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    PNS Daily New - October 6, 20150 

    In focus on our nationwide rundown: the TPP has been dubbed the most ambitious trade pact in a generation, but there are concerns when it comes to American jobs and health; a big vote in the Keystone State impacting education; and workers turn out to be the largest group to benefit from Medicaid expansion.

Human Rights/Racial Justice

According to a new poll, 74 percent of Texas adults say the maximum punishment for being caught with marijuana should be changed from a criminal penalty to a ticket or fine. Credit: Jan Havlicek/iStockphoto.

AUSTIN, Texas – Seventy-four percent of Texas adults say the maximum punishment for being caught with pot should be changed from a criminal penalty to a ticket or fine, according to a new poll conducted by The Texas Lyceum. Heather Fazio, Texas political director with the Marijuana Policy Pro ...Read More

Forty percent of prisoners on Riker's Island are there because they can't afford bail. Credit: Cdogsimmons/Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK - New York state is taking a serious look at reforming bail for criminal defendants. Last week the state's chief judge said he will institute several changes including encouraging judges to set bail at affordable levels, reviewing bail amounts within 10 days of arraignment, and retraining j ...Read More

A new nonpartisan coalition says the time is right to reform Virginia's juvenile justice system. Credit: Richard Ross for the Annie E. Casey Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. - The time is right to reform Virginia's juvenile justice system, according to a new nonpartisan coalition called RISE for Youth. The coalition wants to replace the big juvenile prisons with community-based corrections. States around the country have been changing how they treat young ...Read More

Experts from around the country are in Phoenix to talk about juvenile justice reform. Credit: jodylehigh/

PHOENIX - You don't have to lock kids up to reduce juvenile crime. It's a change in thinking that's spread across the country with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, referred to as JDAI. Professionals who work with young people are in Phoenix this week to discuss the successes of the ...Read More

As the state's fiscal year begins Thursday, a new report finds the budget lacking in programs to help lift families out of poverty. Credit: AcryllicArtist/morguefile

LANSING, Mich. – A new report from the Michigan League for Public Policy is critical of the new state budget when it comes to helping break the poverty cycle that still plagues the state. The report acknowledges some positive elements, including an expansion of dental care for low-income chi ...Read More

Pope Francis also has visited prisoners in Italy and Bolivia. Credit: Benhur Arcayan/

PHILADELPHIA - Pope Francis will visit a Philadelphia prison Sunday, drawing attention to mass incarceration and the need for criminal-justice reform. Philadelphia pioneered prison reform as early as the 18th century. Ann Schwartzman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, which was ...Read More

Most National Security Letter recipients are forbidden to talk about them. Credit: Tom Murphy/

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - For the first time, a federal court has lifted an FBI-imposed gag order on a National Security Letter. A National Security Letter is an administrative subpoena usually requesting business records. Since the passage of the USA Patriot Act, tens of thousands have been issued to ind ...Read More

Indiana ranked last among states in voter turnout in 2014. Credit: jdurham/Morguefile

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's November election is fast approaching, as is the voting registration deadline of Oct. 5. Erin Kelley, co-president, League of Women Voters of Indiana, says voter registration is crucial to civic engagement. But she explains Indiana's voter turnout is notoriously poor, rank ...Read More

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