Policy Milestones

Sort By:

Public News Service recognizes that we are merely one part of the puzzle when it comes to affecting change, but we also know that our coverage (with your support) has had a measurable impact! The following policy milestones from across the nation, demonstrate progress and victories on issues we have covered.

If you know of a milestone that we covered but not included here, submit it to our team!

Table of Contents - By Issue

To see policy milestones for a certain issue, click on the issue.

Archives

A l c o h o l

a n d

D r u g

A b u s e

P r e v e n t i o n

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

All News Services

Opioid Epidemic in Oregon at Fever Pitch

February 2016 - U.S. Senate passes Addiction and Recovery Act, votes 94-1 in favor.

Big Sky Connection

Voters Legalize Medical Marijuana

November 2012 - Voters voted again to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

California News Service

CA AG Files Suit Against Pharmaceutical Company for Price Fixing on Opioid Addiction Meds

September 2016 - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California, along with 34 other states and the District of Columbia, has filed a lawsuit against Indivior, a British pharmaceutical company, and MonoSol, an Indiana film technology company, for antitrust violations.

Governor Signs Bill on Unused Prescription Drugs

August 2016 - Senate Bill 1229 has been signed by Governor Jerry Brown. The bill allows, but does not mandate, a pharmacy to host a "secure drug tack-back bin" in their store as a safe way to dispose of expired or unneeded pharmaceutical drugs.

Law to Fight Doctor-Shopping in CA Takes Effect Today

July 2016 - Starting today, all doctors in California must be registered for access to the state's prescription database.

Commonwealth News Service

State House Approves Measure to reduce supply of painkillers on the street.

January 2016 - State lawmakers gave unanimous approval in the house to a measure that would limit the prescriptions for pain medications to a seven-day supply.

Connecticut News Service

CT Receives $5.5 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis

April 2017 - Connecticut is receiving $5.5 million federal grant to expand the state's efforts to combat the prescription opioid and heroin crisis. The funding is being awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and will be used by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to increase access to treatment, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid-related overdose deaths.

Keystone State News Connection

PA to Get $26.5 Million Federal Grant to Combat Heroin and Opioid Crisis

April 2017 - Pennsylvania has secured a $26.5 million federal grant to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. The departments of Aging, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Health, and Human Services jointly filed the successful grant application that will increase access to treatment, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities for opioid use disorder (OUD).

Maine News Service

Maine Lawmakers Override LePage Narcan Veto

April 2016 - Mainers will have easier access to the lifesaving drug Narcan despite the wishes of Governor Paul LePage.

Nevada News Service

Drunk Driving Deaths Down in Nevada in 2015

December 2015 - The latest statistics from the state show that Nevada is making serious progress against drunk driving, with almost 25 percent fewer deaths in 2015 compared to 2014.

New York News Connection

Effort to Combat Heroin/Opioid Epidemic in NYS Gets $200M Boost

April 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation investing over $200 million to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic in New York. Last year the Governor signed into law a plan to increase access to treatment, expand community prevention strategies, and limit the over-prescription of opioids in New York. The FY 2018 Budget builds on this progress by investing over $200 million to support prevention, treatment and recovery programs targeted toward chemical dependency, residential service opportunities, and public awareness and education activities.

Governor Cuomo Bolsters Addiction Treatment Services

March 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced $2.65 million to expand and develop non-traditional addiction treatment support services throughout the state. The funding will go toward establishing Community Coalitions and hiring Peer Engagement Programs in each of the state's 10 economic development regions, to serve as resources for community-based addiction and recovery services.


A n i m a l

W e l f a r e

Animal Welfare

All News Services

AZ Congressman Reintroduces Bill to Ban Exotic Animals in Circuses

March 2017 - Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today reintroduced bipartisan legislation that ends the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses. Grijalva previously introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA) in November of 2016. Thirty-four diverse countries around the world and 63 cities and counties in the United States already prohibit use of animals in circuses.

FDA Implements New Rules On Use Of Antibiotics

January 2017 - The FDA announced the full implementation of new policies redefining how antibiotics are used to treat food-producing animals. Beginning January 1, antibiotics similar to those used in human medicine that are medically important will no longer be used to promote growth in animals. All remaining uses of these antibiotics in farm animals will be for the purpose of fighting disease under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

World's First Whale Sanctuary Announced

May 2016 - A group of marine mammal experts today announced new plans for a coastal North American cetacean sanctuary to give captive and rescued whales and dolphins a more suitable, safe habitat than tanks.

Fast-Food Chains Join Demand for Antibiotic-Free Meat

March 2016 - After 70 percent of its customers rated it a top issue in surveys, Chik-fil-A joined the ranks of food chains nationwide, such as Panera and Chipotle, that have made the demand for antibiotic-free meat.

Kroger Goes Cage Free

March 2016 - Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S. just announced it will also go cage-free by 2025.

Ringling Brothers to Give Elephants Early Retirement

January 2016 - Ringling Bros. now says it will retire all elephants from the circus by May of this year. The initial plan was to retire them by 2018.

Fast-Food Chain Pledges cage-free eggs by 2020

January 2016 - Fast-food giant Wendy's pledged to switch its U.S. and Canadian supply to chain to 100 percent cage-free eggs by the year 2020.

Wendy's To Switch To Cage-Free Eggs

January 2016 - One of the largest restaurant chains in North America, Wendy's, announced its commitment to improving animal welfare in its U.S. and Canadian supply chains by switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2020.

NIH Ends Use of Research Chimps

November 2015 - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced an end to the federal government's long and controversial history of bio-medical research on chimpanzees.

NIH To Retire Research Chimps

November 2015 - The National Institutes of Health is retiring all of its research chimpanzees. NIH retired most of its chimps two years ago, but kept 50 on hand in case they were needed for important research, as in the case of a public health emergency.

