In the Nation

Posted: February 23, 2012

Ind. union sues on right-to-work law

INDIANAPOLIS - Union members went to federal court Wednesday to ask a judge to block Indiana's new right-to-work law from being enforced, the first lawsuit and latest conflict over the divisive legislation.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed the lawsuit Wednesday, said Marc Poulos, an attorney for the union. It names Gov. Mitch Daniels, Attorney General Greg Zoeller, and Labor Commissioner Lori Torres.

The lawsuit is the latest filed over a wave of conservative legislation pushed through the Indiana General Assembly in the last two years. Indiana also faces suits over 2011 legislation that cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood clinics because the group provides abortions, and the state is in court over tougher illegal-immigration laws and the nation's broadest use of school vouchers.

Daniels signed the right-to-work legislation into law last month, making Indiana the 23d state to ban unions from collecting mandatory fees for representation. - AP

Offices receive threatening notes

WASHINGTON - Some congressional offices outside Washington and media organizations have received threatening letters containing a suspicious powdery substance that was tested and proved to be harmless, the FBI and the Senate's top law enforcement officer said Wednesday.

Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer said in a memo to Senate offices that the letters were sent to three state and home district offices, including a district office of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R., Ohio). Letters were also sent to several media organizations. FBI spokesman Peter Donald said agents had responded to Viacom and at least one other location in New York.

The letters bore a return address from "The MIB" and were postmarked Portland, Ore. The sender wants an "end to corporate money and 'lobbying,' " an end to corporate "personhood," and a new constitutional convention. The Associated Press obtained a copy of a letter. - AP

Parents backed accused professor

BOSTON - The parents of Amy Bishop, an Alabama biology professor accused of shooting three of her colleagues to death in 2010, say she was a well-adjusted, "family-oriented" girl growing up and didn't deliberately kill her brother in Massachusetts in 1986, according to testimony during a closed-door inquest after the Alabama shootings.

Authorities convened the inquest to reinvestigate the shooting death of Seth Bishop, 18, after Amy Bishop was charged in the killings at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Bishop has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the Alabama charges. In a redacted transcript of the inquest released late Tuesday, Bishop's parents say she shot her brother accidentally while trying to unload her father's shotgun at the family's home. After the inquest was completed, Amy Bishop was indicted on murder charges in her brother's death. - AP

Elsewhere:

President Obama signed into law legislation extending a temporary payroll-tax cut and continuing expanded unemployment benefits through 2012.

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