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Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
US: U.S. high school dropout rate has fallen
The number of high school dropouts has declined from 1 million in 2008 to about 750,000 in 2012, according to a coalition of education groups. The number of high schools in which fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate in four years declined significantly during the same period.
PA: Pennsylvania governor and lawmakers have tentative plan to end budget impasse
Legislative leaders and the governor’s office said they have reached a tentative agreement to end Pennsylvania’s four-month budget stalemate. They said the plan includes increases in education funding, a sales tax hike and relief from local property taxes.
CO: Colorado to vote on single-payer state health care system
Proponents of a single-payer state system gathered enough signatures to put ColoradoCare on the ballot in 2016. That means Colorado voters will decide whether their state should be the first to provide comprehensive health care for residents.
AZ: Arizona lawmakers to quit privately funded border fence
Republican lawmakers in Arizona who hoped to build miles of fencing along the border with Mexico using private money are pulling the plug on the project after nearly five years.
VT: ‘Natural’ burial grounds gain popularity under new Vermont law
The new law releases public cemeteries in Vermont from constraints such as fencing and formal demarcation of grave sites and allows the establishment of “natural burial grounds,” maintained through “ecological land management practices.”
IL: Medical marijuana debuts in Illinois
Medical marijuana dispensaries have opened their doors and begun processing patients who will receive the first batches of the drug under Illinois’ four-year pilot program. Only about 3,300 patients have been authorized so far—a far cry from the 100,000-plus originally projected.
VA: University of Virginia fraternity files suit against Rolling Stone
The University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity has filed a million lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine and the author of a now-discredited article that linked the group to a gang rape it says never happened.
AK: Spreadsheet helps Alaska citizens consider budget options
Alaska’s Legislative Finance Division has created a spreadsheet to help lawmakers and citizens better understand the various tax and spending options open to the state as it confronts a budget crisis.
TX: Texas troopers ticketing Hispanic drivers as white
Texas state troopers habitually misidentify Hispanics as white in traffic records, calling into question the accuracy of state data used to monitor racial profiling, according to a television news report.
HI: In Hawaii, another challenge for Healthcare.gov
It’s taking an hour or more for Hawaiians to enroll in the federal health insurance exchange, a process complicated by time zone differences and language needs. More than 40,000 people have to migrate from the state exchange to the federal one.
MN: Some Minnesota group homes leave adults isolated and vulnerable
Minnesota relies more than any other state on group homes to house adults with disabilities, spending billion annually for about 19,000 people in more than 4,500 facilities, a Star Tribune review of hundreds of public documents has found.
TN: Polls finds most in Tennessee opposed to same-sex marriage
A majority of Tennessee voters are against letting same-sex couples marry, according to a new Middle Tennessee State University poll, and a little more than half think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. The results show little change in Tennesseans’ thinking on the issues despite court rulings and national discussion.
MA: Shopping for electricity to get easier on new Massachusetts website
Shopping for competitive electricity suppliers could get a lot easier for Massachusetts households soon. Dozens of companies that try to offer better rates than electric utilities have agreed to post their plans on a state website for households looking for a better deal.
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