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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A panel of North Dakota lawmakers will this year begin the job of redrawing the map of legislative districts, a process that is expected to show a continued loss of political clout in rural areas due to population shifts in the past decade.

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Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol.

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A bill that would protect businesses and health care providers from coronavirus-related lawsuits is advancing quickly through the Montana Legislature, after the state's Republican governor said the measure was necessary to remove a statewide mask mandate put in place by his Democratic predecessor.

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Google on Friday threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government went ahead with plans to make tech giants pay for news content.

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Transgender kids would be banned from playing on school sports teams for the gender with which they identify under a GOP-backed bill that advanced Thursday in Montana, one of more than a dozen states where lawmakers are proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for trans minors this year.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's state senators, emboldened by their newly expanded GOP majority, are nearing floor debate on a bill that would ban almost all abortions in the state without exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly's Public Health Committee on Wednesday pledged to move forward this session with legislation that would end a religious exemption from vaccinations for schoolchildren, despite being called on by thousands of residents to postpone plans.

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers began debating two proposals Tuesday that would restrict access to abortions in the state, launching a renewed focus for the Republican-controlled Legislature on abortion limits after the state in November elected its first Republican governor in 16 years.

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