By: Erik Maulbetsch of the Colorado Times Recorder

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner had a few unexpected guests at his annual Christmas party Friday evening at the Brown Palace Hotel.

In addition to the usual gathering of elected officials and Republican party volunteers, several disability rights activists with the group Atlantis ADAPT joined the festivities.

The group wanted Gardner to grant them a meeting to discuss his reason for being the only member of the Colorado congressional delegation who has not yet signed on to the Disability Integration Act (S. 910).

The bipartisan civil rights bill was introduced by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D- New York) and U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). As of August the bill has 24 Senate and 114 House co-sponsors. It would protect the rights of disabled people who require Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) to live and receive services in their own homes, rather than being forced into institutions.

Dawn Russell, one of the activists pictured below (center), confirmed that they received a photo with Gardner, but no firm promise on sponsorship or a date for an in-person meeting. Prior to the Friday, they talked with Gardner’s state director Andy Merritt, whom they say promised to follow up with the group this week.

Gardner and his staff know the ADAPT activists well. Russell was among those arrested and forcibly removed from Gardner’s office last year, along with Jordan Sibayan (right).

Besides the ADAPT activists, Senator Gardner’s party attendees included a number of prominent elected officials. Outgoing Secretary of State Wayne Williams, outgoing Congressman Mike Coffman (R – CO06), and outgoing Senate President Kevin Grantham (R- Cañon City) all attended. Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D – CO07) also dropped by.

In years past the evening has typically featured speeches by Senator Gardner and others. Gardner delivered his speech via video last year as he was stuck in Washington. This year however, despite a microphone and stand set up in the suite, not one speaker addressed the crowd.

By: John Kindt, Opinion Contributor to The Hill

In her Nov. 28 presentation at Liberty University, First Lady Melania Trumpstated that the opioid epidemic was the “worst drug crisis in American history.”

The Trump administration even appeared to signal that opioids/addictions needed to be treated as a socio-economic security issue because Melania’s trip entourage included Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Similar to the bipartisan issue of opioid addiction, the looming crisis of internet gambling addiction is now getting renewed attention.

On Sep. 27, House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Chair James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) held a hearing on internet sports gambling, which he followed with a pointed Nov. 15 letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking what actions DOJ proposes to initiate on the matter.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have also raised parallel concerns.

Jeopardizing millions of families, internet gambling addiction is currently the fastest growing addiction among kids, high schoolers and college students because of real-time 24/7 sports gambling on cell phones and video games.

Young gamblers are notoriously unaware that most internet gambling is illegal in the United States, as exemplified by the case where a University of Wisconsin honor student lost over $72,000 in tuition money on illegal internet sports gambling, killed three young men in the bookie’s apartment and thereafter committed suicide.

The United Kingdom has legalized more types of electronic gambling than the United States, and therefore, U.K. reports for November are illustrative of anticipated comparable U.S. numbers within the next 2 to 4 years.

The U.K. Gambling Commission reported that 1 in 7 children ages 11 to 16 (U.S. = 2.2 million kids) gamble regularly, which is more than those who have smoked, taken drugs or consumed alcohol — reflected in a 400-percent increase over 2 years in the numbers of kids becoming addicted and problem gamblers.

Via social media, 1 in 6 boys reportedly followed betting brands, and in this age group about 1 million kids (U.S. = 500,00 kids) had explored internet gambling via smartphone apps and video-game “loot boxes.”

Among the European Union, the almost universal trend of countries is to declare loot boxes illegal, but comparable U.S. safeguards have been legislatively paralyzed by the gambling industry.

As implied in Sensenbrenner’s DOJ letter, the gambling industry has used its legal clout in recent years to negate congressional legislative safeguards on gambling, and U.S. kids will be victimized.

First, the DOJ decided administratively not to enforce the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Second, a dubious 2011 DOJ memorandum “reinterpreted” U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s 1961 Wire Act, which was passed to fight organized crime.

