Laura Sullivan http://wutc.org en Senate Re-Authorizes Government's Role In Terrorism Insurance http://wutc.org/post/senate-re-authorizes-governments-role-terrorism-insurance Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>Today the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize a bill first passed after 9/11. It allows the government to act as a financial backstop in the event of a large terrorist attack. Supporters say it's crucial for anyone trying to build a shopping mall or skyscraper. But as NPR's Laura Sullivan reports, the bill may run into trouble in the house.<p>LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: In the days and months after the September 11th terrorist attacks - after the human toll had been calculated, the scope of the financial devastation became clear. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:27:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 40401 at http://wutc.org Lawmakers Unearth Failures To Investigate Campus Sex Crimes http://wutc.org/post/lawmakers-unearth-failures-investigate-campus-sex-crimes Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>U.S. colleges are failing to investigate sex crimes on their campuses. That's the conclusion of a new national survey commissioned by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. The survey is part of an effort by several senators to reduce sexual assaults in college and change a culture where only 5 percent of victims report the crime. NPR's Laura Sullivan reports from the capital.<p>LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Senator Claire McCaskill and other senators have been studying the high rate of sexual abuse on college campuses across the country. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:11:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 40017 at http://wutc.org Lawmakers' Step Back Toward Disclosure Driven By Optics http://wutc.org/post/lawmakers-step-back-toward-disclosure-driven-optics Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>The House Ethics Committee is undoing a recent change it made to lawmakers' annual financial disclosure forms. The committee had deleted a line asking what free trips members have taken in the previous year. These trips are usually paid for by companies or private interest groups. Members justified the change this week, saying that the information was redundant. But they've now decided to reverse course and put the question back. Joining us from the Capitol to explain this is NPR's Laura Sullivan. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:09:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 39765 at http://wutc.org VA Bill Was An Easy Sell, But Some Senators Still Feel Sticker Shock http://wutc.org/post/va-bill-was-easy-sell-some-senators-still-feel-sticker-shock Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>No politician wants to be seen voting against veterans. A recent bill to increase veterans' benefits and overhaul much of the VA sailed through the Senate, and now the House is working on a compromise to get it to the president. Despite to the momentum, one thing caught lawmakers in both parties by surprise this week - the bill's cost. NPR's Laura Sullivan reports.<p>LAURA SULLIVAN, BYLINE: The VA bill was an easy sell. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:50:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 39183 at http://wutc.org From The Border To The Hill, Influx Of Immigrant Kids Draws Concern http://wutc.org/post/border-hill-influx-immigrant-kids-draws-concern Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>The issue of immigration has heated up in recent weeks - not just in Eric Cantor's campaign but also along the border. There is a flood of unaccompanied immigrant children attempting to cross into the United States. The numbers have skyrocketed since last year - swamping Boarder Patrol facilities. The White House says the children are fleeing rising violence in their Central American home countries. For their part, Republicans are eager to attack the administration's immigration policies. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 20:00:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 38744 at http://wutc.org The Executioner's Lament http://wutc.org/post/executioners-lament In 1977, death row inmate Gary Mark Gilmore chose to be executed by a firing squad. Gilmore was strapped to a chair at the Utah State Prison, and five officers shot him.<p>The media circus that ensued prompted a group of lawmakers in nearby Oklahoma to wonder if there might be a better way to handle executions. They approached Dr. Thu, 08 May 2014 07:22:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 37211 at http://wutc.org The Executioner's Lament Effort To Force Treatment On Severely Mentally Ill Meets Resistance http://wutc.org/post/effort-force-treatment-severely-mentally-ill-meets-resistance Ed Kelley and his wife have three children. They live in a comfortable suburb of Baltimore. And for a long time their life seemed perfect.<p>"We were churchgoing; we were involved in the community. We had a very close-knit family all around us."<p>And he adored his 14-year-old son.<p>"He was funny, he was getting good grades, he loved playing sports; he was so humorous. Actually for the longest time he was sort of the center of the family."