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Kentucky bill would terminate parental rights of babies born to drug-addicted mothers

The opioid epidemic in the U.S. has claimed millions of victims and has spread into even remote corners of American society. 

>> Read more trending news 

While critics have accused states and the federal government of being slow to act in addressing the crisis, there has been a recent spotlight on the pharmaceutical companies’ role in the epidemic, and Kentucky, in particular, is taking steps to try to protect babies born to drug-addicted mothers.

A new bill in the state’s Legislature would terminate the parental rights of mothers of babies born addicted to drugs, classifying the newborns as “addicted and abused at birth,” according to The Associated Press. The new mothers would lose their babies unless they are enrolled in drug treatment programs. The state would be required to begin the process of terminating parental rights within 60 days of the birth of a drug-addicted baby.

>> Related: Pregnant inmates have local jails scrambling to provide care

The Republican Kentucky House Majority Caucus Chairman David Meade introduced House Bill 1 to address extensive problems in the state’s adoption and foster care system, the website KYForward.com reported, but he also included an effort to try to address the opioid crisis, which has hit the Bluegrass state hard.

“Many issues have led to the epidemic of children lingering in the state system, including an oversized bureaucracy, the opioid epidemic, and a lack of attention in the past to these issues. House Bill 1 is the first step in putting Kentucky on a different track for adoption and foster care, and truly putting children and families first,” Meade said, according to KYForward.com.

>> Related: Kentucky teacher arrested after allegedly snorting crushed pill in class

The legislation, which was unanimously approved Thursday and is now headed to the House floor for debate, has bipartisan support among lawmakers. 

Girl gives teacher her 75 cents in ice cream money to help with family funeral

A kind-hearted gesture by an Alabama sixth-grader has gone viral after the girl gave up her ice cream money -- 75 cents -- to help fund the funeral for her teacher’s father-in-law.

Price Lawrence, an English teacher at Highlands Elementary School in Huntsville, posted about the moment Tuesday on Facebook. He said that his first period students could tell that he was “a little off” that morning, so he explained that his wife’s father had died over the weekend and that he was worried about her.

The students offered their condolences, then got busy on classwork. The subject of their teacher’s family’s loss was forgotten, except for one girl. 

“While standing at my door giving hugs and high-fives at dismissal to second period, one little girl put something in my hand,” Lawrence wrote. “She told me, ‘This is for your wife. I know it was real expensive when my daddy died, and I don’t really want ice cream today anyways.’”

Lawrence posted a photo of what the girl gave him -- three quarters and a note on an index card on which she had written, “Ms. Laerence (sic), I’m sorry,” followed by a frowny face in what appeared to be red colored pencil.

“I wish the world would pay more attention to children,” Lawrence wrote. “We could learn a lot from them.”

As of Friday morning, Lawrence’s post had been shared close to 260,000 times. More than 31,000 people responded to it. 

“That is how children should be raised,” one man wrote. “Kudos to that family.”

“God bless her little heart,” a woman wrote. 

Other commenters said the girl’s gesture had them in tears.

“Amazing how much love children have,” another woman wrote. “God bless this little one. Learn from her.”

“If we all had a heart like this sweet child, what a wonderful world we would have,” a third woman wrote. 

>> Read more trending news

Lawrence’s wife, Jessica Lawrence, posted the image on her own Facebook page, saying that the girl’s heart “affected (her) in the most positive way.” Jessica Lawrence, a high school English teacher, went on to say that the child’s gesture reminded her of the famous quote children’s television icon Mr. Rogers used when discussing tragedy.

“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,’” Rogers said. “To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers -- so many caring people in the world.” 

Jessica Lawrence had a message for her own helpers.

“I see you, I love you and I appreciate you,” she wrote. “Thank you for giving me reason to continue to believe in the goodness of the world.”

One commenter wrote that he would not only give the girl a hug, but also make sure she gets all the ice cream she wants.

“I might have already paid the lunchroom for her ice cream for the rest of the week,” Price Lawrence responded. “Anonymously, of course.”

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation

Rick Gates, a former aide in President Donald Trump's campaign, pleaded guilty to making false statements and conspiring against the United States on Friday, making him the fifth person to enter a guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

READ MORE: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates face new charges: report | Mueller investigation: Lawyer pleads guilty to lying to investigators in Russia probeWho is Rick Gates and why was he indicted by Robert Mueller?Who is Paul Manafort, the man indicted in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation?What are Paul Manafort and Rick Gates charged with?MORE

Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls for reform to state's gun laws, increase in school security

In the wake of  mass shooting at a Florida high school, Gov. Rick Scott on Friday proposed a three-point plan to prevent gun violence that includes banning the sale of firearms to anyone younger than 21.

>> Read more trending news

The announcement comes more than one week after deputies said Nikolas Cruz, 19, returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after being expelled, fatally shot 17 people and injured more than a dozen others.

Scott's plan also calls for a trained law enforcement officer in every school in the state by the time the 2018 school year begins -- one officer for every 1,000 students on campus.

