Editor's Picks From Around the Web

  • July 15, 2014

TX: Texas voting maps deliberately discriminated, feds say

The U.S. Justice Department told judges that Texas lawmakers carefully crafted electoral maps marginalizing minority voters despite the state's exploding Hispanic population in a deliberate effort to racially discriminate and protect conservative incumbents.


TN: Monroe County woman first to be charged with drug use while pregnant under new state law

A Tennessee woman is the first to be charged under a new state law that specifically makes it a crime to take drugs while pregnant, classifying it as assault.


AZ: Arizona enlists a beetle in its campaign for water

Officials have used bulldozers, chain saws and now beetles to get rid of the tamarisk, a tree that consumes a lot of water, but some scientists say it may not help.


MA: Casino Interests Have Spent Over $16.5m on Lobbyists Since 2007

According to Massachusetts state records, from 2007 to 2013, over $16.5 million was spent on lobbyists for the gambling industry. Much of that money came from the developers and property owners vying for one of the few potentially lucrative casino licenses in the state.


IL: Illinois' past-due bills at lowest since 2010

Gov. Pat Quinn is crowing that Illinois' pile of overdue bills has dropped to $3.9 billion. The Democrat said Monday it's the lowest the total has been since 2010.


WI: As rail moves frac sand across Wisconsin landscape, new conflicts emerge

In Wisconsin, the boom in rail traffic moving sand for hydraulic fracturing has caused conflicts and raised safety concerns for residents who live near train tracks.


LA: Syrup mill costs Louisiana taxpayers at least $71 million

Louisiana spent at least $71 million constructing a syrup mill that was almost never used, according to a new state auditor’s report.


HI: Same-sex marriage foes flex muscles in election

A new political battle is being waged against those who voted for and against Hawaii's same-sex legislation. It was spawned by last year's special session legalizing gay marriage.


CA: Measure aims to clarify pet insurance data

Many policyholders complain that their plans are confusing at best and misleading at worst. With complaints to the Department of Insurance on the rise, a lawmaker wants to set guidelines for the largely unregulated industry.


UT: Auditor: Utah property taxes bring in $100 million less than owed

State Auditor John Dougall, a conservative former lawmaker, will present a not-so-conservative study soon to his former colleagues finding that over the last decade, local governments have collected $100 million less in property taxes than they are entitled to.


NJ: After $250K check, a call to cap sick-time payouts

Bipartisan legislation capping sick leave payouts for municipal employees is getting new life in the Legislature, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie isn't on board because it doesn't eliminate the payouts.


MO: Jay Nixon vetoes electronic cigarette measure

Missouri’s Democratic governor says the bill is a “thinly disguised and cynical attempt” to exempt e-cigarettes from the state’s 17 cent-per-pack cigarette tax as well as further public health restrictions.