Sea World To Phase Out Killer Whale Show

November 2015 - Sea World San Diego announced today it will be phasing out the killer whale show, a controversial element of Sea World presentations and the target of years of investigation by animal rights organizations.

March 2015 - McDonald's announced a new policy to curb the overuse of antibiotics in raising the chickens that ultimately become McNuggets or other McDonald's products.

Court Rules Canada Lynx Protection Needed

May 2014 - A federal court in Montana has found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 14-year delay in preparing a recovery plan for this threatened species was 'unreasonable'.

Court Rules Canada Lynx Protection Needed

May 2014 - A federal court in Montana has found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had a 14-year delay in preparing a recovery plan for this threatened species.

Slaughterhouse Shuts Down After Animal Abuse Complaints

April 2014 - Southern Quality Meats, Inc. (SQM), a slaughterhouse in Mississippi, was caught last year jabbing and electro-shocking helpless mother pigs.

Denny's Requires Pork Producers to Reduce Gestation Crates

March 2014 - Denny's announced that it will require reports from its pork suppliers regarding their progress in producing pork without the use of gestation crates.

Elephant Trophy Imports Banned

March 2014 - The United States has suspended imports of sport-hunted elephant trophies from Zimbabwe citing questionable management practices and a lack of effective law enforcement.

Big Drug Company Stops Testing on Chimps

January 2014 - Merck & Co, announced they will stop testing on chimpanzees.

Big Names Cancel Sea World Concerts to Protest Orca Treatment

December 2013 - Three headliners canceled their performances at a SeaWorld music series, citing the recent documentary "Blackfish" that raises questions about the effects of captivity on whales.

Tyson Expands Animal Welfare Requirements

December 2013 - Tyson will expand its animal welfare requirements to its beef and chicken suppliers.

Cracker Barrel Bans Gestation Crates from Supply Chain

November 2013 - Cracker Barrel restaurants will remove gestation crates from its pork supply chain.

General Mills Eliminates Gestation Crates for Pigs

January 2013 - General Mills has announced to eliminate gestation crates - small cages used to confine breeding pigs - from its pork supply chains.

General Mills Eliminates Gestation Crates for Pigs

January 2013 - General Mills has announced to eliminate gestation crates - small cages used to confine breeding pigs - from its pork supply chains. The company stated on its website that \General Mills supports the development of pregnant sow housing alternatives" to gestation crates" while acknowledging "that the development and implementation of alternative systems may be a long-term process that could take up to 10 years."

Ag-Gag Struck Down

December 2009 - A federal judge struck down Idaho's controversial ag-gag law as unconstitutional. In response to a legal challenge brought by a coalition of animal protection, food safety, and civil liberties groups, Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the U.S. District Court for the district of Idaho held that the law violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Based on today's ruling, Idaho's ag-gag law is no longer in effect.

SeaWorld Changes Orca Environments

November -0001 - After more than a year of public criticism of its treatment of killer whales, SeaWorld said that it will build new, larger environments at its theme parks and will fund additional research on the animals along with programs to protect ocean health and whales in the wild.

Nestle Announces Animal Welfare Program

November -0001 - Nestle has announced a new animal welfare program. The program addresses pig gestation crates, veal crates, egg-laying hen cages, forced rapid growth of chickens used for meat products, cutting of the horns, tails and genitals of farm animals without painkillers, promotion of Meatless Monday via on-package messaging.

Arizona News Connection

Animal Rights Laws Upheld

March 2015 - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey came out in support of animal rights by vetoing a bill that would have reduced, and in some cases eliminated, criminal penalties for acts of animal-cruelty involving livestock. The action follows approval of House Bill 2150 in the House and Senate. Martha German with Arizona Humane Voters, among the organizations that opposed the bill, says under the legislation, abandoning some animals would no longer have been a crime. German says the bill also would have ended current law requiring that sick or injured animals receive medical care, and that some acts of animal cruelty, now prosecuted as felonies, would be treated as misdemeanor crimes. The Humane Society at the state and national level, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund also oppose the bill.

Arizona Game and Fish Commission Permits Replacement of Mexican Gray Wolves

January 2012 - The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has reversed a policy adopted in December, and will now permit replacement of endangered Mexican gray wolves lost to illegal actions.

California News Service

CA Bans Bullhooks

August 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to ban the use of bullhooks to control elephants in captivity. Across the U.S., lawmakers are banning fireplace poker-like weapons called bullhooks, recognizing that these weapons' only purpose is to beat elephants into submission.

CA Biotech Firm to Pay $3.5 Million, Accused of Animal Cruelty

May 2016 - A biotech firm with facilities in California will pay three point five million dollars in a settlement with the U-S-D-A for violating the federal animal welfare act.

CA Law for Better Treatment of Hens Stands

March 2014 - An attempt by six states to overturn a California law that requires more humane treatment of egg-laying hens and higher food safety standards will face legal opposition from The Humane Society of the United States.

Judge Upholds Shark Fin Sales Ban

January 2013 - A federal judge has upheld the state's ban on shark fin sales, rejecting the claim that the law discriminates against Chinese Americans.

April 2011 - A CANS story discouraging parents from giving kids live bunnies for Easter was aired nationally on America in the Morning. Animal shelter officials say the pets often end up back at the shelter.

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Challenge to California’s Foie Gras Ban

November -0001 - California’s landmark ban on force feeding ducks to produce foie gras will stay in effect. The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a request by a handful of foie gras proponents to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’s 2013 ruling upholding the law, and the right of the people of California to prohibit the sale of certain food items, solely because they are the product of animal cruelty.

Commonwealth News Service

Commonwealth Voters Approve Humane Treatment of Animals Measure

November 2016 - Voters approved Question 3 on Election Day which requires eggs sold in the Bay State be from cage-free farms. All pork and veal produced and sold in the state will also be required to come from humanely-caged animals by 2022.