Third, the gambling industry got the U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court via a 10th Amendment argument in Murphy v. NCAA, 584 U.S. (2018).

For two decades, the congressional bipartisan U.S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission, as well as the U.S. medical and psychological communities, have delimited electronic sports gambling as the “crack-cocaine” for addicting new gamblers — particularly kids.

The commission also concluded that internet gambling was impossible to regulate and could only be “prohibited." While opioids and illegal drugs may be found on street corners, illegal internet gambling will soon be available everywhere — via in-your-face, real-time gambling on every cell phone and video game.

In the U.K., 8 percent of the 2018 advertising market is gambling advertising, which is seven times more than Proctor and Gamble spends.

Despite seven U.S. state attorneys general initiating legal actions against illegal daily fantasy sports in 2015, a couple of DFS operators together were the largest U.S. advertisers for 2015. 

Without new U.S. safeguards, millions of American and international kids will continue to be targeted by the gambling industry and will become gambling addicts, creating enormous social and economic costs. A bipartisan Congress needs to act quickly to eliminate the surging specter of 24/7 sports gambling.

John Kindt is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, teaching law and economics. He is senior editor of the multi-volume United States-International Gaming Report. 

As appears on JD Supra

A quick pop quiz.

What do Newt Gingrich, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Barton, Henry Waxman, Jim Inhofe, Ed Markey, Jim Sensenbrenner, Chuck Schumer, and Fred Upton have in common?

The answer is provided by the League of Conservation Voters.

This combination of Democrats and Republicans all voted for the final passage of the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act.

The enactment of arguably one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation in United States history would not have occurred without the management and support of former President George H.W. Bush and his Administration.

The passing of George H.W. Bush has resulted in remembrance of the skill in which he managed important foreign policy issues such as Desert Storm and the ending of the Cold War. However, a sometimes overlooked aspect of President Bush’s single term in office is his work in developing and enhancing federal environmental protection programs.

National environmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund do not normally praise Republicans these days on environmental matters. However, they noted President Bush’s passing and stated:

. . . President George Herbert Walker Bush will be remembered for a great many proud achievements and outstanding qualities. He knew that our country matters far more than political party or personal ambition, and that the national interest demands that we protect America’s precious natural heritage. And he knew that there is no inherent conflict between environmental progress and economic progress.

The first Bush Administration accomplished environmental goals in diverse ways.

From an environmental legislative standpoint, President Bush and a bipartisan Congress on November 15, 1990, enacted amendments to the Clean Air Act. Air related issues addressed by the amendments included:

  • Acid Rain
  • Urban Smog
  • Hazardous Air Emissions
  • Ozone Layer
  • Expanded (Title V) Permitting Requirements

Certain aspects of these programs were innovative and precedent setting. An example are the provisions intended to drastically reduce acid rain. A market-based system of marketable pollution allowances was created. This program has dramatically reduced sulfur dioxide emissions with a corresponding decrease in acid rain. There has clearly been a reduction in damage to water quality in lakes and streams along with ecosystems and forests because of acid deposition.

An equally important achievement by the Bush Administration was undertaken pursuant to Executive Action.

In 1989 the Bush Administration established the National Policy of “No-Net Loss of Wetlands.” This imposed upon the Clean Water Act 404 program a requirement that each newly impacted quantity of wetlands must be replaced with a wetland of the same size and with similar wetland functions/values.

While the definition of what constitutes a jurisdictional wetland continues to be a subject of intense debate, the no-net loss policy remains in place – and is not the subject of serious debate. In view of the importance of wetlands to both public health and the environment (i.e., protection and nurturing of many species of plants and animals, storing floodwaters, filtering pollutants, serving as a carbon sink, providing recreation sites, etc.) this was clearly an important achievement.

I will end this post by quoting another national environmental organization. The National Resources Defense Council stated, in commenting on the President’s passing:

. . . George H.W. Bush left a legacy all Americans share with every breath we take. As President, he led efforts to pass one of the most successful environmental packages in history, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

By: Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to "take aggressive and immediate action," in the wake of a computer glitch that led to veterans receiving incorrect GI Bill housing stipends.

The Menomonee Falls Republican made public Friday a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

The agency has had difficulty implementing a "Forever" GI Bill that expanded education benefits. One key change involved how veterans' housing allowances are calculated.

The VA's information technology system had difficulty applying the new formula for the housing allowance and payments were delayed.

"Many of these veterans were forced to either pay housing costs out of pocket or faced eviction," Sensenbrenner wrote. "Those whose claims were approved often received smaller benefit payments than what they required to pay expenses."

Sensenbrenner said that on Nov. 28 the VA told congressional staff that the agency "would not be repaying veterans who received smaller GI Bill payments." The next day, a VA spokesman said the vets harmed by the glitches "would be made whole," according to Sensenbrenner's letter.

Sensenbrenner told Wilkie: "I am requesting that your department take aggressive and immediate action on this issue by reaching out to those who use the GI Bill and make clear your intentions to reimburse all who were damaged by your technology glitch in full."

By: Kevin Wondrash of the Catholic Herald

MADISON -- A Corporal Work of Mercy has been performed for the late Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison.

The fourth bishop of the Diocese of Madison was laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery in Madison on December 4.

He now lies with all of the preceding shepherds of this diocese.

Bishop Morlino died on November 24 at SSM St. Mary's Hospital in Madison.

A few days prior, the bishop was undergoing planned medical tests when he suffered what doctors described as "a cardiac event," and he never recovered.

Paying respects

The final farewells to Bishop Morlino began on December 3 when his body arrived at Holy Name Heights.

His casket was carried through the lobby, into the Bishop O'Donnell Holy Name Memorial Chapel, while staff members of the Diocese of Madison and related offices lined up to welcome the body.

The casket was then placed in the chapel where the bishop laid in state in the afternoon and into the evening as a cross section of the Diocese of Madison and beyond lined up to take their turns viewing the body.

The vigil was concluded with a vespers service in the chapel, presided over by Bishop Paul J. Swain of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Bishop Swain was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Madison and later served as vicar general to Bishop Morlino being named the Bishop of Sioux Falls, where he has served since 2006.

In a homily during the service, Bishop Swain expressed his concordances to the diocese and reflected on his relationship with Bishop Morlino.

"Your faith will sustain you during these challenging times," Bishop Swain said.

He recalled the first time he met Bishop Morlino, after he was named Bishop of Madison in 2003, and called him "a genial man who seemed a bit surprised at his sudden change of assignment" after serving as the Bishop of Helena, Mont.

"I grew to admire Bishop Morlino's fine intellect, his robust sense of humor, his love for the Church and the priesthood, and his courage to speak the truth with a colorful turn of phrase. Especially his gentleness and caring nature, not widely known."

He noted while their personalities were different, "we hit it off, immediately".

Bishop Swain also recalled when, while he served as rector St. Raphael Cathedral in Madison, it was burned down by a "troubled man."

He said Bishop Morlino showed his "gentle self" by cooking dinner for Bishop Swain on the night of the fire.

He then told of when he and Bishop Morlino both visited the arsonist in jail, where they both prayed for the man and accepted his apology in the name of Jesus Christ.

"It was a humbling experience," said Bishop Swain, noting the damaged cathedral could be seen from a window where they met the man.

Assisting Bishop Swain with the service were Transitional Deacons Steve Brunner and Lawrence Oparaji. The Sisters of Mary Morning Star provided music.

Following vespers, Bishop Morlino's body was taken to St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison in preparation for the next day's funeral.

Funeral and burial

On the morning of December 4, visitation for the late bishop continued as mourners paid their respects ahead of the Funeral Mass later that morning.

With the main church already expected to be full of the bishop's friends, staff members, and supporters, extra seating was set up in the narthex and social hall at St. Maria Goretti for a total of 1,700 people in attendance.

A live stream of the Funeral Mass was set up in the social hall for the overflow crowd to view.

