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Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
CA: California agrees to move thousands of inmates out of solitary confinement
Ending years of litigation, hunger strikes and contentious debate, California has agreed to move thousands of state prisoners out of solitary confinement under the terms of a landmark lawsuit settlement. Corrections officials, who have long used indefinite isolation to control violent prison gangs, will cease the practice and return nearly 2,000 inmates to the general population.
MA, VT, CT, NH, RI, ME: New England governors urge FDA to set tougher opioid labeling
The governors of all six New England states sent a letter urging the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to tighten warnings on opioids. The letter comes amid a spike in the number of heroin- and opioid-related deaths. The governors said abuse of opioid painkillers can lead to heroin addiction.
LA: Louisiana takes over failed health care cooperative
Louisiana Health Cooperative, the insurance nonprofit created with million in federal loans made possible through the federal health care law, announced in July it would discontinue all policies in January 2016. State law authorizes Louisiana’s insurance commissioner to petition the court to take control of an insurer when “its further transaction of business would be hazardous to its policyholders, its creditors or the public.”
WA: Families allowed to cash out of Washington prepaid tuition program
Investors who bought Washington prepaid college-tuition units can pull their money out without incurring state penalties, a board that oversees the program has decided. The refund offer comes after state lawmakers decided this year to cut the cost of college tuition, meaning that some investors might never recover all of their initial purchase price.
TX: Racing, gambling halted at Texas horse and dog tracks
Horse racing ground to a halt in Texas after state lawmakers failed to resolve a dispute about the industry’s future. Without funding for the Texas Racing Commission, horse and greyhound tracks around the state opened their doors only to answer questions, refund ticket sales and show visitors around their facilities.
MI: Michigan will comply with carbon reduction plan
Michigan plans to meet aggressive targets and deadlines for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants announced by President Barack Obama. The administration of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will not follow Attorney General Bill Schuette in a multi-state court action to block the new rules, officials said.
AL: Alabama governor calls special session for budget gap
Republican Gov. Robert Bentley said he will call Alabama legislators back into session on Sept. 8 to address a million shortfall in the General Fund budget.
IN: Indiana task force to combat drug abuse ‘scourge’
Republican Gov. Mike Pence launched a new task force charged with spearheading a “fresh approach” to combating drug abuse in Indiana amid a sharp rise in heroin deaths and a recent HIV outbreak in rural Scott County.
AR: Arkansas governor wants to alter higher education funding
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Arkansas should re-evaluate its “outdated” method of funding higher education by awarding additional money to schools based on their performance, such as how many students end up earning degrees.
WI: Wisconsin to spend million on vouchers in next school year
Wisconsin will spend million in the next school year on private school vouchers, according to a new estimate by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. That amount marks a 77 percent increase over 2011 levels, as lawmakers have expanded the number of vouchers available to students and where they can be used.
NV: Tight Nevada testing rules constrict supply of medical marijuana
With southern Nevada’s first dispensary now open after months of red tape, medical marijuana cultivators are facing growing pains as they grapple with the state’s strict testing standards.
NJ: New Jersey Senate poised to consider tax break for boat buyers
As part of an effort to boost New Jersey’s boating and marina industry, which has struggled since 2012’s super storm Sandy, lawmakers will consider a proposal to cut taxes on boat sales by 50 percent when they convene later this month.
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