MA Ranks in Top Ten for Animals

January 2016 - A new (ALDF) ranks the Commonwealth in the top ten states for protecting animals.

Connecticut News Service

Undercover Video Shuts Down Veal Slaughterhouse

January 2014 - A Tri-state veal slaughterhouse's operations have been suspended by the USDA amid an investigation prompted by a complaint and undercover video.

Florida News Connection

Florida Greyhound Racing Legislation ups Protection Measures

April 2016 - Florida's greyhound racing industry will now have to report and track injuries following approval of state legislation tightening disclosure standards.

Chicken Packaging Lawsuit Settled

December 2009 - Perdue Farms, Inc. and The Humane Society of the United States are pleased to announce the settlement of two federal cases in New Jersey and Florida concerning...

Illinois News Connection

Illinois Tops Nation in Protecting Pets

January 2016 - For the eighth year in a row, Illinois is topping the list of states that are doing the most to bolster animal-protection laws.

Indiana News Service

Indiana High on the List for Protecting Animals

January 2016 - Indiana is ranked 15th nationally for its animal protection laws, according to a new report from the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

"Ag-gag" Move Stripped

January 2014 - An Indiana Senate committee stripped all "ag-gag" language from Senate Bill 101 after hearing from thousands of across the state.

Pig Wrestling Canceled

November -0001 - After outcries from animal welfare groups, the Delaware County Fair in Muncie, Indiana canceled its pig wrestling events. During the events young animals are chased, tackled, and slammed into barrels in front of crowds. People from Indiana as well as Brooklyn, New York, Oklahoma, Canada and England signed an online petition protesting the event, with some calling hog wrestling "barbaric" and "cruel."

Bill Would Restrict Exotic Animal Ownership

November -0001 - A state leader is trying again to pass legislation that would tighten restrictions on ownership of exotic animals. Under Senate Bill 226, exhibitors and breeders of such animals as bears, wild cats and wolves would be required to obtain a state permit and submit to annual inspections.

Kentucky News Connection

Ag-Gag Proposal Defeated

November -0001 - Animal welfare groups were able to block a controversial right to farm bill in the legislature from becoming law.

Keystone State News Connection

Governor Wolf Signs Animal Cruelty Prevention Bill

June 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed the animal cruelty prevention bill at a public celebration surrounded by advocates and members of the legislature. Act 10, House Bill 1238 updates and clarifies the existing animals abuse statutes and increases the penalties for abusing animals.

Maine News Service

Maine #3 in Nation for Animals

January 2016 - A new (ALDF) ranks the Maine number three in the nation for protecting animals.

Michigan News Connection

Michigan Among Top States for Animal Welfare Laws

January 2016 - Michigan is a top dog for animal-protection laws, according to a new report from the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Minnesota News Connection

Bull Run Canceled

August 2013 - Canterbury Park will not be the site of a bull run next year after all. Jeff Maday, spokesman for the Shakopee horse track, said the Canterbury board of directors canceled plans due to safety concerns.

Cereal Company Makes an Egg Move

November -0001 - Minnesota-based General Mills has decided to join some other large corporations, such as Starbucks, Hilton, Kellogg, Nestle, Aramark, Compass Group, and Walmart, in not selling eggs that come from caged hens. General Mills has committed to working toward 100% cage free eggs for its U.S. operations. This will mean that all General Mills brands, such as Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Progresso Soups, and Hamburger Helper, will be changing what kinds of eggs they buy in the near future.

Nevada News Service

State Senate Passes Bill Restricting Trapping

April 2017 - The State Senate passed a bill placing restrictions on trapping, in an effort to reduce suffering in wild animals and in pets that may wander across the traps. SB 213 now goes to the Assembly natural resources committee.

New Mexico News Connection

Suit Filed to Stop Horse Slaughterhouse

December 2013 - AG Gary King filed a lawsuit to stop Roswell-based Valley Meat from going forward with plans to slaughter horses for human consumption.

Restraining Order on Wild Horse Slaughter

August 2013 - A U.S. District Judge granted a temporary restraining order on Friday, halting horse slaughter on American soil.

New Foundation Will Protect Wild Horses

July 2013 - Actor Robert Redford and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson announced today they are forming a foundation to protect wild horses and wildlife in New Mexico - The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife.

Money for Horse Slaughter Halted

June 2013 - The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of a provision that, if enacted into law, could halt any efforts to resume slaughtering horses for human consumption on U.S. soil.

Airlines Refuse to Ship Primates to Laboratories

January 2013 - United Airlines has announced that it now prohibits the transportation of primates to laboratories for use in cruel and deadly experiments.

Plan for Chimp Retirement Hailed by Animal Welfare Groups

December 2012 - The National Institutes of Health has developed a plan to formally retire directly to the Federal Sanctuary System all of its chimpanzees.

New York News Connection

Undercover Video Shuts Down Veal Slaughterhouse

January 2014 - A Tri-state veal slaughterhouse's operations have been suspended by the USDA amid an investigation prompted by a complaint and undercover video.

Victory for Chimps

November -0001 - A major victory for those concerned about animal welfare. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice issued a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of two chimpanzees. It is the first time in history a judge as issued a show-cause order for a non-human. The writ was issued in behalf of Hercules and Leo, who are the subject of biomedical experimentation at Stony Brook University. The case is expected to go to trial in May.

North Carolina News Service

Governor Vetoes Ag Gag Bill

November 2015 - North Carolina's controversial Ag Gag bill was vetoed in May.

Ag-Gag Bill Rejected

November 2015 - An ag-gag bill set before legislators in North Carolina, the last U.S. state to consider a bill of its kind in 2013, failed to pass.

Ag-Gag Bill Gagged

July 2013 - North Carolina's proposed ag-gag law was struck down. Senate Bill 648, which would have made undercover investigations of factory farms illegal, went without a vote in North Carolina.

