OHIO
Planned Parenthood
defunding law blocked

U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett blocked a state law aimed at diverting public money from Planned Parenthood, saying in a ruling Friday that the group stood to suffer “irreparable injury.”

The Ohio law targets the more than $1.4 million in funding that Planned Parenthood gets through the state Health Department. That money, mostly from the federal government, supports certain education and prevention programs. The law would bar such funds from going to entities that perform or promote abortions.

The restrictions, which had been slated to take effect in May, were signed into law by Gov. John Kasich (R) during his failed presidential bid.

The state attorney general, a Republican, will appeal the ruling, his spokesman said.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region had sued the state, saying the law violated their constitutional rights by denying them the funds “in retaliation for” providing abortions.

— Associated Press

GULF COAST
Heavy rains pound parts of La. and Miss.

Torrential downpours in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi caused flooding on Friday that killed at least one man, left two people injured and forced residents to evacuate homes across the region, officials said.

Pounding rain over the past two days led Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) to declare a state of emergency and forced the closure of schools, government offices and roads.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch into the weekend for parts of southern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana, including New Orleans.

— Reuters

Turbulance leaves 24 injured: People were “thrown around like little rag dolls” when turbulence rocked a JetBlue flight from Massachusetts to California, a passenger said Friday, in an incident that left 24 people injured and forced an unscheduled landing in South Dakota. Two crew members and 22 passengers were taken to a Rapid City hospital. All had been released by Friday morning.

Worst smog in years: Southern California sunshine means sparkling beach weather, but this summer it’s contributing to a return of a traditional nemesis: smog. The enormous region that stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Mojave Desert is having its worst summer air quality since 2009, regulators said Thursday.

New park oversight possible: Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) said Friday that the state’s restricted role in overseeing amusement park safety could change in the wake of a 10-year-old boy’s death Sunday while riding the Verruckt water slide at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City. State law assigns some oversight of such rides to the Kansas Labor Department. But that agency largely requires ride operators to hire inspectors and keep their reports on file. The Verruckt, for instance, opened in 2014 but had never been inspected by state officials.

— From news services