New NC – Sheyenne’s Law, BWI law named for teen killed on Lake Norman

A new law aimed at cracking down on boating while impaired in North Carolina will go into effect Thursday.Under Sheyenne’s Law, boating while impaired will go from a misdemeanor to a felony, carrying a prison term of almost three years.

Sheyenne’s Law creates new penalties for impaired boat drivers Teen killed on Lake Norman remembered as bubbly, friendly Lawmakers push for stricter death-by-impaired-boating lawsIt is named after Cabarrus County teen Sheyenne Marshall. She was killed on Lake Norman during the July 4th weekend in 2015 by an impaired boater.Investigators said Keith Cerven, of Mooresville, was drunk while driving the boat that hit and killed her.

Source: New BWI law named for teen killed on Lake Norman takes effect Thursday | WSOC-TV

Carrier shutdown averted, Trump saves American jobs | Seeing Red AZ

As he campaigned for president, Donald Trump spoke about American companies that were planning on closing their U.S. based facilities and moving to Mexico. Air-conditioning manufacturer Carrier Corp. was one of the companies Trump called out by name.  With its intended relocation 1,400 jobs at its Indianapolis-based manufacturing facility would have been lost. Think of that as 1,400 families wondering how they would keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.With his Jan. 20, 2017 inauguration still weeks away, president-elect Donald Trump has already secured an early victory as he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence directly intervened calling Gregory Hayes the CEO of United Technologies Corporation, Carrier’s parent company, persuading the manufacturer to remain in Indiana.Under terms of the agreement, Carrier will receive tax incentives from the state economic development corporation to keep the jobs in the state.

Source: Carrier shutdown averted, Trump saves American jobs | Seeing Red AZ

Buzz Aldrin Recovers in New Zealand After Polar Evacuation

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was recovering on Friday in a New Zealand hospital and was in stable condition after a “grueling” medical evacuation from the South Pole.Aldrin, 86, was visiting Antarctica as a tourist when he fell ill. He was flown to Christchurch from McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center on the Antarctic coast.[HISTORY NEWS: One Civil War Veteran’s Pension Remains on Government’s Payroll]Tour company White Desert said Aldrin has fluid in his lungs, but was responding well to antibiotics.

He’ll remain hospitalized overnight for observation. His manager Christina Korp, who accompanied him, said he was in good spirits.As Aldrin recovers, she said on Twitter, “I did want to let people know that he did make it to the South Pole which was his objective. Thnx for prayers!”

Source: Buzz Aldrin Recovers in New Zealand After Polar Evacuation | Science News | US News

budget, Trump, defense, military, Thornberry

The Pentagon will be in a position next year to end defense spending caps, get a supplemental budget request and boost foreign sales for big defense firms, the House Armed Services Committee chairman said Thursday.Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas, said he expects restrictions on foreign military sales to be eased next year to bolster U.S. allies once President-elect Donald Trump enters office.Under current rules, “We make it way too hard. It’s incredibly frustrating for some of our best friends who want to pay cash to get American weapons,” he said.

Thornberry said he expects the new administration to come to Congress with a supplemental budget request to buy 11 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the services, 14 more F/A-18 fighters for the Navy — items omitted from recent negotiated defense authorization bill — and to provide an increase for the sea service’s shipbuilding budget.In addition, Thornberry said Congress would move to end the sequester spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011 for defense, with support from the new administration. For too long, defense has been “held hostage” to other spending requirements, he said.“There is a growing perception — on both sides of the aisle, in both houses of Congress — that we’ve cut too much from defense, and the Budget Control Act disproportionately damages defense [because] more than half the discretionary budget is defense,” Thornberry said.He rattled off the wish list in a discussion with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to open a Global Security Forum on the national security challenges facing the Trump administration at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.Panetta backed Thornberry on the need to rebuild the military and restore credibility with allies but warned that “the biggest threat to our national security is the dysfunction in this town.”The Defense Department needs a set budget to plan and set priorities, but gridlock in Congress has led to a series of continuing resolutions on spending that have stifled innovation, Panetta said.“There isn’t a damn thing you can do to rebuild defense” unless Congress can work out compromises, he said. “Right now, we’re got a Defense Department that has a high ops tempo and, quite frankly, low morale.”The House planned a vote Friday on the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate is expected to vote next week. The final version of the NDAA worked out by a conference committee called for defense spending of $618.7 billion, but actual funding levels are still to be worked out by the Appropriations Committees.In a question-and-answer session at the forum, Thornberry was asked how the Trump administration should view defense spending.“I would follow Teddy Roosevelt,” he said, citing the late president’s famous quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick. We need to make our stick bigger.”The quickest way for Trump to do that, Thornberry said, would be to “submit a supplemental request for defense early on to give us a head start at building back some of this capability. That would be the first signal that you need to send. Before you start moving troops around or making more promises, you need to build up a bigger stick.”

