with ABC's VERONICA STRACQUALURSI
INDIANA, ARKANSAS GOVERNORS SIGN 'RELIGIOUS FREEDOM' CLARIFICATIONS INTO LAW. Governors in Indiana and Arkansas Thursday signed bills clarifying their state's controversial "religious freedom" laws, which critics said gave business owners a legal defense to discriminate against members of the LGBT community. A "fix" to Indiana's law was proposed Thursday morning before passing through the legislature and making its way to Gov. Mike Pence, ABC's BEN CANDEA reports. The update, as released by Indiana GOP lawmakers early yesterday, states that the religious freedom law does not allow any business to deny service to any customer, including on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. Pence said in a statement that "resolving this controversy, making clear that every person feels welcome and respected in our state is best for Indiana." http://abcn.ws/1bT6gE6
SENATOR BOB MENENDEZ PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO CORRUPTION CHARGES. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, pleaded not guilty Thursday to 14 counts of corruption, bribery and fraud in New Jersey. "For nearly 3 years, the Justice Department has pursued allegations based on smears launched by political opponents trying to silence me," Menendez told reporters outside court yesterday. "These allegations are false and I am confident they will be proven false and I look forward to doing so in court." The New Jersey senator, who was indicted on Wednesday for his interactions with Florida eye doctor Dr. Salomon Melgen, was released on his own recognizance and will have to give up his personal passport, according to ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ and LAUREN PEARLE. The next hearing, which will be a status conference, is scheduled for April 22. The trial is tentatively scheduled for July 13.
HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED WHEN MILEY CYRUS TROLLED US SENATOR TOM COTTON. Miley Cyrus isn't happy with Sen. Tom Cotton. The pop star took issue with the Arkansas Republican's comments about his home state's religious freedom bill, when he told CNN Wednesday Americans "need a sense of perspective about our priorities." "In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay," Cotton said Wednesday evening, before moving to Iran's nuclear program, ABC's BEN SIEGEL writes. "We should focus on the most important priorities our country faces right now." Cyrus tweeted about the comments Thursday, tweeting Cotton's Washington office number to her 19 million followers, urging them to call and "stir some s*** up!" When asked about his comments and Cyrus's reaction in Washington, Cotton did not mention the singer, instead saying "I'll always stand up to defend religious freedom." http://abcn.ws/1P3E54t
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
CARLY FIORINA: 'CEOS ARE BEING PRESSURED' TO OPPOSE 'RELIGIOUS FREEDOM' LAWS. While likely 2016 presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina doesn't have any experience in elected office, as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, one thing she knows first-hand is what it's like to lead a major company. Corporate leaders have been out front this week with both Arkansas and Indiana moving to adopt controversial new "religious freedom" legislation. Opponents of the bills contend they could allow business owners to use religion to discriminate against members of the LGBTcommunity. In light of these laws, this week business giants like Walmart, Apple and Marriott publicly opposed the recent wave of "religious freedom" legislation. But in a recent interview, Fiorina told "Power Players," the public outcry has put stress on the shoulders of private business leaders to take a political stance on the matter. "I think it's really too bad, honestly, that CEOs are being pressured. ... It's pressure by people in the political process to take a stand," she said. "None of us support discrimination of any kind. Certainly, Indiana doesn't. The law doesn't condone discrimination of any kind. But we also protect religious liberties in this country." WATCH: http://abcn.ws/1bTCSNQ
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
PRESIDENT OBAMA CHANNELS FRANK UNDERWOOD OF 'HOUSE OF CARDS.'President Obama channeled one of Washington's most sinister figures Thursday: ruthless "House of Cards" President Frank Underwood. "Hello, everybody. This is not Frank Underwood, this is Barack Obama," Obama deadpanned in a "West Wing Week" video posted to YouTube Wednesday, aping Underwood's trademark Southern drawl. "Happy April Fools' Day," the president added, still in character."Frank learned it from me," he said of the character played by Kevin Spacey, ABC's ERIN DOOLEY writes. http://abcn.ws/1xFGHA2
@BobbyJindal: LIVE on #Periscope: Great to be in Iowa with Willie Robertson for the Good Friday Prayer Breakfast. https://www.periscope.tv/w/Vv_BxDY1OTB8MjEzMzkyN0YQEtt8UTK3JfRrjjwUiRbAhQP9JQGXJlxyXJyZ1QSJ …
@markknoller: Utah is the latest in a series of 'red' states Pres Obama has been visiting since GOP took control of Congress this year.
@Emily_DeRuy: 6 things we learned about Cuban real estate by peeking into people's homes on Airbnb via @kevinmgray15 http://fusion.net/story/113880/6-things-we-learned-about-cuban-real-estate-by-peeking-into-peoples-homes-on-airbnb/