Following the morning visitation, the Mass began with Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, who celebrated the Mass, presiding over a sprinkling of the casket with holy water and placing the pall over the casket.

The procession into Mass was led by Knights of Columbus, along with the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, priests of the Diocese of Madison and guest priests, Archbishop Listecki and visiting bishops, and diocesan seminarians. Recently ordained priests of the Diocese of Madison served as pallbearers processing in with Bishop Morlino's casket.

Other dignitaries at the funeral included U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville; U.S. Representative-elect Bryan Steil; U.S. Representatives Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, and Jim Sensenbrenner; Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney; and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval.

While Archbishop Listecki said a prayer over the casket, a crucifix was placed on top of it, where it stayed during the Mass.

Readers for the Mass were longtime friend of the bishop Malcolm Harkins, who attended Bishop Morlino's first Mass as a Jesuit, and William Yallaly, chancellor of the Diocese of Madison. Sam Galvin was the cantor. Transitional Deacon Austin Steffen served as Deacon of the Word.

Msgr. James Bartylla, former vicar general under Bishop Morlino and current diocesan administrator, delivered the homily at the late bishop's request.

"I find myself with a very difficult task, today," said Monsignor Bartylla.

"Bishop gave me one instruction, regarding his funeral homily, which I plan to obey -- my last act of obedience to my beloved bishop."

The instruction, given to Monsignor Bartylla when Bishop Morlino asked him to deliver his funeral homily, was "don't canonize me."

He continued, "The bishop honestly thought he'd be fortunate if he made it to 'Furnace Number 57' in Purgatory."

Monsignor Bartylla recalled the bishop's final moments, eventually leading to his death.

He called the bishop's final day a "beautiful day" as many people close to him came to see him for the last time.

"Never did I see the bishop look more episcopal," he said. "In all his helplessness, he looked more like the consummate Churchman, trading in his jeweled miter, Roman chasuble, gold crosier, pectoral cross for a ventilator, surgical cap, and a room fill of monitors, but with the Sisters [of Mary Morning Star] chanting at his bedside and praying for him."

Monsignor Bartylla called the bishop's death "his final teaching moment" as he, two other priests, and Yallaly and his wife, Bridget, were there at the bishop's side, at his death.

"It become deeper and clearer in those moments how death is really the soul just leaving the body."

He called it a "blessed Catholic death" from entering the hospital on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to dying on the vigil of Christ the King -- a "nice little slice of Salvation History".

Later in the Mass, before the final blessings and prayer, Archbishop Listecki made remarks about his departed brother bishop, nothing his episcopal motto "Visus Non Mentietur," or "The Vision Will Not Disappoint".

"He wanted to direct people to the truth," said Archbishop Listecki.

He also noted Bishop Morlino's passion for others to love the Eucharist and that "all of us, as Catholics realize the great gift given to us in the real presence of Christ."

Archbishop Listecki added Bishop Morlino wanted his vision to be shared. "He was really a tremendous trailblazer for vocations."

"I will miss my friend," the archbishop said. "He was a true servant of the Church and fostered his life in the communities that he served for that Church."

He added, "We will miss him, but have that vision, the vision which he used as a motto, that vision will not disappoint."

Following Archbishop Listecki's remarks were a Song of Farewell and Prayer and Commendation, following by singing of the "Salve Regina".

Bishop Morlino's casket was processed out of the church and into the casket to be taken to his resting place.

The Bishop Robert C. Morlino Memorial Fund has been set up to memorialize the legacy of the late bishop, with a primary intention of erecting a chapel and crypt within the future Diocese of Madison cathedral building. The crypt would be intended to represent the architectural design envisioned by Bishop Morlino suitable for a cathedral building and house his tomb along with any past or future bishops of the Diocese of Madison. For more information, go to http://diocesemadisonfoundation.org/bishopmorlino

For more on the death of Bishop Morlino, go to https://madisondiocese.org/remembering-bishop-morlino

By: WisPolitics.com

A U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson spokesman says the Oshkosh Republican would back a bill aiming to delist the gray wolf in all but two states should it be taken up in the Senate.

But the office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin didn’t say whether she’d support the legislation from 7th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy seeking to remove the wolves from the Endangered Species Act. The bill, which cleared the House earlier this month, would lift protections for the wolves across the continental United States.

A Johnson spokesman this week noted Johnson has been working on the issue “for a while.” Johnson in 2015 introduced a bill that would direct the Department of the Interior to reissue final rules related to the endangered listing of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming. He reintroduced the legislation last year.

But a Baldwin spokeswoman in an email expressed preference for the Madison Democrat’s HELP for Wildlife Act, which would delist the gray wolf in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes as well as reauthorize and provide funding for a series of conservation programs.

The spokeswoman noted Duffy’s bill “has not yet come up in the Senate” and didn’t answer whether Baldwin would vote for the Wausau Republican’s legislation if it does hit the floor.

The comments follow the House passage of Duffy’s “Manage Our Wolves Act.” The bipartisan legislation — passed on a 196-180 vote — aims to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered or threatened species and reinstate a rule that removed the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region from the list.

“If you live in Wisconsin, especially northern Wisconsin, it might be necessary for us to actually manage this population because it’s good for the environment,” Duffy said in a statement following the bill’s passage. “Frankly, I believe that our states are far more in tuned in understanding the ecosystem of their state than bureaucrats in Washington.”

The legislation garnered support from U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay; Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah; and Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont; and Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, voted against the bill, while U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, did not vote.

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, praised Duffy’s work and urged Baldwin to back the bill in a joint statement last week with Michigan Sen. Tom Casperson.

Tiffany this session introduced a bill that would ban police from enforcing state or federal law aimed at managing Wisconsin’s wolf population. The language would also prohibit the state Department of Natural Resources from spending any money to manage wolves — other than paying claims for any losses they cause.

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.

By: Rob Schultz of the Wisconsin State Journal

Madison Bishop Robert C. Morlino was remembered at a funeral Mass Tuesday for having a deep knowledge of Catholic doctrine and representing the “bone marrow” of the Church.

Morlino “wanted to direct people to the truth” because he knew that is the path to Jesus, said Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, who presided over the nearly two-hour Mass at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church on Madison’s Southwest Side.

Nearly 2,000 people, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, paid their final respects.

Morlino, 71, died Nov. 24, after suffering what the Catholic Diocese of Madison called a cardiac event.

The Scranton, Pennsylvania, native was installed as the fourth bishop of Madison on Aug. 1, 2003, and soon became known for upholding conservative Church teachings often at odds with the more liberal flock he led. Morlino publicly opposed abortion and same-sex unions and blamed the ongoing sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church largely on what he called a homosexual subculture.

Monsignor James Bartylla, who worked with Morlino during his entire time in Madison, said in his homily that Morlino’s steady, deep maturity and knowledge of the sacred doctrine was in sync with Jesus’ spirit. That represented the “bone marrow” of the church, Bartylla said.

“Courageous and firm, jovial and joyful, even if not perfect, Bishop Morlino would always enjoy a good argument from his opponents, he might even invite them for a drink or a meal with him, very much to their surprise,” Bartylla said.

“However, he would not accept petty, ad hominem arguments that sometimes crept their way into widely spirited debates. He’d defend sacred doctrine without hesitation.”

Among the 17 bishops at Morlino’s funeral were the four other bishops from Wisconsin as well as Minneapolis-St. Paul Archbishop Bernard Hebda and retired Archbishop John C. Nienstedt. Also in attendance were U.S. Reps. James Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, and Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, along with Brian Steil, who will take over Ryan’s congressional seat in January.

Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval also attended the service.

Bartylla told the packed church that when Morlino asked him to deliver the homily at his funeral it came with one simple order: “He said, ‘Don’t canonize me.’”

