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DALLAS (AP) — It's a new Battle of the Alamo, with one Texas agency mounting pressure on another to loan out one of the state's most sacred texts for display at "the shrine of Texas independence." The General Land Office is pressing the State Library and Archives Commission to loan the "Victory or Death" letter penned by Col. William Barret Travis, the commander of the Alamo garrison, from its "dark storage" for a 14-day exhibit at the Alamo in February.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday struck down Montana's campaign contribution limits as unconstitutional, a decision that comes less than a month before Election Day and marks the latest in a string of court rulings against the state's campaign laws. Barring an appeal that stays the judge's order, the ruling means individuals and political parties can dump unlimited amounts of money into the coffers of their preferred candidate at the very peak of the campaign season. The conservative group that brought the lawsuit to overturn the limits applauded the decision.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — California voters are being asked to starve unions of the tens of millions of dollars they use to finance campaigns and political organizing, as the nation's largest state wades into the national debate over labor clout. The battle over Proposition 32 on the November ballot follows conflicts in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere where efforts to dilute the strength of organized labor have produced political tumult, a flood of TV ads and widespread demonstrations.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — As marijuana legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington pick up steam, a similar push in Oregon seems to be going up in smoke. More than $4 million has flowed to Washington and close to a million in Colorado.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A multibillion-dollar information-sharing program created in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly collected information about innocent Americans and produced little valuable intelligence on terrorism, a Senate report concludes. It portrays an effort that ballooned far beyond anyone's ability to control. What began as an attempt to put local, state and federal officials in the same room analyzing the same intelligence has instead cost huge amounts of money for data-mining software, flat screen televisions and, in Arizona, two fully equipped Chevrolet Tahoes that are used for commuting, investigators found.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man's bid to become the first illegal immigrant to obtain a law license in the United States met skepticism Tuesday from most of the state's Supreme Court justices. Jose Godinez-Samperio came to the U.S. with his parents on visitors' visas when he was 9 years old, but the family never returned to Mexico. He graduated from New College in Florida, earned a law degree from Florida State University and passed the state bar exam last year.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's divisive voter identification requirement became the latest of its kind to get pushback from the courts ahead of Election Day, delivering a hard-fought victory to Democrats who said it was a ploy to defeat President Barack Obama and other opponents who said it would prevent the elderly and minorities from voting. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said in his ruling that he was concerned by the state's stumbling efforts to create a photo ID that is easily accessible to voters and that he could not rely on the assurances of government officials at this late date that every voter would be able to get a valid ID.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Some political momentum could be on the line when a judge rules on whether to keep intact Pennsylvania's tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification in next month's presidential election. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is under a state Supreme Court order to rule no later than Tuesday, just five weeks before voters decide whether to re-elect President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or replace him with Mitt Romney, a Republican.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gay rights advocates are making plans to get other states to join California in banning psychotherapy aimed at making gay teenagers straight, even as opponents prepared Monday to sue to overturn the first law in the nation to take aim at the practice. After months of intense lobbying, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill late Saturday that prohibits licensed mental health professionals from using so-called reparative or conversion therapies with clients under age 18. Brown called the therapies "quackery" that "have no basis in science or medicine."
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A court-imposed Tuesday deadline is looming for a judge to decide whether Pennsylvania's tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification can remain intact, a ruling that could swing election momentum to Republican candidates now trailing in polls on the state's top-of-the-ticket races. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is under a state Supreme Court order to rule no later than Tuesday, just five weeks before voters decide whether to re-elect President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or replace him with Mitt Romney, a Republican.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's second-highest court on Monday ordered a new trial for a brain-damaged man serving life in prison for killing his former wife's grandmother, ruling that prosecutors suppressed evidence two decades ago that may have supported his alibi that he was home watching television. Lawyers for Richard Lapointe, 66, argued that new DNA evidence proves he's innocent of the 1987 slaying and that his previous attorneys were ineffective.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Arnold Schwarzenegger says his wife, Maria Shriver, was told to "snap out of it" by her mother for her attempts to persuade him against running for California governor in 2003, a conversation that ultimately opened the door to his successful candidacy. Eunice Kennedy Shriver told her daughter that her husband would be "angry for the rest of his life" if she stopped his ambitions, Schwarzenegger writes in his new autobiography, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Arnold Schwarzenegger says his wife, Maria Shriver, was told to "snap out of it" by her mother for her attempts to persuade him against running for California governor in 2003, a conversation that ultimately opened the door to his successful candidacy. Eunice Shriver told her daughter that her husband would be "angry for the rest of his life" if she stopped his ambitions, Schwarzenegger writes in his new autobiography, "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story."
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Allison Julien worked for more than two decades as a nanny in New York, toiling 50 to 60 hours a week without overtime pay until the state enacted the nation's first bill of rights for domestic workers two years ago. Since then, the Barbados immigrant says her job has changed dramatically. She still dedicates long hours to caring for children in Brooklyn's upscale Park Slope neighborhood but she now has a written contract with the parents who hired her, guaranteeing overtime. She is also assured one day off a week and three paid personal days yearly.
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan's former state budget director told jurors Thursday that she was "angry" when she learned that public grants approved in 2000 at the urging of Kwame Kilpatrick ended up in the hands of the former mayor's wife. Kilpatrick is on trial for alleged corruption, mostly committed at City Hall from 2002 through 2008, but federal prosecutors turned the clock back further to show questionable deals from when he was a Democratic leader in the Michigan House.
BOSTON (AP) — Chemist Annie Dookhan was "Superwoman," a colleague at a Massachusetts state crime lab used to joke. She seemed unstoppable in her quest to please prosecutors, police and her bosses, testing two to three times more drug samples than anyone else, working through lunch and not bothering to put in for overtime. "The kind of person, if you owned your own business, you would want to hire her," a supervisor would later tell police.
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday he expects criminal charges will be brought in an investigation of misconduct by a state lab chemist who admitted faking drug sample results, forging signatures and skipping proper procedures. Speaking to reporters, Patrick said he shut down the drug lab soon after learning of admissions chemist Annie Dookhan made during an interview with state police at the end of August. The governor said he finds it troubling that Dookhan and her supervisors "did not seem to understand the gravity of this."
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The meaning of reams of new data from groundwater testing in a remote Wyoming gas field where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sparked concern last year will be a matter of interpretation. Does the new science shore up damnation of hydraulic fracturing — the petroleum industry practice of blasting water, sand and chemicals deep beneath the water table? Or does it refute criticism of the technique as too much anxious hand-wringing?
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — It was an odd assignment for the young, pretty staffer when she was ordered to go along on a trip to Atlantic City with her boss. But the reason soon became clear. She said she spent much of the trip struggling to fend off the advances and kisses of 72-year-old Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez. He was persistent, she said, and eventually put his hand between her legs.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trying to command attention and build his lead in the polls, President Barack Obama unveiled a new two-minute TV commercial Thursday calling for an "economic patriotism" he hopes will sweep him to a second term, urging voters to compare his plan with Republican Mitt Romney's and "decide for yourself." Romney, campaigning in Ohio while polls showed him slipping in key states, declared that "I care about the people of America" and can do more than Obama to improve their lives.