Sen. Duckworth gives birth to second child

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) gave birth Monday to a baby girl, the first time a sitting senator has delivered a child and one of just 10 female lawmakers to bear a child while serving in Congress.

Duckworth, 50, and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, named their daughter Maile Pearl Bowlsbey after Bowlsbey’s great-aunt. Pearl Bowlsbey Johnson was an Army nurse during World War II. Duckworth is a double amputee who, as an Army helicopter pilot in the Iraq War, was shot down in 2006. The senator said that she and her husband consulted with former senator Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, who died last week, about the choice of name, just as they did with the birth of their first daughter, Abigail, four years ago.

Duckworth spent part of her childhood in Hawaii, and after her military service she became active in veterans issues at the state and federal level. Akaka served as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“Bryan, Abigail and I couldn’t be happier to welcome little Maile Pearl as the newest addition to our family, and we’re deeply honored that our good friend Sen. Akaka was able to bless her name for us — his help in naming both of our daughters means he will always be with us,” Duckworth said in a statement Monday.

She said that being a parent of small children while serving in Congress gives her a perspective that is often missing in debates on federal policy about families and child care. “Parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue; it’s an economic issue and one that affects all parents — men and women alike,” she said. “As tough as juggling the demands of motherhood and being a senator can be, I’m hardly alone or unique as a working parent.”

— Paul Kane


More screenings, services for Flint youth

A deal was announced Monday to get more health screenings and education services to thousands of children who were exposed to lead in Flint’s drinking water.

Families will be encouraged to get children signed up on a registry, which will lead to tests and screenings to determine any unique education needs. The agreement partly settles a federal lawsuit against the state of Michigan, the Flint school district and a regional education agency.

Participation will be voluntary, but more than 25,000 people could be eligible, including some young adults who haven’t graduated from high school, said attorney Greg Little of the Pennsylvania-based Education Law Center, who is leading a legal team that includes the American Civil Liberties Union.

The state will provide $4.1 million to get the program started by the fall, although the money still must be approved by Michigan lawmakers.

Lead-tainted water flowed in Flint for 18 months before a disaster was declared in 2015. The corrosive water wasn’t properly treated before it moved through old plumbing.

There is no safe lead level in the human body. It can cause behavior problems and a lower IQ.

Little said certain education services are guaranteed under federal law once a special need has been identified.

Mona Hanna-Attisha, who helped expose Flint’s lead issue in 2015, said lead can’t directly be linked to every development problem in children.

“But the sooner you identify an issue, the better the outcomes,” she said.

— Associated Press


Officer reassigned after Parkland posts

A Florida police officer has been reassigned after he appeared to suggest on social media that a school shooting that left 17 people dead was a hoax.

North Miami Beach police announced Monday that Officer Ericson Harrell was placed on administrative duty with pay pending an internal review.

The Sun Sentinel first reported that a March 29 Facebook post under Harrell’s name asked, “What proof do you have?”

The post was referring to the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Another post under his name on March 22 referred to five of the school’s students featured on a Time magazine cover as “ALL PAID ACTORS/ACTRESSES!!”

— Associated Press