So Morlino’s loyal vicar general, who was elected to run the diocese until a new bishop is selected by Pope Francis, mentioned in his homily that he wished his boss had exercised more and had a stronger diet. That may have prevented him from dying so early, he said.

Bartylla also said that he grew frustrated with Morlino’s lack of interest in managing “day-to-day administrative things.” But Bartylla described how that frustration “melted away” whenever he tried to confront Morlino face-to-face. He was treated no differently than everyone else who had an issue with him.

“It’s the charming, jovial personality combined with grace in office,” Bartylla said. “That’s a powerful tool for a bishop.”

Morlino used that tool to achieve the goals he set for the diocese, including increasing the number of men ordained to the priesthood.

Morlino’s last official act as bishop was one “of mercy” for someone who had been critical of Morlino and the Catholic Church, Bartylla said. “That wasn’t unfamiliar to us,” he said in his homily.

Bill Van Wagner, 27, of Madison, who will be ordained as a deacon Friday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, said Morlino provided strong answers to “heavy moral questions” millennials have been asking for years.

“I think a clear authoritative speaker like Bishop Morlino, who presented the message of the Gospel with this courage, but also with a great kind of a jovial spirit, was very attractive because it was instructive, it was helpful,” he said. “I think popular culture and secular culture offers answers that aren’t as satisfactory as the answers that Bishop Morlino gave.”

Morlino had been a friend of the Van Wagner family for years. Van Wagner recalled how Morlino, the academician, loved the challenge of debating issues most important to him with some of the greatest liberal minds in Madison and elsewhere — and how Morlino reveled in making statements that he knew would stir the emotions of his detractors.

When Van Wagner’s sister, Mollie, died from a drug overdose in September, Morlino was the first person outside of the family to call him. Van Wagner recalled Mollie’s death was hard on Morlino, too, because he often prayed with the family during Mollie’s roller-coaster journey with drug abuse. “We just chatted on the phone for 10, 15 minutes and he just let me cry a little bit and then he expressed his fatherly care,” Van Wagner said.

It was the last substantive chat Van Wagner had with Morlino. “I think it’s a good testament to who he was because he really cared,” Van Wagner said.

Sioux Falls Bishop Paul Swain told a similar story during his homily at a prayer vigil for Morlino Monday night at Holy Name Heights.

Swain recalled how Morlino was a source of comfort to him after St. Raphael’s Cathedral — where Swain was pastor — was reduced to ashes in March 2005 at the hands of an arsonist.

“He cared about me as a person and all the others who were involved, too,” Swain said after the vigil. “He didn’t let the sadness of it all get in the way of his relationship with me and with others even though it was hard for him, too.”

Swain also recalled how he went with Morlino to the Dane County Jail to visit William J. Connell, who admitted to setting the fire at the cathedral. Morlino “was a great fan of St. John Paul II, who visited the man who tried to assassinate him,” Swain said. “I think that’s a lesson that he picked up — that we’re all troubled, we’re all sinners in some way.”

A President has passed

December 5, 2018

By: Sarah Weihert of the Lake Mills Leader

When a notable public figure passes away, especially a former president, I think we all take a moment to breath, think back and remember.

I don’t remember George H.W. Bush from his time in the White House, I was born the year before he assumed the presidency, but I do remember him.

I did realize as a I sat down to write this that I didn’t know that much about him, so I did what any intrepid journalist of Millennial age would do. I Googled him.

I was impressed to learn Bush postponed his university studies after the attack on Pearl Harbor to enlist in the United States Navy on his 18th birthday. He became one of the youngest aviators in the Navy. After the war he attended Yale and moved to Texas where he became a millionaire in the oil business by the age of 40.

Before becoming President, Bush was a U.S. Representative, Ambassador, Director of Central Intelligence and the 43rd Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Ragan.