>> Related: Armed Stoneman Douglas resource officer 'never went in' during Florida shooting

The plan will require mandatory active shooter training at all schools. Students, teachers and staff must complete all training and "code red" drills by the end of the first week of each semester.

Stoneman Douglas had one armed resource officer, who never entered the school during the shooting.

"I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who has mental issues to use a gun," Scott said Friday during a news conference at the Florida State Capitol. "I want to make it virtually impossible for anyone who is a danger to themselves or others to use a gun."

>> On WFTV.com: Florida lawmakers fail to take up rifle bill as shooting survivors arrive at capitol

The sale of bump stocks will be completely banned under the proposal.

Scott on Tuesday met with members of law enforcement, school administrators, teachers, mental health experts and leaders of various state agencies to discuss school safety and possible changes to gun laws.

Scott also met with students this week.

>> On WFTV.com: Scott holds workshops to discuss school safety, gun laws

"He was very open to our ideas," Rain Valladares said. "He didn't say, 'I agree; I disagree.' He just wanted to hear our input on everything."

Student Carlos Rodriguez said he and his classmates will continue to fight for change.

"I'm hopeful and I'm confident that things will go well, because we are one voice -- we are one powerful voice," he said. "This is a movement that was begun by students and is run by students, and this is just one step.”

Teachers to Trump: #ArmMeWith funding, supplies and resources, not guns

Teachers around the nation are using the hashtag #ArmMeWith on social media to push for an increase in what they say they really need in schools: funding, mental health resources, school supplies and books, not guns.

The #ArmMeWith movement is a reaction to President Donald Trump’s call for some teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools, even proposing that teachers receive bonuses for helping with security. Trump made the statements following the Parkland, Florida, school shooting last week that claimed the lives of 17 people.

>> Read more trending news 

Some educators, such as Utah teacher Kasey Hansen, said carrying a concealed weapon in school is “more of a solution” than hiding in a corner and waiting if an armed intruder enters the classroom. 

But others, including the president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, called arming teachers a horrible idea and said an educator’s handgun would be no match for the assault-style weapons often wielded by attackers.

“The solution is to ban these military weapons from people who shouldn't have them,” Weingarten said.

Related: Alabama Sen. Doug Jones calls arming teachers ‘the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard’

“Teachers already shoulder a huge burden when it comes to educating properly, due to lack of funding, support and resources and making sure their students are taken care of emotionally,” Brittany Wheaton, an English teacher in Utah, told CNN. “Asking us to now carry the burden of having the responsibility to kill is irreparably damaging, even if we never have to discharge our weapon.”

Wheaton, along with Kansas teacher Olivia Bertels, launched the movement. According to BuzzFeed, the two met through Instagram and have individually developed significant followings on the platform, often sharing snapshots of their classrooms and inspirational messages.

Following the Florida high school shooting, Wheaton reached out to Bertels said it was “time for teachers to demand their voices be heard.”

Here’s a look at the burgeoning social media movement:

What did president Trump say at CPAC? Watch his speech here

President Donald Trump addressed the Conservative Political Action Convention Friday, telling members of the group they would get their border wall, that he thought some teachers should be armed in school and that his administration "has had the most successful first year in the history of the presidency.”

>> Read more trending news

CPAC, hosted by the American Conservative Union, is held annually and is a favorite  gathering for conservative elected officials.

Trump has spoken at CPAC before – at the conferences held in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He skipped the conference in 2016 while he was campaigning for president. 

Trump engaged with the crowd in the more than 75minute spee-ch. He smiled when the audience chanted, “Lock her up,” in response to a comment about Hillary Clinton.

Here is the president’s speech from CPAC. Trump’s remarks begin at the 41:15 mark.

Police: TN jailer had 3 weapons, 1,500 rounds of ammo in plan to ‘shoot up’ church

Tennessee police acting on a tip last weekend thwarted a correction officer’s apparent plan to “shoot up” the church his estranged wife attended, officials said. 

Daniel Vernon Toler, 35, of Huron, is jailed at the Wayne County Jail on weapons charges, according to Fox 17 News in Nashville. Toler is a jailer at South Central Correctional Center in Clifton.

Police, acting on the tip, approached Toler at work, where he was found to have an AR-15 assault rifle, two additional weapons and 1,500 rounds of ammunition in his vehicle, the news station reported. An AR-15 is the model of weapon used in the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and faculty members. 

“This is what didn’t happen in Florida,” Brent Cooper, district attorney for Tennessee’s 22nd Judicial District, told Fox 17. “Law enforcement listened to a tip and a potential tragedy was avoided.”

>> Read more trending news

In a news release shared on Facebook, officials stated that the tip was fielded by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, whose investigators passed the information to the Clifton Police Department because that was where Toler was employed. 

Clifton investigators found Toler at work Sunday morning and, upon searching his vehicle, found the AR-15, an assault-style shotgun and a .17-caliber bolt-action rifle. An arrest warrant in the case stated that the AR-15 had a round in the chamber.

