Myanmar Junta on Path of 'Total Self-Destruction' After Annulment of 2020 Election: Observers

July 27th, 2021|

Myanmar’s junta has chosen a path of “total self-destruction” by disregarding the will of the people in a bid to legitimize its power grab, an official with the deposed National League for Democracy (NLD) said Tuesday, in response to an announcement annulling the country’s 2020 election results. Late on Monday, the military-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) said it had thrown out the tally from Myanmar’s Nov. 8 poll, which was won in a landslide by Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party, claiming that more than 11.3 million ballots—representing nearly one-third of the country’s registered voters—had been discounted due to fraud and other irregularities. Among alleged irregularities, the commission said the NLD government had assigned members of the UEC sub-commission at Myanmar’s state and regional levels, election authorities allowed voters to cast ballots without presenting their national identification cards, voters cast multiple ballots under the same name, and the NLD election victory committee members were part of a commission in charge of gathering early ballots. The announcement was quickly rejected by several of Myanmar’s political parties, who argued that it ignores the will of both the country’s 37 million registered voters and the candidates who they say won in a free and fair election.  Candidates from 10 political parties won parliamentary seats in the 2020 election, although the NLD party took the clear majority with 396 of 664 seats in the bicameral legislature. On Tuesday, Aung Kyi Nyunt, a member of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee who won a seat in the Amyothar Hluttaw (National Assembly) from Magwe region’s No. 6 constituency, called the decision to annul the election results a “violation” of the country’s 2008 constitution, drafted by the then-ruling junta government under Snr. Gen. Than Shwe. “Firstly, an election body appointed by the [junta] cannot simply reject the results like this. Secondly, the will of the people cannot be annulled through an order based on the decision of one group of people on a piece of paper. And thirdly, we have no reason to recognize an election commission formed by an illegitimate government,” he said. “We firmly believe that this statement is not legally binding or democratically viable.” Aung Kyi Nyunt said the junta had committed itself to a path of “total self-destruction,” devoid of popular support, by choosing to annul the ballot results and ignore the will of the people. Myanmar’s military seized power on Feb. 1 in a coup d’état, arresting former State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other top members of the NLD leadership. Three weeks after the coup, the UEC convened a meeting with the country’s political parties, informing them that the 2020 election results would be annulled and that the NLD would likely be disbanded for rigging the vote. The junta has provided no evidence to back up its claims of voter fraud and has violently responded to widespread protests, killing 934 people and arresting 5,382, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Protesters march in Yangon to demand an end to military rule on the anniversary of a 1962 massacre of students by Myanmar's military, July 7, 2021. RFA ‘No more confidence’ On Tuesday, Aye Thida Myint, the chairwoman of the Lahu National Development Party (LNDP), who won a state seat in last year’s ballot, said the annulment marked a new low for the junta. “The cancellation of the results means that everything we did for the elections, all of our efforts, have gone down the drain,” she said. “After all this, even if new elections are to be held, we’ll have no more confidence in the current political situation. The annulment has destroyed the goals and aspirations of the people. This is totally unacceptable to us.” Thar Tun Hla, the chairman of the Rakhine National Party (ANP) who won a seat in the 2020 election, said the military may have scrapped the election results in response to claims by parliament’s Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Committee of Representatives (CRPH) and the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) that they represent the interests of the people. “The annulment of the election results could be a move to refute the claim by CRPH and NUG that they represent the people’s will and that they have a mandate,” he said. In 2020, the ANP won four seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw, or Lower House, and four seats in the National Assembly, as well as 15 seats in seven state and regional assemblies. Attempts by RFA to contact Dr. Nandar Hla Myint, the spokesperson of the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which won 71 seats in the 2020 election, went unanswered Tuesday. The USDP, made up of retired army officers, refused to accept the results of the 2020 elections and its calls for a new vote set the stage for the military coup. The junta has said it will hold another ballot in a year. Uniting the opposition Political analyst Than Soe Naing slammed the junta’s decision to annul the election results at a time when the international community is calling for the return of power to the civilian NLD government. “This goes against the real will of the people,” he said. “It’s part of a process that seeks to justify a dishonorable coup … But we’re seeing that not even the parties which supported [the military] politically can accept this move.” Aung Htoo, a Sweden-based Burmese lawyer, also criticized the annulment of the internationally recognized election results and suggested it would lead to the downfall of the junta. “It will never be possible to have a federal democracy and a lasting peace under the leadership of the military regime,” he said. “This decision will push the ethnic forces, the pro-democracy forces and the people as a whole to join forces in fighting against the military to achieve their goal of peace.” Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Secretary of State Benson: State auditors want to 'recreate' election reviews

