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Kansas Senate moves to protect pensions, mental hospitals

John Hanna, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 9:01pm

The Kansas Senate approved proposals aimed at preventing the state from shorting its contributions to public pensions or having private companies run its two mental hospitals, part of a larger plan it also advanced Thursday night to balance the next state budget.

House committee passes bill to privatize air traffic control

Joan Lowy, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 8:41pm

A Republican-controlled House committee on Thursday endorsed a bill that would wrest responsibility for running the nation's air traffic control system from the government and turn it over to a private, nonprofit corporation run by airlines and other aviation interests.

NY to require manufacturers to pay for fouled water cleanup

Mary Esch, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 8:21pm

Two industrial companies will be held liable for the cleanup of a toxic chemical that found its way into an upstate New York village's drinking water, the acting state environmental commissioner said Thursday.

Japan stock index down more than 5 percent

Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 7:41pm

Japan's benchmark stock index dived more than 5 percent Friday following a sell-off in European and U.S. markets.

Venezuela top court overrules Congress on economic emergency

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 7:31pm

Venezuela's Supreme Court overruled the opposition-controlled congress on Thursday and granted broad decree powers to President Nicolas Maduro.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index falls more than 5 percent after US, European sell-off

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 7:31pm

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index falls more than 5 percent after US, European sell-off.

TOPS payments stalled because of La. budget uncertainty

Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 7:00pm

Payments to Louisiana's colleges from the TOPS free college tuition program were put on hold Thursday because of uncertainties about the state's budget and questions about whether the popular program could be on the chopping block.

Opponents urge lawmakers to snuff out tobacco tax increase

Anna Gronewold, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 6:40pm

Nebraska's tobacco tax could more than double under a bill that is drawing praise from health officials but strong criticism from retailers, grocers and smokers.

An urgent call for action made during university rally

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 6:40pm

The head of Northern Illinois University says the school won't layoff anyone for now despite the lack of state funding due to a budget impasse.

Indonesia warns messaging apps to drop same-sex emoticons

Niniek Karmini, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 6:11pm

Human Rights Watch on Friday urged Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo to protect gay and lesbian rights, a day after his government told instant messaging apps to remove stickers featuring same-sex couples in the latest high-profile attempt to discourage visible homosexuality in the socially conservative country.

Arkansas man to appeal verdict in real estate agent's death

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 6:00pm

A man convicted of capital murder and kidnapping in the death of a central Arkansas real estate agent has filed notice that he plans to appeal.

Jury rules against Montana woman's wrongful-birth lawsuit

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 5:40pm

A Montana jury ruled Thursday against a woman who sought millions of dollars from health care providers that she said failed to diagnose her unborn daughter's cystic fibrosis.

Clinton aims to boost campaign with focus on black voters

Lisa Lerer and Ken Thomas, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 5:30pm

After an overwhelming loss in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is staking a campaign comeback on her ability to woo black and Latino voters, placing outreach to those communities at the center of her strategy to re-energize her 2016 bid.

Florida Legislature divided over budget and tax cuts

Gary Fineout, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 5:11pm

Separated by nearly $1 billion in spending and differences over everything from tax cuts to health care spending, the Florida Legislature has less than a month left in its regular session to reach a deal on a new state budget.

Oklahoma judge OKs anti-abortion law on hospital privileges

Tim Talley, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 4:50pm

An Oklahoma law requiring abortion providers to have a physician with local hospital admitting privileges present when abortions are performed is constitutional, a judge ruled Thursday.

Ohio leaders say medical marijuana issue isn't going away

Ann Sanner, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 4:40pm

Legislative leaders and statewide officers weighed in Thursday on how Ohio should address the issue of medical marijuana, with most agreeing that the matter is not going away.

The Latest: 9 others charged with armed Oregon standoff

The Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 4:30pm

The Latest on the standoff at a national wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):

House bill would allow drug testing for food stamps

Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 4:30pm

A key House Republican is renewing a GOP push to allow drug tests for low-income food stamp recipients, a move to help states like Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker has sued the federal government to permit screening.

Ex-exec sentenced to 1 month in West Virginia chemical spill

John Raby, Associated Press  |  Posted  Feb 11th - 4:20pm

A former Freedom Industries executive was sentenced Thursday to one month in federal prison for a chemical spill that fouled the drinking water supply of 300,000 West Virginians.