Score one for the traveling public as the Federal Aviation Administration today announced the expanded use of personal electronic devices on airplanes.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill calls it "great news for the traveling public and a win for common sense.” McCaskill is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection.
The Senator says she applauds the FAA for taking the necessary steps to change "these outdated regulations" and expects the airlines to turn around quick plans for implementation.
The FAA also announced a plan in which airlines would submit strategies for the expanded use of PEDs.
The FAA expects those plans to be quickly approved and believes they could be largely completed by the end of the year.
There will continue to be some restrictions. For instance, talking on cell phones during flight will still be prohibited. Since joining the Senate in 2007, McCaskill has served on the Senate Committee on Commerce, which has jurisdiction over aviation and communications policy, and this year was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.
Another group of Missouri veterans are back home after a successful day trip to visit Washington, DC. Tuesday's "Honor Flight" carried 25 veterans of World War II and the Korean War.
Those organizing the flights had again been concerned that the government shutdown might keep the vets from visiting the federal memorials, but again they were granted access. Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt welcomed the veterans in DC, along with Congresswoman Ann Wagner.
All federal monuments in Washington, DC are closed to the general public because of the federal shutdown, but the National Parks Service has stipulated that the vets will be allowed to visit the memorials despite the shutdown.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is joining congressional colleagues in responding to President Obama's decision to pause in taking military action against Syria for its' use of chemical weapons. Negotiators are attempting to iron out a Syrian-Russian plan for Syria to relinquish its' chemical weapons arsenal. Senator McCaskill says she will continue to evaluate and monitor the situation daily, adding “The President made an important case for why Syria’s use of chemical weapons has serious implications for America’s national security and that a credible threat of military force can strengthen the chances of a diplomatic solution."
Senator Claire McCaskill has long been an advocate for victims of sexual assault in the military. So the Missouri Democrat is perplexed this week after being singled out in St. Louis Post Dispatch and Facebook ads calling her a roadblock to reforming the system.
Protect Our Defenders, a Washington-based advocacy group for military sexual assault victims, took aim at McCaskill over her opposition to an amendment proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Gillibrand proposes setting up a new independent legal channel to prosecute sexual assaults and other major crimes. The Pentagon and many Democratic and GOP senators oppose the idea.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Sen. Claire McCaskill has long been an advocate for victims of sexual assault in the military, so the Missouri Democrat is perplexed after being singled out in newspaper and Facebook ads calling her a roadblock to reforming the system.
Protect Our Defenders, a Washington-based advocacy group for military sexual assault victims, took aim at McCaskill in a half-page St. Louis Post-Dispatch ad over her opposition to an amendment proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Gillibrand's proposal would authorize military lawyers - rather than commanding officers - to decide which cases go to trial.
McCaskill favors reforms suggested by the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee. She says she finds the ad puzzling given her history criticizing the military's handling of sexual assault cases.
Senator Claire McCaskill, business solutions company Intuit, and search giant Google are in St. Louis Friday, and they are all here to help area small businesses.
The Internet can be a great launching pad for businesses, but Google's Rebecca Ginsberg tells me it is vastly underutilized by business owners, "We (Google) did some research last year that while 97% of Internet users go online to look for local products and services, 64% of small businesses in Missouri still do not have a website.'
Attendees at the Get Your Business Online workshop on Friday will get a free website and hosting for one year. The event starts at 8:30 at the Third Degree Glass Factory on Delmar just north of Forest Park.
If you can't make the event, the same offer is available at MissouriGetOnline.com, or by clicking here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill returned to Missouri to push for tougher punishments of military sexual assaults.
The Democratic senator and former Jackson County prosecutor met Wednesday with top officials from the Missouri National Guard at the Guard's Jefferson City headquarters.
Her appearance came one month after senior military leaders were chastised at a Senate hearing because an Air Force commander dismissed the conviction of a lieutenant colonel for sexually assaulting a civilian employee at Aviana Air Force Base in Italy.
McCaskill has introduced legislation to revise the Uniform Code of Military Justice to prohibit commanders from overturning jury verdicts in military tribunals. Those leaders would also have to explain in writing any decisions to reduce sentences after guilty verdicts in court martials.
"Do you really think that after a jury has found someone guilty, and dismissed someone from the military for sexual assault, that one person, over the advice of their legal counselor, should be able to say, 'Never mind'?" Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., asked Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, the top officer at U.S. Central Command, at a Senate hearing.
Mattis explained that commanders, including female commanders, have the authority to act for a reason. "And I would just tell you that I would look beyond one case," he said.
McCaskill sent a letter to Air Force officials seeking an explanation while Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking him to review the case.
The Air Force Times reported last month that Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, a former inspector general at Aviano Air Base in Italy, had been convicted on Nov. 2 on charges of abusive sexual contact, aggravated sexual assault and three instances of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. The incident had involved a civilian employee.
Wilkerson was sentenced to a year in prison and dismissal from the service. But Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, the commander of 3rd Air Force, later dismissed the charges. The Air Force Times reported that Franklin had concluded that the evidence was insufficient to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
"This is a travesty of justice," Boxer and Shaheen wrote. "At a time when the military has unequivocally stated that there is zero tolerance for sexual assault, this is not the message it should be sending to our service men and women, and to our nation."
They asked Hagel for information on what was the basis for Franklin's decision and pressed him to act immediately to restrict such authority to dismiss military court decisions unilaterally.
McCaskill wrote Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, that Franklin's decision "show ignorance, at best, and malfeasance, at worst."
"I strongly urge you to undertake an immediate review of his conduct and consider removing him from his leadership position," the senator wrote.
She pointed out that as the Air Force and "other military organizations are redoubling efforts to erase a culture that has often turned a blind eye on sexual assault, Lt. Gen. Franklin's conduct undermines this important shift."
In January, Welsh likened sexual assault in the Air Force's ranks to a cancer and vowed to tackle the problem by screening personnel more carefully and putting an end to bad behaviors like binge drinking that can lead to misconduct.
Welsh told a House oversight committee that the service recorded a disturbing number of reports of sexual assault last year even as it worked to curb misconduct in the wake of a sex scandal at its training headquarters in Texas. Dozens of young female recruits and airmen at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio were victimized by their instructors who sexually harassed, improperly touched or raped them.
Most difficult, Welsh said, is transforming a culture in which victims are often reluctant to report what happened because of guilt, shame or fear they won't be believed.