Policy updates: Louisiana is widening access to medical marijuana, tightening the rules on vaping in cars and making it harder to restrict guns in cities and towns, as nearly 200 new laws take effect Saturday. Most of the provisions were passed in the Legislature’s shortened regular session that ended in June. Lawmakers also agreed to limit the use of solitary confinement with pregnant prisoners. They broadened the activity that could get a person charged with the crime of battery of a police officer, to include the throwing of water and other liquids at an officer. And they increased the ways a person sent to prison as a juvenile can seek parole. Read the full story.
Export extension: President Donald Trump has extended U.S. LNG exports until 2050 after a fiery speech in Midland, Texas, in which he claimed Democratic candidate Joe Biden would mean the end of the Texas oil and gas industry, The Houston Chronicle reports. Typically LNG export licenses to countries with which the U.S. does not have free-trade agreements are issued for no more than 20 years. But Trump says he wants to “ensure we maintain a dominant position long into the future.” Read the full story.
Rate drop: U.S. average rates on long-term mortgages declined this week, remaining near historic lows as the key 30-year loan slipped back below 3%. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported today that the average rate on the 30-year home loan eased to 2.99% from 3.01% last week. The benchmark rate hasn’t fallen below the 3% mark for 50 years. By contrast, the rate averaged 3.75% a year ago. The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.51% from 2.54% last week. Read the full report.