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Arkansas governor seeks fix of religion bill seen as targeting gays

Former Rep. Asa Hutchinson discusses the findings and recommendations of the National School Shield Program in WashingtonBy Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told lawmakers on Wednesday to revise a bill that rights activists and U.S. businesses said allowed discrimination against gays, and home-state corporate giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc praised his action. The state's Senate took up the challenge late on Wednesday, sending to the House of Representatives legislation that would bring the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into line with federal statutes. Indiana's governor a day earlier said lawmakers should fix a similar RFRA. In a news conference at the Capitol in Little Rock, Hutchinson, who previously said he would sign the bill, said he was sending the act back to the Republican-controlled legislature to be rewritten so it can better balance tolerance for diversity and protections of religious freedom.

California governor orders statewide water cutbacks to combat drought

A boat paddle is shown on the bottom of the nearly dry Almaden Reservoir near San JoseBy Sharon Bernstein PHILLIPS, Calif. (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown, in his most sweeping action to combat a devastating multi-year drought, ordered residents and businesses on Wednesday to cut water use by 25 percent in the first mandatory statewide reduction in California history. The move comes as California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, is at its lowest level on record in a sign the state's drought, now entering its fourth year, is far from over. We're just doing it through the different water districts." Brown said the state would develop rebate plans to help families and businesses remove a planned 50 million square feet (4.6 million square meters) of lawns, and replace old appliances with newer, more water-efficient models. Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state Water Resources Control Board, said regulators would not hesitate to issue fines of up to $10,000 a day to water districts that do not succeed in implementing the cutbacks.

Phoenix policeman won't face charges for shooting unarmed black man

By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - No criminal charges will be filed against a white Phoenix police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in December during what authorities described as a struggle, county prosecutors said on Wednesday. Prosecutors found that Officer Mark Rine was justified in using deadly force against Rumain Brisbon, said Jerry Cobb, a Maricopa County attorney spokesman. It was later learned that Brisbon was actually carrying a pill bottle in the struggle outside an apartment complex in Phoenix. Marci Kratter, the attorney for Brisbon?s family, said she was not surprised that Rine will not be held accountable.

Careless smoking blamed for 4-alarm fire in Trenton

Careless smoking blamed for 4-alarm fire in TrentonOfficials say they believe careless smoking was to blame for a 4-alarm fire in Trenton that left residents displaced.

Funeral set, vigil held for slain Darby Borough police officer

Funeral set, vigil held for slain Darby Borough police officerFuneral arrangements are set and a vigil was also held Wednesday night for the Darby Borough police officer who was killed allegedly at the hands of his girlfriend.

Arizona recycling truck driver saves kitten from the trash

In this March 30, 2015, photo provided by Rhonda Humbles, an orange tabby kitten sits in a box in Peoria, Ariz. A Peoria recycling truck driver is being credited with saving the kitten from the trash. (AP Photo/Rhonda Humbles)PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) ? A recycling truck driver in suburban Phoenix is being credited with saving a kitten from the trash.

Assistant fire chief in Indiana demoted after tying noose

MARION, Ind. (AP) ? An assistant fire chief in Indiana has accepted a demotion after tying a rope into a noose in the presence of a black firefighter whose wife belongs to the family of a lynching victim.

Woman charged with killing lawyer in DC hotel

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Police have charged a 21-year-old woman in the stabbing death of a lawyer at an upscale hotel in Washington, D.C.

Colorado theater shooting case costs $2.2M before trial

FILE - In this June 4, 2013, file photo, Aurora, Colo., theater shooting defendant James Holmes appears in court in Centennial, Colo. Taxpayer costs for the Colorado theater shooting case have risen to at least $2.2 million before the trial has even started. That figure doesn't include legal costs for the defendant. The Holmes trial is expected to start April 27. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Andy Cross, Pool, file)DENVER (AP) ? Public spending to investigate and prosecute Colorado theater shooting defendant James Holmes has surpassed $2.2 million, weeks before opening statements in his trial, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Getty oil heir's death latest in string of family tragedies

A police officer creates a perimeter outside a home in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, Tuesday, March 31, 2015. Police say a man was found dead at the home of Andrew Getty, heir to Getty oil fortune. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)LOS ANGELES (AP) ? It's a family name that has long been associated with unimaginable wealth and sometimes unspeakable tragedy.