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The nation in brief

by Compiled Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | May 4, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.

Veto of Kansas transgender ban survives

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Conservative Republican legislators in Kansas failed Monday to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's veto of a proposed ban on transgender athletes in girls' and women's school sports.

The Senate's vote to override Kelly was 26-14, leaving backers of the measure one short of the necessary two-thirds majority and blocking an attempt in the House. The outcome was in doubt until the only Democrat to waver on voting against the override, Sen. David Haley, of Kansas City, cast his no vote.

More than 20 states have considered such proposals this year, as Republican lawmakers have pressed the issue. Idaho enacted such a law last year, and bans were enacted this year in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. Florida lawmakers passed a bill, and South Dakota's governor issued an executive order.

Kelly called the Kansas measure "regressive," said it would send a message that Kansas was not a welcoming place and predicted it would hurt the state's attempts to recruit businesses. LGBTQ-rights advocates said it would increase bullying of already vulnerable children.

The bill's supporters said they were trying to protect fair competition in women's sports and preserve hard-won opportunities for female athletes, such as college scholarships.

The proposed ban is likely to be an issue in the 2022 governor's race, when Kelly seeks a second term. The top two Republican candidates, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and former Gov. Jeff Colyer, have said they would have signed the measure.

Search halts for survivors of boat wreck

SAN DIEGO -- The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for other possible victims a day after a boat crashed off the coast of San Diego at Point Loma, killing three people and injuring 29 others in a suspected human smuggling attempt.

While the Coast Guard Cutter Haddock had searched overnight, officials ended the search Monday morning, Captain Timothy Barelli said in a statement.

The 40-foot trawler-style boat crashed into a reef in rough water near the Cabrillo National Monument Sunday morning and then broke apart. Some passengers made it to shore while others were caught in a rip current.

Lifeguards on rescue boats and personal watercraft pulled seven people from the water, including at least two who had drowned, San Diego lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero said. Lifeguards also hoisted one person up a cliff.

At least five people remained hospitalized, including one in critical condition, authorities said.

The investigation into the incident was ongoing.

"Every indication from our perspective is that this was a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally," Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jeffery Stephenson said Sunday.

Human remains found in bears' stomachs

DURANGO, Colo. -- Human remains were found in two of the three black bears euthanized after they were suspected of attacking and killing a Colorado woman out walking her dog, state wildlife officials said.

The 39-year-old woman was found dead north of Durango in southwestern Colorado on Friday, her body mauled, and authorities suspected a rare bear attack because of the bear scat and hair found at the scene. A dog team found a 10-year-old female black bear and two yearling cubs nearby that were killed because they were suspected of attacking her and it was believed they would likely attack someone else.

The human remains were found inside the stomachs of the sow and one of the cubs during a necropsy Saturday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a news release Sunday. The bears all appeared to be healthy according to an initial examination by a pathologist, showing no sign of disease and with adequate fat stores after the winter hibernation season, the agency said.

Cory Chick, a parks and wildlife regional manager, said that the sow was teaching its yearlings that humans were a source of food, not something to fear or avoid, making them dangerous to people.

Court passes on Maryland gun-law case

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up a challenge to Maryland's ban on bump stocks and other devices that make guns fire faster.

The high court on Monday turned away a challenge to the ban, which took effect in October 2018. A lower court had dismissed the challenge at an early stage and that decision had been upheld by an appeals court. As is typical, the court didn't comment in declining to take the case.

Maryland's ban preceded a nationwide ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks that was put in place by the Trump administration and took effect in 2019. The Supreme Court previously declined to stop the Trump administration from enforcing that ban.

Both Maryland's ban and the nationwide restriction came after a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles he used to shoot concertgoers from his hotel room. Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were injured.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

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