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Texas lawmakers are on the brink of finishing redrawn U.S. House maps that would shore up their eroding dominance as voters peel away from the GOP in the state’s booming suburbs. The maps approved by the Texas House on Saturday night will now go through some last negotiations before being sent to Gov. Greg Abbott. The redrawn congressional districts may make it easier for incumbents to hold their seats. They also may blunt Black and Hispanic communities’ political influence, even as those voters drive Texas’ growth. The new lines create two new districts and make several less competitive for Republican lawmakers.

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A crowd of 100 people wreaked havoc in downtown Portland, Oregon, this week, smashing storefront windows, lighting dumpsters on fire and causing at least $500,000 in damage. But police officers didn’t stop them. Portland Police Bureau officials say that’s because legislation passed by Oregon lawmakers this year restricts the tools they can use as people vandalize buildings and cause mayhem. The measure prohibits the use of things like pepper spray and rubber bullets for crowd control. However there are exceptions, and lawmakers say police should still be able to use the tools they need to quell riots. Portland has seen ongoing, often violent protests since the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Three months after creation of a commission to identify cybersecurity risks in state government, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has yet to appoint any members. A state lawmaker said Friday that vulnerabilities exposed on a state website prove the need for just such a panel of experts. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist this week uncovered a flaw on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's website that potentially exposed Social Security numbers for school employees. Parson responded by accusing the journalist of hacking, and announced a criminal investigation. Democratic Rep. Ashley Aune says Parson's administration is responsible for the problem. Aune says Parson should appoint members for the cybersecurity commission.

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In response to growing violence across Nigeria’s northwest and central states, governors have blocked telecommunications in many areas across five states to enable the military to carry out special operations targeted at the armed groups attacking local communities. However, local officials and residents told The Associated Press that many villagers now feel trapped as they are unable to call for help when they are attacked in communities with an inadequate security presence. The gunmen have also turned to mobile networks from Nigeria’s neighboring country Niger and other measures including the closure of markets are hurting the region's economies.

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Republican Gov. Mike Parson has condemned one of Missouri’s largest newspapers for exposing a flaw in a state database that allowed public access to thousands of teachers’ Social Security numbers. Parson's criticism of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday came even though the paper held off from publishing its story about the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education data vulnerability until the agency could fix it. Parson says the Missouri State Highway Patrol will conduct an investigation “of all of those involved” and that his administration has spoken to a prosecutor. The newspaper's lawyer says the reporter “did the responsible thing by reporting his findings to DESE so that the state could act to prevent disclosure and misuse."

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Republican Adam Laxalt hopes to win the race for Nevada's U.S. Senate seat by drawing stark contrast between his positions and the direction he says Democrats and their allies in Big Tech, Hollywood and the media are taking the country. He launched his 2022 Senate race against Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto with a tour that brought him to each of Nevada's 17 counties this month. Rather than appeal to undecided voters through striking a conciliatory chord toward Democrats, Laxalt has seized on disillusionment to motivate voters early in the campaign. The race is expected to be among the nation’s most contested and could determine which party controls the Senate. 

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Former President Donald Trump and other Republicans are trying to fire up the party’s right-wing base ahead of Virginia’s critical November elections. Trump phoned into a rally held in suburban Richmond Wednesday that was marked by falsehoods about the 2020 election and tirades against vaccine and mask mandates. He called GOP nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin a “gentleman” and urged the crowd to support him. Youngkin did not attend. The showcase of right-wing enthusiasm came as Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe are locked in a tight race in Democratic-leaning Virginia, one of just two states with governors races this year.

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FILE - In this file photo from July 30, 2020, Ohio state Rep. Bob Cupp answers questions from the media in Columbus, Ohio. The Republican speaker of the Ohio House has once again put the brakes on a GOP bill restricting employers' ability to require that workers receive the coronavirus vaccine. Speaker Bob Cupp is a Republican from Lima. His announcement Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 suggests the bill has little chance of passing the House in its current form. (AP Photo/Farnoush Amiri, File)