Same-sex couples updating legal status after abortion ruling

The Supreme Court's decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion is causing anxiety for people in same-sex marriages, particularly those with children. The decision last week overturning Roe v. Wade didn't directly affect the 2015 ruling that paved the way for gay marriage. But lawyers say now they're getting questions from same-sex couples worried about the legal status of their marriages and keeping their children. Alabama lawyer Sydney Duncan has received dozens of emails and calls in just a few days. Justice Clarence Thomas has called on colleagues to reconsider cases that allowed same-sex marriage, gay sex and contraception.

Navy report: Multiple errors poisoned Pearl Harbor water

A Navy investigation is revealing how shoddy management and human error caused fuel to leak into Pearl Harbor’s tap water last year. The leak poisoned thousands of people and forced military families to evacuate their homes for hotels. The investigation is the first detailed account of how jet fuel from the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, a massive World War II-era military-run tank farm in the hills above Pearl Harbor, leaked into a well that supplied water to housing and offices in and around the sprawling base. The report listed a cascading series of mistakes from May through November 2021 when fuel got into a drinking water well.

Asian shares mostly lower after pessimistic 'tankan' survey

Asian benchmarks are mostly lower, echoing a decline on Wall Street, after a quarterly report by Japan’s central bank rekindled worries about the world’s third largest economy. Recent data suggest global growth is slowing as countries grapple with renewed waves of coronavirus outbreaks, soaring prices and the war in Ukraine. In the Bank of Japan “tankan” survey, the headline index for large manufacturers was 9, down from 14 the previous quarter, the second straight quarter of declines. However, a survey by a Chinese business magazine, Caixin, showed China’s factory activity expanded in June at its strongest rate in 13 months as the country eased pandemic restrictions, allowing manufacturing and other business activity to resume.

Last-minute deal averts casino strike in Atlantic City

The main union for Atlantic City casino workers has reached agreements on new contracts with four casinos, avoiding a threatened strike. Thursday's deal provides what the union president calls “the best contract we've ever had.” It also provides labor peace that will avoid a strike on Fourth of July weekend, one of the casinos’ busiest weekends of the year. Local 54 of the Unite Here union reached tentative agreements with the Borgata, which is owned by MGM Resorts International, and three Caesars Entertainment casinos: Caesars, Harrah’s and the Tropicana. The new pacts appear to greatly increase the likelihood of a deal getting done with Hard Rock as well.

High court: Arizona can enforce genetic issue abortion ban

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed enforcement of a 2021 Arizona law that lets prosecutors bring felony charges against doctors who knowingly terminate pregnancies solely because the fetuses have a genetic abnormality such as Down syndrome. Thursday's decision comes in the wake of the high court’s June 24 decision that said women have no constitutional right to obtain an abortion. It has no immediate effect because Arizona providers stopped all abortions following last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. It was unclear if a pre-statehood law banning all abortions was enforceable, but Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Wednesday it can be. Democratic attorney general candidate Kris Mays says Brnovich “just took us back to 1901.”

California first to cover health care for all immigrants

California is the first state to guarantee free health care for all low-income immigrants who are living in the country illegally. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget on Thursday. It makes all low-income adults eligible for the state's Medicaid program regardless of their immigration status. The move will provide coverage for an additional 714,000 people. It will cost taxpayers about $2.6 billion per year once fully implemented. The Newsom administration has indicated it will take until 2024 to implement the expansion.

McConnell warns Dems of fallout for reviving Biden bill

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to derail a bill designed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the United States if Democrats revive their stalled package of energy and economic initiatives. The possible rejuvenation of the reconciliation package remains a work in progress and is far from certain. But McConnell seems worried enough that he decided to complicate Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to get a semiconductor bill over the finish line before members break for their August recess. The White House says McConnell is “holding hostage” a bipartisan package that would lower the cost of countless products that rely on semiconductors.

Supreme Court: Biden can end Trump-era asylum policy

The Supreme Court says the Biden administration can scrap a Trump-era immigration policy to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration courts. It's a victory for a White House that still must address the growing number of people seeking refuge at America’s southern border. The ruling will have little immediate impact because the policy has been seldom applied under President Joe Biden. He reinstated it under a court order in December. His predecessor, Donald Trump, launched the “Remain in Mexico” policy and fully embraced it. Two conservative justices joined their three liberal colleagues in siding with the White House.

Parson signs $48B Missouri budget, cuts tax refund program

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has approved a roughly $48 billion state budget while cutting $500 million for tax refunds. Parson signed the budget Thursday. But he also slashed funding that lawmakers had set aside for tax refunds for middle-income taxpayers. The budget still includes enough money to fully pay for the state’s share of public K-12 busing costs, as well as a program to increase teacher pay to at least $38,000 a year. The budget also pays for expanded access to the Medicaid health care program.

Reports chart good month in May for Nevada casinos, tourism

A trio of economic reports show that May was a good month for Nevada tourism and gambling, including passenger traffic characterized as the third-busiest ever at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Thursday that casinos statewide won $1.3 billion last month. That was the fourth-highest all-time and the 15th month in a row topping the $1 billion mark. At the airport, nearly 4.6 million arriving and departing passengers was third behind monthly records set before the pandemic. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported tourist tallies were steady from April to May with about 3.4 million visitors in Southern Nevada.

Vermont US Sen. Leahy undergoes surgery on broken hip

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont underwent surgery Thursday after he broke his hip in a fall at his home. A spokesman for the 82-year-old Democrat says Leahy is “comfortably recovering” at a Washington area hospital after successful surgery. Leahy fell Wednesday night at his home in McLean, Virginia. Doctors said the best course of action was to have surgery as soon as possible. He is expected to make a full recovery and begin physical therapy. Leahy is the longest-serving sitting senator. He announced in November that he will not seek reelection this fall.

Essence CEO Wanga: Festival is 'never leaving' New Orleans

Essence’s chief executive officer said she’s been asked many times whether the Essence Festival of Culture is staying in New Orleans. On Thursday, Caroline Wanga made her answer very clear. She told a news conference held to welcome the festival back to the city after a two-year hiatus brought on by the pandemic that the festival is never leaving New Orleans. The city's current contract with the festival runs through 2024. Mayor LaToya Cantrell's administration said discussions are underway to extend that date. Since 1995, every festival has been held in New Orleans except in 2006, when Essence moved to Houston after Hurricane Katrina.

Judge to block Florida abortion ban; Kentucky ban on hold

A Florida judge says he will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban. The judge said Thursday that ban violates the state’s constitution and he will issue an order blocking it, but not before it is scheduled to take effect Friday. In Kentucky, a judge has temporarily blocked that state’s near-total ban on the procedure triggered by the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade. The cases reflect battles being waged in courts across the country after the Supreme Court left it up to the states to decide whether abortion is legal within their borders.

Beshear denounces near-total abortion ban as 'extremist'

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has denounced a Kentucky law designed to impose a near-total ban on abortions as “extremist.” Beshear pointed to the measure's lack of exceptions for rape and incest victims. In doing so, he pushed back on an issue Republicans have made a policymaking priority. Beshear's comments came after a state judge on Thursday temporarily suspended enforcement of the state’s so-called trigger law. The 2019 measure took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week to end federal constitutional protections for abortions. A ruling Thursday by Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry allowed abortions to resume in Kentucky.

Abortion ruling prompts variety of reactions from states

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. The June 24 ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.