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A bill that would make vaccinations a requirement for nearly every schoolchild passed the California Legislature. The bill, SB 277, is now on its way to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. It's one of the toughest vaccination bills in the country, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to death penalty opponents, upholding the use of a controversial drug as part of a three-drug execution cocktail. The vote was 5-4, with unusually passionate and sometimes bitter opinions from the majority and dissenting justices.

At Pride events in New York City this weekend, the emotional excitement about marriage equality was evident. But many people also were thrilled about the practical considerations.

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency made a mistake when it told electric power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The high court says the EPA should first have considered how much it would cost power plants to do that.

The decision comes too late for most power companies, but it could affect future EPA regulations.

Mercury in the air is a health risk. When you burn coal or oil, you create airborne mercury that can end up in fish we eat and cause serious health problems.

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It's T minus four days until exam day, and Travis Driscoll is practically living at his desk.

"Each day, I'm easily here for five hours," he says. "I haven't done much of anything else but studying for the last two months."

Driscoll is one of 13,000 medical school applicants across the U.S. taking the new Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT. He's got stacks of science books on his desk to help him prepare and a rainbow of biochemistry charts pasted to the walls: glycolysis, citric acid cycle, electron transport chain, mitosis, meiosis and DNA replication.

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This month we reported the findings from our nationwide investigation into the forces driving the nation's rising high school graduation rate. We found some solid educational approaches — and some questionable quick fixes.

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Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

Investigators continue their examination of a fire at the Glover Grove Baptist Church of Warrenville, S.C.

Fires damaged Glover Grove and some other black churches in the days following nine shooting deaths at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, raising concerns that the incidents were hate-inspired arsons.

Now, in the case of Glover Grove, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has released the following statement, saying it still doesn't know how the blaze started.

A doctor I interviewed for this story told me something that stuck with me. He said for every person with dementia he treats, he finds himself caring for two patients. That's how hard it can be to be a caregiver for someone with dementia.

Parents, take note! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine committee has expanded its recommendation for immunization against meningitis B, a rare but potentially deadly strain of meningitis.

The committee's revised guidance, issued late last week, broadens the group of young people that the CDC thinks should consider getting the shot, and increases the likelihood that health insurance policies will pay for the injection.

A report obtained by NPR paints a bleak portrait of Puerto Rico's economic future, saying its deficit is much larger than previously thought.

"Puerto Rico faces hard times," says the report which was commissioned by the Government Development Bank and written by three former and current International Monetary Fund economists. It is to be released on Monday.

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And in the aftermath of those shootings in Charleston, many white Americans are wondering how they can fight racism. Karen Grigsby Bates from NPR's code-switch team reports on some suggestions.

The Mennonite church encompasses an incredibly diverse group of people, including a small minority that still use a horse and buggy to get around. The largest organization in the faith — Mennonite Church USA — has nearly 100,000 members. Still, whatever the variety of its members, the church is known foremost for two things: pacifism and justice work.

Lately, though, the Mennonite church has been facing a split over how to interpret that ideal of justice — and how it applies to the question of gay and lesbian membership and marriage.

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Amid celebrations about the Supreme Court's decision legalizing gay marriage, some within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are also raising concerns about what may lie ahead for them.

An Oil Rig Arrives In Alaska, On Its Way To The Arctic

Jun 28, 2015
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Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

David Sweat, one of two inmates who escaped from a prison in upstate New York earlier this month, has been shot but taken alive just days after his accomplice, Richard Matt, was killed by police.

For the second time in as many days, a swimmer off North Carolina's Outer Banks has been attacked by a shark.

In a small, sparse makeshift lab, Melissa Malzkuhn practices her range of motion in a black, full-body unitard dotted with light-reflecting nodes. She's strapped on a motion capture, or mocap, suit. Infrared cameras that line the room will capture her movement and translate it into a 3-D character, or avatar, on a computer.

But she's not making a Disney animated film.

Three-dimensional motion capture has developed quickly in the last few years, most notably as a Hollywood production tool for computer animation in films like Planet of the Apes and Avatar.

Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the end of the Elián González drama — the international custody battle that gave the cable news networks bizarre fodder for seven long months in 1999 and 2000.

Elián was a 5-year-old boy found drifting off the Florida coast after his mother drowned during their attempt to escape communist Cuba. Miami's anti-communist Cuban-American leaders demanded Elián be allowed to live with relatives in Miami. The boy's father wanted him back in Cuba. So did Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Two years ago, a wildfire was raging in the foothills of North Arizona. The Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters from Prescott, Ariz., were on the ground, battling the blaze.

Then the weather and the winds shifted, and the two-day-old Yarnell Hill Fire changed course. The commander had a huge decision to make: stay on safe ground, or try to cut off the blaze?

He made the call — and before the day was over, 19 hotshot firefighters were dead. It was one of the deadliest incidents for wildland firefighters in U.S. history.

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