July 27th, 2021|

Lansing — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has asked Attorney General Dana Nessel to determine whether state auditors have the power to obtain local election records amid lingering claims about the 2020 vote.In a July 12 letter that was uncovered by FOIA Services Michigan, Benson told Nessel that employees of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) want "to recreate the audits conducted by the county clerks." The leader of the auditor general's office was appointed by the GOP-controlled Michigan Legislature and the office is housed in the legislative branch, but it acts as an autonomous agency.The revelation of the ongoing auditor general probe and Benson's concerns about it come as some Republican lawmakers in the battleground state have pressed for a new audit of the 2020 results. Former President Donald Trump also continues to levy unsubstantiated claims of fraud."Were the OAG to come to an audit result different from county clerks because of these inherent practical challenges, such an outcome would ... feed the many baseless false, fabricated and misleading claims involving the November 2020 election," Benson wrote in her letter to Nessel.So far, many GOP legislators in Michigan have resisted calls for another statewide review of the vote, like what's taking place in Arizona, but some have said they could change their minds if new evidence comes to light.Both Benson and Nessel are Democrats. In November, Trump lost Michigan to Democrat Joe Biden by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points. Despite unproven claims of wrongdoing in the election, a series of court rulings, dozens of reviews by election officials and bipartisan boards of canvassers as well as an investigation by state Senate Republicans have reinforced the outcome.More than 250 election audits have already been completed in Michigan, Benson's office said in March.According to the Office of the Auditor General, it's currently examining the sufficiency of "post-election review procedures" and efforts to provide training for local election officials. The audit had been planned for the non-election year, office spokeswoman Kelly Miller said.In March, state Rep. Julie Alexander, R-Hanover, asked the office to review Michigan's "election processes to help ensure their security and accuracy." Among her requests was for the office to consider "the process involved in the statewide risk-limiting audit that was conducted after the general election."The Michigan Bureau of Elections argues that the state auditors' interest in "recreating audits" is well-intentioned but "fears that the outcome will become another avenue to cast doubt upon and re-litigate the outcome of the November election," Benson said in her letter to Nessel.Benson asked Nessel, the state's top law enforcement official, to determine whether employees of the Office of the Auditor General can physically handle election records without violating laws that give the power to manage the records to election officials.The secretary of state also asked Nessel to decide whether the Office of the Auditor General, which usually examines the work of state agencies, has the power to request the election records from local governments.Benson's spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer said state election officials are concerned whether the state auditors will be able to replicate the processes carried out by election clerks."The OAG has said it wants to audit the post-election audits carried out by local township, city and county election officials," Wimmer said. "As these local officials aren’t a part of state government, it’s quite possible that for the state to audit them would not just be government overreach, it would be illegal under our state constitution."For this reason, we asked the attorney general for an opinion on how the law applies in this situation."According to Benson's letter to Nessel, the Office of the Auditor General wants to review a "significant volume of local election records, including poll books and other polling place records, public notices issued and records of testing conducted."It will be "logistically difficult to ensure that all records are organized and preserved in the exact same format as was the case during the audit," Benson wrote of the initial previously conducted reviews."Any damage, misplacement, or difficulty in retrieving public records could lead to a different audit result, which might be attributable to local record storage and retention issues rather than audit deficiencies or audit guidance provided by BOE (Bureau of Elections)," she added.Office of the Auditor General personnel attended a pilot risk-limiting audit conducted in Holland in May, according to Benson's letter. Personnel also attended a procedural audit conducted by the Ottawa County clerk's office and a procedural audit conducted in Kent County.Benson's letter is still under review, Nessel's spokeswoman Lynsey Mukomel said Tuesday.cmauger@detroitnews.comStaff Writer Beth LeBlanc contributed.

