Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
US: Obama administration urges states to reject big rate increases sought by health insurers
The Obama administration is trying to persuade states to cut back big premium rate increases requested by many health insurance companies that found new customers were sicker than expected last year.
ID: Court rules against Idaho law on animal abuse filming
A federal judge ruled that Idaho’s law banning secret filming of animal abuse at agricultural facilities is unconstitutional, giving animal welfare activists across the country hope that the decision will pave the way to overturn similar laws in other states. A similar lawsuit is underway in Utah, and eight other states have passed laws against surreptitious animal filming.
CA: California launches website for tattling on water wasters
California residents can snap a photo (or jot down details) of wasteful water use and send it to savewater.ca.gov. Complaints can be anonymous and are sent to local governments based on the address of the offense.
UT: Utah’s maximum-security prisoners are on a hunger strike
Maximum-security inmates at the Utah State Prison are on a hunger strike, reportedly demanding—among other things—that gang leaders be moved elsewhere in the prison.
VA: Virginia lawmakers say they will oust governor’s Supreme Court pick and name their own
Virginia’s Republican-led legislature says it will reject Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s pick for the state’s newest Supreme Court justice and install their own choice—an unprecedented move in modern Virginia history.
TX: County in Texas to be first in nation with public-safety broadband network
First responders in Harris County, Texas, will be able to livestream video, vital signs and electrocardiogram results while they transport patients to Houston-area hospitals. Then doctors will be able to transmit life-saving treatment protocols to the medical technicians inside the ambulance.
OH: Expanding Ohio’s online ‘checkbook’ site to include local expenses will cost .3 million annually
Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel’s plan to post local governments’ expenses online as part of Ohio’s state spending database will cost up to .7 million the next two years—a cost Mandel said his office will pick up.
VT: Vermont teen counselors not happy with possible marijuana legalization
Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin has opened the door to legalizing marijuana for Vermont adults, but those who counsel teenagers say legalization would also open the door to teenager abuse.
NH: Mayor calls on New Hampshire governor to declare heroin emergency
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas has sent a letter to Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan asking her to declare a public health state of emergency over the heroin epidemic in the Queen City and the rest of the state, similar to one she issued in 2014 over synthetic cannabinoids known as “spice.”
FL: Bear hunting permits for sale in Florida
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission handed out over 600 bear hunting permits, the first time in two decades the state has made them available. An environmental advocacy group is suing to stop the hunt.
IL: Illinois governor signs bill regarding student concussions
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has approved a measure requiring students who suffer a concussion to get permission from a doctor or trainer before they may fully return to class or sports.
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