Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
MO: Justice Department to fault Ferguson police for racial tensions
The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Missouri of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said.
WI: Governor proposes shutting down state insurance coverage for Wisconsin cities, schools
Republican Gov. Scott Walker is proposing the elimination of a state-managed property insurance program for local governments and schools districts that could force them to turn to private insurers or start their own fund.
UT: Utah Republicans embrace prison reform, and their liberal counterparts
In Utah’s Capitol, liberal American Civil Liberties Union leaders stood next to conservative state lawmakers cheering on a bill that would detour drug addicts from prison cells to treatment programs. It also would reduce criminal penalties for getting caught with an illicit substance.
US: As Common Core testing is ushered in, parents and students opt out
A new wave of standardized exams, designed to assess whether students are learning in step with the Common Core standards, is sweeping the country, arriving this week in classrooms in several states and entering the cross hairs of various political movements.
MD: In Maryland, economic angst breaks through the veneer of a wealthy state
To understand the economic angst that helped elect a Republican governor in heavily Democratic Maryland, venture beyond the tony, millionaire-saturated suburbs to the working-class neighborhoods and rural towns where many people are struggling.
LA: Jindal unveils $1.2 billion budget cut proposal
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal has proposed cutting the state budget by $1.2 billion during the next fiscal cycle through rolling back refundable tax credits, raising student fees and cutting government services. Jindal says higher education will be cut by $143 million, which is far less than the $400 million figure that had been floated as recently as last week.
MT: GOP, governor spar over taking $700 million from feds to pay for health care
If Montana chooses to expand Medicaid coverage as proposed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, hundreds of millions of federal dollars will pour into the state and to hospitals, physicians, pharmacies and other medical providers. Opponents argue that the money isn’t free and that the real economic impact may be more complicated.
NM: State business leaders favor more transparency in campaigns
At least some pressure to make political contributions and the notion that money can buy special access to state politicians are widely held perceptions among New Mexico business leaders, according to a new poll.
KY: Kentucky Senate votes to cap state debt
The Senate has voted to limit Kentucky’s debt, and the chamber will search for another way to strengthen the state’s teacher pension system instead of the House-approved plan to borrow $3.3 billion.
VA: GOP infighting in Virginia may harm party’s White House bid in 2016
Feuding within Virginia’s state GOP is alarming prominent national Republicans who think the infighting in a crucial swing state threatens the party’s quest to recapture the White House in 2016.
TX: Ag commissioner says agency can’t perform regulatory functions
The Texas Department of Agriculture is supposed to check gas pumps for accuracy, verify that grocery store scanners work properly, and inspect taxicab meters to verify that people aren’t being overcharged. But since the department’s budget was cut by about one-third in 2011, it has struggled to keep up with its duties, its new commissioner said.
FL: Legislative session begins with healthy budget outlook
With a healthier budget forecast and a newly re-elected governor, Florida lawmakers begin their annual 2015 session on Tuesday facing a familiar set of issues.
MN: Minnesota, Wisconsin working to revive tax reciprocity
Minnesotans and Wisconsinites who live in one state but work in the other have some reason to hope they will be able to resume filing a single state income tax return as early as next year.
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