
Most of the dead has not been identified, but one was — a man who died when a mudslide overwhelmed his home. His wife survived and was rescued.
Others said they saw deceased bodies covered in the mud.
As of this morning, there are still around 300 people that are stuck in their homes because of the mud and debris. They have no electricity, no water, no gas. First responders are using helicopters to reach them.
At least 25 people were injured and 24 people are missing — with the possibility that there are more deaths.
There were some family and friends of the missing that tried to help the first responders to dig the mud out of roadways so they could reach those who were in homes that were swept away.
People said it was like a war zone. As I said yesterday, the mudslides were severe because the area’s soil was unstable from the wildfires last month.
Yesterday afternoon a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to keep the current DACA “Dreamers” program — to continue renewing applicants’ permits, because there are pending lawsuits that challenge the Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program last year.
So the DACA program is still alive for now, but it’s not clear when DACA applicants can renew.
The White House criticized the judge — saying this was outrageous. President Trump tweeted that our court system was broke and unfair, pointing to the 9th Circuit Court in California as always supporting those who oppose Trump.
This will go to the Supreme Court, who could either agree with the ruling or say the Trump administration has the authority to end DACA.
So the DACA situation continues to be in flux, especially after yesterday’s meeting at the White House between Trump and lawmakers in which they discussed various legislative approaches to the program. The situation is likely to change again in the future — but again — for now, the DACA program is still alive.
Today agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) entered at least 100 7-Eleven stores nationwide to start employment audits and interview workers in an investigation on if 7-Eleven stores break immigration law.
21 people were arrested because they didn’t have legal documents to be in the U.S.
The ICE deputy director Thomas Homan said this sends a message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ illegal workers, that they would be held accountable.
Other ICE officials said there would be more operations in the future.
7-Eleven’s investigation started in 2013 — nine franchises in New York and Virginia were charged with using stolen identities to employ at least 115 people without documents.
Under the new Trump administration, there is a 40% increase in deportation arrests.
There is a lot of news about a teacher from Abbeville, Louisiana — Deyshia Hargrave — who was arrested on Monday night at a school board meeting after she spoke out against the superintendent getting a pay raise.
During the meeting, the teacher Deyshia said other teachers and employees have not received pay raises in several years. She was strong in speaking out, and one of the board members ordered her to stop and then to leave the room.
A marshal (officer) then approached her, the two exchanged words, Deyshia was not immediately “obedient” — she told the officer to not touch her — then as she was escorted in the hallway, she was handcuffed and booked in the jail for resisting an officer and remaining after being forbidden.
After news broke about this, there was an outcry against the school board for doing this. The board president said they got death threats from all over the U.S. and the world.
The city prosecutor said he would not press charges against the teacher — so there will be no criminal consequences.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Louisiana, who often files lawsuits for civil rights, said they would investigate this. Two board members said women are treated unfairly by the school board.
The school superintendent’s salary increase was approved — he earns $148,811 a year. Local teachers make an average of $47,041, which is almost the same as the average pay for teachers in Louisiana.
Last week the Trump administration announced they would allow offshore oil drilling around the U.S. coastline, including Florida.
But the Florida Governor Rick Scott ( R ), did not want this — saying it was bad for the Florida economy, which depends on tourism.
The Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke went to Florida to discuss this with the governor. After this, Sec. Zinke said he supports Rick’s position that Florida’s coasts are reliant on tourism and would remove Florida from consideration of future new oil or gas (drilling).
Other state governors are also opposed to drilling — the Republican governors of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Maryland doesn’t want drilling off their waters, either — and wants the same waiver that Florida got.
Democrat state governors of New York, North Carolina, California, Oregon, Washington and other states were also opposed, with some asking for the “waiver.”
Some have questioned whether the Trump administration is waiving Florida to get a political favor from Rick Scott, who Trump likes and hopes he will run for Senate.
Two states support offshore drilling — Alaska and Maine.
I received messages that a Deaf man from Columbus, Ohio — Jonathan Harlan — passed away last night after being hit by two cars when he crossed a street.
The first car that hit him, going northbound, did not stop — it “ran” away.
A second car, going southbound, hit him again, dragging him around 50 feet. The second driver stopped and ran to a store to ask for help.
When police and firefighters arrived, they pronounced him dead at the scene.
Police has not yet released a description of the suspected hit and run vehicle.
Deaf people on social media have posted on a Facebook page under the name, “Jonathan Harlan” with messages saying they were sorry and were sending thoughts and prayers to his family.
His profile states he went to the Ohio School for the Deaf and his images show he has children.
A deaf man from Clearfield, Pennsylvania — Heath Oliver Austin (41) — was sentenced 22 months to 18 years in state prison for arson.
He was accused of purposefully setting fire to his apartment by lighting a shirt in a laundry basket on April 3 of last year. His apartment building had six units and an office.
When firefighters arrived, they saw smoke coming out of his room. There were other people in other apartments at the time who got out because they heard the smoke detectors going off.
Neighbors said a deaf man lived inside and was possibly still inside. Firefighters, finding the door locked, broke into the room, put out the fire, but nobody was inside.
After an investigation, police suspected Heath did this on purpose because there were no clothes in his dressers or cabinets on the day of the fire. Heath, on the same day, filed a $34,000 insurance claim with State Farm saying he lost clothes.
Heath’s landlord said there were issues with rent payment.
During a police interview on April 25 that included a lie-detector test and a CDI (certified Deaf interpreter), Heath admitted to arson because he had financial problems.
He would later plead guilty to five counts of arson with danger of death or bodily injury — to make a deal for a minimum sentencing of 22 months.
Yesterday morning was the sentencing hearing.
The landlord said Heath was a “dangerous man,” that other people could have died in the fire — that the fire didn’t spread because the apartment was well-insulated.
The landlord wanted more than 22 months, but the District Attorney said explained the 22 months was based on sentencing guidelines, Heath’s plea agreement, and his minimal record.
Heath had an interpreter with him — he said he was sorry that he caused the fire and regretted it.
Deaf Bing: Wardrobe Malfunction. It’s when your clothes mess up because of ASL. I do news often, daily, and sometimes there are accidents. For example, I might sign, “China.” It will cause my jacket lapel to turn sideways and I’ll not notice it until later. Or I might sign, “it’s because”… and my hair will fall out of place. So it’s challenging for a newscaster like me.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!