Editor's Picks From Around the Web

PA: Pennsylvania faces $2 billion budget deficit, and credit is tight

Pennsylvania got a double whammy of bad news Thursday in separate reports, one projecting a nearly $2 billion budget deficit, and another saying the state had maxed out its borrowing.

UT: Governor says Utah’s alcohol laws do no harm

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said Utah's liquor laws are effective and not hampering the economy, as some have argued.

NM: Right-to-work legislation for New Mexico likely to be on agenda

The start date of the state legislature’s 2015 session is more than two months away, but debate is already building over the long-stymied idea of making New Mexico a “right-to-work” state, allowing it to prohibit labor unions from requiring workers to join a union or pay it dues for representing them.

CA: California leads by example on climate change

As the U.S. and China, the world's top two polluting nations, turn to implementing new rules aimed at curbing climate change, California already has imposed some of the world's toughest air quality standards as it moves aggressively to lower emissions.

DE: Big bonuses draw few teachers in Delaware

Delaware’s program to attract top teachers to work in schools with low test scores by paying them an extra $20,000 attracted only nine of them in its third year.

OH: Leading Ohio lawmaker proposes sweeping change in redistricting

Resolutions introduced Thursday by Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Huffman would give minority party leaders more of a say in the state's redistricting process and provide incentives for both parties to work together.

AR: Governor outlines two budget proposals to lawmakers

Out-going Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe detailed two budget scenarios, depending on whether lawmakers agree to delay $29.4 million worth of tax cuts on capital gains and manufacturers' utility bills for two years.

VA: Bill targets pension boost when legislators switch jobs

Quitting the Virginia House or Senate for a state job can sharply boost a legislator’s retirement benefits, and one state senator would like to change that.

NJ: New Jersey state Assembly approves assisted suicide bill

The New Jersey state Assembly Thursday passed a measure that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients.

NC: House chamber gets controversial facelift

Crews started work this week on a $125,000 renovation to the North Carolina House chamber – a project that prompted outcry and confusion from legislators who didn’t approve the expense.

TX: Abbott appointee endorsed Medicaid expansion

Republican Gov.-elect Greg Abbott’s pick for Texas secretary of state voted for a local resolution last year endorsing the expansion of Medicaid — a central tenet of the federal Affordable Care Act that Abbott fiercely campaigned against.

LA: State plans push to explain special education overhaul

The state is about to launch a year-long effort to train local educators on how to implement a sweeping, problem-plagued new law that is supposed to help some special education students earn a high school diploma.

Helping the Homeless Driving Less