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Mar 27, 2015

Arkansas Senate passes religion bill seen as targeting gays

By Jon Herskovitz

(Reuters) – The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on Friday a Republican-backed bill whose authors say is intended to protect religious freedoms but critics contend could allow businesses to refuse service to gay people.

The Republican governor of Indiana signed into law a similar “religious freedom” bill on Thursday, prompting protests from human rights groups and criticism from some business leaders.

Mar 27, 2015

Arkansas Senate approves controversial religion bill

By Jon Herskovitz and Steve Barnes

(Reuters) – The Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly approved on
Friday a bill its authors said is to protect religious freedoms
but critics contend could allow business owners to refuse
service to gays and lesbians because of their beliefs.

As the bill advances in the Republican-dominated Arkansas
statehouse, the governor of nearby Indiana signed into law a
similar “religious freedom” bill on Thursday, prompting protests
from human rights groups and some business leaders.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. court halts Labor Department same-sex couple protections

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge in Texas on Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor Department from implementing a rule that would expand medical leave protections for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges on the rights of states that ban gay marriage.

The state of Texas, which has a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, last week sued the Labor Department over the rule that would grant family medical leave protections to all married same-sex couples.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. court halts Labor Dept. same-sex couple protections

AUSTIN, Texas, March 26 (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge in
Texas on Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor
Department from implementing a rule that would expand medical
leave protections for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges
on the rights of states that ban gay marriage.

The state of Texas, which has a state constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage, last week sued the Labor
Department over the rule that would grant family medical leave
protections to all married same-sex couples.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. court halts Labor Department rule on same-sex couples

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A U.S. district judge in Texas on
Thursday issued a stay to halt the U.S. Labor Department from
implementing a rule that would expand medical leave protections
for same-sex couples, saying the move impinges on the rights of
states that ban gay marriage.

The state of Texas, which has a state constitutional
amendment banning gay marriage, last week sued the Labor
Department over the rule that would grant family medical leave
protections to all married same-sex couples.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. gives approval for $350,000 rhino hunt sold at Texas auction

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A hunter who paid $350,000 last year at a Dallas auction for a license to hunt an endangered black rhino in Namibia will be able to bring home a trophy despite protests from animal rights groups that said the sale was immoral.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said on Thursday it had found that $550,000 in proceeds generated from two planned hunts in the southern African country will go to conservation and granted permits for them, including the one sold at the Texas auction.

Mar 25, 2015

Texas gets new batch of execution drug after supply ran short

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Texas has received a new stock of a lethal injection drug after its supply of the sedative it uses in executions fell to just one batch, prison officials said on Wednesday.

“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has obtained a new supply of pentobarbital, which will allow the agency to carry out executions that are scheduled for the month of April,” spokesman Jason Clark said in a statement.

Mar 22, 2015

Director tries for inside story of mental illness in ‘Mania Days’

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Paul Dalio, a film director who has bipolar disorder, said he made “Mania Days” because he wanted filmgoers to see the world through the eyes of those with mental illness.

The movie, which premiered in the past week at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin and stars Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby, tells the story of a manic-depressive man and woman who are made for each other and destructive together.

Mar 20, 2015

Some 300 attorneys seek reinstatement of Texas death row lawyer

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A year’s suspension for a Texas death row defense lawyer as punishment for submitting documents late was unwarranted and will interfere with his work for others awaiting execution, a petition signed by about 300 lawyers submitted this week said.

According to the petition, filed in the Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overstepped its bounds when it punished attorney David Dow and is seeking his reinstatement.

Mar 19, 2015

Texas Bar seeks punishment for prosecutor in death penalty conviction

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The State Bar of Texas has sought punishment for the prosecutor in a 1992 trial who is suspected of withholding evidence that could have cleared a man convicted of setting a fire that killed his three daughters and was later executed.

Death penalty opponents have said Texas may have executed an innocent man when it sent Cameron Todd Willingham to the death chamber in 2004 after he was convicted of murder in the 1991 house fire, largely on the testimony of a prison informant who told a jury that Willingham had confessed to the crime.