Howard graduate named as president of foundation

The Schultz Family Foundation, founded by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and his wife Sheri Schultz, announced that Tyra Mariani was appointed president by the board of trustees.

Mariani will lead the foundation’s effort to address inequalities by unlocking opportunities for individuals and communities facing obstacles to economic and social mobility in America. She joined the organization from New America, where she serves as president and chief operating officer.

At New America, Mariani worked with CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter to transform the organization into a new kind of think tank, one that is committed to exploring new and more effective ways of solving public problems.

The Howard University graduate earned her MBA degree from Stanford University. She served as a supervisor U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration and budget director for Chicago Public Schools.

— The Insight News

County executive plans to depopulate youth jail by 2025

SEATTLE — King County Executive Dow Constantine announced recently plans to convert the remaining detention units at the county’s juvenile jail to “other uses” by 2025.

He made the announcement on Twitter, citing a desire to move public funding away from “systems that are rooted in oppression,” The Seattle Times reported.

“Phasing out centralized youth detention is no longer a goal in the far distance,” Constantine wrote in a lengthy thread. “We have made extraordinary progress and we have evolved to believe that even more can be done.”

He added that his announcement comes after “the vicious, state-sponsored murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.”

King County has declared a goal of “Zero Youth Detention” for years, even as a new jail facility was built.

The new 156-bed Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center currently houses 21 people, which is down from its March 13 population of 43, as officials have reduced jail populations during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a county correctional facility dashboard.

— The Associated Press

Appeals court allows Alabama voter ID law to stand

ATLANTA — Federal appeals judges recently upheld a lower court and rejected claims that an Alabama law that requires voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls is racially discriminatory.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld a 2018 ruling that dismissed a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and others, was a victory for Republicans, who contend the law is needed to prevent voter fraud.

Rebuffing opponents who argued the law violated the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, the court ruled that “no reasonable factfinder could find that Alabama’s voter ID law is unconstitutionally discriminatory” based on the evidence.

But Judge Darrin P. Gayles, a district judge who heard the case with the circuit judges, dissented in an opinion that noted Alabama’s “deep and troubled history of racial discrimination” and voter suppression. While some absentee fraud occurs, Gayle wrote, in-person voting fraud is ”virtually non-existent.”

— The Associated Press

Black nurses association wins order against founder

GULFPORT, Miss. — A minority nursing association has won a temporary restraining order against its founder in Mississippi federal court amid a lawsuit over the rights to the group’s trademark, website and other intellectual property.

The Black Nurses Rock Foundation represents 174,000 African American nurses and students from the U.S., Canada, Eastern Caribbean, Japan and Germany, according to court records.

The foundation is accusing former CEO Romeatrius Nicole Moss of hijacking its website and social media accounts after resigning. Members say Moss, who was charged and pleaded guilty to health care fraud last year, has completely disabled the group’s online presence, according to court records.

She also requested the foundation pay her more than $90,000 a year from donors over continued use of its trademark and other intellectual property, the foundation alleges.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden of Mississippi granted the foundation’s request July 13 for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Moss, who established Black Nurses Rock Foundation in 2015 while living in Gulfport, Mississippi.

She pleaded guilty last year to criminal health care fraud in which she accepted more than $70,000 in kickbacks for referring TRICARE beneficiaries to pharmacies furnishing compounded drugs while stationed at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing of the Western District of Oklahoma said in a statement last year. TRICARE is a health insurance program for the U.S. military.

— The Associated Press

Moss is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 10 in the health care fraud case. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

— The Associated Press

California proposal on malpractice caps makes 2022 ballot

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California patients could get more money from medical malpractice lawsuits under a ballot initiative that is now eligible for the 2022 November election.

Since 1975, California has capped damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits at $250,000. Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, the cap was meant to deter frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals while also preserving patients’ right to seek damages in court.

But the cap has not changed in 45 years, worth about 80% less than it was in 1975 when accounting for inflation. Consumer advocates have tried for years to change the cap without success.

Voters soundly defeated a similar proposal in 2014. But that initiative had multiple components, including provisions to require regular drug testing for doctors and background checks for patients and prescription drug history before prescribing certain medications.

The new initiative doesn’t include those things. Instead, it would tie the cap to inflation, increasing it to about $1.2 million.

— The Associated Press

Virus eyed in death of 8th death row inmate in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eight inmates on California’s death row at San Quentin State Prison have died of apparent complications from the coronavirus, officials said last week, amid the largest prison outbreak of the virus in the state.

Officials said John M. Beames, 67, died on July 21 at an outside hospital, and his exact cause of death will be determined by a coroner. Beames was sentenced to death in Tulare County in 1995 for murder, torture and other crimes involving a 15-month-old child.

There have now been 14 total virus-related deaths at the prison north of San Francisco, where 717 people are on death row.

Through the state prison system, there were more than 1,900 active virus cases, and nearly 5,000 inmates have recovered. At least 870 employees had been infected and three had died.

— The Associated Press

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