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  • JAX Chamber is working to create more female leaders in our community. Debbie Buckland is the market president for BB&T, now Trust Bank.  She’s been working in financial services for a long time, but she didn’t start out at the top.  “I started as a teller right out of college, and so I like to think of my path to leadership as a little bit non-traditional,” Buckland said.  Through hard work, Buckland was quickly promoted and worked her way up in the company.  Thursday, she joined powerful women on the steps of the JAX Chamber to address the gender gap in northeast Florida.  JAX Chamber announced it will hire a vice president whose job will be to attract and retain women who may be overlooked for top executive jobs.  Nina Waters, with the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, helped secure the funding for that position for the next three years.  Waters told Action News Jax a study by the Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Coalition found women weren’t being groomed for leadership roles after college.  “We looked at women on corporate boards, which is another really troubling statistic for northeast Florida. Most corporate boards in northeast Florida either don’t have women or have fewer than 25 percent of women on the corporate boards,” Waters said.  Jax Chamber presented 11 major findings from that study. One of the significant findings was that women graduate high school and college at a higher rate than men. That means women are more prepared for leadership roles at a younger age, but men are more likely to be transitioned into those roles.   The study also looked at other key issues like women in STEM positions and pay inequality.  Florida ranks 45th in the nation for women in management positions.  “54 percent of our work force is women, and when leadership ranks not just in the C-Suite, but in all of our community do not reflect our world in northeast Florida, that’s an economic development issue,” Buckland said.  These are troubling statistics women like Buckland are trying to change.  The chamber will be issuing a job application for the Vice President of Elevate Women and will hire for that position early next year.
  • Update 5 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, says the timing of the vote on articles of impeachment in the full House will be announced tonight. 'Today, the House Judiciary Committee is continuing its mark up of two articles of impeachment. Following Committee action on these articles, the Judiciary Committee will make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives. A path forward on the Floor will be announced following the Committee’s mark up. Update 4:16 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-Louisiana, compared the Republicans to Judas for their support of Trump. “Today I’m reminded of Judas — because Judas for 30 pieces of silver betrayed Jesus; for 30 positive tweets for easy reelection, the other side is willing to betray the American people … the future of our great country,” Richmond said. Update 4:12 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Gaetz suggests that Democrats who represent Republican majority districts in their states will not be coming back to serve in the House. “Rent, don’t buy, here in Washington,” Gaetz said. Update 3:39 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The committee has voted down Gaetz’s amendment to remove Joe Biden’s name from the articles of impeachment and insert Hunter Biden’s in its place. The vote was along party lines. Another Republican amendment has been proposed. The amendment from Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Arizona calls for the inclusion of a statement from the Office of Management and Budget explaining why the military aid to Ukraine was held up. Update 3:26 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: According to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday, 45% of Americans surveyed said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 50% said he should not be impeached and removed. Update 3:16 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: White House counsel Pat Cipollone is meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, ahead of the expected impeachment of Trump next week, according to the Washington Post. Should Trump be impeached in the House, a trial will be held in the Senate to determine if he is guilty of wrongdoing and if he will be removed from office. White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland accompanied Cipollone to the meeting. Update: 2:51 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: President Trump has tweeted again. Update 2:40 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The hearing has resumed. Update 1 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The hearing is in recess for members to take votes on the House floor. Update 12:12 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Matt Gaetz puts forth an amendment to drop former Vice President Joe Biden’s name in the articles of impeachment, leaving only Biden’s son Hunter in the document. Gaetz introduces the amendment then describes Hunter Biden’s struggle with drug addiction by reading from a New Yorker Magazine story that described a car wreck Hunter Biden was in and a description of how he allegedly asked a homeless man where he could buy crack cocaine. Update 11:58 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: A vote is called on Jordan’s amendment to strike the first article of impeachment. All the Democrats present, 23, vote no, all the Republicans present, 17, vote yes. The amendment fails. Update 11:46 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, has come up several times during the hearing. Republicans have slammed him as unreliable as a witness because he revised his original testimony. Jordan said that Sondland had repeatedly said during his deposition that he did not recall key facts. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado, chided Democrats saying, “Ambassador Sondland is your star witness? Really? You’re basing an impeachment on Ambassador Sondland’s testimony?” