Nebraska became the seventh state since 2007 to abolish the death penalty, with the state’s unicameral legislature overriding Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto. Nebraska is the second state in two years to abandon capital punishment. Nineteen states now have no death penalty.
A federal appeals court panel struck down one of the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions by saying an Arkansas law unconstitutionally burdens women by banning abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy if a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat.
House members pushed through a sweeping measure aimed at curbing heroin use and preventing overdose deaths in Illinois by expanding special drug courts, requiring police departments and fire stations to stock opioid antidotes and requiring Medicaid to cover the cost of drug treatment programs.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is preparing plans that include furloughing state employees and partially shutting down Kansas government if a legislative stalemate over how to cover a $400 million budget deficit persists.
A New York judge heard arguments on whether chimpanzees can be considered persons with some legal rights, as advocates seeking to free two chimps in captivity on Long Island assert they are “autonomous beings” whose plight can be compared to human slaves.
Texas police chiefs are urging Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to veto legislation repealing certain handgun restrictions. At issue is a controversial provision that limits the power of law enforcement to ask those visibly carrying handguns to present their permits.
At least two large health insurance carriers, Medical Mutual of Ohio and Aetna, want to raise ACA premiums in Ohio by double digits in 2016. Medical Mutual wants, on average, 14.5 percent more. Aetna wants a 13.2 percent average hike. Both companies cite higher health care costs among their reasons.
As New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure continues to fail, support for an increase in the state’s gasoline tax is growing while mass transit commuters face another fare increase.
The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would ban multiple forms of discrimination in the hiring and promotion of Alabama state employees, including discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris, who earlier this year announced a pilot program for California Department of Justice agents to wear body cameras, said the technology was "a good tool to use in doing police work” but stopped short of endorsing statewide requirements for officers to wear them.
Mississippi is leading the nation in reported synthetic marijuana overdoses by almost 3 to 1, according to poison control officials. So far this year, the state has had 1,253 reported cases, the state Department of Health says.