New York scraps word ‘inmate’ in state law

New York has amended a series of state laws to remove the word “inmate” and replace it with “incarcerated person” when referring to people serving prison time. The changes, signed into law Monday by Gov. Kathy Hochul, are intended to reduce the stigma of being in jail. Prison reform advocates have said the term “inmate” has a dehumanizing effect. Republicans ridiculed the measure as coddling criminals. The change is the latest in the state legislature's history of amending terms in state law seen as outdated or offensive. Last month, Hochul signed legislation replacing the term “mentally retarded,” with “developmentally disabled” in state law.

Senate climate bill has West Virginia written all over it

The sprawling economic package passed by the U.S. Senate this week has a certain West Virginia flavor. There’s the focus on energy, including billions of dollars in incentives for clean energy but also renewed support for traditional fuel sources such as coal and natural gas. Those provisions were added as the price Democrats had to pay to win West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s all-important support. And the package includes big boosts for national parks, low-income people needing health care and coal miners with black lung disease, which are all measures likely to impact Manchin’s constituents back home. Manchin is a conservative Democrat who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He was a key vote needed to pass the package and send it to the House.

Timeline of events in Afghanistan since Taliban takeover

The Taliban’s capture of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021 brought the hardline movement back into power in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after they were toppled by the U.S. invasion following the 9/11 attacks. The year since has been disastrous for the country. Here is a timeline of significant events in connection to the Taliban takeover and subsequent rule.

Smyly stars as Cubs beat Reds in 2nd 'Field of Dreams' game

After the Griffeys played catch in Iowa, Drew Smyly took over. Smyly struck out nine in five scoreless innings, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 in Major League Baseball’s second “Field of Dreams” game. Seiya Suzuki reached three times and Nick Madrigal had three hits for Chicago in a throwback ballpark a short walk away from the main field for the 1989 movie. The night began with Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and his father emerging from the iconic cornstalks to play catch in the outfield, delighting the sellout crowd of 7,823.

Anne Heche on life support, survival of crash 'not expected'

A spokesperson for Anne Heche says the actor is on life support after suffering a brain injury in a fiery crash a week ago and isn't expected to survive. The statement released on behalf of her family said she is being kept on life support to determine if she is a viable organ donor. Earlier Thursday, police said they are investigating Heche for driving under the influence of drugs. Heche crashed her car into a Los Angeles area house on Aug. 5. A police spokesman said Thursday that detectives with a search warrant took a blood sample from Heche, and it showed narcotics in her system. A spokeswoman for Heche declined comment on the investigation.

Suspect who tried to breach FBI office dies in standoff

Authorities are investigating the motives of an armed man who they say tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office, fled, and was shot and died hours later in a rural standoff with law enforcement. The case Thursday unfolded as the FBI warns its agents to take extra precautions amid an increase in social media threats to bureau personnel and facilities following a search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. A law enforcement official briefed on the Cincinnati matter says federal investigators are examining whether the suspect in that case, identified as 42-year-old Ricky Shiffer, may have had ties to far-right extremist groups, including the Proud Boys.

Kansas abortion vote shows limits of GOP's strength

Last week, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed state lawmakers to tighten restrictions on abortion. An Associated Press analysis of the voting results found high turnout among Democratic and independent voters contributed to that result. But even in traditionally conservative Kansas — a state Donald Trump carried by double digits in 2020's presidential election — support for the abortion measure was lower in every single county than support for the former president had been two years ago. In other states, abortion-rights supporters and opponents alike are using the Kansas vote to drive their followers to the polls.

Nuke or no nuke? California officials ponder nuclear future

The California Energy Commission is holding a three-hour workshop focused on the state’s power needs and what role the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant might have in maintaining reliable electricity in the climate change era. The online hearing Friday comes as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging Pacific Gas & Electric to consider a longer operating life for the plant that is scheduled to close by 2025. Newsom fears the state could face power shortages after the plant closes, as California transitions to solar and other renewables. But there are questions over cost and who would pay for a longer run, and earthquake risks.

Nevada officials offer regulations as hand-counts gain steam

For the first time in decades, hand-counting will be used in parts of Nevada on election day. Nationwide proponents of hand-counting have described the old-fashioned method in broad terms as a way to address distrust in elections and voting machines. Now with the general election approaching, after successfully making their case in parts of rural Nevada, the state has introduced guidelines on how hand-counts could potentially be conducted. They include hand-counting teams of four, not all from the same party; tables at least 10 feet apart; and ballots counted 20 at a time.