New Jersey officials have launched eight civil lawsuits targeting what it called polluters of lower-income and minority communities, in a “first of its kind” statewide action focused on environmental justice. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s office is creating an environmental justice section and hiring new attorneys to staff it.
A bill requiring North Carolina voters to show photo identification before casting ballots at the polls beginning next year has won final approval in the state Senate. The voter ID bill that now goes to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature was approved as scrutiny of possible election fraud in the 9th Congressional District intensifies.
California became the first state in the nation to require homes built in 2020 or later be solar powered. Homeowners will have the option of leasing the solar panels or signing a power purchase agreement that pays for the electricity without buying the panels. One solar-industry representative said the net savings from adding solar power will be around $40 a month or nearly $500 a year.
Florida wrongly issued concealed weapons licenses to more people than previously disclosed and allowed contract workers with a documented history of errors to process thousands of gun applications, according to a new audit of the Department of Agriculture. One sample of permit applications reviewed by auditors over a nine-month period found nearly 4 percent had errors.
A panel created by the New York governor and legislature voted to increase state legislators’ annual salaries for the first time in 20 years from $79,500 to $130,000 by 2021. The compensation committee also voted to give salary increases to statewide elected officials and executive agency officials. The committee's final report will carry the weight of law unless the state legislature overrules the decision.
The Wyoming legislature's Management Council has voted to change and weaken an anti-discrimination and harassment policy adopted during the past legislative session. Some conservative legislators and organizations were upset that people were protected based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and argued that the policy infringed on free speech.
Colorado oil and gas regulators are considering enlarging the mandatory buffer zone between new wells and school property. A proposal released by the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission would require new wells to be at least 1,000 feet from buildings and outdoor areas schools use, such as playgrounds.
The judge deciding Maine’s Medicaid expansion lawsuit has denied a stay request by the outgoing administration of Republican Gov. Paul LePage but set a new Feb. 1 deadline to begin enrolling people in the expanded health insurance program. From a practical standpoint, the ruling makes the lawsuit moot.
In his latest budget, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is proposing a $200 million sales tax cut to help Utahns keep more money in their pockets. But he’s also proposing that the state broaden its tax base — which has been eroding — possibly by imposing new sales tax on services.
The Tesla Gigafactory’s economic impact on Nevada has exceeded projections, bringing in more than 7,000 jobs and $6 billion in capital investment, according to a new economic impact summary from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. In 2014, Nevada gave the company $1.3 billion in tax abatements.
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education is debating whether to offer in-state tuition rates to certain students from out of state. The board’s discussion was a direct response to the South Dakota Board of Regents’ decision to offer in-state tuition to students from six neighboring states.
Pennsylvania is expanding efforts to make the anti-overdose medication naloxone available to the public with a statewide distribution day next week. Officials said naloxone will be provided free to any state resident at 80 locations — most of them state, county and municipal health offices.
More often than publicly posted state numbers indicate, children in Texas day cares are victims of molestation, physical abuse or neglect at child care sites with long histories of trouble. A yearlong American-Statesman investigation reveals hundreds of children had serious injuries and nearly 90 died from abuse or neglect since 2007.