Buttigieg tax returns show he earned nearly $153,000 last year

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg and his husband earned $152,643 last year, according to income tax returns released Tuesday by the South Bend, Ind., mayor.

Buttigieg released 10 years of returns, which has become standard for many of the candidates for the Democratic nomination. He filed jointly with Chasten Glezman, whom he married in 2018, and the couple reported income from Buttigieg’s mayoral salary and Glezman’s job as a middle school teacher. The couple took the standard deduction and paid $20,136 in federal taxes for an effective rate of about 13 percent.

In 2017, Buttigieg reported total income of $135,013, including $24,975 from a deal to publish his book, “Shortest Way Home,” which was released this year. In 2017, prior to the Republican tax overhaul that increased the standard deduction, he took itemized deductions and reported giving $765 in charity.

His income puts him among the least wealthy of the Democrats who’ve released their returns as they run for the chance to replace President Donald Trump after the 2020 election.

Buttigieg, 37, who started as an underdog in the 2020 Democratic race, has seen an uptick in support in recent weeks and he’s now competing with several other contenders for third place in the 20-candidate field behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He raised $7 million in the first quarter, eclipsing some of the better-known candidates in the race.

— Bloomberg News

Florida Legislature approves anti-hazing bill prompted by FSU student’s death

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The death of a Florida State University student who drank a bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon while trying to join a fraternity is spurring an expansion to the state’s anti-hazing law.

The Florida Legislature sent a bill to the governor Tuesday that targets people who plan and recruit others to perform hazing rituals.

The bill makes it a third-degree felony if the hazing results in a permanent injury even if the person does not directly commit the act of hazing.

Andrew Coffey, a 20-year-old FSU student, was trying to become a member of Pi Kappa Phi.

A wrongful death lawsuit accuses fraternity members of coercing Coffey to drink an entire bottle of 101-proof liquor. He was found dead Nov. 3, 2017.

The lawsuit detailed hazing rituals that included taping liquor bottles to the hands of pledges and pouring alcohol directly in their mouths.

Coffey lived in Lighthouse Point and graduated from Pompano Beach High School in 2015. He was captain of the school’s swim team.

The bill also offers immunity from prosecution to people who provide medical assistance or call 911 for help.

— Sun Sentinel

Alyssa Milano, Patricia Arquette boost Equal Rights Amendment on the Hill

WASHINGTON — It’s been a politics-heavy week for actress Alyssa Milano. A day after she launched her new podcast with Joe Biden as a guest, she headed to Capitol Hill to reignite momentum behind the Equal Rights Amendment.

The “Insatiable” and “Who’s the Boss?” star donned head-to-toe white to honor the history of women’s rights as she attended a House Judiciary subcommittee meeting on the stalled constitutional amendment — the first congressional hearing on the topic in 36 years.

Actress Patricia Arquette was another famous face making the case on Tuesday for the amendment, which would guarantee gender equality for women and men.

“Women’s protections cannot be left to interpretation alone,” the “Lost Highway” star said in passionate testimony, citing the position of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who believed that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment doesn’t guard against gender discrimination.

The Academy Award-winning actress has been an advocate for equal rights for years, using her 2015 Oscars acceptance speech to drive home her message. “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights, it’s our time to have wage-equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” she said as she accepted her golden statuette.

As for Milano, she’s been a pivotal voice in the #MeToo movement, a role she aims to reprise with her new “Sorry Not Sorry” podcast. The first episode, which tackles sexual assault, features presidential candidate Biden. The two sat down for the interview before recent allegations that he groped women surfaced.

Milano has doubled down on her friendship with the former vice president, saying, “I’m proud to call Joe Biden a friend. He’s been a leader and a champion on fighting violence against women for many years.”

Among those joining Arquette and Milano in “suffragette white” on Tuesday was Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, who has sponsored legislation to restart the Equal Rights Amendment ratification process. She completed her outfit with an “ERA” button.

— CQ-Roll Call

Sharp increase in Congo Ebola deaths as medical teams hit by attacks

KINSHASA, Congo — Ebola cases and deaths in eastern Congo have risen sharply in the past week, authorities said Tuesday, placing the blame on recurrent attacks on treatment centers and health workers.

There were 126 new cases and 83 deaths between April 22 and April 28, according to the Ministry of Health in Kinshasa.

The number of fatalities has risen rapidly, from around 600 at the end of March to over 900 a month later.

“As soon as there is a security incident, such as the destruction of the Ebola treatment centers or the murder of our colleague (from the World Health Organization), the main response activities are suspended for an indefinite period,” ministry spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga told dpa.

“Without these activities, the virus continues to spread and kill more people in the community,” she added.

So far there have been 1,480 cases and 970 deaths, since the outbreak — the second-largest in history — began last year.

Numerous militia groups operate in eastern Congo, most fighting over the country’s rich natural resources.

Authorities and aid groups have also had to deal with a local population suspicious of health workers and on April 19 a WHO epidemiologist, Richard Mouzoko, was killed by armed men.

— dpa