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Politics

Nebraska lawmakers vote to abolish death penalty

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Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to abolish the death penalty by a big enough margin to override a threatened veto by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The measure passed 32-15 in the state's unicameral Legislature. It would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison.

If lawmakers override the expected veto, Nebraska would become the first conservative state to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.

California bill targets state's abortion-alternative pregnancy clinics

California's 71 abortion-alternative pregnancy medical clinics may be forced to inform pregnant women considering their services that publicly funded programs that provide abortion are available to them if a fast-moving bill becomes law.

The Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act is needed to ensure all women have knowledge and access to a full range of publicly funded reproductive health care options, according to the bill's authors, Democratic Assembly members David Chiu, of San Francisco, and Autumn Burke, of Los Angeles.

Interfaith activists call solitary confinement immoral, ineffective

They're small spaces -- sometimes 7 feet wide, 12 feet long. And they're where some inmates are held, sometimes for days, sometimes for decades.

Religious leaders across the country are speaking out against solitary confinement cells that they say should never be used by juveniles or the mentally ill and rarely by the general prison population.

The debate is taking on new resonance as a Boston jury weighs the death penalty -- or a life sentence with 23 hours a day in solitary confinement -- for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the convicted Boston Marathon bomber.

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May 22-June 4, 2015

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