Editor's Picks From Around the Web
CA: California governor blocks drone bills
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed measures that would have stopped drones from flying over schools and prisons and allowed emergency personnel to shoot down drones that move into a fire zone.
MA: Shrinking rainy day fund sparks concern
Despite an economy on the upswing, Massachusetts lawmakers have repeatedly taken money out of the state’s rainy day fund to paper over big holes in the state budget. As a result, the account stands at $1.1 billion—a sizable sum, but a far smaller percentage of state spending than in the past.
TX: Texas border cameras show smuggling interdiction decline amid manpower surge
From 2012 to late June 2014, 48 percent of smuggling events detected by border cameras resulted in an apprehension. Since Texas bolstered the federal border presence by sending state troopers, the Texas National Guard and others to the Rio Grande Valley 14 months ago, the interdiction rate has been around 40 percent.
NJ: More New Jersey workers retire as governor talks of cuts to benefits
More New Jersey government workers retired in the first seven months of this year than in the same period in 2014. Labor representatives attribute the nearly 10 percent increase to Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s support for pension benefit changes.
IA: Can Iowa’s new anti-bullying office be effective?
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's recent executive order to create an office for bullying prevention in Iowa schools bypasses years of failed legislative action, but it raises questions about how the small office, with just one full-time employee, will tackle major problems.
PA: Only one Pennsylvania State Police shooting deemed ‘improper’ since 2008
Of the 120 times since 2008 that Pennsylvania State Police troopers intentionally fired their guns, only one of the shootings was cited as “improper” by internal investigators. In that time, at least 18 people were killed by troopers.
NE: Nebraska’s rural communities facing shortage of psychiatrists
Access to mental and behavioral health care in rural Nebraska has been an issue for years, and it’s not getting better. In 2014, 48 of the state’s 93 counties did not have a mental health provider.
MI: Michigan bills target property tax cuts for 'big box' stores
Lawmakers introduced bills to stop reduced property tax assessments after local governments across Michigan complained of losing millions of dollars in taxes because “big box" retailers are unfairly getting their assessments slashed through appeals.
ME: Crowded county jails to ask the Maine Legislature for help
Jail crowding and budget shortfalls persist, despite a law passed last year aimed at correcting some of the problems—all of which will prompt Maine county officials asking the state for more money when the Legislature reconvenes.
AR: Sales tax collections boost Arkansas revenue
Arkansas’ sales tax collections beat expectations for the sixth month in a row, boosting the state's revenue nearly $50 million above forecast so far this fiscal year.
OK: Refugees are finding 'a better life' in Oklahoma
Since 2003, the U.S. State Department has resettled more than 2,800 refugees from 25 countries in Oklahoma. More could possibly come.
AK: Alaska’s earnings from investments plunge
Alaska’s investment earnings plunged by nearly 70 percent compared to 2014, as the stock market fell and other funds were put in low-yield investments. Last year, Alaska’s Permanent Fund earned $8 billion, enough to fund the state’s entire unrestricted general fund budget.
CA: San Francisco’s last gun store closes
The only gun store in San Francisco is shuttering for good, saying it can no longer operate in the California city's political climate of increased gun control regulations and vocal opposition to its business.