High court seems ready to scrap mandatory public union fees

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday appeared ready to deal a major blow to the power and clout of organized labor as it considers the free speech rights of government workers who say they shouldn’t be forced to pay fees to public-sector unions. The high court’s conservative justices seemed inclined during 80 minutes […]

Trooper in Sandra Bland traffic stop indicted, fired

HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) — A Texas state trooper who arrested Sandra Bland after a contentious traffic stop last summer was fired Wednesday after being charged with perjury for allegedly lying about his confrontation with the Black woman who died three days later in jail. Trooper Brian Encinia claimed in an affidavit that Bland was “combative […]

New laws in 2016 show states are diverging on guns, voting

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Laws taking effect at the start of the new year show states diverging on some hot-button issues. Restrictions on carrying guns eased in Texas, for example, but got tighter in California. It is easier to register to vote in Oregon, but there is another step to take at the polls in […]

Ohio grand jury doesn’t indict officers in shooting of 12 year old Tamir Rice

CLEVELAND (AP) — Officials are urging calm as they brace for expected protests after a grand jury voted not to indict a white Cleveland police officer for fatally shooting a 12-year-old black boy who was carrying what turned out to be a pellet gun. Small groups of protesters gathered Monday outside the Cuyahoga County Justice […]

Mall of America asks judge to bar Black Lives Matter protest

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Black Lives Matter protesters vowed on Monday to demonstrate at the Mall of America on the busy shopping day before Christmas Eve, regardless of whether a judge grants the mall’s request to bar them from doing so. Miski Noor, one of the organizers, said after a hearing Monday about the […]

Prosecutor: No indictment in Sandra Bland jail death

HEMPSTEAD, Texas (AP) — A grand jury decided on Monday that no felony crime was committed by the sheriff’s office or jailers in the treatment of a black woman who died in a Southeast Texas county jail last summer. But prosecutor Darrell Jordan said the Waller County grand jury reached no decision on whether the […]

Officer’s mistrial in Gray’s death a letdown for both sides

BALTIMORE (AP) — As jurors deliberated the fate of one of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore braced for a possible repeat of the protests, destruction and dismay that engulfed the city in April, when Gray died of a broken neck in the back of a police van. But instead […]

President Obama Celebrates 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Ask Americans what the Emancipation Proclamation is and most who know of President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order will respond like 20-year-old Ebony Harris, a student of Howard University from Chicago, Ill., and say, “Isn’t that the thing that freed the slaves?” But, the Emancipation Proclamation did not actually free the slaves. It […]

Senate Democratic leader Reid: Scalia used ‘racist’ rhetoric

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Thursday blasted Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for uttering what he called “racist ideas” from the bench of the nation’s highest court. Scalia on Wednesday suggested it’s possible that some Black students would benefit from being at a “slower-track school” instead of the University of Texas’ […]

Supreme Court torn over Texas affirmative action program

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court appears torn over the use of race in college admissions and may not be ready to make a decision without more information. During arguments Wednesday, several justices asked about the value of ordering more hearings in a case from Texas that was before them for the second time. Additional […]