US: States petition the federal government to silence robocalls
Thirty-four states have formally petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to create rules that would further empower phone companies to block illegal robocalls. That would clear the way for new technology to authenticate legitimate calls and block unsolicited automated calls.
TX: 100K more voters join Texas rolls for midterm elections
New numbers from the Texas secretary of state show a record 15.7 million voters will be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 midterm elections, which feature one of the hottest U.S. Senate races in the country between incumbent Republican Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the governor’s race, and more than a half dozen highly competitive congressional races.
OR: Oregon wildfire costs hit record M
New data shows the cost of fighting wildfires in Oregon reached an all-time high .6 million in 2018. The Statesman Journal reports that all totaled, Oregon had 1,880 fires that burned more than a thousand square miles — an area larger than Rhode Island.
MT: Montana GOP lawmakers want Medicaid work requirements
Nearly 70 Republican state lawmakers want Montana to have a work requirement for people who qualify for Medicaid under its expanded program.
PA: Betting with a smartphone? Pennsylvania casinos know who and where you are
When online gaming launches soon in Pennsylvania, bettors with a smartphone will be able to gamble from just about anywhere in the state, from schools to churches. But there is one place in the commonwealth where you can’t engage in interactive wagering — and that is from inside the state’s 13 licensed casinos.
NY: Amid #MeToo, New York employers face strict new sexual harassment laws
The #MeToo movement helped transform workplace culture and spurred both the state of New York and New York City to pass the country’s most stringent workplace sexual harassment laws, the bulk of which take effect this week.
ND: North Dakota’s Native American high school graduation rate continues to rise
The high school graduation rate for Native American students in North Dakota continued to rise in 2017, and yet a significant gap persists when compared to the overall student population.
KY: As Kentucky agencies privatize jobs, ‘orphaned’ pension debts threaten local taxpayers
To cut its contributions to the beleaguered state pension system, Western Kentucky University eliminated 202 hourly wage positions in 2016 and then welcomed its former workers back to the exact same jobs the next day as employees of Sodexo, a private contractor, with 401(k) defined-contribution accounts instead of pensions.
CA: Prison psychiatry chief claims California is misleading federal court
The chief psychiatrist for California’s prison system is accusing state officials of providing inaccurate and misleading data to a federal court and to lawyers for prison inmates fighting to improve psychiatric care inside state prisons, according to court documents.
MA: Massachusetts state police tried to destroy records during investigation, Boston Globe reports
Amid numerous ongoing investigations into overtime and payroll fraud, the Massachusetts State Police Department has tried several times in recent months to destroy more than a hundred boxes of payroll, attendance and personnel documents.
NJ: New Jersey sues U.S.: Why was Florida exempted from offshore drilling?
New Jersey, saying it is frustrated with a lack of answers, filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior asking why Florida — and not the Garden State — was made exempt from a Trump administration plan to expand offshore drilling.
IL: Illinois Obamacare rates to decrease for many popular plans
Consumers who buy health insurance on Illinois’ Obamacare exchange for next year will see slightly lower prices, on average, for the most popular plans, after years of dramatic increases. It’s a dip that comes amid changes, including that consumers will no longer face penalties for not obtaining insurance.
IN: Former intern says Indiana House speaker tried to intimidate her over alleged sexual encounter
A former Statehouse intern who alleges she had a sexual encounter decades ago with Indiana’s current House speaker now says he is trying to intimidate her by having investigators try to track down unfavorable information about her past.
VT: Vermont activists call for action following dire climate change report
Despite Vermont’s commitment to slash emissions to 90 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, environmental advocates have pointed to the uptick in Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions from 2012 to 2015 as evidence that paper goals are not enough.
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