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Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
KS: Gov. Brownback: ‘Everything’ on table to fill Kansas’ massive budget gap
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says he is considering all options, including tweaking his income tax cuts, to fill a massive projected budget deficit that he didn’t know existed until after the election earlier this month.
TX: EPA rejects Texas plan to cut haze-causing pollution from coal plants
The Environmental Protection Agency has rejected parts of a key Texas clean-air plan, setting up a conflict that has deep implications both for the state’s electricity mix and for air quality across much of the country.
MD: Report sets out path to fracking in Maryland
Capping three years of study, the administration of outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley declared that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas can be done safely in western Maryland, but only after tightening regulations to reduce air and water pollution and protect residents from well contamination, noise and other disruption associated with an anticipated drilling boom.
WV: W. Va.’s Common Core standards will face challenge with new GOP majority
A Republican state lawmaker says there could be enough votes in the House to repeal the Common Core education standards in the upcoming legislative session.
CA: L.A. County implements program to ensure mentally ill get treatment
Los Angeles County officials gave final approval to a plan to implement court-ordered intensive outpatient treatment for people with serious mental illness.
SC: Health Cooperative on brink of collapse
The South Carolina Health Cooperative, which provides health insurance benefits to some 500 small businesses in the Palmetto State, has become insolvent and can no longer pay claims for the 4,549 employees and dependents it covers.
AR: Gay-marriage ban struck again
A federal judge in Arkansas on Tuesday declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional on two grounds, joining a growing chorus of recent court decisions on similar state bans across the country.
MS: Judge overturns Mississippi same-sex marriage ban
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves granted a preliminary injunction blocking the state’s ban against same-sex unions as sought by the Campaign for Southern Equality and two lesbian couples who had sued in the state in federal court.
ME: Food stamp recipients say they are required to have photos on benefit cards
Some food stamp recipients and advocates for low-income Mainers are countering the state’s assertion that its policy of including photos on electronic benefit transfer cards is voluntary, saying Department of Health and Human Services staff members have insisted that clients have their pictures taken.
VT: Legislature set to change child welfare policy
A special legislative committee set up to investigate the Vermont child welfare system in the aftermath of two toddlers’ deaths plans to propose a law to prioritize the best interest of the child over keeping families intact. The committee heard during months of deliberations that many social workers were putting reunification first when working with troubled families.
AZ: Judge grants stay on Arizona execution suit
A lawsuit challenging the secrecy of execution protocols in Arizona has been put on hold.
LA: Over .7 million for Louisiana’s school voucher program goes unused
About 13,000 families sought vouchers, but only 9,100 scholarships were offered, according to the Louisiana Department of Education. Then, a little less than 7,400 students chose to take advantage of the program this fall.
KY: Kentucky pension board to call for more money
The state pension board likely will call on the legislature to find more money for Kentucky’s struggling pension system, although it’s unclear where the funding might come from.
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