Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
US: US House takes up bill to keep highway funding flowing to states
Faced with the prospect of a shutdown in highway and transit aid to states, the U.S. House is taking up a bill that would scrape together billion to keep transportation funding flowing through Dec. 18.
WI: Wisconsin sues to allow drug tests for food stamps
Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s health secretary has sued federal officials in an attempt to allow Wisconsin to screen people with drug tests if they seek food stamps. The suit is an attempt to prevent the federal government from blocking a new state law requiring the tests.
DC: DC bill would put sex crimes on college students’ records
Newly proposed legislation would require colleges in the District of Columbia to put a permanent notation on the academic transcripts of students who are convicted of sexual assault or who try to withdraw from school while under investigation for sexual misconduct — a scarlet letter that would follow them to new schools and graduate programs or into the workforce.
LA: Louisiana governor launches investigation into Planned Parenthood
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s action came in response to a video released by an anti-abortion group that alleges the sale of fetal body parts from abortions performed at Planned Parenthood facilities. There are two Planned Parenthood locations in Louisiana, neither of which performs abortions.
TN: Tennessee apologizes for anti-DUI campaign focused on ‘hotter’ girls
The state is apologizing for its Booze it or Lose It anti-DUI campaign after Tennessee’s House speaker criticized the program as sexist. Coasters and fliers for the campaign have popped up at bars across Nashville, boasting slogans that refer to girls looking “hotter” when guys are under the influence.
VT: Northeastern states benefit from carbon emissions cutting, report says
Amid complaints that proposed federal rules to cut carbon emissions would hurt the economy, a new study says Northeastern states that already have moved in that direction are seeing economic benefits. The study from the Analysis Group in Boston found that the nine states saw a combined .3 billion in economic value from the carbon-cutting program from 2012 to 2014.
FL: Florida governor signs law to create savings plans for people with disabilities
Florida will create tax-free savings plans (managed like college savings accounts) for people with disabilities. Individuals and families will be able to save ,000 in the accounts without risk of losing state or federal benefits; previously, the savings limit was ,000.
AZ: Arizona postpones bidding for more private prisons
The Arizona Department of Corrections has postponed the application deadline for bidders to run a new private prison, citing the need to focus on recent riots at a private prison near Kingman.
PA: Cameras could come to Pennsylvania highway work zones
Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering allowing cameras to capture license plate information of motorists who speed through highway work zones. A similar program established in Maryland in 2009 reduced work zone speeding by 89 percent.
KS: Kansas says same-sex couples can file joint taxes
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s office says same-sex couples in Kansas who were married last year after the state’s ban was struck down in November can file joint taxes for 2014.
TX: Proposed gas pipeline causes controversy in Texas
Companies run by two billionaires are teaming up to build a 143-mile pipeline to carry natural gas through the Big Bend region of Texas and into Mexico. An unlikely coalition of environmentalists, landowners and others is fighting a long shot battle to thwart the project.
OH: Ohio bill would protect ministers who refuse to marry same-sex couples
New legislation in the Ohio House seeks to ensure that ministers and religious groups wouldn’t be subject to civil or criminal liability for refusing to perform or host same-sex marriages.
CA: California’s Brown moves to protect owners of brown lawns
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law to protect drought-stricken California homeowners from municipal fines when they let their grass wither. The action follows complaints that cities and towns were citing people for having unkempt yards even as the state has asked people to cut back on water use outdoors.
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