Abortion law struck down
An Oklahoma judge on Wednesday struck down a state law requiring women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image placed in front of them and to listen to a detailed description of the fetus before the procedure. District Judge Bryan Dixon ruled the statute passed by the Legislature in 2010 is an unconstitutional special law because it addresses only patients, physicians and sonographers dealing with abortions and does not address them concerning other medical care. Former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry had vetoed the bill after it passed the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature; Republicans managed to override the veto with the help of several anti-abortion Democrats.
Controlled burns halted
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday suspended the use of state prescribed burns like the one that may have caused a deadly wildfire that destroyed dozens of homes near Denver. The Colorado State Forest Service said the 6-square-mile fire started after a controlled burn last week that was meant to reduce vegetation. Instead, high wind gusts Monday blew embers across a containment line and into unburned forest, sparking the fire. “This is heartbreaking, and we are sorry,” Deputy State Forester Joe Duda said in a written statement. Hickenlooper said the ban on prescribed fires on state lands, including state parks, would be in effect until a review of the wildfire is complete.
Militia charges tossed
A federal judge on Tuesday gutted the government’s case against seven members of a Michigan militia, dismissing the most serious charges in an extraordinary defeat for federal authorities who insisted they had captured homegrown rural extremists poised for war. U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said the members’ expressed hatred of law enforcement didn’t amount to a conspiracy to rebel against the government. The FBI had secretly planted an informant and an FBI agent inside the Hutaree militia starting in 2008 to collect hours of anti-government audio and video that became the cornerstone of the case.
Compiled from wire reports.