Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
CO: U.S. Supreme Court considers challenge to Colorado’s TABOR law
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that Colorado’s unique Taxpayer Bill of Rights law that requires voters to approve all tax increases is a violation of the constitutional mandate that each state have a “republican” form of government—one in which elected officials make decisions instead the masses.
CA: Legislature seeks to curb California police violence
Bills already in the pipeline would equip more police officers with body cameras that record encounters, collect comprehensive data on how often officers wound or kill suspects, train officers to better deal with the mentally ill and institute third-party reviews of police shootings.
ND: North Dakota aims to hire more pipeline inspectors
North Dakota officials are asking legislators for up to .5 million to hire additional staffers for its natural gas pipeline inspection program. Currently, there is one intrastate inspector for 6,000 miles of pipeline.
IL: Turnaround veteran Rauner tackles Illinois finances as governor
Republican businessman-turned-governor Bruce Rauner, who built his reputation taking over struggling companies and making them profitable, is now tasked with fixing the finances of Illinois.
NV: Court orders Nevada to say what’s in prison food
A convicted pedophile’s complaint about Nevada prison food has the state Supreme Court ordering an accounting of what’s in unnamed sack lunches and “chef’s choice” dinners given to inmates, and whether the meals are healthful.
FL: Governor wants more money for Florida schools
Republican Gov. Rick Scott will propose increasing spending on Florida’s public schools by .5 million. That increase would boost the average amount spent on each student to ,176 or about higher than this school year.
TX: State senator proposing tougher ethics rules in state contracts
Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson is calling for stronger conflict-of-interest laws to prevent the state from issuing health and human services contracts to companies that have ties to agency employees after two multimillion dollar contracts sparked criticism in recent weeks.
LA: House speaker balks at governor’s higher education budget cut proposals
Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley vowed to fight a proposal floated by GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal to slash hundreds of millions of dollars from Louisiana colleges next year, setting the stage for a possible financial clash between the lame-duck governor and lawmakers.
OK: Idea for budget-only Oklahoma sessions gains steam
Oklahoma lawmakers say by focusing every two years on the budget the state’s spending decisions would be more deliberative.
OH: Ohio GOP administration sees merit in Obama’s community college plan
Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration says President Barack Obama’s plan to boost access to higher education through community colleges is consistent with some of its own priorities in Ohio.
WV: West Virginia party chairmen double as lobbyists
While this arrangement might not be unusual in West Virginia, it is very unusual nationwide. There are only two other party chairs anywhere in the country who are active registered lobbyists.
ME: Bill would tighten procedures for citizen ballot initiatives
The Maine Legislature will consider a bill that would make it harder for out-of-staters to work on citizen initiatives – a sign of political fallout from the failed 2014 bid to ban certain methods of bear hunting statewide.
NH: Bills on issues from mastodons to marijuana await lawmakers
Naming the mastodon the state fossil and the bobcat the state wildcat are two of the more interesting bills before New Hampshire lawmakers this year. Another would establish Feb. 6 as Ronald Reagan Day, in honor of the 40th President’s birthday.
VT: Property tax relief for education unlikely this year
The legislature has received close to 100 education finance ideas from the public, think tanks and other organizations. And though top leaders speak of an urgent need for change, they say the rhetoric will take at least a year to translate into actual tax relief.
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