Most felons granted the right to vote

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) signed an executive order Tuesday restoring voting rights to most felons in the state, an action that he said will affect about 180,000 people.

After felons have completed their sentences, including probation or parole, and have made court-mandated restitution, they will have their rights automatically restored if they have no cases pending, Beshear said.

Felons convicted of violent or sex crimes, bribery, and treason are excluded.

Previously, felony offenders had to apply to the governor’s office to have their voting rights restored. Now, Beshear said, the Department of Corrections will make the determination. Kentucky is one of four states that require their governors to sign off on the restoration of a felon’s voting rights.

— Reuters

Lawsuit challenges ban on refugees

A lawsuit challenging the governor’s decision to stop state agencies from helping resettle Syrian refugees alleges that the action wrongly targets the refugees based on their nationality and violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the federal lawsuit Monday on behalf of Indianapolis-based nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration. It accuses Gov. Mike Pence (R) of violating the Constitution’s equal-protection clause and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees to Indiana from other countries but not from Syria.

Pence objected to plans for refugees to arrive in Indiana after the deadly attacks in Paris. Five days after the Nov. 13 attacks, a family that had fled war-torn Syria was diverted from Indianapolis to Connecticut when Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities.

The ACLU of Indiana filed a motion Tuesday asking a federal judge to put a temporary hold on Pence’s directive.

— Associated Press

E.coli tied to Costco chicken salad

At least 19 people in seven states may have been infected by E.coli after eating rotisserie-chicken salad sold at Costco, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Five people have been hospitalized and two have developed a type of kidney failure, although no deaths have been reported, the CDC said.

The infections have been reported in Montana, Utah, Colorado, California, Missouri, Virginia and Washington, CDC officials said.

Costco said it stopped selling the chicken salad Friday, the same day it was notified by federal health officials that the company was linked to cases of E.coli.

— Reuters

4 killed in Army helicopter crash: Four crew members on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter died when their aircraft crashed during a training exercise at the Fort Hood Army base in central Texas, military officials said Tuesday. Crew members assigned to Division West, First Army,were on a routine training mission when the helicopter crashed Monday at about 6 p.m.

— Reuters