Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
US: Police killings prompt array of bills in state legislatures
State legislators across the country are filing bills that would put more scrutiny on how police interact with the public and try to address concerns about perceived racial injustice, police tactics and civil unrest.
WV: West Virginia reverses changes in education standards on climate change
The West Virginia Board of Education withdrew controversial changes proposed to the state’s science education standards on climate change after accusations that they were altered to suit the fossil fuel industry.
IA: Iowa chief justice targets racial disparities, security
The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court told lawmakers the state’s court system should work in 2015 to become a nationwide leader in addressing racial disparities in its criminal justice system, while also working to make courthouse employees safer across the state.
NC: North Carolina lawmakers have no plans to extend Medicaid
North Carolina won’t extend government-paid health insurance to nearly 500,000 of its lower-income residents, the state legislature’s leaders said on the first day of the 2015-16 session.
MN: Democrats’ plan for free two-year college in Minnesota draws fire
Senate leaders said last week that the proposal is one of their top agenda items this legislative session. But others say it would cost too much and that it doesn’t make sense for the state to focus so much on two-year programs.
NM: Bill would ban coyote-killing contests in New Mexico
A Republican state senator and a Democratic representative say they plan to co-sponsor legislation to ban coyote-killing contests in New Mexico.
CA: California to examine Monterey shale potential
The oil and gas potential of the vast Monterey shale formation will be the focus of an upcoming study by an independent panel of scientists operating under direction of the California Legislature.
TX: Abbott calls for independent review of health and human services agency
Republican Gov.-elect Greg Abbott announced the creation of an independent “strike force” to review the state’s largest health agency, specifically how it awards contracts to private vendors. The agency has been the subject of heavy criticism for awarding a $110 million contract outside of the competitive bidding process.
LA: 52 percent of families with kids fall short
A Loyola University study found that 52 percent of Louisiana families with children are not making enough to live “a modest, dignified life.” Researchers included basic costs of living — housing, food, health care, child care and transportation — but did not incorporate common expenses such as private-school or college tuition and phone, Internet or cable TV bills.
AL: State eases requirements for out-of-state teachers
The Alabama Department of Education has made it a little easier for out-of-state teachers to come work in the state.
KS: Kansas bill would ban ‘dismemberment’ abortions
A bill introduced in the Senate and backed by an anti-abortion lobbying organization would make Kansas the first state to ban an infrequently used method of abortion that involves dismemberment of the fetus.
UT: Utah lawmakers push to give patients access to experimental drugs
A group of lawmakers is supporting a so-called “Right to Try” bill that would make it legal to obtain and use experimental drugs and medical devices when traditional treatment options have been exhausted.
VT: Mayors ask Vermont legislature to streamline school districts
Vermont has too many school districts, the state’s eight mayors said, as they called on the legislature to reform school spending and governance.
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