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OH: Ohio governor signs sweeping criminal justice bill
Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law an enormous criminal justice bill making it easier for Ohioans to adjust to life after their release, giving state officials wider latitude to release inmates early, and reducing the consequences of minor marijuana offenses and underage drinking penalties, among dozens of other provisions.
CA: California snowpack far above average amid January storms, but a lot more is needed
A series of atmospheric river storms brought California heavy rains and above-average snowpack across the Sierra Nevada, but experts say the state still needs many more storms to begin to emerge from drought.
TX: Texas family planning clinics require parental consent for birth control following court ruling
Texas teens now need their parents’ permission to get birth control at clinics funded through the federal Title X program. The clinics provided one of the only ways for Texas teens to obtain birth control without parental consent, but a judge ruled late last month that the Title X program violates parents’ rights and state and federal law.
MI: Michigan marijuana saw black market battles, plummeting prices in 2022
Overall, 2022 was a healthy year for the Michigan marijuana industry, with retail sales currently on track to surpass $2 billion in annual revenue. But some businesses are facing shrinking profit margins as prices plummet and state regulators engage in a seemingly insurmountable battle with the long-entrenched black market.
AK: Alaska workers say chronic underfunding caused food stamp backlog
Thousands of Alaskans have been without food stamps for months due to a backlog in the Division of Public Assistance. Sources inside and outside the division blame the backlog on chronic understaffing and deep workforce cuts.
WY: Wyoming ratepayers to foot M bill for coal-power mandate
Electric utilities in Wyoming are already incurring costs to comply with legislation that requires them to pursue retrofitting coal-fired power plants with carbon capture, utilization and sequestration facilities, despite preliminary analyses that the technology is cost-prohibitive.
MN: Minnesota legislature convenes with historic diversity
Minnesota lawmakers took the oath of office, welcoming newcomers who included the first three Black women to serve in the Senate and the first transgender and nonbinary representatives in the House.
DE: Delaware’s 2022 traffic fatalities tie a record set in 1988
Delaware’s “Safe Family Holiday” campaign appears to have fallen on deaf ears as the First State ratcheted up additional traffic fatalities over the holidays, bringing 2022’s total to 165 deaths. The figure ties the state record of traffic fatalities set in 1988 and continues Delaware’s national ranking as one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians.
NE: Nebraska cities see spike in fatal accidents
Speeding, distracted driving and failing to use seat belts were seen as the main culprits as Nebraska traffic deaths increased by 15% in 2022. Rural traffic deaths were unchanged, but fatalities in urban areas jumped from 56 in 2021 to 89 in 2022.
WI: Wisconsin governor vows push for abortion access, Medicaid expansion in inauguration
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers pledged to push for abortion access, the expansion of Medicaid and more school funding when he was sworn for a second term as Wisconsin’s 46th governor. Republican legislative leaders said they were disappointed Evers gave a partisan speech on inauguration day.
OR: Free dental insurance now available to many Oregon veterans
A new Oregon program offering dental insurance for veterans launches this month — and state officials say they have funding to serve about 10 times more veterans than have enrolled so far. They are encouraging veterans to contact their county or tribal Veterans Service Office to apply.
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