California on track to lose at least one congressional seat after 2020 Census

WASHINGTON — California’s population is growing more slowly than expected, making it increasingly likely it will lose at least one congressional seat in 2020 — and maybe more.

“Right now, the current numbers that are coming in look very much like California is on track to lose a seat,” Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Research Fellow Eric McGhee told The Sacramento Bee.

McGhee’s assessment came after the state released its latest demographic report on May 1. The report, produced by the California Department of Finance, estimates that California added 186,807 residents in 2018, a growth rate of 0.47 percent. That is the slowest in the state’s history, the department noted, which it attributed to “a significant decline in births,” as well as lower student enrollment and a rise in deaths as California’s “Baby Boomers” continue to age.

Census Bureau data released in December also documented a slowdown.

That raises the stakes for the 2020 Census even higher. The Census Bureau will “reapportion” the country’s 435 U.S. House seats in 2021 based off the population numbers it tallies next year. It would then be up to the state’s independent redistricting commission to draw the new congressional districts lines for the apportioned seats.

— The Sacramento Bee

Robert Kraft wins major court ruling: Sex videos won’t be used in his case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Billionaire Robert Kraft got a major court victory Monday when a judge ordered prosecutors are forbidden from using sex videos secretly recorded by police during a massage parlor prostitution sting.

The ruling by Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser effectively ends the prosecution of two misdemeanor counts pending since late February, barring a successful appeal by prosecutors.

Kraft, the 77-year-old owner of the New England Patriots professional football team, had been scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday for the scheduling of his trial.

Despite issuing a public apology, Kraft has been battling the charges with the help of an aggressive legal team that had challenged the legality of the investigation by Jupiter police.

— Sun Sentinel

Majestic wild horses are being chased, bitten by unleashed dogs roaming Outer Banks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Free roaming dogs have become the latest threat facing the wild horses living on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, according to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

The problem isn’t wild dogs, but rather tourists’ unleashed pets, which are harassing, chasing and even biting the horses, says herd manager Meg Puckett.

On Monday, she posted a video showing the harassment in action, as a herd on the beach tried to fend off a dog. One horse becomes so angry that it can be seen with its mouth open, trying to bite the canine, Puckett pointed out.

There have been three incident reports in the last week of dogs “chasing and harassing the horses,” Puckett said on Facebook.

— The Charlotte Observer

Conn. mosque fire was intentionally set, investigators say

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A two-alarm fire that heavily damaged a New Haven mosque over the weekend was intentionally set and a federal criminal investigation is underway, local and state officials said Monday afternoon.

“This was intentionally set,” New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said. “Any time there’s an event like this in a house of worship, anywhere in the United States, it triggers a response of both the ATF, the FBI and state and local authorities. That has happened.”

The fire just before 4 p.m. Sunday at the Diayanet Mosque on Middle Avenue rendered the building uninhabitable at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, which includes daily fasting from dawn to sunset and ends with the major holiday Eid al-Fitr.

Officials would not release more details about why they believe the fire was intentional, citing the ongoing investigation.

— The Hartford Courant