Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
AR: Governor unveils prison plan to relieve Arkansas prison crowding
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s plan includes opening nearly 800 new beds, hiring new parole and probation officers, creating the state’s first transitional re-entry center program and offering alternative sentences for nonviolent offenders. The plan will cost million in the first two years.
FL: Legislators roll out bill to snuff damages for Florida tobacco victims
The proposal would retroactively apply a 1999 cap on punitive damages to unsettled civil actions. It is aimed at snubbing 4,500 smokers and their families who have sued cigarette makers but are still awaiting trial over claims that the industry deceived them about the dangerous and addictive properties of cigarettes.
IL: Rauner seeks cuts to close billion Illinois deficit
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal cuts across state programs from Medicaid to universities to stanch the fiscal bleeding in Illinois, the state with the lowest credit rating. It cuts .9 billion in employee benefit costs, .3 billion in subsidies to local government and .2 billion from reimbursements to health care providers.
WV: Bill to expand high-speed Internet to rural West Virginia advances
A Senate committee has approved legislation designed to expand affordable high-speed Internet service to rural communities by constructing a state-owned 2,600-mile fiber network that Internet providers could tap into.
WA: Seattle’s street parking vanishes for bus and bike lanes
Buses, bicycles, even microparks are competing for the curbsides of Seattle, where the city is outgrowing 20th-century traditions of on-street parking.
NC: Study finds higher education adds .5 billion to state’s economy
A new report says higher education as a whole in North Carolina had a .5 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2012-13.
GA: Georgia lawmakers file second “religious liberty” bill
Georgia legislators supporting “religious liberty” efforts doubled-down Wednesday by introducing a second bill to prevent government intrusion on faith-based beliefs.
MA: UMass reverses policy banning Iranian students from certain grad studies
The University of Massachusetts Amherst will not ban Iranian nationals from graduate studies in chemical, computer and mechanical engineering, officials said, just days after enacting the prohibition based on U.S. sanctions against Iran.
UT: New Utah prison reform bill would reduce drug penalties
Under a House bill that one of its sponsors called “an epic shift” in the way Utah manages people who break the law, drug offenses would carry a smaller penalty, probation officers could reward as well as punish and whenever possible, the mentally ill and drug addicted would be sent to treatment rather than a cell.
NV: Nevada pays out for deaths, dentures, fender benders and much more
Since 2013, the state has paid .07 million to claimants alleging they were victims of wrongdoing brought on by the government.
MS: Mississippi lawmakers propose property tax break for seniors
A Mississippi House committee has passed a bill that would give homeowners older than 65 a break on their property taxes.
ND: North Dakota House kills medical marijuana bill
The House has defeated a bill that would have made North Dakota the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, saying it was premature and carried too many risks that outweighed the potential benefits.
CO: School Board won’t punish districts on testing mandates
The Colorado Board of Education is giving a pass to school districts that fail to meet requirements for student participation on state-mandated tests, another attempt to chip away at the state’s involvement in a multistate testing effort.
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