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Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
WI: U.S. Supreme Court lets Wisconsin’s voter ID law stand
The nation’s high court rejected a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter identification law, restoring the measure it had dramatically blocked ahead of last November’s election. But the court’s action means the ID requirement will not be in place in time for the spring election.
MD: Maryland Assembly to consider ‘death with dignity’ legislation
Maryland lawmakers are expected to take up a controversial right-to-die bill, dubbed “death with dignity” by advocates that would allow terminally ill patients to take a lethal dose of a doctor-prescribed drug. More than 20 states this year are considering such laws.
PA: Justice Department urges reforms after Philadelphia police shootings
A U.S. Justice Department report on police shootings in Philadelphia says there is “significant strife between the community and the department” and recommended that Philadelphia police reform their deadly force practices. Philadelphia is the third city in the country to have undergone this kind of review.
UT: Utah returns to firing squads to carry out the death penalty
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a bill to make firing squads the state’s back-up method of execution. Squads will be used whenever the state is unable to obtain drugs needed to perform lethal injections. Oklahoma authorizes execution by firing squad only if lethal injection and electrocution are found unconstitutional.
AZ: Lawmakers’ inaction could foil Arizonans’ air travel
A controversial “Real ID” bill, which would bring Arizona’s driver’s license into compliance with federal security requirements, is stalled in the legislature. Without the ID, some Arizonans could see their airline travel stalled next year.
CA: California officials powerless to stop proposed anti-gay initiative
The proposed initiative submitted by a Huntington Beach attorney that would authorize the killing of gays and lesbians by “bullets to the head” — or “any other convenient method” — is testing the limits of the state’s normally liberal attitude on putting even the most extreme ideas on the ballot if enough signatures are collected.
OH: Ohio drivers can now show proof of insurance with cell phones, laptops
Ohio motorists can start using their cell phones, laptops or other electronic devices to show they meet Ohio’s requirement for financial responsibility, such as holding an insurance policy, for the vehicles they drive.
TX: As wind power booms, Texas lawmakers consider yanking support
Thousands of wind turbines have sprung up across West Texas and along the Gulf Coast. Companies such as Google and Dow Chemical are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the state to lower their carbon emissions. With so much success, state politicians are asking whether it’s time for Texas to end its support for the renewable power industry.
MN: Minnesota House approves minimum wage exception for servers
House members approved a change in Minnesota’s minimum wage laws that would carve out an exception for restaurant servers and other tipped employees.
TN: Tennessee House to debate ultrasounds before abortions
Under the bill, a doctor must describe the image and make any audio from any heartbeat available to the woman. An amendment to Tennessee’s constitutional approved in November opened the way for such regulations.
HI: Bill would broaden Hawaii’s tobacco tax, fund Hawaii Cancer Center
The bill proposes raising the excise tax on tobacco products from 70 percent to 80 percent of the wholesale price of any tobacco product, starting next year.
AR: Arkansas prison bill on legislative to-do-list
Arkansas legislative leaders, scrambling to wrap up the legislative session, want to complete work on legislation complementing Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s million plan to curb prison crowding.
KS: Kansas to expand job training for welfare recipients
Kansas will expand a jobs training program for welfare recipients with a .5 million federal grant, a development Republican Gov. Sam Brownback touted as part of his second-term focus on reducing poverty.
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