Source: budget, Trump, defense, military, Thornberry | DoDBuzz

Congress reduces numbers of F-35s, Black Hawks

Congressional negotiators sharply cut funding for Connecticut-made Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters and trimmed the number of F-35s the Pentagon would buy next year.Senior staffers of the House and Senate armed services committees released details of a final National Defense Authorization bill Tuesday.It rolled back hundreds of millions of dollars in authorization for spending on a number of defense programs in the House and Senate defense authorization bills, including funding for extra Joint Strike Fighters and Sikorsky-made helicopters.

The $618 billion NDAA authorized spending on 63 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in  2017, down from 66 this year. Pratt & Whitney makes the engine for the F-35.

The NDAA also limited the number of Black Hawks  the Pentagon can buy next year. It would provide $976.1 million for 36 of the Sikorsky helicopters, down from $1.77 billion for 107 Black Hawks the Defense Department is buying this year.The authorization bill, however, would continue the two-per-year purchase of Virginia-class submarines, made jointly by Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding. It also would add $85 million to the submarine’s advance procurement fund.Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said he was “very pleased” the final defense bill contained the extra money, which was provided in the House version of the bill.But mostly the negotiators stuck to President Obama’s requested funding for the Pentagon. A notable exception was in the number of airmen, soldiers and sailors in the military forces next year.Lawmakers agreed to increase the numbers of Marines by 3,000, add 4,000 to the Air Force and add 1,000 soldiers to the Army.The NDAA also contains about $773 million to continue preliminary work on the new Columbia class nuclear ballistic submarines, which will be built by Electric Boat. Courtney said the money allows for preliminary production work on the sub.

“They are cutting steel; they are moving forward,” he said.The NDAA negotiators eliminated a provision in the Senate authorization bill that would draft women in the military but they kept a ban on a new round of round of base closings and realignments.

A House provision known as the Russell Amendment that exempts religious organizations with government contracts from federal civil rights law and the Americans with Disabilities Act also was eliminated from the bill. Connecticut Democrats strongly opposed this measure, saying it would roll back an Obama executive order and allow discrimination against LGBT workers.“The Russell Amendment stood in direct contradiction to our core American values. Eliminating this dangerous provision from the final bill is a victory, but let us be clear: the fight against bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination does not end with the Russell Amendment,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

The House plans to vote on the NDAA Friday and the Senate next week. But Congress has failed to approve a defense spending bill that would actually fund the Pentagon. The authorization bill only sets spending levels and makes policy changes.A Black Hawk helicopterThe lack of a defense spending bill, and appropriation bills for all other federal agencies, means Congress will approve a continuing resolution to keep the government from shutting down. The continuing resolution funds all federal programs at 2016 levels and does not allow any money to be spent on new programs. That could be a real problem for the Columbia-class subs because some Republicans want to run the federal government on a continuing resolution until May.Courtney joined other lawmakers last week  in asking the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee to consider the Columbia-class program an “anomaly” that could be funded under a continuing resolution.“Without an anomaly to address this issue, the program will face delays in design and production that would have ripple effects throughout its extremely tight timeline, disrupt hiring and material orders throughout the industrial base across several states, and undermine the progress made to date in reducing costs and schedule in this program,” the lawmakers wrote the appropriators.

Courtney said he was “getting good signals” from the appropriators about his requests.Blumenthal and Chris Murphy also wrote Senate appropriators, saying unless funding is secured for the Columbia class subs, “the Navy and contractor team would have to cut up to 2,300 jobs from the engineering, design, and support staff across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Virginia.”Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Tuesday blasted the idea of a continuing resolution that could last until May, calling it “unprecedented and unacceptable” in a letter to Capitol Hill .Addressed to  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the letter said the government has “never” operated under a CR through a presidential transition, nor had one that lasts this long.“A CR through May means [the Department of Defense] would have to operate under

Source: Congress reduces numbers of F-35s, Black Hawks | The CT Mirror