There were also multiple extra, loaded magazines for the assault rifle. 

When questioned, Toler told detectives he planned to potentially carry out the shooting when he got off work that evening, the news release said. 

“There were no specifics how it was going to be done, but (Toler) said the report was credible and that the threat would be possibly carried out after he got off work, which would have been Sunday evening,” Doug Kibbey, Clifton city manager, said in the news release.  

Fox 17 reported that the apparent target was Emanuel Baptist Church in Huron. The head of the church’s security team told the news station that Henderson County sheriff’s deputies call him and warned that Toler had threatened to “shoot up a church and kill himself.”

Toler and his wife, who is a member of the church, are divorcing, the news station said. 

Kibbey said in the news release that he has “the best officers in the state.” Cooper also praised Clifton police officers, particularly Investigator Steve Wilson, who handled the Toler case. 

“It is a very good chance that Officer Wilson’s quick, thorough response saved a lot of lives,” Cooper said. 

Kibbey said the quickness of the joint effort by investigators in Henderson County, Clifton and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which is assisting in the case, was “paramount” in getting Toler into custody.

“This could have ended in a bad way,” Kibbey said

Michael B. Jordan responds to criticism about him living with his parents

Michael B. Jordan had a quick response for one person on Twitter who criticized his living arrangement.

On a Feb. 6 appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Jordan said he still lives with his parents.

>> Read more trending news 

“I love my parents, but we have a roommate relationship right now, which is interesting,” Jordan, 31, said. “You get home-cooked meals, but then you also have random trips to the kitchen in the middle of the night. Just the random run-ins that just might be a little uncomfortable from time to time.”

For Jordan, that included his mother seeing him “sometimes shirtless, maybe a little naked.”

Related: Michael B. Jordan reveals what he had to give up for ‘Black Panther’

Mashable reported that the “Black Panther” star replied to a Twitter user who took issue with him living with his parents and his interest in anime, the latter of which has been documented by Nerdist.

“Michael B. Jordan is a 5’9” adult man that loves anime and lives with his parents,” the Twitter user named Chris wrote. “Y’all told me all of those things were unacceptable though.”

“First of all, I’m 6 feet and they live with ME, put some respeck on my name,” Jordan replied.

Jordan also name-dropped some popular anime characters: Goku, from “Dragonball Z,” and Natuto, of the anime series of the same name.

BB&T recovering after 'technical issue' left customers without access to accounts, cash

Millions of BB&T customers were locked out of their accounts Thursday night and Friday morning due to an outage that bank officials said was caused by a "technical issue."

The interruption of services was first reported Thursday night and appeared to last until just before noon Friday.

>> Read more trending news

“At this time, many of our services are unavailable, including digital banking, Phone24, and ATM. Thank you for your patience as we work diligently to restore your services. We will continue to provide updates here and on http://BBT.com,” officials with the Winston-Salem-based bank wrote Thursday night on Twitter.

WSOCTV tried Friday morning to access a BB&T ATM in uptown Charlotte, but the message “Sorry, this ATM is temporarily offline," was displayed on the screen.

The company's website said many of its other banking services were down as well, including digital banking and Phone24, meaning customers couldn’t pay bills or check their accounts.

The issue appeared to be resolved before noon Friday.

“As our systems being to recover, our ATMs and automated Phone24 service are now available,” BB&T officials said in a statement around 11 a.m. Friday.

During the outage, bank customers were still able to use debit, credit and prepaid cards at places like the grocery store or gas station.

A bank spokesperson told WSOCTV, "We understand this is causing a major inconvenience for clients and our teams are continuing to work diligently to restore those services. We will work with clients who have incurred fees or experienced other challenges and continue to provide updates through our website and social media. At this time, we have no reason to believe this issue is related to cybersecurity."

Police: Man hit woman with pickup after she refused his advances

A man is accused of hitting a woman with his pickup in Texas after she refused his advances toward her, according to an arrest affidavit.

>> Read more trending news

Carlos Amozurrutia, 27, of Round Rock, was charged with accident involving personal injury, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The victim said Amozurrutia was giving her a ride home Sunday when he began making unwanted advances toward her, the affidavit said. It said she told him to stop so he stopped his pickup and pushed her out. She said that when he drove away, he struck her with the truck, the affidavit said. It said police were alerted at 2:26 a.m. Sunday about the incident in the 400 block of Blockhouse Drive.

The victim had an injury on the left side of her face, and also scratches and red marks on her hands and knees, according to the affidavit. The affidavit does not say how the victim and Amozurrutia knew each other.

A witness who also was in the pickup said she got out of the truck with the victim and saw it strike her, the affidavit said.

It also said two other witnesses who were driving by saw the victim struck and knocked to the ground by an open door on the passenger side when the truck pulled away.

It said the two witnesses told police the driver left without offering to help the victim.

Police stopped Amozurrutia at a nearby gas station for an unrelated offense and were able to identify his truck as the one that hit the victim, the affidavit said.

Amozurrutia was released from the Williamson County Jail on Sunday after posting bail set at $75,000.

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