Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
IN: Gov. Pence signs revision to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act
After a week of tumult, Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed a revision to the state’s “religious freedom” law that eliminates the potential erosion of gay and lesbian protections in Indiana communities that have local anti-discrimination ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.
MN: Low-income Minnesota families could see boost in state cash grants
A Minnesota low-income family of three receives about a month from the state to help reach financial stability. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and some lawmakers want to increase the grants by to help the nearly 33,000 families in the program deal with rising housing and transportation costs.
AL: Senate approves plan to slow flow of inmates to Alabama prisons
The Alabama Senate approved a wide-ranging plan to relieve prison overcrowding. The measure would reduce penalties for some nonviolent property and drug crimes, and expand and refine parole, probation and community corrections programs intended to divert offenders from prison.
KS: Kansas repeals license, training requirements to carry concealed guns
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation adding Kansas to a short list of states that allow unlicensed possession of concealed firearms and eliminating a weapons training mandate for people carrying hidden guns in public. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont and Wyoming have similar laws, and nine other states are considering them.
NV: Bill would allow motorized wheelchairs in Nevada bike lanes
The bill would allow people in motorized wheelchairs to enter bicycle lanes if a sidewalk isn’t available or passable by wheelchair. Wheelchair users would be required to yield the right-of-way to bikers.
AR: Hutchinson signs new Arkansas ‘religious freedom’ bill
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that closely aligns Arkansas’ law with the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. His signature came a day after he asked lawmakers to make changes to a different religious-protection bill that many criticized as discriminatory.
FL: House leaders defend opposition to expanding Medicaid in Florida
House leaders stood by their decision to refuse a Senate plan to offer Medicaid eligibility to 800,000 Floridians making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about ,000 a year for a family of four.
SC: Senate votes to expand South Carolina’s mental health courts
South Carolina’s mental health courts divert mentally ill offenders away from the criminal justice system and into treatment programs, much as drug courts do for drug offenders.
DE: Senate passes bill to repeal Delaware’s death penalty
For the second time in three years, the Delaware Senate narrowly voted to repeal the death penalty. That sets up a fight in the House, where police groups and the chamber’s top Democrat will oppose the effort.
NC: North Carolina House bill would increase abortion restrictions
A House bill would ban healthcare facilities owned by the University of North Carolina and East Carolina University from performing abortions. The bill would also increase the required waiting period before an abortion can be performed from 24 hours to 72 hours.
TX: ‘Operational defects’ led to Texas agency’s sour software deal
A scathing audit of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s million deal for fraud-tracking software found that no one took ownership of the deal or ever questioned why it should not be competitively awarded.
ND: North Dakota House stops sexual orientation discrimination bill
The House voted by nearly a 2-to1 margin to kill a bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in North Dakota.
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.