Northern Rockies News Service

Idaho's Ag-Gag Law Challenged in Federal Court

June 2016 - An Idaho law that discourages undercover investigations at large-scale livestock farms is headed for a showdown in federal court, in a case that could have implications across the West. Last summer, a districtcourt struck down Idaho's so-called "ag-gag" law.

Ohio News Connection

Ohio Makes Progress in Animal Protection Laws

January 2016 - Ohio stepped up a notch in an annual ranking of states with the best policies protecting animals.

Cheese Producer Changes Dairy Cow Treatment

November 2015 - Great Lakes Cheese, one of the world's largest cheese producers, just announced some major changes to the way dairy cows will be treated in its supply chain.

Ohio State Lawmakers Crack Down on Puppy Mills

November 2012 - State lawmakers gave approval to a bill intended to crack down on puppy mills.

June 2012 - Animal welfare organizations praised Governor Kasich for enacting the Dangerous Wild Animal Act into law.

October 2011 - Governor Kasich has put in place temporary measures to crack down on private ownership of dangerous wild animals while tougher laws are written this fall. The order comes in the aftermath of the recent slaughter of 48 exotic wild animals in Zanesville, Ohio in October. Some animal owner groups welcomed the order, though others have blasted it as not going far enough.

April 2011 - The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board took the final step to advance significant welfare reforms for farm animals.

Oregon News Service

Bill Would End Use of Animals in Trauma Training

September 2013 - Sen. Ron Wyden introduced a bill in September that requires the U.S. Department of Defense to phase out the use of live animals in trauma training, and to use "human-based simulator technologies" instead.

Non-Lethal Management of Wolves for Fewer Kills

May 2013 - A settlement agreement has been reached between the livestock industry, conservation groups and the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, outlining the steps that must be taken before the state can kill an endangered gray wolf.

New Wolf Coalition to Focus on Non-Lethal Management

December 2012 - Twenty-five organizations have banded together to form the Pacific Wolf Coalition.

Tennessee News Service

"Ag Gag" Bill "Gagged"

May 2013 - Governor Haslam vetoed legislation known as the "ag gag" bill. The bill would have required undercover video of animal abuse to be turned over to police within 48 hours.

Texas News Service

October 2011 - After receiving press coverage from Texas News Service and other media outlets, a petition to save wild burros in Big Bend State Park became one of the most popular petitions ever on Change.org.

Virginia News Connection

A Southwest Virginia Zoo Repeatedly Criticized for Animal Cruelty is Finally Closed

November -0001 - After battling government regulators and animal rights activists for years, the Natural Bridge Zoo had its permit to exhibit wild animals suspended. It is unclear if the zoo will ever reopen.

Hilton Hotels to Ban Cages for Hens and Pigs in Food Supply

November -0001 - Virginia-based Hilton Worldwide, one of the oldest and biggest names in hotel and resorts has announced it plans to eliminate what many believe to be cruel battery cages for hens and gestation crates for pigs from its worldwide food supply. A move that will help the quality of life for countless animals according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Washington News Service

Puget Sound Orcas Stay on Endangered List

August 2013 - Early in August, NOAA decided to allow Puget Sound's iconic orcas to continue to be protected as endangered species.

New Wolf Coalition to Focus on Non-Lethal Management

December 2012 - Twenty-five organizations have banded together to form the Pacific Wolf Coalition.

Wisconsin News Connection

Sea World Agrees To End Captive Breeding Of Killer Whales

March 2016 - Because of intense social pressure driven by many news stories exposing the inherent cruelty of practices followed by Sea World, the company has agreed to stop its captive breeding of Killer Whales.

Kroger Announces Policy To Sell Only Cage-Free Eggs

March 2016 - The nation's largest grocery chain will switch to selling only cage-free eggs by 2025.

Ringling Brothers Circus Elephants

January 2016 - Ringling Brothers Circus announced today it was retiring all elephants by this May - well ahead of the original timetable of retiring the elephants by 2018.

Cat Lab Closed

November -0001 - The feline research lab (“Cat Lab”) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been shut down because the federal grant supporting the research expired and was not renewed. PeTA and other animal groups had long said the lab used cruel procedures and called for the closing of the lab. The lead researcher at the so-called Cat Lab retired after the grant was not renewed, and many of the cats living at the shelter have been adopted.


B u d g e t

P o l i c y

&

P r i o r i t i e s

Budget Policy & Priorities

All News Services

Senate Rejects McCain OCO Amendment

June 2016 - Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment put forth by Senate Committee on Armed Services Chair John McCain that would have added an extra $18 billion to the Pentagon's already hefty budget.

Big Sky Connection

Call for Constitutional Convention Stalls in State Legislature

March 2017 - Montana will not join the calls from 28 other states to form a convention and add a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. The resolution stalled in the House.

California News Service

New Ballot Measure Would Extend Prop 30 Income Taxes on Wealthy

February 2016 - Teams are hitting the streets today gathering signatures for a ballot measure this fall that would extend part of Proposition 30, which raised income taxes on the wealthy and raised the sales tax by a quarter of a percent.

Indiana News Service

Indiana County Receives Rural Development Grant

November 2015 - As part of an effort to strengthen the rural economy, USDA Rural Development announced the selection of Wells County Revitalization, Inc. as a recipient of a $43,000 Rural Business Development Grant.

Kentucky News Connection

Protecting Funding for the Arts in State Budget One Bright Spot

February 2016 - With Kentucky's transition to a new governor, many important programs are facing cuts or elimination.

Keystone State News Connection

PA Lawmakers Call for "Fair Share Tax"

March 2017 - State lawmakers and public policy advocates unveiled a tax plan that would raise new revenue while lowering taxes for about half of all Pennsylvania taxpayers. Like a version introduced last year, the proposed "Fair Share Tax" would increase taxes on wealth, such as dividends and capital gains to 6.5 percent. The plan also calls for reducing taxes on wages and interest. Analysts estimate the Fair Share Tax would generate about $2 billion a year in new revenue for the state.

