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Anxious Biden voters in battleground state call for him to drop out after 'scary' debate: 'It's time'

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Anxious Biden voters in battleground state call for him to drop out after 'scary' debate: 'It's time'

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President Biden’s debate performance shocked voters in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, leading even some supporters to call on him to drop out of the 2024 race, according to a new report.

“Last week hurt so much that he’s really got to think of the party and the country before he thinks of himself,” Troy Reissmann told CNN’s John King on Tuesday.

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King spoke to voters in the battleground state to see whether they felt the president is still fit to serve another term as he faces mounting calls to drop out of the race after his debate disaster. Troy Reissmann and his wife Lisa, who both supported Biden in 2020, admitted the president’s performance that night frightened them and made them nervous about his chances at beating former President Trump.

“He didn’t seem as strong as what he has been in the past,” Lisa Reissmann said. “I was really having a hard time watching it. Because he did seem a little off.”

CNN HOST PLAYS MONTAGE OF BIDEN BEING ‘NOT COHERENT,’ SAYS PRESIDENT HAS NOT ASSUAGED AGE CONCERNS

Biden voters in battleground states question if it’s time for him to drop out after debate disaster, in a new report. (Getty/CNN screenshot)

“Yeah, it was definitely scary,” Troy Reissmann added. 

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While the couple said they liked Biden, they felt he wasn’t the best candidate to beat Trump this time around.

“Think of the future. Think of our kids and grandkids,” Troy Reissmann said. “Maybe you should step aside only because there’s — the future doesn’t look too bright with the other side taking over. And maybe I’m wrong, and I hope I would be, but you know, it’s scary.”

“I think it is time. We just need fresh leadership, new leadership,” Lisa Reissmann added. “I think he stands for good things. But I am just not sure he’s there anymore to lead the country.”

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF MEDIA AND CULTURE

Biden and Trump

Biden supporters in Wisconsin told CNN they were anxious about his chances at winning the battleground state after the June debate. (Biden photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images and Trump photo Mario Tama/Getty Images )

Biden’s “painful” debate performance set Democrats into a “very aggressive panic,” former Obama adviser Van Jones said on CNN following the debate. 

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Democrats are set to meet on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss Biden’s candidacy and fitness for office after several ranking House members reportedly said that they wanted him to step aside.

Biden has defied calls from within his party to drop out and told critical party members in a letter on Monday that he believes he is the best candidate to beat Trump.

Voters in the CNN report signaled they would reluctantly back the Democratic Party if it was a choice between Biden and Trump.

“Let me put it this way: I’m voting for the party right now,” Independent voter Allen Naparalla said.

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A Fox News poll in April showed Biden deadlocked against his GOP rival in Wisconsin, a state he narrowly won in 2020. The race remains tight in the state, with Trump barely ahead of Biden, according to polling tracker FiveThirtyEight.

Trump holds a 9-point advantage with voters 50 years old and up in the state, according to an AARP poll released this week.

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Nebraska

A guide to Nebraska’s property tax relief special session beginning Thursday • Nebraska Examiner

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A guide to Nebraska’s property tax relief special session beginning Thursday • Nebraska Examiner


LINCOLN — Thursday is officially game day for Gov. Jim Pillen’s special session on property taxes: a high-risk, high-reward moment for the first-term governor who has vowed, if necessary, to keep lawmakers in Lincoln “ ‘til Christmas.”

State senators will convene at 10 a.m. Thursday for the first of three days of bill introductions, all related to property tax relief. When lawmakers adjourned April 18 without passing legislation to curb the property tax, Pillen declared they’d be back later in the year.

“Enjoy halftime. We’ll see you again here soon,” he said in his end-of-session speech, promising a special session.

For nearly one-third of state legislators, this session could be their final showing, most because they are term-limited after eight years of service.

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Here’s what to watch for heading into the special session.

Will lawmakers debate, or go home?

First up on the docket is the question of whether lawmakers will stay in Lincoln, or if they will vote to adjourn “sine die.” That vote would send lawmakers home and put the ball back in Pillen’s court should he choose to call another session.

State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha. Feb. 2, 2023. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Led by State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, lawmakers in a Tuesday night email thread summarized months of unease over the session and criticized Pillen for not calling the special session or clarifying its scope in a timely manner. 

“We are not his slaves to be summoned at his whim,” Wayne wrote to his colleagues, detailing personal and career commitments he and other legislators needed to consider.

