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    PNS Weekend Update - May 23, 20150 


    In focus on our nationwide rundown: A Republican Senator offers a comprise on domestic spying; a new survey finds a majority of voters in the Lone Star State oppose LGBT discrimination; and a safety mindset for boaters over this long Memorial Day weekend.

Civic Engagement

PHOTO: Centre College, which has hosted two vice presidential debates, including this one in 2012 between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, will be the site of a Kentucky gubernatorial debate Oct. 6. Photo courtesy Centre College.

DANVILLE, Ky. - Centre College has become synonymous with high-profile political debates including Lieberman-Cheney in 2000 and Biden-Ryan in 2012. Now the liberal arts college in Danville has extended invitations to Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for governor, and his two potential Republican ...Read More

PHOTO: Workers from the Department of Social and Health Services show the placards they'll sport for Wednesday's 15-minute unity break, a coordinated action in more than 80 locations to show solidarity among state workers. Photo courtesy Washington Federation of State Employees.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - State workers in more than 80 locations across Washington are planning what might be seen as a mini-strike today at noon. They're calling the 15-minute walkout a "Unity Break," saying the goal is to get state lawmakers' attention and reinforce the importance of the work done by sta ...Read More

PHOTO: Critics of SB 1628 say consumers are being squeezed out in a legal fight between the insurance industry and trial lawyers over the payment of claims dealing with hail-damaged roofs and other storm-related losses. Image courtesy of Federal Emergency Management Agency.

AUSTIN, Texas - A bill making its way through the Texas Legislature would eliminate penalties for insurance companies when they're late paying claims. The author of SB 1628, Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), says it would stop what he terms "lawsuit abuse by storm-chasing trial lawyers." Taylor ...Read More

PHOTO: The Colorado Department of Human Services recognized four families for their dedication to Colorado's foster kids and commitment to providing a safe home for children. Photo courtesy of the Colorado Department of Human Services.

DENVER - Four families were honored at the Governor's Mansion over the weekend for their contributions as foster parents to Colorado kids: Jennifer and Alex Rodriguez from Roggen; Kim and Jesse Moses from Calhan; Julie Ellis and Malibu James from Aurora; and Kurt and Jennifer Walker from Windsor. ...Read More

PHOTO: A group of fourth-grade students has made passing a smoke-free law in Middlesboro their civics project. Their City Council votes on it this week. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer.

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. – In Kentucky, local smoke-free laws now cover about a third of the state's nearly 4.5 million people. And it may come as a surprise who is leading the call for a smoke-free ordinance in one town – seven fourth-graders. They are members of the Destination Imagination ...Read More

PHOTO: From floods to droughts to tornadoes, Minnesota's rural communities are often hardest hit by weather extremes, and a series of statewide discussions is focused on planning and response. Photo credit: Steve Brand/Flickr.

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. - As the summer season of severe weather approaches in Minnesota, a gathering this week examines how communities can best respond to the growing frequency of weather extremes and the changing climate. Anna Claussen, director of rural strategies with the Institute for Agricultu ...Read More

PHOTO: With an increasing number of Iowans impacted by energy transmission projects, new research points to key strategies for landowners in cases that may involve eminent domain. Photo credit: Western Area Power/Flickr.

DES MOINES, Iowa - With the changing landscape of energy transmission in Iowa often comes the contentious use of eminent domain, but new research says the shortcomings can and must be addressed because a growing number of the population is being impacted. Johnathan Hladik, a senior policy advocate ...Read More

PHOTO: Monday kicks off four days of collaborations, trainings and alliance-building in downtown Denver to address poverty issues and change communities. Photo credit: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons.

DENVER – Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has proclaimed May 11-14 Community Action Week in sync with a conference bringing together policy makers, nonprofit groups and government and social service agencies for a series of educational, training and planning sessions around poverty. Amy Beres, a ...Read More

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Civic Engagement by State