Entries in Sen. Frank Lautenberg (4)


New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg Dead at 89

Office of Sen. Frank Lautenberg(NEW YORK) -- Senator Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., the oldest U.S. Senator and the last remaining World War II veteran serving in the senate died on Monday. He was 89.

Lautenberg passed away at 4:02 a.m. on Monday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell due to complications from viral pneumonia.

Lautenberg was a leader in the Senate with a particular passion for environmental protection, transportation and public health. During his career, Lautenberg had a hand in crafting legislation to curtail drunk driving, including setting the nationwide blood alcohol standard at .08.  He also co-wrote the new GI Bill for the 21st Century, and held the record for number of votes cast by a New Jersey senator.

Lautenberg announced earlier this year that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate in 2014. He is survived by his wife, six children and their spouses, and 13 grandchildren.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sen. Frank Lautenberg Says Rival Could Use 'Spanking' -- This is probably not how Sen. Frank Lautenberg expected things to go down.

The New Jersey Democrat, who turns 89 on Wednesday, hasn't said whether he'll run for reelection in 2014.  In the meantime, popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker has filed papers to explore a run for the Democratic nomination, perhaps assuming that Lautenberg is ready to retire.

Previously, some aides of Lautenberg's told Politico that Booker's presumptuousness was disrespectful to a sitting senator from his own party.

And in an interview with, Lautenberg is finally speaking out about the controversy, acknowledging that Booker is "entitled" to run for his seat, then adding sarcastically that the mayor will "have to stand on his record and I'm sure he won't be a lone soldier out there drooling at the mouth and wanting this cushy job that we have here."

Lautenberg then took a not-so veiled swipe at his potential rival by saying, "I have four children, I love each one of them.  I can't tell you that one of them wasn't occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK."

As for the immediate future, the senator told, "I've got a lot of work to do yet, serious things and we pride ourselves (in) my office and my team (on) getting things done.  That's the focus.  I'm not thinking about the politics right now."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senators Ask Apple to Pull Checkpoint-Dodging Apps

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Smartphone applications that share information about police D.U.I checkpoints and speed traps may be a boon for drivers hoping to avoid tickets (or worse), but a group of U.S. senators says they're nothing but a public safety hazard.

In fact, they think the apps are so dangerous that in a letter to Apple, Research In Motion (which makes BlackBerrys) and Google Tuesday, Senators Harry Reid, D-Nev., Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., urged the companies to remove the applications that they say help drunk drivers evade police.

"We know that your companies share our desire to end the scourge of drunk driving and we therefore would ask you to remove these applications from your store unless they are altered to remove the DUI/DWI checkpoint functionality," the letter says.

In the Apple App Store, applications like PhantomAlert, Trapster, iRadar and others claim to help drivers avoid speed traps, police checkpoints and other traffic stops by crowdsourcing the reports of other drivers and disseminating police warnings.

Considering that more than 10,000 Americans die in drunk-driving crashes every year (with one drunk-driving related death every 50 minutes), the senators say that it's a matter of "grave concern" to them that smartphone customers can download the D.U.I.-checkpoint-dodging applications so easily.

In the letter, they cite a recent USA Today article in which a police captain says the popular checkpoint alert apps are troubling.

"If people are going to use those, what other purpose are they going to use them for except to drink and drive?" Capt. Paul Starks of the Montgomery County Police Department told the paper. "They're only thinking of one consequence, and that's being arrested. They're not thinking of ending the lives of other motorists, pedestrians, other passengers in their cars or themselves."

But Joe Scott, CEO and founder of PhantomAlert, a Harrisburg, Pa., company that makes a popular checkpoint alert app for all kinds of smartphones, said he thought the senators' letter was a "knee-jerk reaction."

"If they really understood what we are doing and aim to achieve, they would actually support us," he said. "We're doing exactly what the police departments are doing -- putting up PSAs and letting people know there are checkpoints -- to deter people from drinking and driving," Scott said, adding that the only real difference is that his app shares the information in real-time.

A driver who may have been drinking could look at all the D.U.I. checkpoints highlighted on PhantomAlert's map and decide to take a cab or catch a ride with a friend, he said.

Apple, Research in Motion and Google did not immediately respond to requests from comment from ABC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Lawmakers Push for New Gun Laws

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., want to prohibit high-capacity ammunition clips like the one used in the Glock 19 by suspect Jared Loughner in the Arizona shooting. From 1994-2004, an assault weapons ban restricted magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds, but today only the District of Columbia and six states -- New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, California and Massachusetts -- still ban clips holding more than 10 rounds. The Glock 19 used by Jared Lee Loughner in Arizona was fitted with an extended clip holding as many as 33 rounds.

"The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly. These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market," Lautenberg said in a statement about his proposal. "Before 2004, these ammunition clips were banned, and they must be banned again. When the Senate returns to Washington, I will introduce legislation to prohibit this type of high-capacity clip."

Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants the military to inform the FBI's national database when someone is rejected for enlistment because of illegal drug use. In a letter to the Obama administration on Sunday, Schumer said such a move would have prevented Loughner from buying a gun.

"Had this reporting requirement been in place, Loughner would likely have been prevented from purchasing a firearm. We should fix this reporting loophole so that future tragedies can be prevented," Schumer wrote in his letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson.

Last week, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he would be "introducing in the next several weeks legislation that would make it a federal crime to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet of any event which is attended by the president, the vice president, members of the Senate, members of the House of Representatives, cabinet officials, including the CIA director as well as federal judges."

In the United States, it is illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. Passing a similar law to protect government officials would give federal, state, and local law enforcement a better chance to intercept potential gunmen before they pull the trigger, according to King.

In the wake of the tragedy in Tucson, numerous lawmakers in the House and Senate have unveiled proposals to try to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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