FL: Florida’s slashed drug programs will result in hundreds of layoffs
Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott and leaders of the Florida House rejected appeals to save million in prison programs, choosing instead to allow hundreds of layoffs at inmate transition and treatment programs throughout the state. The cuts offered will reduce access to dozens of privately run programs that had a proven track record of preventing offenders from returning to crime and drugs.
NC: GOP school safety idea: Give raises to North Carolina teachers who get police training
North Carolinians are calling on state leaders to make schools safer and pay teachers more. State legislators have proposed a bill that may do both — if the teacher agrees to get police training.
UT: New Utah designation alerts consumers when companies do good
Utah has a new legal designation for companies that pursue social and environmental good alongside profits. But companies don’t need to prove they’re generating social outcomes to keep their Benefit LLC status.
CT: Deep in debt, Connecticut struggles with inequality in incomes
The gap between Connecticut’s richest and poorest residents — and that between the top and the middle class — outstrip those in most other states, and in many other corners of the globe. Since the last recession, only the richest of Connecticut’s most affluent households, on average, have improved their standing.
IA: Iowa’s horrific child deaths and drug use have helped spur a huge spike in confirmed abuse cases
Confirmed child abuse in Iowa skyrocketed 26 percent from 2016 to 2017, the most dramatic one-year spike in at least a generation. Legislators on both sides of the aisle said recently they believe a major cause of the increase was much greater public attention on suspected child abuse after the intense media coverage of the starvation deaths of two Des Moines teens in 2016 and 2017.
CA: California debuts ‘digital’ license plates
California motorists who choose to buy the plate can register their vehicles electronically and eliminate the need to physically stick tags on their plates each year. They also may be able to display personal messages — if the DMV decides to allow that.
HI: Hawaii economists forecast speedy growth
Hawaii’s economy is heating up even as part of the Big Island is burning up from devastating lava eruptions. State economists say growth is expected to accelerate this year amid record visitor arrivals and spending, an all-time low unemployment rate, an increase in state general excise tax receipts and additional air seats coming to the islands.
TX: In Texas, student circle time and ‘restorative justice’ may be lowering suspensions
When suspensions were up and academic performance was down at a Texas middle school, its principal decided to try something new: getting students to circle up and talk about their feelings twice a week.
MA: Adviser to governor helped land lucrative contracts for energy firms
The top political adviser to Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, also provided strategic and communications advice to two companies that beat out competitors for what will be two of New England’s biggest energy projects.
NY: Push to expand speed cameras in New York City mired in New York state politics
New York City officials say the cameras have been effective in slowing down traffic around schools, and they are asking the state, which controls traffic enforcement rules, to expand the program significantly. But some critics argue that the cameras have turned some streets into speed traps and cash cows for the city.
AK: Number of new gonorrhea cases in Alaska skyrockets in 2017
The number of new gonorrhea cases in Alaska increased by 51 percent in 2017 compared to the year before, giving Alaska the second-highest rate of gonorrhea in the country last year, behind Mississippi.
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