Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
HI: Hawaii sets 100 percent renewable energy goal
Democratic Gov. David Ige signed into law a bill that would direct the state’s utilities to generate all of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045, making Hawaii the first state to set a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard for electricity.
KY: Minimum wage to rise for some Kentucky state workers
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order that raises the minimum wage of nearly 800 Kentucky state employees from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 starting July 1.
ME: House rejects referendum to end Maine’s income tax
The Maine House voted to reject a constitutional amendment proposed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage to eliminate the state income tax by 2020.
WV: Drug testing welfare recipients catches few, West Virginia lawmakers told
Lawmakers considering whether to screen West Virginia welfare recipients for drugs were told it’s costly and that few people test positive in the dozen states that do it. In Mississippi, for instance, only eight of 5,550 beneficiaries of public assistance tested positive over nine months. In Utah, it was nine out of 4,400 applicants. In Tennessee, 10 failed tests out of 800 applicants during the program’s first month.
LA: Louisiana Legislature softens marijuana penalties
Lawmakers sent Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal legislation that would reduce the maximum penalty for marijuana possession from 20 years in prison to eight, and add a new second-chance provision for first-time offenders. Reducing the penalties is expected to save Louisiana $17 million in incarceration costs over five years.
VT: Vermont’s Shumlin decides against bid for fourth term
Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin says he won’t seek a fourth term in 2016 nor seek another office.
TX: Texas governor says no to special session on same-sex marriage
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he won’t call a special session on same-sex marriage restrictions, although conservative groups pleaded via letter for him to do so. They seek legislation that would prohibit county clerks in the state from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
MD: Maryland panel on policing focuses on diversity, training
A Maryland legislative working group, formed in the wake of April’s death of Freddie Gray and subsequent riots in Baltimore, began its first session looking at whether blacks are underrepresented on local and state police forces and what type of training officers receive.
PA: Pennsylvania committee votes to soften background-check law
After complaints from schools, youth groups and others, a state House committee voted overwhelmingly to lessen the scope of a new Pennsylvania law that requires background checks for all those who work or volunteer with children.
KS: Kansas House refuses to take up Senate tax bill
Hopes that Kansas lawmakers might resolve a long-running stalemate over taxes and spending were dashed when the House declined to even debate a $423 million Senate tax bill. Both chambers have passed a budget for the next fiscal year that begins July 1, but it’s out of balance by $360 million.
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