The governor officially issued that document Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the session is set to start. That’s the latest proclamation for any special session in 40 years.

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Wayne suggested that lawmakers adjourn “sine die” and demand at least a week’s notice before any special session begins. Or, he suggested, the body should recess for one week, until Aug. 1, so senators would have more time to consider introducing legislation.

Usually, a “sine die” vote comes at the end of a legislative session and is a ceremonial formality to end the session. But Thursday morning could be a test vote.

At least 25 lawmakers must come to Lincoln for the session to begin, and if someone offers the “sine die” motion, it is not debatable. It requires a simple majority of those present.

A new record to introduced bills

Multiple lawmakers told the Nebraska Examiner that at least 80 bills were being prepared ahead of the special session. If all or most are introduced, it could set a record.

Speaker John Arch of La Vista addresses state lawmakers during a legislative retreat at Nebraska Innovation Campus on Dec. 7, 2023, in Lincoln. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

The previous record for a special session is 52 bills, which came in 2002 during a special session to address appropriations, cash funds, state aid to local governments and more.

Most lawmakers have not shared concrete details of what they might bring to the table, some out of concern that Pillen’s proclamation could have purposefully excluded their ideas.

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Senators will determine what bills fall within the scope of the proclamation.

The 10-member Executive Board will determine which of 14 standing committees each bill or policy resolutions should be sent to.

After being assigned to a committee, all proposals must receive a hearing within five calendar days, per the Legislature’s rules. Speaker John Arch of La Vista said Wednesday he will better understand how many days of hearings will take after bill introductions, though he’s budgeted three days beginning next Monday.

Floor debate could in theory start next Thursday, Aug. 1, Arch said, though he stressed that scheduling depends on the number of bills introduced and the work of the various committees.

“Because it’s so focused, there’s probably going to be more committee work on the topic than in a general session,” Arch said. “I don’t anticipate bills being kicked out quickly.”

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If a committee doesn’t take final action on a bill within two legislative days after its hearing, the rules allow lawmakers to seek a vote that could advance a proposal to the floor for future debate. That would require at least 25 votes.

What is Pillen proposing?

Once lawmakers get to floor debate, Arch said, “full and fair debate” will mirror his policy in the regular session last spring, allowing debate to go to a maximum of eight, four and two hours on three successive rounds of debate.

At those points after a “filibuster” to prolong debate, a cloture motion could be offered to end debate and vote on advancing or passing the bill.

Cloture requires at least 33 votes among the 49 members. Bills or resolutions that are not filibustered require at least 25 votes.

Pillen could run into problems with various lawmakers who have cast doubt on his ideas, which include:

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  • Placing hard caps on county and municipality property tax collections, either 0% (in times of deflation) or matching the consumer price index, unless 60% of voters agree to override the caps. There would be exemptions for growth and public safety needs.
  • Funding more than 80% of local K-12 property tax burdens by the state, about $2.6 billion. School tax rates would be reduced from a maximum of about $1.05 per $100 of valuations to 15 cents, 7.5 cents and 0 cents in a three-year period.
  • Retooling existing property tax relief programs, including homestead exemptions and property tax credits. A spokesperson for the governor said there would be no cuts to existing homestead exemptions.
  • Removing more than 100 sales and use tax exemptions. Food, medicine and raw agricultural and manufacturing materials, along with more than 100 other goods and services, would remain exempt. Most new items would be taxed statewide at 5.5 cents per dollar purchase, plus local taxes between 0.5 and 2 cents; agricultural and manufacturing machinery and equipment would be taxed at 4 cents per dollar purchase, with personal property taxes on those items removed.
  • Raising “sin” taxes on cigarettes, candy, pop, vaping, spirits, keno gambling, games of skill and consumable hemp.

Lawmakers to watch

Among the lawmakers to watch are the chairs of the three committees where legislation is likely to be referred: State Sens. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn, who chairs Revenue; Rob Clements of Elmwood, who chairs Appropriations; and Dave Murman of Glenvil, who chairs Education.

Gov. Jim Pillen is joined by State Sens. Lou Ann Linehan and Rob Clements in unveiling a proposal to reduce local property taxes in three years. July 18, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Those three plus 14 other senators were part of a task force working with Pillen on his ideas this summer: State Sens. Joni Albrecht, Eliot Bostar, Wendy DeBoer, George Dungan, Steve Erdman, John Fredrickson, Ben Hansen, Teresa Ibach, Mike Jacobson, Kathleen Kauth, Mike McDonnell, Fred Meyer, Merv Riepe and Brad von Gillern.

