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Advocates call for a climate peace clause in U.S.-E.U. trade talks, negotiations yield a tentative debt ceiling deal, an Idaho case unravels federal water protections, and a wet spring eases Iowa's drought.

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Gold Star families gather to remember loved ones on Memorial Day, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the House will vote on a debt ceiling bill this week and America's mayors lay out their strategies for summertime public safety.

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The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

Wisconsin’s Voting Laws Still In Flux

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016   

MADISON, Wis. - Once again, another federal judge has ruled that many parts of Wisconsin's new election law are unconstitutional, and voters will have to familiarize themselves with still another set of rules about voting.

The decision on Friday by U.S. District Judge James Peterson said many parts of the state's 2011 law fail to comply with the constitutional requirement that elections be fair and equally open to all qualified voters. Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican leaders of the Legislature were disappointed in the decision and called Peterson a liberal activist. They've vowed to appeal the judge's decision.

However, Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, said it's a huge victory if the judge's ruling stands.

"It would take Wisconsin back to where we were when we had amongst the highest voter turnout in the country, and that's frankly the way it should be," Heck said. "Because what Judge Peterson also said was that this rationale that would prevent voter fraud is not based in fact; it's based on a political calculation."

The judge's ruling restored the early-registration provisions which the law prohibited, and tossed out the limits on in-person absentee voting. The judge ruled those restrictions were unfair to minorities.

Peterson allowed some parts of the photo voter ID law to stand, but eased restrictions on voters seeking to obtain acceptable ID. The judge said he would have struck down the entire photo ID law, but was bound by the Supreme Court's decision that states may use voter ID laws if they are properly written. He called Wisconsin's version of the voter ID law "a cure worse than the disease" and said voter fraud essentially was a phantom.

Although the judge's decision will be appealed, Heck advised voters to get appropriate ID regardless.

"This law could be changed again. The Legislature could come back next year and change it again," Heck said. "So rather than rely on the hope that this is absolutely going to prevail, I think voters should play it smart and assume that they're going to have to show some ID, and try to go out and get that."

The judge's ruling will have no effect on the primary election next week, but as it stands it will affect the Nov. 8 presidential election.


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