San Francisco Chronicle



_1 Social Security benefits: Millions of Social Security beneficiar­ies can expect only a meager increase in monthly payments next year, the trustees who oversee the massive retirement and disability program said Wednesday. The projected 0.2 percent increase in payments would come a year after beneficiar­ies received no increase. More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and surviving children receive Social Security benefits. The average monthly payment is about $1,232, so the average increase would be a little less than $2.50, enough to buy a gallon of gasoline in most U.S. markets.

_2 Rubio seeks re-election: Former Republican presidenti­al candidate Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he will run for re-election to the Senate from Florida, reversing his retirement plans under pressure from GOP leaders determined to hang onto his seat. “In politics, admitting you’ve changed your mind is not something most people like to do. But here it goes,” Rubio said in a statement. “I have decided to seek re-election to the United States Senate.”

_3 Fracking regulation: A federal judge in Wyoming ruled this week that federal regulators lack the authority to set rules for hydraulic fracturing, dealing another setback to the Obama administra­tion’s efforts to tighten how fossil fuels are mined. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said the Bureau of Land Management can’t set the rules because Congress has not authorized it to do so. The judge wrote that the court’s role is not to decide whether hydraulic fracturing is good or bad for the environmen­t, but to interpret whether Congress has given the Department of Interior legal authority to regulate the practice.

_4 Policeman killed: A pedestrian walking down a busy commercial strip of a New Orleans suburb in the middle of the afternoon shot a sheriff ’s deputy multiple times, killing him, after being stopped by the officer Wednesday, an official said. Col. John Fortunato, a Jefferson Parish sheriff ’s spokesman, identified the officer as David F. Michel Jr., 51. One suspect was in custody and hospitaliz­ed for minor injuries believed to have been suffered in a struggle with Michel, Fortunato said.

_5 Flint lawsuits: Michigan’s attorney general filed a civil lawsuit Wednesday against two water engineerin­g companies, saying their negligence caused and exacerbate­d Flint’s lead-tainted water crisis and demanding what could total hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Veolia and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, known as LAN, were already facing suits from Flint residents in which improperly treated water from the Flint River scraped toxic lead from pipes into tap water. Houston’s LAN, which helped the city switch to the Flint River as its primary water supply from treated water from Detroit, was accused of negligence and public nuisance. Veolia, a French multinatio­nal corporatio­n, faces the same allegation­s along with a fraud count.

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