NJ: More New Jersey teens are killing themselves in a crisis nobody was prepared for
In 2017, there were 100 documented suicides among New Jersey’s 15- to 24-year-olds, the highest number and rate since the 1990s, according to federal data. An investigation reveals a frayed safety net that leaves young people dangerously vulnerable.
TX: Texas House speaker ‘all in’ on legislation damaging cities
Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, a Republican, was caught on tape telling a conservative group that his goal this year was “the worst session in the history of the legislature for cities and counties.” During the session lawmakers sharply limited city and county property taxes and other revenue sources.
WA: Washington won’t mandate passage of standardized tests for high school graduation
Washington state lawmakers voted this spring to remove standardized tests as a graduation requirement. Now, the state’s Board of Education has given the public until Oct. 28 to weigh in on possible alternative pathways to graduation.
ID: Idaho city acts as benchmark for homeless legal issues in the West
The homeless population in Boise, Idaho, is not as significant as many larger cities in the West, but it’s setting enforcement standards for the entire region. That’s because a federal judge blocked Boise — and as a result, other cities — from ticketing or arresting people for sleeping in the street, and cities like Los Angeles and others are joining Boise’s legal challenge to the ruling.
CA: California prison whistleblower says state tried to create phony data on inmate care
The chief psychiatrist at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation headquarters, Dr. Michael Golding, accused prison leaders of providing false and misleading data to a federal court on how the state handles inmate psychiatric care.
IN: Doctors want Indiana lawmakers to adopt vaping liquids tax
Indiana needs state taxes to discourage the use of electronic cigarettes as vaping becomes more popular and is increasingly blamed in illnesses and deaths, the state’s main physicians’ organization and other health advocates told a legislative committee.
FL: Florida lawmakers consider halting local sunscreen bans
A ban on some sunscreens, seen as damaging to coral reefs, in Key West prompted a Florida state Senate committee to advance a bill pre-empting local legislation on the issue. A Republican senator said the state should encourage sunscreen use to prevent skin cancer.
WI: New bill would make Hmong veterans eligible for state benefits
A new bill in the Wisconsin legislature would extend state benefits to Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War. The legislation would change the state’s definition of a veteran to include Hmong people who served in the CIA and U.S. military in Laos between 1961 and 1975.
IA: Iowa governor forms panel to study criminal justice bias
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds says she is forming a working group chaired by the lieutenant governor to make recommendations for removing racial bias from the criminal justice system and to help offenders re-enter communities in a way that reduces repeat offenses.
DE: Delaware bail system comes under scrutiny
Several Delaware lawmakers say it’s time to try again with bail reform. The previous General Assembly approved measures that tightened the requirements for someone on high cash bail. Critics said the result is a system under which potentially dangerous people are released with no bail whatsoever.
AK: Alaska considers sending prisoners to outside prisons, potentially out of state
The Alaska Department of Corrections will seek to send between 250 and 500 inmates to outside prisons. The department will issue a request for proposals from interested prisons in the next few days. The request will be for a three-year contract with an option to extend.
MA: Massachusetts public schools violated law by denying Catholic, Jewish schools aid for special education, U.S. officials say
The U.S. Department of Education has found that public school districts across Massachusetts and state education officials have violated federal law for years by denying services and government aid to students with disabilities who attend Catholic, Jewish and other private schools, according to a copy of the decision obtained by the Boston Globe.
TN: Tennessee block grant proposal receives harsh criticism at public hearing
Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s proposal to change how Tennessee’s Medicaid program, TennCare, is funded was roundly denounced in Memphis, with residents, officials and health care advocates criticizing the plan as an immoral prioritization of cost savings over vulnerable citizens.
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