N.Y. Rep. Grace Meng: Amend Constitution to lower voting age to 16

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng introduced an amendment to the Constitution to lower the nationwide voting age to 16 years old.

The 26th Amendment — passed in 1971 — guarantees the right to vote to eligible citizens who are 18 years old or older, which shifted the voting age down from 21. Meng’s legislation would rewrite the amendment to include 16- and 17-year-olds in federal, state and local elections.

“I am a firm believer that we should empower our young people and that includes extending the right to vote for 16- and 17-year-olds,” Meng said in a news release. “Voting is a serious responsibly. But I believe that our youth are mature enough at these ages to responsibly cast a ballot.”

The recent upspringing of “inspirational and passionate activism” by high-school aged students, particularly on gun violence, health care and climate change, is evidence that the younger population is ready for the ballot box, she said.

Several U.S. jurisdictions currently allow residents to vote before they turn 18. The town of Takoma Park, Md., in 2013 became the first jurisdiction to allow 16-year-olds to vote in local elections. Earlier this year, the D.C. Council considered legislation to lower the voting age to 16 for local and federal elections.

“16- and 17-year-olds are legally permitted to work and they pay federal income tax on their earnings,” Meng said. “They are legally permitted to drive motor vehicles, and if they commit crimes they are tried as adults. I think it is only fair to allow them the right to vote as well.”

If implemented, the amendment could open up the ballot box to high school-aged voters — a demographic that leans liberal and Democratic.

The amendment faces long odds. To pass Congress, the constitutional amendment needs a two-thirds vote in the House and the Senate. Then, at least 38 state legislatures have to ratify it before it can take effect.

— CQ-Roll Call

Alleged New Jersey ‘pooper’ will scoop up $100,000 from school district

At one New Jersey school district, bowel movements are anything but potty humor.

Kenilworth school superintendent Thomas Tramaglini, who stands accused of pooping near the Holmdel High School athletic field in Holmdel Twp., N.J., will collect more than $100,000 until his September resignation, according to nj.com.

Tramaglini, 42, who was appointed superintendent in 2015, denies the claim despite purported video evidence showing him “doody-bound.”

From his suspension in early May to Sept. 30, the district will fork over $109,868 to Tramaglini in salary, unused vacation time and severance pay.

Employees routinely discovered feces near or on the Holmdel High School track and football field on a daily basis.

He was busted when school officials installed surveillance cameras to catch the kooky crapper in the act.

School district officials are baffled as to the motive behind the dirty deeds.

— New York Daily News

Baltimore woman arrested twice in 20 minutes for DUI, police say

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore woman was arrested twice in 20 minutes early Saturday for drunken driving, according to state police.

Maryland State Police arrested and charged Stephanie Ringgold, 33, with driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated and other traffic charges.

Shortly after midnight Saturday, a state trooper on Route 40 near Berk Avenue in Rosedale saw a gray Dodge Charger speeding and passing another vehicle on the shoulder of the road. The trooper stopped the car and noticed Ringgold, the driver, was impaired, police said.

She was arrested and taken to the Baltimore County Police Department’s Essex precinct.

During the first traffic stop, Ringgold had three passengers in the car — a 4-year-old, a 6-month-old and another adult, police said. She was charged with DUI while transporting a minor and DUI per se while transporting a minor, charges that carry additional penalties.

Ringgold was processed, released to a sober driver and told not to drive for 12 hours, according to police.

But within 20 minutes, the same officer who first arrested Ringgold watched her come back to the Dodge Charger, get in the driver’s seat and drive away, according to police. Because Ringgold still showed signs of impairment, the trooper arrested her again and she was taken to the Baltimore County Police Department’s Towson Precinct. She was processed again and released to a sober driver.

— The Baltimore Sun

Report: Hackers targeted Democratic opponent of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

LOS ANGELES — The FBI has reportedly investigated a series of cyberattacks against a former Democratic opponent of Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, R-Calif., one of the most vulnerable Republicans seeking re-election in November due in part to his pro-Russia statements.

Rolling Stone reported Wednesday that unknown hackers successfully targeted Hans Keirstead, a stem-cell scientist who finished third in the 48th Congressional District primary in June, just behind fellow Democrat Harley Rouda.

Kyle Quinn-Quesada, Keirstead’s former campaign manager, told Rolling Stone he did not believe the cyberattacks affected the outcome of the primary and it was unclear who was behind the spying effort.

However, the reported infiltration coincides with evidence that Russians have continued to meddle in U.S. politics after intervening in support of President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Claire McCaskill of Missouri both said their congressional offices were targeted by Russian hackers. Last week, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson claimed Russian hackers had also compromised voting systems in his home state of Florida.

Rohrabacher, who has represented coastal Orange County for nearly three decades, has drawn criticism from members of both parties for his pro-Russian sympathies.

— Los Angeles Times

Kentucky teen faked her own kidnapping and demanded ransom, police say

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Corbin teen staged her own kidnapping and demanded ransom money from her father, who had reported her missing the day before, according to police.

On Monday, Mark Farley reported that his 19-year-old daughter, Abbygail Farley, was missing, according to court documents. On Tuesday, the father received a text message from Abbygail Farley’s phone and a message on Facebook Messenger claiming Abbygail had been kidnapped, police said.

He then received more texts from a different number, which police later determined was Abbygail Farley pretending to be an abductor. The “abductor” demanded $400 in cash or the daughter would be killed, according to court records.

Abbygail Farley demanded her father leave the cash at a drop point, her arrest citation said. Mark Farley left the money at the location, but FBI agents and Corbin police assisted the father.

Police pinged Abbygail Farley’s phone and found she used a texting app to send the ransom notes to her father, WYMT reported. The FBI and police went to the cash drop point, where they found Abbygail Farley inside an apartment, according to her arrest citation.

She admitted to staging the kidnapping so she could get cash, her arrest citation states. Police say she may have demanded the money to satisfy a drug habit, according to WYMT.

She was charged with falsely reporting an incident, theft by extortion, theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct. She was placed in the Whitley County Detention Center.

— Lexington Herald-Leader