WASHINGTON

Senate approves bill

extending 9/11 fund

The Senate gave final legislative approval Tuesday to a bill ensuring that a victims' compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money.

The 97-2 vote sends the bill to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

The vote came after Democratic senators agreed to allow votes on amendments sponsored by two Republican senators who had been blocking the widely popular bill. The Senate easily defeated the amendments proposed by GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky. The two men were the only senators who voted against the bill's final passage.

 

RALEIGH, N.C.

Deal affirms transgender

rights to use restrooms

A federal judge approved a legal settlement Tuesday affirming transgender people's right to use restrooms matching their gender identity in many North Carolina public buildings.

The consent decree between the state's Democratic governor and transgender plaintiffs covers numerous state-owned buildings including facilities run by executive branch agencies that oversee the environment, transportation and Medicaid, among others. In return, the plaintiffs have agreed to drop pending legal action against the governor and other defendants.

The agreement was signed by Judge Thomas Schroeder after a three-year legal battle challenging North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill and the law that replaced it.

 

NEW YORK

Trump sues to protect

his state tax returns

Opening up another legal front against the Democrats investigating him, President Donald Trump on Tuesday sued the House Ways and Means Committee and New York state officials to prevent his state tax returns from being turned over to the congressional committee.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to block the application of a new New York state law that could allow the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee to obtain the returns. The lawsuit, filed in Washington, comes amid a furious White House attempt to prevent the president's tax returns from winding up in Democratic hands.

 

WASHINGTON

Rule would cut food stamp

benefits for 3.1 million

About 3.1 million people would lose food stamp benefits under the Trump administration's proposal to tighten automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program.

The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that the rule would close "a loophole" that enables people receiving only minimal benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to be eligible automatically for food stamps without undergoing further checks on their income or assets.

 

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO 

Cellphones sought

as political crisis deepens

A Puerto Rico judge issued search warrants for the cellphones of government officials involved in a crude online chat whose leak has set off a political crisis that threatens to bring down the U.S. territory's governor.

One of the search warrants said that government officials used the chat to transmit official and confidential information to private citizens in potential violation of ethics laws.

Kelvin Carrasco, a spokesman for the island's Justice Department, said Tuesday that the warrants were approved overnight and issued to those who had yet to turn over their phones. 

 

NEW YORK

Videos of police officers

being doused create stir

Cellphone videos of people brazenly dousing uniformed New York Police Department patrolmen with water have sparked outrage and led police officials to urge the force not to tolerate the behavior.

Police on Tuesday were looking into two recent instances captured on video clips widely circulated on social media that show four on-duty officers — all sent to break up unruly gatherings around open fire hydrants during a recent heat wave — getting soaked themselves as onlookers jeer.

 

NEW ORLEANS

Syrup spill makes sweet

mess in French Quarter

Crews spent the night cleaning syrup from one block of a four-lane street along New Orleans' French Quarter.

Police say a container truck spilled about 1,000 gallons of syrup Monday evening after a rubber shipping bladder broke.

Both eastbound lanes of Rampart street reopened at midmorning Tuesday and police tweeted a #SYRUPDATE that began "We're not waffling."

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires