Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
US: States continue war over Affordable Care Act
State lawmakers are at odds over hundreds of bills to either cripple or prop up the Affordable Care Act. More than 700 ACA-related bills were filed in the states during 2014 or carried over from 2013. Few expect any substantial retreat from the battlefront in 2015.
FL: New prison boss details deeply ingrained problems
Julie Jones, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s fourth prison secretary in as many years, surprised senators when she acknowledged that private prisons are allowed to “cherry-pick” the least-expensive and often least-violent inmates, leaving the most difficult offenders for state-run institutions to handle.
KS: Kansas plans to defer highway maintenance to cover budget gap
Kansas drivers could be among the first to feel the pinch from Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s efforts to patch a massive hole in the Kansas budget. The state transportation department plans to delay about million in maintenance projects.
MI: Governor plans shakeup to combine Michigan health and human services agencies, urges tax hike for roads
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder announced plans to “dramatically” restructure state government to help the poor and renewed his call for a sales tax hike to improve deteriorating roads.
NH: New Hampshire Lottery now selling bacon-scented tickets
The New Hampshire Lottery has launched its first scratch – and sniff – ticket. It features a ,000 grand prize and the aroma of bacon when players scratch the ticket.
NY: Cuomo’s education agenda sets battle lines with teachers’ unions
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, has been laying the groundwork for an aggressive education agenda, signaling that he will seek several major changes that will put him in direct conflict with teachers’ unions.
UT: Utah lawmakers want task force formed to study police shootings
Recent high-profile police shootings have the Utah Legislature looking at ways to prevent future incidents and investigate those that do occur.
AK: Governor says Alaska’s budget situation not a ‘crisis’
Independent Gov. Bill Walker said Alaska will tap its savings and cut budgets to get through low oil prices, but was unwilling to call the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit a “crisis.”
MA: Governor says budget gap now million
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker argued that the million deficit is primarily the result of the state spending too much.
TX: Texas prisons try telemedicine to curb spending
Texas is trying to save money by subcontracting prison health care to the University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas Tech University. The partnership uses cost-saving technology, such as telemedicine, which connects prisoners housed in remote areas with medical experts throughout the state.
IA: Online voter registration coming to Iowa in early 2016
Officials say it will be easier to register to vote in Iowa beginning next year.
MN: Governor and GOP offer proposals that would cut taxes
Both Republicans and Democratic-Farmer-Laborites rolled out proposals to cut Minnesota’s taxes, but leaders from the two parties are targeting their tax cuts at different groups.
NE: Governor names Washington state man as prisons director
Scott Frakes will take over the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, an agency troubled by a controversy over early release of prisoners.
NC: Judge orders North Carolina schools to explain ‘academic double-speak’
The judge overseeing a 20-year-old lawsuit wants to know whether North Carolina officials are trying to define their way out of their duty to educate all of the state’s children.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.