Clements and Linehan joined Pillen in unveiling the outcome of that task force and 26 town halls across the state in May and June, which did not include the state’s largest cities of Omaha and Lincoln.

“Every senator, if you look at their campaign material, would say property tax relief is a high priority for them,” Clements told the Examiner last week. “I think it’s time for senators to step forward and do something about what they’ve been promising.”

However, not every task force member is in agreement on next steps, including Riepe and Dungan. 

Riepe said last weekend he doesn’t “believe in the ‘jump and the net will appear’ philosophy.”

Multiple lawmakers have criticized Pillen, saying he and his family stand to gain financially as part of the plan, stating that lower-income Nebraskans could end up paying more in sales taxes:

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  • State Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln: “This plan is indeed nothing more than a reverse Robin Hood scheme representing perhaps an unprecedented tax increase and massive tax shift.”
  • State Sen. Julie Slama of Dunbar: “That’s corrupt, and we can’t have a tax plan that robs Peter to pay Pillen.”
State Sen. Julie Slama of Dunbar. Feb. 22, 2024. (Zach Wendling/Nebraska Examiner)

Wayne has said a different proposal, relating to lawsuits alleging neglect on the part of political subdivisions in cases of child sexual assault or child abuse, needs to be part of the special session. Pillen vetoed that proposal in the spring, in part citing taxes, which could be the foot in the door to address the issue during the special session.

Erdman has promised that legislation similar to the ballot initiative to eliminate property, income and corporate taxes — the “EPIC Option” — will be introduced during the session.

Also something to watch is how lawmakers’ positions may shift from the 28-14 split from Legislative Bill 388, the previous Pillen-led proposal in the spring8. Five more lawmakers were “present, not voting” and two were “excused, not voting” when LB 388 was considered. The split wasn’t geographical or ideological.

Despite pushback, Pillen has remained confident that he will have enough bipartisan support to get something accomplished in the officially nonpartisan Legislature’s special session. 

He says that’s because it’s not about what lawmakers say, it’s what they do.

“When it comes time to push that button [for the bill], it’s one heck of a responsibility to not push green,” Pillen said. “You push red, there’s going to be tough consequences.”

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Special session costs, length

Of the 36 special sessions since the Unicameral formed in 1937, special sessions have ranged from six to 24 days. Twenty sessions lasted seven days and just one was six days.

Each day lawmakers are in session brings a cost to taxpayers. Pillen has said those expenses are “pennies compared to our property tax increases,” which went up $286 million in 2023.

During a special session, there is no specific end date, unlike in regular 90-day or 60-day sessions. That means lawmakers could theoretically remain in session until the next Legislature begins, or “ ‘til Christmas” as Pillen has threatened to ensure his relief goals are achieved.

The most recent cost estimates provided to the Examiner were in mid-May:

  • Five days: $79,686 ($15,937.20 per session day).
  • Seven days: $130,165 ($18,595 per session day).
  • Ten days: $174,876 ($17,487.60 per session day).

“Special sessions aren’t 10-day sessions,” Pillen told school administrators Wednesday in Kearney. “This session will last as long as it takes to fix the problem.”

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North Dakota

Man injured in accidental shooting outside Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in rural Wahpeton

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Man injured in accidental shooting outside Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in rural Wahpeton


BRECKENRIDGE, MN — One man was injured in an accidental shooting on Wednesday, July 24.

A 24-year-old man went to the hospital after he was wounded during an accidental shooting inside a motor vehicle, according to a release from the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.

The event took place in the parking lot of Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative in rural Wahpeton, according to the release. The man was a contract employee working on site.

The shooting occurred shortly after noon and the man was transported to a nearby hospital in a private vehicle. First responders met him at a Breckenridge hospital.

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The name and condition of the man is currently unknown.

He was transported via LifeFlight to Fargo, the release states, and the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of “staff.” Often, the “staff” byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.





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Ohio

3 arrested in death of Alexa Stakely, Ohio mom killed trying to save son in carjacking

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3 arrested in death of Alexa Stakely, Ohio mom killed trying to save son in carjacking


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COLUMBUS, Ohio — All three suspects wanted in connection with the death of Alexa Stakely, an Ohio mom struck while trying to prevent the theft of her vehicle with her 6-year-old son inside, have been taken into custody, authorities said Wednesday evening.

