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New coronavirus infections and deaths in the U.S. are down dramatically from earlier highs, though more contagious variants are spreading. Most people are now are at least partially vaccinated, yet lingering hesitancy has slowed the pace and even caused some doses to go to waste.

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republican lawmakers voted with majority Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives to take the historic step of expelling a Republican member who let violent, far-right protesters into the state Capitol on Dec. 21.

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — President Joe Biden’s nominee to oversee federal lands in the U.S. West is facing Republican pressure to withdraw over her ties to environmental activists convicted of spiking trees to sabotage a national forest timber sale more than 30 years ago.

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — In the final minutes of their legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers agreed to change the way the state shops for voting systems, to include more public vetting and require an auditable paper trail, after two recent efforts to replace the state’s voting machines failed amid controversy.

BOSTON (AP) — A bill approved by the Massachusetts House would upend the process of drawing local precinct lines, setting off a political squabble that pits Democratic lawmakers against the Democratic secretary of state and local city and town leaders.

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CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Democrats used inadequate data and an opaque process to draw new legislative districts, a Latino civil rights organization argued in the latest lawsuit seeking to block the maps from being used for statehouse elections over the next decade.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a new law allowing the governor to directly nominate judges to fill vacancies — giving Gov. Greg Gianforte and the Republican-controlled Legislature a win in the first of a series of challenges to laws passed by the 2021 Legislature.

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ATLANTA (AP) — For more than a decade, Georgia Democrats struggled to lure highly qualified, big-name candidates to run for statewide office. With Republicans firmly in control of all constitutional positions and the state legislature, none wanted to take the risk.

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