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In a landmark ruling for non-traditional families in New York, the state's highest court on Tuesday held a person need not have a biological or adoptive relationship with a child to be considered a parent. The decision by the New York Court of Appeals gives such individuals legal standing to seek custody or visitation rights. Continue reading.

Potential employers won't be able to test applicants for marijuana in D.C. until after they've made a conditional job offer under a bill approved by the D.C. Council.  The bill was approved unanimously Tuesday.  Continue reading.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed a bill Thursday that would have made it easier for people to register to vote, claiming the measure would increase voter fraud.  The bill, passed by the state legislature, would automatically register voters when they apply for or renew their driver’s license, driver’s permit or state identification, unless they specifically opt out of registering.  Continue reading.

California could soon restore voting rights for tens of thousands of felons who are not serving their sentences in the state prison system.  The state Senate on Tuesday passed Assembly Bill 2466 by a vote of 23-13, sending it to governor’s desk for consideration. The controversial measure clarifies that anyone convicted of a felony who is not currently imprisoned or on parole is allowed to vote.  Continue reading.

When Dolfinette Martin was convicted of shoplifting more than $700 worth of clothes in Louisiana in 2005, she had five children, no money and an addiction to cocaine.  Seven years later, in 2012, Ms. Martin became one of a growing number of impoverished women released from prisons and jails whose plight has been largely overlooked during continuing efforts to reverse mass incarceration, according to criminal justice experts. Continue reading.

By now, Karen Wilk thought she would have sold her five-bedroom house in Colts Neck, New Jersey, and downsized to a smaller home. But she has had to put those plans on hold because her 23-year-old daughter, who is finishing her college degree while working part-time, still lives with her. Wilk’s 27-year-old son moved out two years ago. Continue reading.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday approved a package of bills aimed at preventing young people who've run afoul of the law from falling into a cycle of incarceration.  Flanked by Democratic lawmakers with whom he has been warring over the state's budget mess, Rauner said the legislation was just one step in a larger effort to change the state's criminal justice system.  Continue reading.

Federal judges struck down nearly 30 North Carolina House and Senate districts on Thursday as illegal racial gerrymanders, but will allow General Assembly elections to be held using them this fall. Continue reading.

Starting in December, Texas will try something new to get parents to pay child support: withhold their vehicle registration. The move is a controversial attempt to get more noncustodial parents to pay child support on-time and in-full. But some family and antipoverty advocates say the policy will have unintended consequences. Continue reading.

Twenty years after a federal law blocked people with felony drug convictions from receiving welfare or food stamps, more states are loosening those restrictions — or waiving them entirely. Continue reading.

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