State tax authorities told a Senate committee Thursday that they’re seeing a surge in suspicious income tax filings this year, as online crooks seek fraudulent refunds that cost states millions of dollars. Among the possible remedies: A faster process for verifying information reported on tax returns, increased information sharing between the IRS and the states and tighter security for third-party tax preparation Web sites.
The number of people claiming Social Security disability benefits in Ohio has surged 28 percent since the recession, suggesting the benefits have become a form of unemployment insurance for many people. Only Washington, D.C., and Michigan posted higher percentage increases.
Citing the burden imposed on poor defendants by uncollectable court fees and fines, the Washington Supreme Court reiterated that judges must ask about a defendant’s ability to pay, and not impose them if they can’t be. Uncollectable fines can impede defendants’ ability to reenter society, the justices said.
The federal government this week projected that natural gas prices would average about 30 percent less in 2015 than last year—bad news for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf whose proposed severance tax on natural gas production was to have generated $1 billion for education programs.
Pay for Utah’s next governor would go to $150,000 a year, a 38 percent increase over Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s current $109,000-a-year salary, if Herbert signs it into law.
Casinos keep about $2.3 million annually from unclaimed winning horse racing tickets and expired slot machine tickets in Louisiana. A Democratic state legislator is working with Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal to draft legislation that would direct those funds to the Crime Victims Reparations Fund to pay for rape exams.
Under a bill now moving through the Florida House, women would have to talk to the physician performing the procedure at least 24 hours before the abortion.
Misrepresenting yourself as a veteran or active member of the military would cost you a $1,000 fine under a bill that has begun advancing in the New Jersey Senate.
The Senate's Higher Education committee advanced a bill that would impose a fine of up to $1,000 for the sale or purchase of term papers, dissertations or other academic assignments over the Internet. Existing New York laws already punish those who buy or sell ink-on-paper ghostwritten assignments.
Lawmakers have filed two competing bills about who should have the authority to decide whether to terminate a brain-dead pregnant woman's life — a preview of what promises to be a fiery legislative battle over end-of-life medical care in Texas.
Up to 325 jobs could be cut as the state looks to save money, according to Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin’s office. The move comes as state employees are cool to re-entering labor contract talks.
The bill would revive the use of the electric chair to carry out Alabama’s death penalty should the state be unable to execute inmates via lethal injection.