<p>And then one day, that happy 14-year-old boy disappeared. And in his place emerged a paranoid, delusional child who heard voices, believed he was a U.S. Thu, 01 May 2014 20:04:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 36942 at http://wutc.org Effort To Force Treatment On Severely Mentally Ill Meets Resistance Enforcing Prison Rape Elimination Standards Proves Tricky http://wutc.org/post/enforcing-prison-rape-elimination-standards-proves-tricky On a recent day at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, inmates in jumpsuits peek out of their cells to see three men with clipboards walk into the housing unit. These men are auditors doing a practice inspection. They're here to see if the facility complies with a federal law called the <a href="http://ojp.gov/programs/prisonrapeelimination.htm" target="_blank">Prison Rape Elimination Act</a>, or PREA.<p>Auditors Steven Cubello and Howard Ray start at a line of phones. There's no sign with the toll-free hotline that inmates can use to report an assault. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:16:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 35652 at http://wutc.org Enforcing Prison Rape Elimination Standards Proves Tricky Lawmakers Seek To Lay Roadblock To Powerful Painkiller http://wutc.org/post/lawmakers-seek-lay-roadblock-powerful-painkiller Sen. Joe Manchin is introducing a bill to force the Food and Drug Administration to ban potent new painkiller Zohydro, backed by a bipartisan effort to get the FDA to remove its approval of the drug. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 34809 at http://wutc.org Government's Empty Buildings Are Costing Taxpayers Billions http://wutc.org/post/governments-empty-buildings-are-costing-taxpayers-billions On a street corner in downtown Washington, D.C., David Wise is opening a century-old iron gate in front of an old, boarded-up brick building.<p>Wise is an investigator for the Government Accountability Office, the government's watchdog group. His mission is to figure out <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-645" target="_blank">why the government owns so many buildings</a>, like this one, that it doesn't use.<p>The 132-year-old brick structure is sitting on prime real estate six blocks from the White House. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 20:12:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 34723 at http://wutc.org Government's Empty Buildings Are Costing Taxpayers Billions Missouri Execution Stalled Over Lethal Drugs In Short Supply http://wutc.org/post/missouri-execution-stalled-over-lethal-drugs-short-supply A few years ago, Missouri, like other states, was having trouble finding lethal execution drugs. Europe was balking, and U.S. drug manufacturers didn't want a part of it.<p>So Missouri turned to a place called a compounding pharmacy to make up the needed drugs based on the ingredients. Tue, 18 Feb 2014 23:54:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 33830 at http://wutc.org To Rent Or Buy? For The Federal Government, It's Complicated http://wutc.org/post/rent-or-buy-federal-government-its-complicated The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been in the hot seat in recent weeks for mishandling the leases for some of its office space. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:37:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 33560 at http://wutc.org Spike In Heroin Use Can Be Traced To Prescription Pads http://wutc.org/post/spike-heroin-use-can-be-traced-prescription-pads The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has brought attention to a grim reality of drug abuse in America — most notably with the increasing use of heroin.<p>Hoffman was found dead in his apartment on Sunday, and New York police are investigating his death as a possible drug overdose. Hoffman struggled with drug addiction throughout his career.<p>This is not the first time heroin use has skyrocketed in the United States. In the 1970s and '80s, the drug took hold in urban centers. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 23:12:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 33265 at http://wutc.org Spike In Heroin Use Can Be Traced To Prescription Pads Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA http://wutc.org/post/exonerations-rise-and-not-just-because-dna 2013 was a record-breaking year for exonerations in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations.<p>At least 87 people were set free for crimes they did not commit last year, the highest number since researchers began keeping track more than 20 years ago. Some of those people spent decades in prison before release.<p>And it's no longer just DNA evidence that's driving exonerations, <a href="http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Exonerations_in_2013_Report.pdf" target="_blank">the registry's report</a> finds. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 08:46:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 33222 at http://wutc.org Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents http://wutc.org/post/long-dirty-word-gentrification-may-be-losing-its-stigma Bobby Foster Jr. can often be found reading the paper on a wooden bench outside Murry's grocery store on the corner of Sixth and H streets northeast in Washington, D.C.<p>"The sun shines over here this time of day," says Foster, a retired cook. "It's always good when the sun shines."<p>Murry's has been an anchor in this neighborhood for decades — during the crack wars of the 1980s and the urban blight that followed, when most other businesses packed up and left. Foster has been somewhat of an anchor, too. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 08:43:00 +0000 Laura Sullivan 32709 at http://wutc.org Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents