The federal judge who struck down Alabama’s laws banning same-sex marriage reaffirmed her decision, saying that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all counties in the state. But the decision was put on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling on same-sex marriage.
Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin signed legislation to make permanent The Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act, which protects Vermont physicians from prosecution when they prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally-ill patients who have asked for the prescription and are expected to die in six months or less. Some provisions of the act, first passed in 2013, were to sunset next year.
Texas pastors, churches and religious institutions can’t be sued by private parties or penalized by government for spurning gay weddings under the bill the House tentatively approved. The Senate has already approved the measure and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will sign it.
An effort by Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan to ask Illinois voters to approve an extra 3 percentage-point income tax on those who make more than $1 million a year failed.
Utah transportation officials are proposing additional 80-mph speed limit zones on rural freeways — plus increasing limits by 5 mph in some trickier sections to 70 or 75 mph.
The California Democratic Party approved a sweeping resolution to drop fossil fuel stocks from the state’s two major public pension funds, valued at about $500 billion, and the state’s 33 public universities’ $12 billion in total endowments. A less aggressive divestment bill is working its way through the legislature.
The House gave final approval to a bill that would give Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach and his successors the authority to prosecute alleged election fraud in criminal court. Kobach has repeatedly said that Kansas elections are tainted by immigrants voting illegally.
Despite increased access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania hospitals provided more than a billion dollars in uncompensated care in the fiscal year that ended last June. A recent study found that care for uninsured patients increased by 2.2 percent, or $22 million.
The state approved a yearlong needle-exchange program for a rural Indiana county at the center of an HIV outbreak. The outbreak spurred a new state law allowing such programs to curb the spread of diseases among intravenous drug users.
A new $25 tax or fee on new bike sales could generate more than $7 million in the next two years for new paths and trails, Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates. Washington and Oregon are among states considering similar proposals.
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