Federal government moves toward easing drive-time rules for truckers

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration took a key step Wednesday toward relaxing federal rules that govern the length of time truck drivers can spend behind the wheel, a move long sought by the trucking industry but opposed by safety advocates who warn it could lead to more highway crashes.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the Transportation Department, issued proposed changes to the “hours of service” rules, which dictate breaks truckers are required to take, and their time on and off duty.

“It puts a little more power back in the hands of the drivers and motor carriers,” said Raymond Martinez, head of the federal safety agency. Martinez said the agency listened to drivers and their calls for safer and more flexible rules.

But highway safety groups have warned that putting the revisions into place would dangerously weaken the regulations.

Harris outlines plan to boost efforts against suspected domestic terrorists

California Sen. Kamala D. Harris on Tuesday joined the growing number of Democratic presidential candidates to outline plans to combat domestic terrorism in the wake of massacres in Texas and Ohio earlier this month.

Harris vowed that as president she would push legislation that amounts to a "red flag" law for suspected terrorists and hate crime perpetrators. She would also require major online gun dealers like Armslist.com — the gun dealer's equivalent to Craigslist — to perform background checks, which they are not required to do now because they facilitate transactions between private sellers and private buyers.

The plan builds on Harris's gun control proposals, in which the former California attorney general promised executive action to force major gun dealers to conduct background checks, close the so-called "boyfriend loophole" that allows for purchase of weapons before background checks are complete and ban imports of assault weapons.

Veteran pleads not guilty to assault during national anthem

SUPERIOR, Mont. — An Army veteran pleaded not guilty Wednesday to assaulting a 13-year-old boy who the suspect said refused to remove his hat during the national anthem at a rodeo in Montana.

Attorney Lance Jasper has told the Missoulian that defendant Curt Brockway, who suffered a traumatic brain injury from an automobile crash while he was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, believed he was doing what President Donald Trump wanted him to do.

"His commander in chief is telling people that if they kneel, they should be fired, or if they burn a flag, they should be punished," Jasper told the newspaper. "He certainly didn't understand it was a crime."

Jasper is seeking a mental health evaluation for Brockway, 39, of Superior, Montana.

Brockway told investigators the boy cursed at him when he asked him to remove his hat at the Aug. 3 rodeo.

Witnesses have said Brockway picked the boy up by his neck and slammed him to the ground. The boy suffered a skull fracture, court records said.

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