Maine News Service

New Taxable Grocery Items in 2016: Deal for Tax Cuts and New Revenue

December 2015 - Mainers will have to pay state sales tax on hundreds of food and beverage products including fruit gummies, chocolate chips, potato chips, dips, beef jerky and sports drinks as part of a deal to raise revenue.

Nonprofits Flex Economic Muscle

January 2013 - A new report says that in Maine last year, there were more jobs in the nonprofit sector than the private sector. The report, compiled by the Maine Association of Nonprofits (MANP), says that one in seven jobs in the state are in the nonprofit field, making the sector the largest employer in the state.

Michigan News Connection

No Repeal of State Income Tax

March 2017 - A Republican-led effort to repeal the state's income tax failed. Polls showed the majority of Michiganders were opposed to the plan.

Nevada News Service

Feds Approve Disaster Relief for NV Flood Victims

March 2017 - Following President Trump's Major Disaster Declaration for Nevada, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it will provide federal funds to help Nevada communities recover from ongoing devastating flooding that resulted from severe winter storms that occurred in February of 2017. FEMA designated the following areas as eligible to receive assistance: counties of Douglas (including the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California within the State of Nevada), Elko (including the South Fork Band of Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone), Humboldt, and Washoe as well as the independent city of Carson City.

Nevada Tourism Office to Open in India

January 2016 - Nevada is opening a tourism office in India, hoping to capture a larger share of travelers coming to the U.S..

New Mexico News Connection

Voters Approve School Construction Bonds

November 2016 - Voters approved more than $186 million in general obligation bonds to support everything from senior citizen centers and schools to the state crime lab. Supporters say the funding is key to completing brick-and-mortar projects as New Mexico struggles with a budget crisis. The largest of the bond issues that passed Tuesday will provide about $142 million for capital construction at colleges and universities. An additional $7 million will go toward the construction of a new state police crime lab and expansion of the existing lab at the Department of Public Safety.

Northern Rockies News Service

Idaho Senate Rejects Call for Constitutional Convention

March 2017 - The Idaho Senate has voted against a resolution (SCR 108) that would have joined the state with 28 others in calling for Constitutional Convention to add a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. A balanced budget amendment would most likely come at the cost of regulatory and social service agencies.

Ohio News Connection

Ohio Senator Seeks to End "Too Big to Fail"

May 2013 - Ohio's Democratic Senator is continuing his charge to end "too big to fail." Senator Sherrod Brown, along with Louisiana Republican David Vitter, introduced legislation aimed at ending the advantage the six biggest US banks have over the small guys.

Tennessee News Service

IMPROVE Act Passes

April 2017 - The Tennessee General Assembly passed Gov. Bill Haslam's IMPROVE Act, giving the state its largest tax cut in history, including a 20 percent tax cut on food. The IMPROVE Act creates a long-term, dedicated funding source to fix Tennessee's outdated transportation infrastructure by making a modest increase to the user fees on its roads and bridges while providing a tax cut to the food, business and Hall income taxes. The increase in the user fees also means Tennessee residents won't shoulder the entire burden alone, as revenue will be captured from visiting tourists and the trucks moving goods through the state. This continues Tennessee's history as a pay-as-you-go state, meaning the people who use the roads pay for their upkeep.

Wisconsin News Connection

Budget Committee Defies Gov. Walker

April 2017 - With many of Wisconsin's roads and bridges crumbling, and the state making a number of "worst of" lists for highway repair, the state legislature's budget committee, led by members of his own Republican party, has pulled Governor Walker's transportation funding proposals out of his budget and has announced it will debate transportation funding as a separate issue. WNC has run stories pointing to the sharp divide between funding for road and bridge projects in Madison and Milwaukee, and the lack of funding for road and bridge repair in the more rural parts of the state. Walker's budget plan was to approve 500 million dollars in new borrowing for select transportation projects and to again defer other projects. Legislative leadership, through the budget committee, has rebuffed Walker's plan and will take up the issue outside budget talks. This is a significant victory for residents in rural parts of the state, where some counties have actually said they will let their county trunk highways return to gravel, because of lack of funding for blacktop and concrete maintenance.

Wisconsin's Farm-to-School Program Likely To Continue

April 2017 - Governor Scott Walker proposed cutting the popular and successful Farm-to-School program in his state budget, a move which would provide at best modest savings ($83,000) to the taxpayer. Public News Service/Wisconsin News Connection has run stories in support of this popular program, which is now operating in 137 school districts in the state, linking local farmers to local school lunch programs with fresh produce. Because of the outcry and pushback against this budget proposal, political observers now say the proposal will likely be pulled from the governor's budget proposal.

Tax Credits Critical to Working Families Extended

December 2015 - More than 150,000 hardworking families in Wisconsin will keep a key income boost that helps them go to work and make ends meet under a new bipartisan agreement in Congress.

Wisconsin Finds Extra Cash - Expected to go to Education

May 2013 - The Legislative Fiscal Bureau is projecting general tax fund revenues will be $525 million higher in the next two years than had been anticipated.


C a m p a i g n

F i n a n c e

R e f o r m / M o n e y

i n

P o l i t i c s

Campaign Finance Reform/Money in Politics

Arkansas News Service

Campaign Finance Reforms Approved by Voters

November -0001 - Voters approved a set of campaign finance and ethics reforms through a ballot initiative, “Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency and Financial Reform Amendment, Issue 3.” It bans director corporation and union campaign contributions to candidates, forbids lobbyist gifts to lawmakers and imposes a two-year wait on lawmakers before they can become lobbyists.

Big Sky Connection

"Corporations Are Not People"

November 2012 - Just like Colorado voters, Montanans voted to remove undue corporate influence from elections and declared that "corporations are not people."