No evidence for viral claim that '22 million illegal aliens' are 'voting illegally'

July 27th, 2021|

PolitiFact | No evidence for viral claim that ‘22 million illegal aliens’ are ‘voting illegally’ Stand up for the facts! Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact. More Info I would like to contribute There are “22 million illegal aliens living in America and ... voting illegally.” Chester County election workers process mail-in and absentee ballots for the 2020 general election at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., on Nov. 4, 2020. (AP) No evidence for viral claim that ‘22 million illegal aliens’ are ‘voting illegally’ If Your Time is short Many reliable entities such as the Pew Research Center estimate that there are in the ballpark of 11 million people living illegally in the U.S. One 2018 study from Yale put the number closer to 22 million, but the study has been subject to criticism. There is no evidence that 22 million people in the U.S. without legal permission voted illegally in the 2020 election or regularly vote in American elections. Social media users on Facebook and Instagram are sharing a years-old image that wrongly claims 22 million people are not only living in the U.S. illegally, but voting in elections. "I’ll tell you what a constitutional crisis is: 22 million illegal aliens living in America and using benefits they never contributed to and voting illegally," the text over the image says. The image was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)  The image, which appeared on Facebook as early as April 2019, is circulating as supporters of former President Donald Trump continue to promote the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen from him. But the claims in the image have always been inaccurate. There is no evidence that 22 million immigrants regularly vote in American elections despite living in the country without legal permission, or that they did so in 2020. In fact, it’s not clear that there are even that many people living in the country illegally to begin with. "There is no evidence that there are 22 million immigrants in the U.S. voting illegally, either in 2020 or at any time," said Lorraine Minnite, an associate professor of public policy at Rutgers University in Camden. "The claim is preposterous." A screenshot shows the viral image circulating on Facebook and Instagram as it appeared July 27, 2021. No evidence of widespread fraud President Joe Biden won more votes than Trump in what local, state and federal officials affirmed was a free and fair election absent of the widespread fraud Trump claimed.  Judges across the country rejected dozens of lawsuits seeking to overturn the election, in many cases because the allegations of fraud came without the proof needed to back them up. The image claiming 22 million immigrants are living and voting illegally similarly lacks proof.  "One would think that such claims of historic subversion in our democracy would be backed up by the receipts to prove them," said Matthew Weil, director of the elections project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud at any level."  Federal law requires citizenship to vote in national elections, and would-be voters sign a form attesting under penalty of perjury that they are citizens when they register to do so. As PolitiFact has reported, states can check various databases to verify voters’ citizenship status. "Election officials spend the weeks before and after Election Day constantly reconciling voter rolls and ballot totals to ensure that only eligible Americans cast ballots," Weil said. He added that cases of fraudulent voting are rare in any year and often the result of misunderstandings. Minnite, who wrote a book about "The Myth of Voter Fraud," said the most common problem she has seen in her research on the issue is noncitizens getting accidentally registered to vote when they go to the DMV. But the number of people who fall into this category is "miniscule," she said. In previous years, PolitiFact fact-checked several similar claims from Trump and others — all inaccurate — about immigrants voting illegally in the 2008, 2016 and 2018 elections.  Our reporting pointed to research from several organizations that found voter fraud among noncitizens is not widespread. Experts also told us at the time that fraud on the scale of millions would require months of coordination going undetected by elections officials.  For there to be "22 million" immigrants unlawfully in the U.S. and "voting illegally," as the latest viral image now claims, there would also need to be that many people in the country illegally.  And each and every one of them would have to be casting a ballot. But the one study from 2018 that estimated the population here illegally was around 22.1 million has been criticized by demographers and immigration experts, who said it’s not grounded in empirical research about illegal immigration patterns and overestimates migration from Mexico, among other things, as PolitiFact reported. The Homeland Security Department, Pew Research Center, Center for Migration Studies of New York and Migration Policy Institute have all settled on much lower estimates. "In each case, the organizations have individually developed estimates within a pretty tight range of about 10.5 million to 11.5 million unauthorized immigrants overall in the United States," said Michelle Mittelstadt, communications director for the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank. Finally, immigrant adults living in the country illegally are ineligible for nearly all federal public benefits, with few exceptions, Mittelstadt said. That’s despite the fact that some pay many forms of taxes, including state and local sales taxes and property taxes. Our ruling A viral image says there are "22 million illegal aliens living in America and ... voting illegally." That’s not true. Many reliable entities, including the Homeland Security Department and the Pew Research Center, estimate that there are closer to 11 million people living illegally in the U.S. There’s no evidence that 22 million are regularly voting illegally or did so in 2020. We rate this statement False. Facebook post (archived), April 9, 2019 Facebook post, July 25, 2021 Instagram post (archived), July 24, 2021 Pew Research Center, "Key facts about the changing U.S. unauthorized immigrant population," April 13, 2021 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2015–January 2018," January 2021 Migration Policy Institute, "Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States: Stable Numbers, Changing Origins," December 2020 The Hill, "Yale, MIT study: 22 million, not 11 million, undocumented immigrants in US," Sept. 21, 2018 PolitiFact, "Pence falsely says if HR 1 passes, millions of people in US illegally will be registered to vote," March 5, 2021 PolitiFact, "Do states verify citizenship of voters in federal elections?" Dec. 7, 2020 PolitiFact, "Fact-checking Trump's claim on cost of illegal immigration, number of immigrants here illegally," Jan. 28, 2019 PolitiFact, "No evidence ‘many’ illegal immigrants voted in midterm elections, as Lou Dobbs said," Nov. 16, 2018 PolitiFact, "Donald Trump Jr. tweets misleading 2012 headline about Florida noncitizen voters," Nov. 13, 2018 PolitiFact, "Donald Trump says there's 'substantial evidence of voter fraud.' There isn't," Jan. 5, 2018 PolitiFact, "Following Trump voter fraud allegations, claim that 5.7 million noncitizens voted is wrong," June 22, 2017 PolitiFact, "Fact-check: Did 3 million undocumented immigrants vote in this year's election?" Nov. 18, 2016 PolitiFact, "Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim that millions of illegal votes cost him popular vote victory," Nov. 18, 2016 PolitiFact, "Trump wrongfully says immigrants voting illegally won North Carolina for Obama in 2008," Oct. 19, 2016 PolitiFact, "Donald Trump repeats Pants on Fire claim about '30 million' illegal immigrants," Sept. 1, 2016 Email interview with Matthew Weil, director of the elections project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, July 27, 2021 Email interview with Lorraine Minnite, associate professor of public policy at Rutgers University, Camden, July 27, 2021 Email interview with Michelle Mittelstadt, director of communications and public affairs at the Migration Policy Institute, July 26, 2021 In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts. Sign me up

