Editor's Picks From Around the Web

  • August 31, 2015

CA: California's death-penalty delays put on trial

mercurynews.com

A federal appeals court on Monday will review a Los Angeles federal judge's ruling last year declaring California's "dysfunctional" death penalty law unconstitutional because of systemic delays. The state has more than a quarter of the nation's condemned inmates.

MS: Plaintiffs seek to block Mississippi ban on gay couples adopting

clarionledger.com

Four lesbian couples are asking a federal judge to stop Mississippi from enforcing a law banning same-sex couples from adopting or taking children into foster care.

TX: Massive bankruptcy tests Texas utility regulators

texastribune.org

In the coming months, the Texas Public Utility Commission is expected to weigh in on an unprecedented plan to help the state’s largest power company emerge from bankruptcy, with huge implications for the electric grid and Texas ratepayers.

ND: North Dakota to allow non-teachers to take over some classes

bismarcktribune.com

Citing a lack of applicants across the state, North Dakota's governor plans to sign an agreement allowing “community experts” to temporarily fill vacant teaching positions. Under the proposed rule, community members would be allowed to teach in their areas of expertise for up to one year in non-core areas, including health and physical education classes.

IL: Illinois lottery winners have to wait for payout due to budget impasse

chicagotribune.com

Officials for the Illinois lottery said the budget impasse leaves them unable to pay out any lottery claims over $25,000 and they are instead giving IOUs to winners.

AR: Arkansas officials again suspend Medicaid cancellations

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas officials are again suspending a push to terminate coverage for thousands on Medicaid after the federal government told the state to give beneficiaries more time to prove they're eligible for the program. The Department of Human Services said the federal government has told the state to give beneficiaries 30 days to prove they qualify for coverage, rather than the 10 days the state had been using.

LA: Louisiana offers a tax break on guns, ATVs and other hunting equipment

nola.com

Louisiana’s annual "Second Amendment" sales tax holiday, which started in 2009, applies to almost all purchases of firearms, ammunition and other hunting supplies. It will be in effect Sept. 4-6.

ME: Fewer Maine parents opt out of vaccinating kids

pressherald.com

During the 2014-15 school year, an estimated 4.4 percent of children enrolled in kindergarten across the state did not receive vaccinations, down from 5.5 percent in 2013-14.

IA: Medicaid companies, lobbyists made big contributions to top Iowa officials

desmoinesregister.com

Some of Iowa’s top elected officials — including Republican Gov. Terry Branstad — have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from some of the companies that vied for lucrative contracts to manage the state’s annual $4.2 billion Medicaid program, a Des Moines Register investigation shows.

VA: Virginia’s car-wash industry under scrutiny

washingtonpost.com

Officials in Virginia are examining wage fraud and other abuses in the state’s car-wash industry, which largely employs immigrants from Latin America. Growing payroll fraud is costing the state an estimated $28 million a year in lost taxes.

AZ: Study: Tighter border brought Arizona more Mexican migrants

azcentral.com

A new study finds that tighter border security over 18 years led massive numbers of Mexican migrants who would otherwise have settled in California and Texas to head to scores of other states — including Arizona — instead.

OR: Lack of funds blamed for failure to test rape kits in Oregon

registerguard.com

Materials from more than 5,600 rape kits are in evidence rooms at police departments and other law enforcement agencies in Oregon and remain untested.

AK: Medicaid expansion will occur in Alaska

juneauempire.com 

Alaska’s Medicaid expansion will proceed on September 1, after a Superior Court judge struck down an attempt by the Alaska Legislative Council, a body of the Alaska Legislature, to stop the expansion.

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