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Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
CA: California surpasses water conservation target
California’s urban water districts cut consumption by 27 percent last month, the first month they had to start meeting a tough new state mandate to reduce their combined use by 25 percent amid an ongoing drought.
US: Competition up between health insurers on federal exchange, report says
Competition among insurers offering plans on the federal health care exchange rose since last year, tamping down the growth in premiums for people, the federal government reported. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. counties saw a net gain of at least one insurer, 8 percent saw a loss, and 33 percent saw their numbers unchanged.
RI: Rhode Island governor to overhaul ‘dysfunctional’ department of children, families
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo laid out a plan to radically reform a department she called “extremely dysfunctional.” Among the problems: high rates of out-of-home placement, excessively long waits for children to be permanently placed, lack of support for family guardians and over-reliance on group homes.
KS: Kansas governor lists million in spending cuts to shore up reserves
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration unveiled nearly million in spending cuts and other savings, appeasing lawmakers who approved a tax increase earlier this year to balance the state’s budget. Kansas now is projected to have a balance of about million at the end of the fiscal year.
OH: Ohio state troopers issued more than 1,000 tickets in crackdown
The tickets were issued during a weeklong, six-state effort to crack down on distracted driving in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia that began July 19. Distracted driving was involved in more than 17,800 crashes in Ohio in 2014, or about 6 percent of all accidents, the State Highway Patrol said.
MT: Montana Supreme Court upholds state’s pre-trial sobriety fees
The court said it’s legal for Montana’s judges to require people accused of a second or subsequent drunken driving offense to pay for twice-daily Breathalyzer tests or an alcohol monitoring bracelet in order to be released from jail before their trial.
MD: Maryland governor closes men’s facility at Baltimore jail
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced plans to immediately close a Civil War-era facility at the scandal-plagued Baltimore City Detention Center, calling the Men’s Detention Center that houses 750 male pretrial inmates a “black eye” and an “embarrassment” for the state of Maryland.
FL: Florida governor signs anti-trafficking laws
Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed four bills aimed at curbing human trafficking in South Florida, one of the biggest hubs for human trafficking in the nation. The new laws will fund safe houses for victims and make penalties harsher for perpetrators.
TX: Texans asked to temporarily curb electricity use
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the electric grid that covers most of the state, made the request Thursday afternoon. Texas is enduring a scorching-hot week, and energy use has surged across the grid, breaking three consecutive July records.
AR: Arkansas panel finalizing Common Core recommendations
Republican Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who heads the panel, told reporters he would recommend Arkansas keep some elements of Common Core but change other parts of the standards and rename them to more closely reflect the state’s needs.
MA: New rules proposed for Massachusetts public records requests
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled sweeping new rules for how the executive branch will handle public records requests. Previously, every agency had its own procedure for handling requests. The move comes as several state agencies have faced criticism for long waits and high fees for documents.
ME: Maine governor says he was ‘in the dark’ on budget talks
Republican Gov. Paul LePage told a Portland, Maine, radio station that he had no knowledge of the final elements of a budget deal that his senior staff helped develop this year.
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