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We all remember the 2016 election as one of scandal and controversy and the inauguration as something full of protests, “fake news” etc. But what is more important is what President Trump’s cabinet has done since their appointments. If you start from the top, it would be Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States.

Prior to this position, he served in a variety of governmental positions including a Member of the House of Representatives from Indiana, Chair of the House Republican Conference, and most recently as Governor of Indiana. While serving as Governor, he passed some fairly controversial laws including the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act which allowed for stronger legal defense for discrimination against people of the LGBT+ community. He was officially sworn in as Vice President of the United States on January 20, 2017.

While Pence hasn’t been the highlight of news in 2017 very often, he has done quite a few notable things–including several firsts for a Vice President. Just a week after he was sworn in as Vice President, he spoke at the March For Life Rally. Another first for a Vice President came a few weeks later when he cast the tie-breaking vote for Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as Secretary of Education.

Pence has cast five other tie-breaking votes while serving as Vice President. Two of these were at the end of March involving H.J.Res.43. The first vote was to proceed with the vote of the act and the second was to pass this bill to become law. Most notably this law contributed to defund Planned Parenthood.

Pence’s next tie-breaking vote was in July for the American Health Care Act (also referred to as “Trump Care“). This was a motion to proceed with a vote for it.

Pence then had to break another tie vote with H.J.Res.111 in October of 2017. This bill was aimed to protect banks and credit cards from class action lawsuits.

Pence ended the year with a sixth tie-breaking vote for the amendment to Senate’s Tax Bill. This vote put a limitation on funds to be used for primary and secondary education.

For better or for worse, the Republican Party has benefited from Pence needing to break ties in the Senate. He has used this power a total of six times in the year 2017, putting him on track to break the record previously held since 1861 to cast more than ten tie-breaking votes in his term.

We will have to wait and see what 2018 will hold for Vice President Pence.

Nicole Masaki is a current student at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York and is graduating in May 2018. She is a triple major in English, Environmental Studies, and Philosophy.

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Otterbein University Grants Scholarship Aid to Fallen Westerville Officer’s Children

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The children of slain Westerville Police officer have been awarded full-ride scholarships to attend Otterbein University.

The private four-year university first disclosed its decision to sponsor the daughters of Officer Eric Joering, who was fatally shot while on duty alongside Officer Anthony Morelli on February 10th, 2018, at a Westerville City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 20th. In a subsequent press release published on its website and social media accounts on Wednesday, the university expressed its hopes of providing a system of support for the Joering family as they transition through this difficult period by ensuring that each daughter “has sufficient support to complete an undergraduate degree at Otterbein.”

Otterbein University has also dedicated a Spotlight tribute in honor of the two officers, extending the university’s condolences to the families of the fallen officers as well as the Westerville Police Department.

Authorities have charged the 30-year-old perpetrator, Quentin Smith, with two counts of aggravated murder of Joering and Morelli. Officers Joering and Morelli were said to have arrived at Smith’s townhome residence after having received an urgent 911 domestic violence call where they were met with a hostile Smith. Former reports have indicated that there were several prior domestic violence incidences where police similarly had been called to Smith’s property, albeit without any arrests made.

Smith was reported to have been critically injured upon his arrest and was promptly hospitalized. Smith has since been discharged and is currently held without bail.

 

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College Board Criticized for Utilizing Stoneman Douglas Shooting Massacre as Advertising Strategy

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A controversial mass email dispatched by the College Board on Wednesday has gone viral, eliciting a wave of public backlash against the organization’s alleged attempt to exploit last Wednesday’s Florida school shooting massacre to advertise the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

In his email to fellow colleagues and education administrators, College Board President David Coleman began his message by conveying College Board’s condolences to individuals and families affected by the tragedy. Coleman progressed to commend the efforts of student activist coalitions and draws upon Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez’s plea for gun control legislative reform. He emphasized on how he felt “compelled to share the unadulterated, impassioned voice of a student,” whose exposure to AP Government has equipped her with necessary skills to identify evidence. However, Coleman expressed his conflicting perspective to Gonzalez’s position on gun control, asserting his belief that Gonzalez could have attempted “to better understand the positions of gun rights proponents.” Coleman also references a published interview of another Stoneman Douglas student David Hogg, in which Hogg credits his AP History class for spurring his interest in the role of journalism in society, declaring that David Hogg’s words honor Advanced Placement teachers everywhere, for they reflect their power to open worlds and futures to students.”

Provoked by the contents of the email, several recipients have unleashed their ire on social media platforms. Andrew B. Palumbo, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, tweeted his outrage in a reply to Jon Boesckenstedt, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing at DePaul University, calling for College Board to immediately issue an apology to the public.

Former chairman of College Board’s science academic advisory committee, Jennifer Pfannerstill, tendered in her formal resignation on Thursday afternoon, citing that she is unable to “advocate for, and stand by, [an] organization that in one of our nation’s times of trial, would question the very students who allow them to exist and would promote itself as the only program to teach students how to use evidence”

The College Board has since broken its silence, publishing a public apology in an attempt to appease its angered social media followers and critics, exerting that they had no intention of diverting the attention away from the plights of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors and their community.

 

 

 

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National News

States Fight Back Against FCC’s Orders to End Net Neutrality in April

Nearly half the states in the U.S. are fighting for net neutrality.

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On Thursday morning the Federal Communications Commission published their order in the Federal Register to repeal net neutrality, which is set to go into effect on April 23, 2018.

Now that the final rule has been published by the FCC, entities can begin to file legal challenges against the order. In response to the order, 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia refiled legal challenges in an attempt to block the repeal of net neutrality.

The states had filed previously petitions preserving their right to sue in January; however, they agreed to withdraw the petitions last Friday until the FCC’s official publication.

The multi-state lawsuit is led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and a petition was filed the same day the FCC published their order. States backing up New York in this battle include California, Oregon, North Carolina, Hawaii, and Minnesota.

According to the petition, the states find that the FCC order is, “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act.” The states also find that the order violates federal law, “including, but not limited to, the Constitution, the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and FCC regulations promulgated thereunder.”

The FCC voted last December 3-2 to overturn the 2015 rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing access to, or charging more for specific content on the internet.

The 22 attorneys general are not alone in the battle over net neutrality. Internet giants including Netflix, Kickstarter, and Amazon made it clear on Twitter that they disagreed with the FCC’s vote in December.

Even Burger King had something to say about the battle for net neutrality.

The publication triggers a 60-legislative-day deadline for Congress to vote on whether or not the FCC’s decision should be overturned. According to the leader of the coalition against the repeal of net neutrality, the battle has only just begun.

 

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