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, answered Buck saying, “They don’t like him now because he clarified his testimony to say that yes, there was definitely a quid pro quo at the heart of this whole thing,” Raskin said. Update 11:30 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, indicated in her weekly press conference Thursday morning that the House will wrap up the impeachment inquiry next week. “Next week we’ll take up something” in the full House, Pelosi said, after being asked about the timetable for the impeachment inquiry. Update 11:20 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The committee has now spent two hours debating the amendment by Jim Jordan to delete the first article of impeachment. Update 11 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: President Trump weighs-in. Update 10:20 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, accuses the Republicans of hypocrisy. She references former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, asking, why “lying about a sexual affair is an abuse of presidential power but the misuse of presidential power to get a benefit doesn’t matter? “If it’s lying about sex, we could put Stormy Daniels’ case ahead of us,” she said. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, answers Lofgren, saying Clinton was impeached because he lied to a grand jury. That, Sensenbrenner says, is something Trump has never done. Update 10 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Democrats introduced an amendment to spell out Trump's middle name. The articles of impeachment reference Donald J. Trump. Nadler introduces an amendment to change the article to read Donald John Trump, the president’s full name. Rep. Collins responds to the amendment saying it shows the “absurdity” of the whole process. The debate takes off from there with several members arguing about the articles and what has been testified to. Rep. Joe Neguse, D, Colorado, wants Republicans to “dispense with these process arguments” and 'stay true to the facts.” “I understand that we’re going to have a robust debate about the legal standards that govern the inquiry that is before us, the decision we make on these articles,” Rep. Neguse said, “but let’s stay true to the facts, and let’s dispense with these process arguments and get to the substance of why we’re here today.” Update 9:33 a.m. ET Dec. 12: Rep. Jim Jordan introduces an amendment to the articles of impeachment. The amendment is to strike the first article. He is explaining why Article One “ignores the facts.” Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, speaks in opposition to Jordan’s amendment. He lays out why the article was drafted saying, “There is direct evidence” of Trump being involved in a 'scheme to corrupt the American elections and withhold military aid” from Ukraine. Update 9:05 a.m. ET Dec. 12: The hearing has resumed and been called to order. The clerk of the Judiciary Committee is now reading the two articles of impeachment. Original story: The House Judiciary Committee is set to vote Thursday on two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. >> Read more trending news  The vote will mark only the third time in the country’s 243-year history that Congress will consider impeachment charges against a sitting president. The charges allege Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s connections with a Ukrainian energy company in exchange for military aid and a White House meeting for the newly-elected president. In a second charge, House Democrats say Trump obstructed Congress by blocking testimony from witnesses and refusing requests for documents during the impeachment inquiry that was launched in September. The decision to open the inquiry came after a whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that a phone call made by Trump to Zelensky on July 25 tied military aid and a White House meeting to personal political favors. On Tuesday, House Democratic leaders introduced the two articles of impeachment saying Trump presented a “clear and present” danger to not only the 2020 presidential election but to the nation’s security. In an unusual evening session on Wednesday, the committee began debate on the articles. The session saw the two parties argue over the charges against Trump, the Constitution’s meaning when it comes to impeachment and why the inquiry was undertaken instead of leaving Trump’s fate to the voters in next year’s election. What happens next? The committee is expected to reconvene at 9 a.m. ET Thursday. If the committee passes the resolution Thursday to send the articles of impeachment to the full House, a vote to impeach Trump will likely take place next week. It takes a simple majority vote of members of the Judiciary Committee to move the articles to the House floor for a full vote. The Democrats have a 24-17 majority in the committee. The vote is expected to fall along party lines. Follow us here for live updates on Thursday as the committee debates the articles of impeachment and moves to a vote. [Summary]
  • A Texas police sergeant has died after she was struck by a driver as he fled a traffic stop Tuesday night in Nassau Bay, authorities said. Update 4:08 p.m. EST Dec. 12: Tavores Henderson has been arrested, KTRK reported. He was taken into custody Thursday afternoon, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Original report:  According to KTRK-TV, Nassau Bay police stopped the driver about 8:30 p.m. local time Tuesday at an apartment complex on San Sebastian Court. After learning that the suspect was wanted in connection with a domestic violence case, officers tried to arrest him, the city said in a news release. “During the arrest, the suspect fought with officers and was able to break free and re-enter the vehicle,” the release said. The man struck one of the responding officers, Sgt. Kaila Sullivan, 43, of Friendswood, as he fled the scene, officials said. The 16-year Nassau Bay police veteran later died at a Webster hospital, according to the release. Investigators have found the man’s vehicle but are still searching for the suspect, the city said. “We urge all citizens to be cautious of their surroundings and stay vigilant,” the release said. Anyone with information about the case should call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation, at 713-274-9100. Crime Stoppers’ Fallen Hero Project is offering a reward for information leading to the location to Tavores Henderson, the man identified as the person who struck Sullivan. He faces felony murder charges, KTRK reported.
  • The Nassau County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help solving a burglary that ended with 58 firearms being stolen.  Nassau County deputies say on December 8th at around 3:00 AM, the suspects entered the TNT Firearms on SR 200 in Fernandina Beach and then left with 58 firearms.  If you have any information about who these burglary suspects are or where the stolen firearms have ended up, you're urged to call the sheriff's office at (904) 225-5174.  If you want to remain anonymous, you can call First Coast Crimestoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).
