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  • August 14, 2015

CT: State Supreme Court rules death penalty unconstitutional

courant.com

After a sweeping two-year review, the Connecticut Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment, saying the state's death penalty no longer comports with evolved societal values and serves no valid purpose as punishment. The 4-3 decision would remove 11 convicts from Connecticut's death row.

US: Fifteen states seek to block EPA carbon rule

reuters.com

Fifteen state attorneys general petitioned a federal court in Washington Thursday to block new U.S. rules to curb carbon emissions from power plants, in the first of several expected legal challenges to the Obama administration measure. The plan aims to lower emissions from the country's power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

IN: Indiana hires more child welfare workers as caseload jumps

ibj.com

Republican Gov. Mike Pence said the state will hire an additional 113 child welfare caseworkers to deal with a skyrocketing number of abuse and neglect cases. Indiana has seen a 26 percent jump in its caseload since last year, which the governor largely attributed to a rise in heroin abuse. 

WA: Court fines state $100,000 a day over school funding

seattletimes.com

State lawmakers plan to meet Monday to review their options after the state’s highest court sanctioned the state for failing to fund K-12 education at the level ordered by a 2012 ruling. The order includes a $100,000 a day fine to be held in reserve for education, until a special legislative session is called and more funding is added.

AR: Arkansas buys drugs needed for lethal injections

arkansasonline.com

The Arkansas Department of Correction said it spent more than $24,000 to acquire the three drugs needed, including midazolam. That sedative was implicated in troubled executions in Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma. Eight condemned inmates have exhausted their appeals, and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he expects to be asked soon to schedule the state's first execution in 10 years.

MO: Kansas City takes step to raise minimum wage to $15, although Missouri Legislature may prevent it

kansascity.com

The Kansas City Council has taken the first step toward putting a $15 minimum wage question on the November ballot. But the move could be moot if state legislators next month override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of legislation that could prevent Missouri cities from adopting a minimum wage above the state-mandated level of $7.65 per hour.

GA: Georgia pulls plug on proposed Medicaid expansion pilot

ajc.com

Georgia has decided not to move ahead with a plan to get the federal government to provide more Medicaid funding for an experimental program aimed at helping Grady Hospital and struggling rural hospitals.

MN: Critics question wisdom of a Minnesota walleye and other bailouts

startribune.com

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s insistence on a bailout for Lake Mille Lacs resort owners hurt by the state shutting down walleye season is the latest effort by the governor to help an industry hit by unforeseen disaster or hardship. The state is sitting on a giant budget surplus, but some legislators and economists say it should be wary about bailing out favored industries.

IL: Illinois governor signs lawmakers' rejected pay hike

chicagotribune.com

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law barring Illinois lawmakers from receiving a pay raise this year. Rauner signed the measure after the General Assembly voted to reject the increase that would have paid each member of the House and Senate about $1,400 more per year.

TX: Texas to hold districts accountable for failing schools

texastribune.org

After three years of academically unacceptable ratings, the state education commissioner can approve a district’s plan to fix a failing school, install new leadership at the school or district, or close the school. After five years, the commissioner must either install new management at the district level or close the school.

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