What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 5/27

  • May 27, 2016

NC: North Carolina prisons moving away from solitary confinement

newsobserver.com

In the past year, North Carolina prison officials have cut in half the number of inmates kept in isolation. State prison officials say solitary confinement is not working and doesn’t lead to positive behavioral change.

LA: Louisiana governor signs nation’s first ‘Blue Lives Matter’ law

theadvocate.com

The measure signed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards increases Louisiana’s penalties for certain crimes that target law enforcement and firefighters, including assault and arson. People convicted of felonies against the protected classes face an additional five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. For misdemeanors, the law increases penalties by $500 or up to six months in prison.

MO: Missouri regulators push back on insurance merger

cnbc.com

Regulators in Missouri have raised a red flag on Aetna's $34 billion acquisition of Humana, calling the deal anti-competitive for the state's Medicare market. It's the first hurdle in the state merger approval process the insurers have encountered.

US: FDA approves new way to treat opioid addiction — under the skin

washingtonpost.com

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first implantable drug to deliver long-lasting medication to people addicted to opioids such as OxyContin and heroin. The implant administers the anti-addiction drug buprenorphine in a continuous dose for six months.

WV: West Virginia sends layoff warnings to prison educators amid budget impasse

wvgazettemail.com

The state Department of Education sent notices of impending layoffs to all 55 teachers and principals who provide basic, career and technical education to inmates in West Virginia’s 20 adult jails and prisons. The state has a $270 million budget hole, and lawmakers cannot agree on how to close it.

CA: Despite new law, many California pharmacies aren’t dispensing birth control

npr.org

More than 18 months after Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that allows California pharmacists to distribute most types of hormonal birth control methods without a prescription, pharmacists at major chains haven’t yet started to do so.

CT: Connecticut Supreme Court upholds abolishment of death penalty

ap.org

The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld its landmark ruling that declared the state's death penalty unconstitutional and abolished capital punishment. The decision will spare the lives of 11 men on death row.

OH: Ohio lawmakers ask voters to post bond if they want to extend voting hours

cincinnati.com

Lawmakers sent Republican Gov. John Kasich a bill that would force Ohioans to put up a cash bond when they petition a court to extend voting hours during an emergency on Election Day. The bill would require a bond ranging from $1 to the cost of keeping the polls open.

FL: Florida ruling gives juveniles a chance for new sentences

miamiherald.com

The Florida Supreme Court ruled that juveniles convicted of murder when the state still had a parole system should get new sentencing hearings, opening the door for juveniles who were eligible for parole for other major crimes to get new sentences as well. The decision was prompted by two U.S. Supreme Court rulings that changed how Florida treats young people convicted of major crimes.

MT: Judge reinstates Montana’s contribution limits on political parties

helenair.com

A federal district judge reinstated voter-approved limits on the amount of cash Montana political parties can give to candidates, nine days after he struck down those limits as unconstitutionally low and less than two weeks before Montana's primary elections.

NY: New York Legislature cuts taxes on feminine hygiene products

nytimes.com 

The New York Legislature gave its final approval to a bill exempting tampons and other feminine hygiene products from sales taxes.

WY: Federal judge rejects Wyoming air ambulance regulation

billingsgazette.com

A federal judge has rejected a Wyoming law that sought to limit how much air ambulance companies can charge the state for transporting workers injured on the job — the second such ruling in recent months. 

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