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In deeply Mormon Utah, a push to require clergy report abuse

Survivors and faith leaders are demanding Utah change a law that exempts religious leaders from requirements that they report sexual abuse brought to their attention in spiritual confessions. Reform advocates on Friday held a rally in Salt Lake City to share stories of survivors who said their sexual abuse wasn't reported to law enforcement after they alerted local church leaders. The rally follows an Associated Press story about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its abuse reporting system. The investigation found the system can be misused by church leaders to divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm’s way.

Transgender kids can play girls sports in Utah after ruling

Transgender girls in Utah will be given the opportunity to participate in female sports as the school year begins after a judge reversed a ban pending legal challenges from parents. Utah state Judge Keith Kelly made his ruling Friday. Instead of an outright ban, transgender girls will now go before a state commission of political appointees who will determine if they are eligible to participate. Utah’s ruling marked the latest court development in a nationwide debate over how to navigate a flashpoint issue. Similar cases are underway in states such as Idaho, West Virginia and Indiana.

Grand jury wants school board members removed over massacre

A Florida grand jury empaneled after a deadly mass shooting at a Parkland high school has recommended that four members of that school board be fired. The grand jury in a report released Friday called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to suspend Broward County school board members Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray and Laurie Rich Levinson. It also criticized former Superintendent Robert Runcie and former board member Rosalind Osgood, who is now a state senator. The grand jury has been investigating circumstances surrounding the 2018 shooting at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.

Bill Paxton family settles lawsuit with hospital over death

The family of the late actor Bill Paxton has agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit against a Los Angeles hospital and the surgeon who performed his heart surgery shortly before he died in 2017. A court filing Friday shows that Paxton's widow and two children have settled the suit with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a former surgeon there. The terms are confidential. Paxton, who starred in films including “Apollo 13” and “Titanic,” died from a stroke 11 days after heart surgery. His family alleged the surgery was overly risky and unnecessary. The defendants said Paxton and his family knew and understood the risk involved.

California nuke extension challenged in legislative proposal

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposal to extend the life of the state's last operating nuclear power plant by up to 10 years is being rebuffed by Democratic legislators. They want more investment in renewable energy, new transmission lines and storage. The Associated Press obtained an outline of a proposal being circulated by legislative Democrats that calls for spending $1.4 billion on renewable and other programs. That contradicts Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposal to to extend the lifespan of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. It is scheduled to close by 2025. Newsom says the reactors should keep running to safeguard reliable power amid a hotter climate.

Relationship with Cuomo daughter led to trooper's transfer

New York's inspector general says a state trooper should have been disciplined for being romantically involved with a daughter of Andrew Cuomo while he served on the former governor’s security detail. The watchdog report released Friday comes more than two years after the relationship was discovered by top police brass and former Trooper Dane Pfeiffer was transferred to a post about 150 miles north of the governor’s mansion in Albany. The inspector general's report does not conclude Cuomo did anything wrong but faults state police for not following their own procedures after finding out about the relationship.

Flood-damaged Death Valley to reopen popular sites to public

Death Valley National Park’s most popular sites will reopen to the public on Saturday, two weeks after massive flash-flooding. But the National Park Service cautions visitors to expect delays and continuing road closures. Locations that will reopen include the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, and Mesquite Sand Dunes. Access to the park will be limited to State Route 190 which reopened Friday and to the Panamint Valley Road. Officials say visitors should plan ahead and not rely on GPS because all other paved roads will remain closed for repairs. Backcountry roads are still being assessed. Death Valley was hit by downpours from monsoonal thunderstorms on Aug. 5.

Arizona judge weighs state request to enforce abortion ban

An Arizona judge is considering whether to allow the state to enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for nearly 50 years. The attorney general's office wants prosecutors to be able to charge doctors who provide abortions unless the patient's life is in danger. That law was first enacted decades before Arizona was granted statehood in 1912 and blocked following the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The nation's high court overturned Roe in June and said there is not a constitutional right to abortion. A judge in Tucson heard the Arizona case on Friday and says she'll rule next month.

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