News you might have missed: New Hampshire scores major voting rights victory


Also: The Supreme Court makes it easier to sue for age discrimination, and the cast of 'Hamilton' crashes a Zoom call to perform for a young fan.

Also this week, Minnesota passed a law to help health care workers and first responders, and a report shows that less boat traffic could make the water more healthy for marine life.

Read on to see what else you might have missed this week in the news.

New Hampshire halts racist voter law

A superior court judge ruled that a GOP-backed voter suppression law was unconstitutional, New Hampshire Public Radio reported.

The law, known as S.B. 3, added additional steps to the voter registration process, and additional penalties for not complying. The judge found no proof of serious voter fraud in New Hampshire and ruled the law was more likely to stop people from voting than prevent nonexistent fraud.

The law "establishes enough hurdles, the forms contain enough complexity, and the penalties present enough risk that they tend to dissuade a specific type of voter from even engaging with the process," Judge David Anderson wrote in his ruling. "SB 3 does not stop someone at the polls from casting a ballot; it discourages them from showing up in the first place."

The ruling will likely be appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, NHPR reported.

New law helps first responders and health care workers in Minnesota

On Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, made it easier for health care workers and first responders to receive compensation benefits if they get sick.

The new law "designates the coronavirus as a workplace illness for firefighters, EMTs, police officers, health care workers, and some child care providers," local outlet KMSP reported.

The designation means that these workers will just need to provide proof of a positive diagnosis, rather than prove they contracted the virus while at work.

The law took effect on Thursday.

Washington governor signs anti-harassment bill into law

The Anti-Defamation League praised Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, for signing legislation to protect residents from harassment known as "swatting," according to an April 3 press release.

"Swatting" is alerting law enforcement to a false emergency with the intention of a response team, such as a SWAT team, showing up at someone's home or business.

"This legislation is a foundational approach to addressing the growing rate of hate and harassment online in Washington and protecting marginalized communities," the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle said in a joint statement with the ADL's Pacific Northwest Region. "Even in these times, our work to protect our communities from online violence is incredibly important."

The new law bolsters penalties for "swatting" and empowers victims.

Supreme Court makes it easier to sue for age discrimination

In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court just made it easier for federal employees aged 40 and up to bring lawsuits for age discrimination, the Associated Press reported.

The ruling, which involved a woman in her early 50s who worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs, declared that age discrimination had to be a part of the discriminatory process — but not the key factor — in the case of a federal worker.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone member of the court to dissent.

Kansas lays out new transportation spending priorities

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly signed a new transportation bill on April 3, local news outlet KFDI reported. The 10-year plan was created with the input of more than 2,000 stakeholders from across the state, according to a statement from Kelly's office.

"Investing in Kansas' infrastructure means putting people to work," Kelly said about the new law. "It means fixing our roads and bridges. It means safer transportation for our most precious cargo — our children."

The press release also noted that every county in Kansas will receive at least $8 million in transportation improvements.

Less boat traffic could be good for marine life

Less boat traffic off of Canada's west coast could be good news for marine life in the area, Global News reported on Wednesday.

Whale-watching tours have been canceled off of British Columbia's coast, and marine traffic has been reduced in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, meaning noise pollution, a risk for marine animals that rely on sound to communicate, has decreased.

"I think it's still too early to tell," Valeria Vergara, a marine mammal research scientist with the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, told Global News, "but certainly it has to be good news for marine life locally."

Vergara added that if restrictions stay in place when belugas travel to their summer habitat, "it will probably be the quietest arrival they've had in decades."

Watch the cast of 'Hamilton' reunite to perform for young fan

John Krasinski, star of "The Office" and "Jack Ryan," reunited the original cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" to sing to a young fan who was unable to travel to New York to see it live for her birthday due to coronavirus safety guidelines.

On the second episode of his YouTube show, "Some Good News," Krasinski interviewed Aubry, a 9-year-old fan of the show, using the video-conferencing application Zoom.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of the show crashed the call to performed for Aubry, and us, after learning she wasn't able to see it.

Krasinski promised Aubry that when the coronavirus crisis passes, he will personally fly her and her mom to New York to see "Hamilton" live and in person.