The return of Louisville car show excites owners

July 27th, 2021|

{{featured_button_text}} The Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show in Louisville created excitement for car lovers of all ages this past weekend. Hundreds of people came to Cass County to look at a wide variety of vehicles. The car show took place throughout the downtown section of the city. The return of the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show, canceled last year because of the pandemic, brought a large crowd to downtown Louisville to view an estimated 180 cars, trucks and motorcycles. This 1957 Chevy received admiring glances among the crowd at the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show in Louisville. The Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show brought out modern vehicles and those from a bygone era. This 1960 Corvette, owned by Randy Kolb of Omaha, won the Mayor's Choice Award at the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show in Louisville. Not all the vehicles that participated in the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show had four wheels as evident with this motorcycle with sidecar. This red 1954 Ford F-100 truck made a hot appearance at last Sunday's annual car show in Louisville. Handsome cars from a bygone era were part of the flavor at the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show in Louisville. Ron Tamez brought his 1972 Dodge Challenger Rally to last Sunday's annual car show in Louisville. This black old-time Thunderbird was a hit at the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show in Louisville. Hundreds of people came to Louisville this past weekend to look at vehicles parked throughout downtown. This 1950 Mercury, owned by Arlen Ellis of Allen, Neb., won the People's Choice Award at the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show in Louisville. Arlen Ellis holds the People's Choice Award given to him from Mayor Rod Petersen at the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show in Louisville. Louisville Mayor Rod Petersen presents the Mayor's Choice Award to Randy Kolb of Omaha at the Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show. Timothy Rohwer LOUISVILLE – A year after COVID-19 put the brakes on Louisville’s annual summer car show, it returned on Sunday in high gear.“It was probably one of the largest participations ever,” said Mayor Rod Petersen.The Last Hot Sunday in July Car Show, as it’s officially known, attracted hot-looking vehicles from near and far, including vehicles from Utah, Texas and North Dakota, as well as 40 from the Louisville area.Altogether, 165 vehicles were registered for the show with a dozen or so more that just showed up for the fun.Car owners appreciated the return of this event.“Car guys love to show off their cars,” said Smitty Schmitz of Louisville. “This is a good turnout.”Schmitz came with his 1972 black Chevy Monte Carlo that he purchased right off the showroom way back when.“I needed a car and I saw this on the showroom and I said, `This will work,’” Schmitz said.Because COVID canceled many car shows last year, he was only to attend four of them, including one he drove 250 miles to, Schmitz said.Sunday’s event was his fifth already this year with more coming, he said.“I’ll do a show every weekend.”Schmitz also has three other cars – a 1923 t-bucket, 1939 Ford two-door sedan and a 1935 Oldsmobile two-door coupe street rod he is building.Meanwhile, across the street, Mike Jensen of Manley, who brought his 1986 off-road vehicle to the event, said he was happy with the turnout.“It’s good to see people come out again and see people smiling.”Ron Tamez came from Bellevue with his 1972 Dodge Challenger Rally that he bought just four months ago.Over the years it was on display in five different car museums and had just 7,000 miles when purchased.“I love it. It’s sure fun to drive,” he said.It’s also fun to see other motorists give him admiring looks about the car, Tamez said.“That’s really cool.”As in the past, awards were handed out for the most popular vehicles.The winner of the People’s Choice Award, voted by the crowd, was Arlen Ellis of Allen, Neb., with his 1950 Mercury.The Mayor’s Choice Award, voted by Petersen, went to Randy Kolb of Omaha for his 1960 Corvette.“I thought this was one of the best car shows here in a long time,” Schmitz said. 0 Comments #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); display: none; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article, #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, "Apple Color Emoji", "Segoe UI Emoji", "Segoe UI Symbol"; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article h1 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: "serif-ds", Times, "Times New Roman", serif; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-breaking-email-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } } Get local news delivered to your inbox!

