Seven things PR pros need to know on Thursday morning, 4.2.2015

Indiana lawmakers set to fix controversial "religious freedom" law; San Diego PR firms merge; What's having a bigger impact on McDonald's employees than its wage hike.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

1. Indiana legislators could announce a fix for the state’s divisive "religious freedom" law that adds protections for gay and lesbian individuals as early as Thursday morning, as business leaders in Indianapolis worry about the damage the issue has caused to the state’s reputation. In Arkansas, where Walmart showed off its clout this week opposing a similar bill, Governor Asa Hutchinson asked lawmakers on Wednesday to fix its proposal to protect the LGBT community from discrimination. Update: Indiana lawmakers revealed changes to the law on Thursday morning that would stop service providers from using it to refuse service to LGBT consumers.

2. The one Democrat set to influence Hillary Clinton’s likely candidacy the most won’t even be in the race. Although Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) repeated this week that she won’t throw her hat in the ring, she and her supporters will make sure her populist ideas get Clinton’s attention, according to Reuters.

3.  San Diego firms Nuffer Smith Tucker Public Relations and Gable PR have merged. The combined firm is using the Nuffer Smith Tucker name and has total billings of more than $3.5 million, it said in a statement. The merger comes as San Diego’s PR industry is trying to step out of Los Angeles’ shadow.

4. The decision by McDonald’s to raise wages for employees at the 1,500 restaurants it operates is garnering the fast-food chain praise, though it won’t directly affect workers at franchise-owned locations. Improvements to its vacation policy may help employees more, notes FiveThirtyEight.

5. A New York Police Department detective was put on desk duty on Wednesday for lashing out at an Uber driver in a video that went viral after it was posted on Reddit. NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton apologized to the driver on Wednesday.

6. Could a carpet at Portland International Airport become the next #TheDress? Local residents are lining up to take "foot selfies" — more than 40,000 have appeared on Instagram — with the three-decade-old carpet after word spread that it is about to be removed.

7. A trend to watch at after-work drinks: Global exports of Scotch whisky are down 7% and 9% to the US, according to stats from the British government. One reason is that US consumers are moving towards bourbon and US whiskys. 

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