Public Safety

Nursing Home Cameras Create Controversy

BY: - September 25, 2014

© AP Christina Anderson, left, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, holds a sign with photos of her mother, Pauline Brill, which Anderson said were taken after her mother’s stay in a nursing home, during an Oklahoma City rally to improve the condition of the state’s nursing homes. Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that have […]

Illinois Democrats Seek Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

BY: - November 21, 2012

Illinois Democrats are pushing a bill that would grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, saying the policy would improve road safety and cut down on uninsured drivers. “This is a safety issue that impacts every driver in Illinois, and we should join together to take swift action to save lives,” Governor Pat Quinn said at […]

At Least 26 States Spend Less on Prisons

BY: - August 11, 2009

(Updated 1 p.m. EDT, Aug. 14, 2009; see Editor’s Note below) A $1 billion cost-cutting plan announced last week by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) will translate into layoffs for more than a thousand state prison workers. In Oregon, a voter-approved plan to hand longer prison sentences to those who commit property crimes was delayed […]

New Laws Target Driving, Crime, Politicians

BY: - December 31, 2008

Photo courtesy of Jackie Vu An electronic billboard on California’s 5 freeway reminds drivers that as of Jan. 1, they cannot send text messages while driving. When the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Day, a variety of new laws across the country take effect, including some that warrant immediate notice. For example, if you’re […]

Economy Could Imperil State Readiness

BY: - December 9, 2008

Budget cuts could undermine the progress states have made to respond to public health emergencies and natural disasters, such as the recent wildfires in California and outbreaks of Salmonella on tainted vegetables that sickened more than 1, 440 people in 43 states, says a new report released Dec. 9. The report, ” Ready or Not? […]

Cash-Strapped N.J.: Pay up for State Police

BY: - September 9, 2008

Just how gloomy is New Jersey’s fiscal picture these days? Faced with an estimated budget shortfall of nearly $3 billion in January, lawmakers in the Garden State offered early-retirement packages to nearly 4,000 state workers, completely dissolved two state agencies and slashed the operating costs of every remaining department by an average of 5 percent. […]

States Lead Feds in Toy Safety

BY: - April 2, 2008

Reacting to an increase in toy recalls and consumer complaints, five states have targeted tainted toys in new laws that in some way regulate toy sales in their states. In total, 29 states have pursued legislation on toy safety, with 20 of those states taking steps to ban four toxic substances sometimes used in toy […]

Nebraska Legislator Fights Death Penalty to the End

BY: - August 17, 2007

Thirty-one years after launching a crusade to abolish Nebraska ‘s death penalty, state Sen. Ernie Chambers finally might see his efforts pay off – though not in the way he originally planned, and with time running out in his public career. The longest-serving lawmaker in the history of Nebraska ‘s single-chamber, non-partisan Legislature – and […]

A ‘gathering storm’ of violent crime

BY: - June 17, 2007

Are the bad old days back? Read the headlines and you’d think so: “Violent Crime Blazing Back in America,” reads one, “Big-city murders way up since ’04” another. The Police Executive Research Forum sees a “gathering storm” of violent crime, a “tipping point” in many cities. Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.) intones: “After years of driving […]

2006 Is Year of Surpluses, Social Issues

BY: - September 14, 2006

State lawmakers, enjoying their best budget climate in six years, splurged in 2006 on new projects — from a baseball stadium for the Minnesota Twins to a spaceport in New Mexico — while mustering new ideas to try to fix the nation’s broken health care system and boosting the minimum wage for millions of workers. […]

States Collecting DNA from Arrestees

BY: - July 27, 2006

With civil libertarians crying foul, seven states have authorized police to take DNA samples from those arrested for – but not convicted of – certain crimes. Every state takes DNA samples from convicted sex offenders and at least 43 states take samples from other serious felons, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which […]

Mumps outbreak tests pandemic plans

BY: - April 21, 2006

State officials in the Midwest are using an outbreak of mumps to test emergency health plans. The real-life exercise is critical for health officials, who have struggled to ready their systems for a possible flu pandemic in the near future. So far, more than 1,000 cases of mumps have been reported in eight Midwest states, […]