Florida News Connection

Election Donations to Judges to Stop

November -0001 - Florida’s rule which bars judges and judicial candidates from soliciting campaign contributions was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court late this month. Supporters say the ruling is a victory for upholding the integrity of the country’s court system. More than half the states in the country have a similar rule for their judicial elections.

Illinois News Connection

Fair Election Ballot Initiative Approved

November -0001 - The Fair Elections Illinois ballot initiative was approved in Chicago, calling for the City Council and the state legislature to approve and implement small donor matching fund systems to finance future campaigns for local and state offices. Specifically, the question that will appear on the ballot is: "Should the city of Chicago or the state of Illinois reduce the influence of special interest money in elections by financing campaigns using small contributions from individuals and a limited amount of public money?"

Michigan News Connection

April 2012 - Amazon.com has joined the list of 17 other companies recently leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council because of controversy over pre-written legislation hitting states - legislation often viewed as an attack on working folks. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and Mars, Inc., are other companies leaving the council because of public outcry.

New Mexico News Connection

Getting Campaign Spending Control Back

November -0001 - A proposed constitutional amendment from U-S Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico that would give control of campaign spending to Congress and the states, has passed its first political hurdle. The nine-member Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights approved Senate Joint Resolution 19 by a 5-to-4 vote.

New York News Connection

Corruption Trials Spur Calls for Reform

November 2015 - The corruption trials of the former Speaker of the NY State Assembly and the former NY State Senate Majority Leader have spurred calls for immediate action on ethics reform in Albany.

Oregon News Service

Task Force Will Study Campaign Finance Reforms

November -0001 - Gov. Kate Brown has asked the Legislature to create a task force to study campaign finance limits and deliver recommendations by the end of the year. A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling about Montana’s campaign contributions prompted the action. Oregon is the only state in the Ninth Circuit with no campaign contribution limits. The Secretary of State will chair the task force.

Tennessee News Service

April 2012 - Amazon.com has joined the list of 17 other companies recently leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council because of controversy over pre-written legislation hitting states - legislation often viewed as an attack on working folks. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and Mars, Inc., are other companies leaving the council because of public outcry.

Utah News Connection

Two Former AGs Arrested – Campaign Finance Reforms Needed

November -0001 - The arrests of two former Utah attorneys general, John Swallow and his predecessor Mark Shurtleff on felony bribery charges, are being showcased as reasons why stronger ethics laws and campaign finance and election reforms are needed, according to the Alliance for a Better Utah. Plus, Utah voters don't currently have the ability to recall elected officials, so election reform could include passing such a law. The state also has no limits on political donation amounts, as long as they are publicly disclosed.

Virginia News Connection

Good-Government Groups Have Guarded Praise for Amended Ethics Bill

November -0001 - An ethics bill passed in the wake of a corruption scandal and the conviction of former governor Robert McDonnell and his wife for taking gifts was criticized by the Virginia media and state good government groups as too weak. But with their urging, current governor Terry McAuliff amended the legislation, making it much tougher in a number of ways – including a tighter gift ban – making it more palatable to good government groups.

Washington News Service

May 2012 - Hundreds of Washingtonians protested outside the shareholders' meeting at Amazon.com in Seattle. Their presence, along with concerned individuals expressing their views inside the meeting, prompted the company to announce it is not renewing its membership in ALEC (a conservative organization made up of corporations and lawmakers that drafts pro-business legislation). Amazon also said it will invest $52 million to improve warehouse working conditions.

Wisconsin News Connection

April 2012 - Amazon.com has joined the list of 17 other companies recently leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council because of controversy over pre-written legislation hitting states - legislation often viewed as an attack on working folks. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and Mars, Inc., are other companies leaving the council because of public outcry.

Documents Details Campaign Connections

November -0001 - Documents from the secret John Doe probe into Governor Walker’s election and recall campaigns are released, showing that prosecutors believed Walker was involved in a “criminal scheme” to unlawfully coordinate campaign activities, fundraising, and expenditures for several large conservative campaign organizations. The document release draws national coverage and illustrates the interconnectedness of organizations which accept large, anonymous donations.

Fundraiser Called Off Because of Rule

November -0001 - Under pressure from Democrats, a fundraiser for Wisconsin Assembly Republicans was called off. Democrats said the fundraiser, scheduled for January 21st, violated rules because it was to have been held in Dane County during a scheduled Assembly floor period. The rule has been in existence in one form or another since 1993. Tickets to the fundraiser were offered at $500 minimum.

Judicial Elections Lauded

November -0001 - Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley was re-elected by a substantial margin over her challenger, Rock County Circuit Court Judge James Daley. Bradley is viewed as a liberal justice, although the office is officially non-partisan. It is her third 10-year term on the court. The seven-member court is still dominated by four justices who are openly conservative.


C e n s u s

Census

Texas News Service

May 2011 - Hispanic lawmakers filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Perry for trying to use "inaccurate" 2010 Census data in remapping the state's political jurisdictions.


C h i l d r e n ' s

I s s u e s

Children's Issues

Arizona News Connection

Report: Arizona Insures 30% More Kids, Still 47th in Nation

October 2016 - Arizona cut the number of uninsured kids by 30 percent between 20-13 and 20-15, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The nation as a whole posted a record with less than five percent of all children remaining uninsured. Researchers credit the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act for insuring more adults, who then signed their kids up as well.

New Child Protection Focus for AZ

May 2014 - Following a three-day special session, Governor Jan Brewer has signed bills creating a new Arizona child welfare agency and providing tens of millions in additional funding.

New Promises to Investigate Child Abuse and Neglect Cases

January 2014 - Governor Brewer has abolished Child Protective Services and is creating a new, stand-alone office that reports directly to her.

More Children to be Covered by KidsCare Health Insurance

April 2012 - 22,000 low-income Arizona children will be added to the KidsCare health insurance program under a deal between the federal government and three large hospital groups.

