Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
WI: Wisconsin program seeks to fill void for child psychiatrist shortage
Wisconsin state officials are providing $1 million for a program that links a child’s doctor to mental health specialists, in an effort to compensate for the shortage of child psychiatrists in the state.
NH: New Hampshire bills would add limits to public benefit card use
The debate over ATM cards issued to welfare recipients is back before the state legislature, with bills that would prohibit use of the public benefit cards for things like alcoholic beverages, tobacco or adult entertainment.
CO: Denver homeless initiative would be latest to tap social impact bonds
In the dry and wonky world of municipal finance, a new way for state and local governments to pay for the rapid expansion of social service programs—from Massachusetts and New York to Chicago, Salt Lake City and now Denver—is gathering steam and turning heads.
MI: Insider emails: Wall Street pushed bad Detroit mortgage loans
Recently disclosed e-mails and documents give the clearest evidence yet that high-level banking officials pushed subprime mortgage loans knowing some Detroiters couldn’t pay them—helping spark a foreclosure crisis that devastated the city during the Great Recession.
TX: Texas Supreme Court agrees to hear school finance case
The Texas Supreme Court announced it will hear the state’s appeal of a massive and long-running lawsuit challenging the way it funds public schools. More than 600 school districts sued the state in 2011 after lawmakers cut more than $5 billion from public education.
ME: Maine lawmakers press for funding for cold case unit
Republican Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill last spring creating a new unit in the attorney general’s office that would focus solely on investigating Maine’s more than 100 unsolved homicides. Now, lawmakers from both parties are pushing to find the money to start a cold case squad.
SC: Code of conduct for South Carolina state workers to go into effect in July
South Carolina state employees will be subject to a code of conduct starting in July. The code prohibits the use of state equipment for social media unless it is a part of the employee’s job.
AR: Questions still surround future of Arkansas Medicaid plan
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposal to reauthorize the “private option” and create a task force to look at health care reforms leaves plenty of unanswered questions about the future of a program providing health insurance to more than 213,000 people. The possibilities range from a similar program to a complete overhaul of the state’s Medicaid system.
KS: Legislative leaders skeptical of governor’s proposed hike in sin taxes
Legislative leaders say there is deep bipartisan skepticism about Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to significantly raise Kansas cigarette and liquor takes to cover budget deficits of more than $700 million over the next 18 months.
KY: Lobbyists spent a record $18.4 million trying to influence lawmakers last year
Combatants in a beer industry turf war enlisted squads of extra lobbyists in late 2014, helping to drive the amount of money spent on lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly for the year to a record of about $18.4 million.
WV: Lawmakers seek to ban contracts with businesses owned by state officials
West Virginia lawmakers are sharpening a bill that would bar companies owned by elected and appointed state officials or their immediate family from doing business with many state agencies.
AL: Drone task force recommendations limited
A member of the task force, formed by the governor last August, said that a delay in FAA regulations on the commercial use of unmanned aerial systems, combined with the complexity of the issue, made it difficult to develop other guidelines on drone use.
RI: Rhode Island lawmaker wants to ban private fireworks
A Rhode Island lawmaker wants to ban the private use of all fireworks to roll back a 2010 law that legalized sparklers, smoke balls, snakes, snappers, party poppers that emit confetti and non-aerial fireworks like fountains that emit a shower of sparks.
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