After leaving office in 1993, Bush was active—often alongside his former opponent Bill Clinton—in humanitarian activities. With George W. Bush’s victory in the 2000 presidential election, Bush and his son became the second father–son pair to serve as president, following John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Bush’s second son, Jeb Bush, served as the 43rd Governor of Florida and sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Gov. Scott Walker ordered flags at half-staff through Dec. 30 in honor of the former President and said in 1988 he cast his first vote for President for him. “I am proud of that vote today. He was a true gentleman and our country is better because of his service. Tonette and I send our love and prayers to the Bush family as America mourns the loss of one of our greatest patriots.”

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner issued a statement Dec. 1, including a picture of him with George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and Cheryl Sensenbrenner saying, “My deepest condolences go out to the Bush family, and I join our nation in mourning the passing of George H.W. Bush.

The former president was a heroic veteran, accomplished statesman, and lifelong public servant whose sense of duty and devotion to our country stands as a shining example for all.

He lived a remarkable life, and our nation is stronger today because of him. I am grateful for his contributions to society and will keep his loved ones in my prayers. May he rest in peace.”

Sen. Ron Johnson said, “Throughout his life, George H.W. Bush fought for freedom and prosperity for all Americans. From his service in World War II as a naval aviator to his efforts organizing international disaster relief, the nation and world will never forget his years of public service.”

Perhaps he is best remembered by his oldest son, “George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for,” George W. Bush wrote in a statement. “The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

His last words to his son were, “I love you, too.”

Bush decided not to go to the hospital in his final hours and said he was ready to be with his wife Barbara who died in April, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia as a child.

Looking back at our lives here in Lake Mills and the surrounding area, it reminds us to make the most of the time we have here with our loved ones. See family and friends more often, get together even if it is just for an evening, invite someone over who you think is lonely. Just try to put a smile on someone else’s face.

In his words, “I will keep America moving forward, always forward—for a better America, for an endless, enduring dream and a thousand points of light. This is my mission, and I will complete it.”

Mission accomplished Mr. President. Rest in peace.

By: Steven Stradbrooke of CalvinAyre.com

A draft of a new US federal sports betting bill would allow the US Attorney General to potentially veto state-level legislation, while also requiring bookmakers to use official league-supplied data for wagering purposes.

The new draft legislation, first spotted by ESPN scribe David Purdum, is the first significant effort to reinstate some level of federal control over betting since the US Supreme Court struck down the federal betting prohibition this spring.

Purdum reported that the bill had emerged from the office of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who is set to retire after the current lame duck session of Congress. Hatch (pictured) has previously secured the public support of Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), while Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) recently promised a “legislative response” to the federal betting disempowerment was in the works.

With Hatch set to exit the political scene when the lame duck session concludes, he may not have the clout with which to push through something as controversial as a betting bill. Some Republicans may also find the bill an uncomfortable reminder of the states’ rights issues that brought about the demise of the previous federal betting bill. But for argument’s sake, read on…

NONE SHALL PASS
The draft bill’s most striking element is the requirement for all state-level sports betting legislation to be submitted to the US Attorney General for approval. The AG would have 180 days in which to mull things over, and could veto any legislation that didn’t meet minimum standards. Even if the AG okays a bill, the state would have to apply for its renewal every three years.

It’s unclear from the draft whether this inspection would apply retroactively to states that had already approved their regulated betting markets prior to the new federal bill’s passage. Seven states have already launched legal wagering markets in the six months since the Supreme Court decision.

DATA IN, DATA OUT
State-licensed betting operators would be required to use official league-supplied data for wagering purposes, at least until December 31, 2022. After that date, an operator could potentially use “legally obtained” data that offers “substantially similar speed, accuracy, and consistency” to that of the league-supplied product.

Operators would also be required to provide anonymized sports betting information to a nonprofit ‘national sports wagering clearinghouse,’ a central registry for ensuring no country-wide suspicious betting patterns emerge. The info is to be submitted “in real time or as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours after” a wager is placed with the operator.

Operators would also have to file suspicious transaction reports to the national clearinghouse and cooperate with any subsequent state or federal investigations of these transactions. The clearinghouse would also control a national register of excluded bettors, be they self-excluded or barred from betting because of some sketchy behavior.