DeFoor Discusses 2020 Election, While Calling for Increased Funding for Auditor General's Office …

July 27th, 2021|

Written by John Cole, Managing Editor HARRISBURG- Nearly 9 months after the 2020 presidential election, some Republicans still echo calls from former President Donald Trump to conduct a “forensic audit” in key battleground states, including Pennsylvania.  During Auditor General Tim DeFoor’s first speech at the Pennsylvania Press Club since winning the statewide office last year, he swatted back at the idea, while making a plea for additional funding for his office.  “I want to address, head on, discussions related to the election, election audits, and my department,” DeFoor said.  “Any questions about the legality or the legitimacy of the 2020 election, which of course I was a part of, have been settled,” DeFoor continued. “The election has been certified and the state and federal courts have ruled.”  “My department has moved on to do the work, which we are statutorily required to do,” he said.  DeFoor acknowledged the push from some Republicans to create an election audit bureau, which was a matter that caused division among Democrats and Republicans in Harrisburg last month during budget negotiations, and said that he’d comply if given the proper funding. “If the legislature and the governor enact laws creating it, and fund it, I will comply by implementing it,” DeFoor said. “But, it’s scope will not be a forensic election audit bureau.” “The scope will follow federal, state, and county law, and county policy,” DeFoor continued.  DeFoor also laid out what his office would be able to do if it was created. “If this is enacted by law, it will look at how an election was conducted and whether it was done correctly,” DeFoor said. “It will not certify, recount, or audit results.”  He added that his office would need subpoena power, if the election-auditing office was created.  DeFoor, the former Dauphin County GOP Controller who bested former Deputy Mayor of Philadelphia Nina Ahmad, a Democrat, by 3 points in 2020, made headlines earlier this year when he said before a state House committee that he believed his election was fair, but wouldn’t comment about other races on the ballot. He was asked to clarify those statements and say whether or not he thinks Joe Biden won Pennsylvania “fair and square” during the Q&A portion of the program.  “I never said anything about Joe Biden,” DeFoor responded. “The question was, was that, ‘do I believe that my election was fair?”  “And my answer was, I believe it was, but I can’t speak on anybody else’s,” DeFoor continued. DeFoor added that by the time of his election, he was the Dauphin County Controller and not the state’s Auditor General, so he was only able to vote during the 2020 election. “So, to answer the question, I never mentioned Joe Biden in those comments,” DeFoor said. “I made those comments based on what I believe as a private citizen.” “There weren’t any complaints with regards to my election, so obviously I would say I don’t have any problems, however I couldn’t speak for others because I didn’t know if there were other problems with other elections,” he continued. The moderator responded to DeFoor asking, “so, do you think he won,” referring to Biden. “The election was certified,” DeFoor said. “The election’s been certified, courts have ruled, and we moved on.” DeFoor described the first few months of his administration as “productive,” although “it hasn’t exactly been easy,” and cited the office currently operating at “1997 budget levels.” “We still need to restore the department’s budget, so we can continue to aggressively protect taxpayer dollars, prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, rebuild our staff and invest in technology needed to modernize our department,” DeFoor said. “Until then, it will be difficult for my department to take on any new audits, that are not required by state statute.” “You can’t prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in 2021 with a budget from 1992 or from 1997,” DeFoor continued. “The math just doesn’t work.” DeFoor mentioned that his office was completing a number of audits that were started during the previous administration and that he would be keeping his eyes on a wide number of matters including school districts, pensions, the Pennsylvania lottery, nursing homes during the pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf’s business waiver program, unemployment compensation fraud, and more. July 27th, 2021 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 1 Comment