State Task Force Recommends Ways to Improve Child-Welfare System

November 2011 - A state task force has recommended 10 changes to Arizona law to improve the child-welfare system.

California News Service

Calif. Cuts Number of Uninsured Children by More than Half

October 2016 - California has made the biggest recent gains in the country in getting children signed up for health insurance, according to a new report. Researchers at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found the Golden State cut its number of uninsured children by 55 percent between 2013 and 2015, just after the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

California Leads the Nation in Insuring Latino Children

January 2016 - California leads the nation in enrolling Latino children in health insurance, thanks in large part to massive outreach efforts and to the state's enthusiastic embrace of the Affordable Care Act.

Childhood Obesity Rates Drop

February 2013 - Childhood obesity rates are beginning to decline. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds there are fewer obese young children in Los Angeles County.

December 2010 - A new state law requires California insurers sell "child-only" policies if they want to continue selling in the larger individual market.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado Reports Significant Progress Reducing Childhood Poverty

September 2016 - Childhood poverty has decreased significantly in Colorado since its peak in 2011, according to new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. After the 2008 financial crisis, the poverty rate in Colorado grew to 18 percent, or nearly one in five kids. Since then, however, the rate has come down to 15 percent, one of the biggest drops in the country.

February 2011 - Senator Keith King drafted an amendment which restored funding to the state Smart Start program for the rest of the school year.

Commonwealth News Service

Measure Pending To Take Holistic Approach to Child Wellbeing

October 2015 - Representative Jay Livingstone and Senator Mark Montigny are sponsors of HB429/SB94, An Act to Relative to Ensuring the Wellbeing of All Children in the Commonwealth.

Free Meals Made Easier for Low-income Kids

October 2013 - It's easier for low-income children in high-poverty Boston public schools to get free meals this year, thanks to a program called "CEO," or community eligibility option.

Connecticut News Service

Bill Would Help Homeless Families get Childcare

February 2016 - The state Senate Committee on Children held a hearing on a bill to increase access to childcare for homeless families.

Kentucky News Connection

Fictive Kin Law Passes State Legislature

February 2017 - The Kentucky General Assembly sent a bill today to the governor which will allow close family friends to care for a child removed from a home due to safety concerns. The idea is for kinship caregivers to lessen the strain on the foster care system while also better serving the child facing the trauma of removal and change - a vital safety net advocated for by child advocacy organizations and others.

Nevada News Service

Nevada Cuts Number of Uninsured Kids by Almost Half

October 2016 - Nevada cut the number of uninsured children by almost half from 2013 to 2015, according to a new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Researchers found that the rate of uninsured youngsters went from just shy of 15 percent down to 7-point-6 percent, which is still much higher than the national average of almost five percent.

Nevada Makes Biggest Strides in Reducing Pool of Uninsured Kids

October 2015 - A report issued in the final days of October found Nevada dropped the number of uninsured children in the state by 35 percent.

New Hampshire News Connection

August 2011 - The Annie E. Casey Foundation recognized New Hampshire as the best place to raise a child; this is the fourth year in a row that New Hampshire placed first.

New Mexico News Connection

Report Shows New Mexico Has Improved Insurance Rates for Children

January 2017 - The KidsCount 2016 Databook, released today, shows that the state has made major progress on insuring more kids due to the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. However it also shows deepening poverty.

New York News Connection

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Ending Child Marriage in New York

June 2017 - The legislation raises the age of consent to marry from 14-years-old to 18-years-old and amends the process to require parental and judicial consent for marriage of those between 17-years-old and 18-years-old. Until this legislation was signed, children as young as 14-years-old could get married with parental permission and written consent provided by a judge. The previous law, which dates back to 1929, does not provide guidance to judges determining whether or not to grant consent. More than 3,800 minors were married in New York between 2000 and 2010.

Project Will Help Children Affected by Sandy

October 2013 - With the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy being observed in October, a new initiative funded to the tune of over $988-thousand dollars by the state was announced.

North Carolina News Service

Foster and Adoption Programs in NC See Some Policy Improvements.

December 2015 - North Carolina is actively taking steps to improve the lives of foster and adopted children.

Northern Rockies News Service

April 2012 - A collaboration of the YMCA and the Children's Trust launched an initiative to train 22,500 adults in the Treasure Valley so they can train others about the strengthening families points to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Ohio News Connection

Uninsured Child Rates Drops in Ohio

November 2015 - A report released finds Ohio is among states where the rate of uninsured children dropped in 2014.

Funding Proposed for Child Safety

May 2014 - Child welfare supporters in Ohio are hailing the Ohio Senate Finance Committee's omnibus version of the Mid-Biennium Review, HB 483, for maintaining support of new dollars for child and adult protective services.

September 2012 - The state is stepping up to help find permanent families for older children waiting to be adopted. Ohio is spending more than $2 million to hire 35 specialized, child-focused recruiters, who will be trained by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to locate adoptive families for children over the age of nine.

May 2011 - New data released in May showed that Ohio is a national leader when it comes to keeping children out of foster care or group homes.

December 2010 - Ohio has made strides in its efforts to get all eligible uninsured children enrolled in Medicaid, and that hard work is paying off.

Oregon News Service

Foster Care Ombudsman to Field Youth Concerns

September 2013 - Oregon will have a Foster Care Ombudsman and see other important changes to benefit the state's 13,000 kids in foster care.

Bill of Rights for Foster Children Advances

April 2013 - In play in Salem is a Bill of Rights for foster children in Oregon. Senate Bill 123 would set up a formalized grievance process for young people in the foster care system to safely report violations. At month's end, it was awaiting action in the House.

Tennessee News Service

Record Number of Children Insured in Tennessee

October 2016 - Almost 96 percent of Tennessee children have health insurance with an additional 23,000 children getting coverage since 2013, according to a report released today from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Tennessee Increases Efforts to Create a More Normal Life for Foster Kids.