A 16-year-old male whom police say admitted he was driving Stakely’s vehicle turned himself in and is being charged with delinquency murder in Franklin County Juvenile court, Columbus police said. The second male, 17, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon.

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The Columbus Dispatch, part of the USA TODAY Network, is not naming the two minors.

A third male, Gerald Dowling, 19, turned himself in Wednesday night, according to Columbus police. Authorities later confirmed that Dowling was charged with murder.

Police said the 17-year-old male admitted to detectives that he was present during the attempted theft of Stakely’s vehicle. Additional details regarding what he would be charged with were not immediately available Wednesday.

The 16-year-old, accompanied by his parents, surrendered himself at Columbus police headquarters and agreed to an interview with detectives, authorities said. The teen later told detectives that he and the two other acquaintances were looking for a vehicle to steal around 1:30 a.m. on July 11 when they came across Stakely’s Honda.

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What happened to Alexa Stakely?

Stakely, 29, a single mother who was a speech-language pathologist for Winchester Trail Elementary School in Canal Winchester, Ohio, also had a part-time job as a waitress to support her son. She was picking her son up after a waitressing shift.

Stakely brought the sleeping boy out to her Honda CRV, which she left running, while she met the babysitter in the doorway to get the boy’s belongings, police said.

As Stakely returned to her vehicle, she saw someone inside beginning to back out onto the road. Stakely ran out toward the Honda and was heard screaming for her child and telling the driver to stop, police said.

As his two friends watched, the 16-year-old told detectives he got into Stakely’s vehicle and was about to drive off when Stakely ran out to stop him. Police said the teen told detectives that he panicked and began driving off, striking Stakely with her vehicle.

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Police said the Honda hit Stakely and she was knocked to the pavement, suffering a “fatal wound” to her head. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The 16-year-old abandoned the Honda within the same complex. Witnesses saw two males running north, past where Stakely was on the ground, jumping a fence and escaping into a neighboring apartment complex, police said. The three regrouped a short time later on foot, police said.

Stakely’s son was recovered uninjured and told police he slept through the attempted carjacking.

‘She was my best friend’

More than 100 people gathered near Winchester Trail Elementary School last week to pay tribute to the young single mother. Stakely’s friends and colleagues said she aspired to own a home and business. Those who knew her said she was loyal to her friends and family and loved her son “fiercely.

Stakely’s brother, Braedyn Price, also attended the vigil. Price, 21, said that he woke up at 4 a.m. on July 11 to a phone call saying that his sister, best friend, and mentor, Alexa, had been hit by a car. He said he initially didn’t believe it and then thought she had suffered some moderate injuries but that she’d recover.

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“And the next thing I knew, I was looking over her body,” Price said. “It’s still very hard for me to grasp.”

Price said that since his sister’s passing, he just feels “empty” and that he’s had trouble sleeping. He also said that he is angry at the people who are responsible for her death.

“She was an amazing human and my best friend,” Price said.

Violent carjackings in the U.S.

Carjackings have significantly increased in some U.S. cities since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Council on Criminal Justice. Carjackings surged by 93% in 10 cities from 2019 to 2023 and while the figure fell by 5% in 2023, data showed that the rate of carjackings was still high compared to years before 2020.

The rise in carjacking rates — along with other violent crimes — have prompted authorities, including in the nation’s capital, to provide more resources and crackdown on crime.

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Since 1992, federal, state, and local authorities have tried to toughen carjacking laws in response to spates of violent carjackings — including some incidents in which victims were murdered. One incident is credited to have prompted a federal response.

In September 1992, Pamela Basu, 34, was dragged to her death after two carjackers pushed her out of her vehicle while she was at a stop sign. Basu was driving her 2-year-old daughter to her first day of preschool.

During the incident, Basu’s arm got caught in a seatbelt and she was dragged for one and a half miles after she attempted to reach for her daughter in the back seat, according to The New York Times Archives. The two perpetrators were convicted of murder and other charges.

The murder of Basu shocked the country and outraged members of Congress, according to a North Carolina Central Law Review article. Congress quickly passed the Federal Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992 and former President George H. W. Bush signed it into law in October 1992.

Contact Shahid Meighan at smeighan@dispatch.com or on X @ShahidMeighan

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