Louisville Universities Announce COVID-19 Policies Ahead Of School Year

July 27th, 2021|

Louisville’s colleges and universities are releasing their COVID-19 policies ahead of the upcoming academic year. Here’s a look at what various schools around the region are doing. What Are U of L’s COVID Protocols? The University of Louisville announced Monday it will continue its required COVID-19 testing program for fall 2021. Testing will be required for any students, staff and faculty that are not vaccinated. The testing requirement also includes those awaiting a second dose. The school will hold required testing periods throughout the first semester–Aug. 17-27, Sept. 7-17 and Oct. 6-15. Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratory will provide the testing. The University of Louisville has not announced any vaccine requirements for their students, faculty or staff.  What Are Bellarmine’s COVID Protocols? Bellarmine University will require testing for non-vaccinated residential students. Those students will be tested on move-in day.  Students will receive their results back the same day; so-called “gateway testing” aims to stop any early spread of COVID-19. Vaccines will also be available to students that day.  Both U of L and Bellarmine are requiring unvaccinated campus community members to wear masks and letting vaccinated people decide for themselves.   What About Other Schools? Spalding University has similar policies: no requirement for vaccination, but a mandate to wear a mask if you aren’t.  Spalding’s policy features the use of the #ClearCampus app. #ClearCampus is a daily self screening app for COVID-19 symptoms. The university asks anyone–staff, student, faculty or visitor–with plans to come to campus to pass the health screening for that day. Jefferson Community and Technical College does not have many policies in place, but does plan to offer students a variety of learning options, including fully-online, in-person and hybrid classes.  All the colleges and universities have said current policies and plans are subject to change based on CDC guidelines and COVID-19 numbers

COVID-19, staffing shortages creating challenges at Louisville Metro Corrections

July 27th, 2021|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The inmate population is beginning to creep up again in Louisville's jail after more than a year of declining numbers due to COVID-19. The jail population reached its lowest ever average population in 2020 with 1,250 inmate. But the number is climbing once again, and corrections officers worry there isn't enough staff to deal with the increase.On Tuesday, jail officials told the jail policy committee that the average population of inmates in July was over 1,600, an increase from earlier in the year. "It is absolutely not safe right now for our members," said Louisville Corrections FOP Lodge 77 president Daniel Johnson. "There's a natural danger to our jobs to begin with, but depending on the environment and the decisions being made, you can either make that better or worse."According to Assistant Director of Corrections Steve Durham, three officers were injured over the weekend. Durham said the first incident happened around 11:30 p.m. Friday, when a corrections officer's hand was injured from a "disruptive inmate."  Around 1:45 a.m. Saturday, the same inmate injured another correction's officer's hand. Durham said the inmate was placed under mental health observation. Both officers were treated and released for their injuries. The inmate was also treated for minor injuries at the jail. Then around 5 a.m. Saturday, a "special management inmate" threw bodily fluids on an officer. "As recommended by LMDC practice regarding exposure to bodily fluids, that officer also sought medical treatment," Durham said. Johnson said the combination of COVID-19 and low-pay is leading to a steady stream of officers leaving the jail to pursue other opportunities."You got to pay people more money than they can make on unemployment to take the risk to come work in a facility like the jail," he said. "Because we don't have enough staff, we are working people 70+ hours a week. You know you might have five minutes notice before the end of your shift that you're on another shift."Johnson said the union is working to revise a contract with Louisville Metro Government that expires in 2023. Currently, he said , starting pay for a Metro Corrections officer is $17 an hour.Meanwhile, jail leaders said they're also working on ways to get more recruits in the door and keep the officers already on board. "We're working on some initiatives that we think will help draw more people into the door to make those applications," Durham said. "We're bending and doing out best to get people to come to work and keep good people on the job."Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

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