The 0.25% cut of wagering handle that the federal government currently claims via excise tax would now be folded into a ‘wagering trust fund.’ This fund would be used for running the clearinghouse and other wagering-related programs.

WIRE ACT BE DAMNED
The draft would amend the 1961 Wire Act – which bans the transmission of wagering info over state lines – to permit operators to ‘lay off’ wagers with books in other states. This would be done by allowing interstate sports wagering compacts with other states and Indian tribes involved in gaming in those states. These compacts would also be subject to the AG’s approval.

BAD HOMBRES
The draft also takes aim at internationally licensed online sportsbooks that compete with state-licensed operators by targeting registrants of “nondomestic domain name[s] used by an internet site dedicated to unlicensed sports wagering” and any “owner or operator of an internet site dedicated to unlicensed sports wagering accessed through a nondomestic domain name.”

Payment processors would be required to prohibit transactions between unauthorized betting sites and US residents, while websites would be forbidden from accepting advertising promoting unauthorized sites.

The draft also includes a version of the infamous ‘bad actor’ clause, which in this case, would prohibit states from licensing any betting operator who accepted wagers from US residents after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

There’s even a clause that suggests international operators could be targeted for enforcement action if they offer “unlicensed sports wagering on sporting events that take place in the United States,” which appears to bar any international operator from taking wagers on US sports from anyone, not just US residents. The US really does put the ‘extra’ in extraterritorial jurisdiction, don’t they?

By: iGaming Business

US states would be required to have betting legislation approved by the US Attorney General and purchase official major league data under plans for federal oversight outlined in a leaked Congressional draft bill.

The comprehensive legislation would force states to apply for approval from the Attorney General when implementing new sports betting laws and regulations. However it does not specify if this would be required retrospectively for those states where betting is already legal and regulated.

In a nod to the sports leagues and those lobbying for integrity fees, all operators would be required to use official league data until at least 2023. A National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse would be founded to monitor for any unusual betting patterns, while the Sports Bribery Act of 1964 would be strengthened by criminalising the act of betting based on non-public information.

Looking beyond state borders, the draft bill would alter the Wire Act of 1961 to allow sportsbooks to operate across state lines through compacts.

iGamingBusiness.com understands the 37-page discussion draft was drawn up and circulated in the US Senate. 

The document is neither titled or dated and it is unclear who precisely the author has sought to discuss it with. Some media reports suggest the author was retiring Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (pictured), one of the authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992 who announced plans to progress federal legislation immediately after its repeal in May. Hatch, who is to retire at the end of this month, has yet to comment on the document.

Responding to the leak, the American Gaming Association (AGA) reiterated its support for state autonomy in betting regulation.

“Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in May, the AGA has consistently maintained that federal legislation regarding sports betting is not necessary,” said Chris Cylke, AGA’s vice president of government relations.

“That underlying position remains unchanged. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with policymakers considering sports betting legislation at any level of government.”

In May, Hatch described his fears of a “Wild West world of sports gambling” following the “devastating” repeal of PASPA.

Already looking to federal governance of sports betting he said in a statement: “Through balanced legislation, I believe we can create federal standards that not only align with constitutional principles but also uphold the integrity of the sports we love.”

While some have pointed to Hatch as the author of the bill, its text is similar to plans outlined in a briefing by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in August. At the time Schumer proposed a requirement that all sportsbooks only use official league data.

The leak comes two months after the ‘Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America’ hearing on Capitol Hill, when organisations such as the AGA and National Football League (NFL) were among those to give testimony to the Judiciary Committee.

In his closing remarks, hearing chair Jim Sensenbrenner suggested that the federal authorities must have some involvement in the oversight of betting across the country. “For Congress to do nothing is the worst possible alternative," he said.

Following the repeal of PASPA, seven states now have legal, state-regulated sports betting industries, with Pennsylvania and Rhode Island the most recent market entrants.