Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
TX: Houston, Dallas would be largest cities in U.S. to allow open carry
If Texas passes a bill that would allow permit-holders to openly carry holstered handguns, Houston and Dallas would become the largest metropolitan areas to allow it. Among the top five U.S. metro areas by population, they would be the only two where handguns could be carried openly.
OK: Oklahoma lawmakers move to ban powdered alcohol
Powdered alcohol’s impending presence on liquor store shelves has stirred the Oklahoma Senate to outlaw the product before it arrives. Five states have banned it, and at least 47 bills addressing powdered alcohol have been introduced in 28 states.
KS: Kansas set to prevent poor from using aid for swimming pools, psychics
Kansas is close to telling poor families by law that they can’t use cash assistance from the state to visit swimming pools, get tattoos or consult with psychics among a list of other things. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies are emphasizing how the policies help move people from state assistance into decent jobs.
OH: State judge blocks Ohio’s new traffic camera restrictions
A state judge has ruled that new state restrictions on traffic cameras violate Ohio’s constitution and granted the city of Dayton a permanent order blocking them. The restrictions, which took effect last month, prevent the use of the cameras without police officers being present.
CO: Colorado distributes cold case playing cards
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is distributing playing cards with photos of unsolved homicide victims featured on the face, hoping to get people to help solve cold cases. There are currently 1,600 unresolved cases in the state, including 1,330 homicides.
VA: Virginia governor orders ‘ban the box’ on state hiring
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed an executive order to eliminate questions about criminal history from applications for most state jobs. The order to “ban the box” does not apply to businesses in Virginia, but it encourages them to adopt “similar hiring practices.”
ID: Idaho state colleges trim tuition increase
Tuition still is likely to go up, but more slowly than in recent years. The State Board of Education sent a message to Idaho’s three state-run universities that it has little appetite for the large increases of the past. As a result, increases of 3.5 percent or less have been announced, less than last year’s range of up to 5.5 percent.
ND: Despite increased traffic, most N.D. railroad intersections guarded only by signs
With economic opportunity pouring into the state in the oil boom, railways are beset by increased traffic. But only about 17 percent of open, public railroad crossings in North Dakota have flashing lights, gates or both.
IL: Illinois governor suspends $26 million in social services, health grants
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner suspended $26 million in social services and public health grants, including funding to pay for funerals and burials of public-assistance recipients, as part of his push to whittle away at a $1.6 billion shortfall in the current Illinois state budget.
WI: Wisconsin judge says state law trumps local ordinances on sex offenders
A state judge’s ruling might invalidate local zoning ordinances around Wisconsin that restrict where sex offenders can live.
MA: Governor’s panel calls for no investment in Boston’s troubled transit authority
An expert panel convened by Republican Governor Charlie Baker to diagnose problems at the transit authority faults the agency for “limited cost control, low labor productivity, and high maintenance costs.” But it will not call on the Massachusetts Legislature to invest more money.
ME: Legislators move to ban referendums on wildlife issues
Five months after Maine voters rejected a proposal to ban the use of bait, dogs and traps to hunt bears, legislators want to change the constitution to bar the public from amending laws that deal with hunting and fishing.
NM: Bill would allow hemp crops in New Mexico
With the federal government loosening its grip on industrial hemp, there’s a resurgence of interest in growing it in New Mexico – and a bill on Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’ desk would kick-start that.
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