  • Virginia prison officials are under fire and the governor has suspended a state policy after a guard overstepped his authority last month and ordered an 8-year-old girl to be strip searched during a visit to her imprisoned father. The Hampton girl’s ordeal took place Nov. 24 when she accompanied her father’s girlfriend on an hourslong trip to Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, where her father is serving time. The girlfriend, Diamond Peerman, told The Virginian-Pilot that a drug-sniffing dog focused its attention on her and the girl as they entered the prison. Peerman was told she would have to be strip searched, but prison guards initially said the girl would not, Peerman told the Pilot. After consulting with a captain, however, the guards told her the girl would also have to undergo a search. Department of Corrections policy allowed guards to deny visitation to anyone who refused to be searched, the newspaper reported. Peerman said she began crying when she realized refusal to comply would mean the girl could not see her father. She told the girl she would have to be searched as well, she said. The girl asked what a strip search meant. “I told her, ‘That means you have to take all of your clothes off or you’re not going to be able to see your dad,’” Peerman said. “That’s when she started crying.” >> Read more trending news  Prison officials have admitted that the search violated state policy. The guard who ordered the search did not have the authority to do so and is subsequently facing disciplinary action, according to CNN. “The incident is deeply troubling and represents a breach in our protocol,” Lisa Kinney, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, said in a statement to CNN. “We sincerely apologize to this child and her family.” The violation of policy occurred when the captain required that Peerman sign a consent form allowing the search. Peerman said she explained to prison officials that she was not the girl’s legal guardian, but they demanded she sign the consent form anyway, the Pilot reported. DOC policy requires that a parent or legal guardian sign the consent form, CNN reported. “Our procedure states that only a parent or legal guardian can approve the strip search of a minor; in this case the adult visitor who signed the consent for the minor to be strip searched wasn’t the minor’s parent or legal guardian,” Kinney said in an email to the Pilot. “The staff member who authorized the search of the minor following a K-9 alert didn’t have the authority to do so. We take this matter very seriously and, as mentioned above, will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible.” Gov. Ralph Northam responded to the incident last week by putting a halt to the strip search of minors visiting state prisons. “I am deeply disturbed by these reports, not just as governor but as a pediatrician and a dad,” Northam wrote. “I’ve directed the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to suspend this policy while the department conducts an immediate investigation and review of their procedures.” Virginia Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, also tweeted Friday that he is drafting legislation barring strip searches of anyone under 14 and requiring parental consent for searches of children ages 14 to 17. Northam said Monday that he hasn’t made a final judgment about the outcome for the policy, according to WTVR in Richmond. “I suspect it will be in the area that no minor will be strip-searched in Virginia,' the governor told the news station. Critics, including officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, characterized prison officials’ actions as draconian. “We would characterize that as a highly coercive policy,” Bill Farrar, director of strategic communications for ACLU of Virginia, told the Pilot. The organization said in a statement on its Facebook page that DOC officials’ apology to the girl and her family was insufficient. “No apology could undo the damage done to a child being subjected to the humiliation and trauma of unnecessary strip searches,” the statement said. “No child should ever be subjected to invasive, humiliating, traumatizing strip searches carried out by strangers in order to see their loved one in a state prison,” ACLU officials said. “Those responsible must be held accountable, and the Virginia Department of Corrections' policy must be changed to ensure this never happens again.” Martin F. Horn, executive director of the New York State Sentencing Commission and a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, agreed. “It seems to me the prison had options available to them that were less intrusive and that those would be preferable,” Horn told the newspaper. “Policy or not, there is never a circumstance where a child should be subjected to invasive, traumatizing, humiliating searches by a stranger, whether or not they’re trying to get to a loved one who is incarcerated. That should never happen.” Both Peerman and the girl were required to strip naked, bend over and cough during the search, the Pilot reported. Peerman said afterward, as a female corrections officer handed the girl back her clothes, piece by piece, she asked, “How old are you, sweetheart?” “I just looked at her and I’m like, ‘That’s not even appropriate to be asking her right now,’” Peerman said. “Why would you ask that when she’s naked?” Before they were allowed to visit the girl’s father, Peerman’s car was also searched. No contraband was found either on them or in the vehicle, but prison officials curtailed their visit with the inmate anyway. They were denied a contact visit and were only allowed to visit him through a pane of glass, Peerman told the Pilot. The girl texted her mother immediately after the visit. “Hey, Mom, am so mad. The jail had to strip me with all of my clothes off. This doesn’t make (sense),” the girl wrote in the text, provided to the Pilot by her mother. The woman is not being identified to protect her daughter’s identity. “What? Call me,” the mother wrote back. “OK,” the girl responded. “Did they make you take your pants off?” the woman asked. “Yes. All of my clothes off,” her daughter responded. “Make sure your daddy call my phone,” the mother wrote. “OK.” The woman told the Pilot her daughter was traumatized by the incident. The girl, who suffers from bipolar disorder, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has missed school since the ordeal. “She’s a minor, she’s a girl. She was traumatized,” her mother told the newspaper. “She gets emotional, she will break down.” The woman said her daughter would no longer be visiting her father at the prison. “Her and her dad have a good relationship because she gets to go see him every weekend,' the mother told the Pilot. 'But, at the same time, she went through something that traumatized her. I’m not sending her back there.” Peerman told the newspaper that the governor’s suspension of the policy is a good thing, but that the search of her boyfriend’s daughter never should have happened. “There’s no reason for them to strip search a child,” she said.

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