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State legislature

Indiana's religious freedom bill among host of new laws

New state laws address religious freedom, ride-sharing, sick leave and even a giant salamander
Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press

ATLANTA - Just days after a historic U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, Indiana's religious freedom law took effect Wednesday amid an ongoing national debate over gay rights and religious objections.

Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which sparked protests and boycott threats earlier this year before being quickly revised, is perhaps the most high-profile among a host of bills that become law on Wednesday, the start of the new fiscal year in most states.

Hawaii lawmaker assaulted at homeless camp

Hawaii state lawmaker assaulted at homeless camp, treated at hospital
Cathy Bussewitz And Rachel D'Oro, The Associated Press

HONOLULU, Hawaii - A Hawaii state lawmaker is recovering from injuries after being assaulted at a homeless camp in Honolulu.

The Democrat, Rep. Tom Brower, was taken to a hospital after the incident in Kakaako late Monday afternoon, he said. He was later released.

Brower, who represents Waikiki and Ala Moana, was walking in Kakaako after he received an email expressing concerns about public safety and health in the area, he said at a news conference Tuesday.

California governor signs strict school vaccine legislation

Gov. Jerry Brown signs California bill imposing one of strictest school vaccine laws in nation
Julia Horowitz, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Jerry Brown wasted no time Tuesday in signing a contentious California bill to impose one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the country following an outbreak of measles at Disneyland late last year.

Judge nixes bridge lane-closing suit against Christie allies

Judge tosses lawsuit over New Jersey bridge lane closings; plaintiffs can refile some counts
David Porter, The Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. - A federal judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed by people who were stuck in traffic when lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed without warning in 2013.

The judge's ruling posted Monday faulted the plaintiffs for not describing what each defendant's role was in the scheme, but it gave the plaintiffs leeway to refile eight of the 11 claims contained in the complaint. The remaining three were dismissed with prejudice and can't be refiled.

California Legislature passes strict school vaccine bill

California lawmakers pass hotly contested school vaccine bill, sends to governor
Julia Horowitz, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California lawmakers on Monday sent the governor a contentious bill that would impose one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the U.S. in reaction to a recent measles outbreak at Disneyland.

The Senate reaffirmed the bill striking California's personal belief exemption for immunizations on a 24-14 vote. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only two states with such strict requirements in place.

California Legislature passes strict school vaccine bill

California lawmakers pass hotly contested school vaccine bill, sends to governor
Julia Horowitz, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California lawmakers on Monday sent the governor a contentious bill that would impose one of the strictest school vaccination laws in the country in reaction to a recent measles outbreak at Disneyland.

The Senate reaffirmed the bill striking California's personal belief exemption for immunizations on a 24-14 vote. Mississippi and West Virginia are the only two states with such strict requirements in place.

Survey shows enough votes to remove Confederate flag in SC

Survey: South Carolina Legislature has enough votes to remove Confederate flag from Statehouse
Seanna Adcox, The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A survey of South Carolina legislators shows there is enough support to remove the Confederate battle flag from Statehouse grounds if all supporters cast a vote.

Woman removes Confederate flag in front of SC statehouse

Woman climbs flagpole in front of South Carolina statehouse, removes Confederate flag
Emily Masters And Bruce Smith, The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The two people arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the front of the South Carolina Statehouse have been released from jail in the state capital.

Officer L. Tucker of the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center said 30-year-old Bree Newsome and 30-year-old James Ian Tyson were released from jail Saturday after posting bond.

Both Newsome and Tyson are from Charlotte.

California vaccine bill clears major legislative hurdle

California bill that mandates vaccines for schoolchildren clears major legislative hurdle
Julia Horowitz, The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's legislature on Thursday approved a hotly contested bill requiring that nearly all public schoolchildren be vaccinated, clearing one of its last major legislative obstacles before the measure heads to the governor's desk.

The bill aims to increase immunization rates after a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland in December sickened over 100 people in the U.S. and Mexico.

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