Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
US: States confront wide budget gaps after years of recovery
Many states face major funding gaps that have locked legislatures in protracted battles with governors. In some states, lawmakers have gone into overtime with unresolved budgets, special sessions and threats of widespread government layoffs. Only 25 states have passed budgets, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.
US: Abortions decline in nearly every state, even those with few restrictions
Since 2010 abortions have declined in states where new laws make it harder to have them — but they’ve also waned in states where abortion rights are protected. Abortion-rights advocates attribute it to expanded access to effective contraceptives and a drop in unintended pregnancies. Some foes of abortion say there has been a shift in societal attitudes, with more women choosing to carry their pregnancies to term.
PA: Pennsylvania plans overhaul involving long-term care services
Pennsylvania officials are rolling out a multiyear program aimed at reducing expensive hospital and nursing home stays by keeping people in their homes longer. The program would assign care managers to oversee government-funded medical and social support services for more than 400,000 Medicaid-eligible seniors and young adults with disabilities.
NM: New Mexico’s Martinez holding firm on Common Core
Some Republican governors are bailing out on national Common Core public education standards, but Gov. Susana Martinez and her education chief remain firmly committed to the controversial program in New Mexico.
CA: Contesting a traffic ticket? California poised to ban pay-first policy
California court officials plan to let those with traffic tickets across the state appear in court without having to first post bail, saying they’re concerned about disparities in how local courts notify defendants and handle bail when someone challenges a citation in court.
KS: Kansas’ Brownback signs bill averting state furloughs
The Kansas Legislature rapidly passed and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback quickly signed legislation to head off furloughs for more than 24,000 state employees this week while lawmakers continue to struggle with financing a budget.
US: Fewer public college presidents making million
Fewer presidents of public colleges and universities hit the million mark in earnings in 2014 compared with the previous year, according to a new survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The survey found that the median salary for presidents who served a full year was ,250.
TX: Texas TV and film incentive program facing deep cuts
The two-year state spending plan that awaits Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature includes million for incentives for film, TV and video game companies — million less than the current two-year budget. Among other concerns, some state lawmakers questioned why so many of the film incentives were being spent in Austin.
WI: Wisconsin budget would weaken counties’ ability to protect shore land
The legislature’s joint finance committee is seeking to weaken provisions that have allowed counties to impose stricter regulations than the state has to protect Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers and streams.
OH: Despite surplus, Ohio budget chief urges caution in cutting taxes
Ohio is poised to finish the 2015 budget year with a surplus approaching million, but budget director Tim Keen warned lawmakers they can’t count on that money always being there and they should be cautious in committing the state to tax cuts that will continue over several years.
VT: Alarms raised over Vermont sewage spills, as bill awaits governor’s signature
With a bill to clean up Lake Champlain and other Vermont waters awaiting Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin’s signature, a group devoted to preserving the lake is raising an alarm about a recent spate of sewage spills from municipal wastewater plants into its tributaries.
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