January 2016 - In a policy change largely mandated by federal legislation, Tennessee has taken steps to normalize the lives of foster children.

Texas News Service

Rates of Uninsured Hispanic Children Fall Under ACA

January 2016 - The rate of uninsured Hispanic children in Texas has fallen to an historic low during the first year of the Affordable Care Act.

Utah News Connection

Utah Sees Lower Childhood Poverty

September 2016 - Childhood poverty has decreased significantly in Utah since its peak in 2011, according to new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. After the 2008 financial crisis, the poverty rate in Utah grew to 16 percent. Since then, however, the rate has come down to 13 percent, one of the biggest drops in the country.

Virginia News Connection

September 2012 - September was a victorious month for child and sexual violence prevention advocates. Governor Bob McDonnell signed five pieces of legislation aimed at preventing sexual exploitation of children.

Washington News Service

September 2012 - Parents can now find reports online about the presence of 66 different chemicals in children's products.

March 2012 - In a national ranking of state standards, licensing policies and oversight for small, in-home family childcare businesses, Washington ranks second in the nation.

Wyoming News Service

Wyoming Making Gains in Reducing Child Poverty

September 2016 - Childhood poverty has decreased significantly in Wyoming since its peak in 2011, according to new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. After the 2008 financial crisis, the poverty rate in Wyoming grew to 16 percent. Since then, however, the rate has come down to 13 percent, one of the biggest drops in the country.


C i t i z e n s h i p / R e p r e s e n t a t i v e

D e m o c r a c y

Citizenship/Representative Democracy

Arizona News Connection

Arizona Voters Reject State Control of Judges and Federal Land

November 2012 - Arizona voters rejected giving the governor more control over the commission that nominates judges in the state. They also turned down a proposition to have the state take over federal lands. But voters for the first time approved a mechanism to allow exchanges of state trust lands for federal lands.

Arizona Must Accept Federal Voter-Registration Forms

August 2012 - A federal judge has ordered the state to accept federal voter-registration forms, even though they don't comply with a 2004 Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship. The ruling says state law cannot be applied to the federal forms.

Redistricting Approved by Supreme Court

November -0001 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Arizona's voter-approved Independent Redistricting Commission. The high court's five-to-four ruling affirmed the commission as constitutional. The five-member Independent Redistricting Commission was created through a ballot initiative in 2000 to redraw Arizona’s congressional and legislative districts to reflect the results of the most recent census. It consists of two Democrats, two Republicans; a fifth member, usually an Independent, is selected by the other four members. Previously, redistricting was done by the Legislature. The Supreme Court ruled against the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature, which had filed a lawsuit claiming the redistricting commission violates the U.S. Constitution.

Big Sky Connection

August 2012 - The people of Montana won the right to vote on I-166 this November when Montana's Supreme Court rejected an attempt by opponents to remove it from the ballot. The initiative would ban corporate spending on elections, in order to uphold a section of the state constitution struck down by a court ruling related to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on corporate election spending.

California News Service

May 2011 - A study from PEW finds California's cash-strapped counties and local governments could save millions of dollars on their elections if they provided election materials online, instead of mailing to each individual voter. A new state laws allows for voter info guides and sample ballots to be delivered this way. The PEW study reveals California counties spent up to 46-percent of their total election costs mailing paper sample ballots in the 2008 general election.

Easier to Register to Vote

November -0001 - Lawmakers approved a bill to automatically register to vote all eligible residents who obtain a driver's license.

Colorado News Connection

First Openly-Gay Speaker of the Colorado House

November 2012 - As the Democrats regained control of both chambers of the state legislature, Mark Ferrandino was selected to be the first openly-gay Speaker of the Colorado House.

Connecticut News Service

May 2012 - Connecticut made the history books when the state Senate passed ground-breaking legislation allowing citizens on Election Day to register to vote and cast their ballot. Connecticut law had required potential voters to register at least seven days prior to the election. Connecticut will join nine states and the District of Columbia that allow Election Day registration when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signs HB 5024.

Illinois News Connection

October 2011 - A new poll of Illinois voters taken in October found opposition to the Tea Party movement is growing. The poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute asked voters if they would be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate affiliated with the Tea Party. 60 percent said they'd be less likely to vote for such a candidate compared to 46 percent last year.

Citizens United Rejected in Edwardsville

November -0001 - In Edwardsville, citizens voted overwhelmingly for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling and declare that only human beings – not corporations – are entitled to constitutional rights and that money is not speech and campaign spending can be regulated.

Same-Day Voter Registration Bill Signed

November -0001 - Before leaving office in January, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to expand democracy in Illinois and bring it into the 21st century. The new laws make same-day voter registration permanent, expand early voting and set a special election on Nov. 8, 2016 to allow voters to fill the statewide position of Illinois Comptroller.

Minnesota News Connection

July 2012 - An effort to get more poor and minority residents in Minneapolis to vote is finding success. "Be the Vote" has helped more than 500 people get registered for the fall election thus far.

New Hampshire News Connection

NH Sends All-Women Delegation

November 2012 - New Hampshire voters are the first to send an all-women delegation to Congress. In addition to both Reps and Senators being women, they also elected a female Governor.

North Carolina News Service

NC Voting Law Changes Challenged by Feds

September 2013 - The federal government announced it will sue the state of North Carolina over its "anti-voting" laws which reduce the number of early voting days and require photo ID among other things.

Ohio News Connection

October 2012 - The Supreme Court cleared the way for voters in Ohio to cast ballots on the three days before Election Day. The court refused a request by the state's Republican elections chief and attorney general to get involved in a battle over early voting. Ohio is among 34 states, plus the District of Columbia, where people can vote early without giving any reason. Governor John Kasich is setting aside $1.3 million for projects that will help improve early diagnosis and interventions for individuals with autism. The new funding is in response to the recent release of the new Ohio Autism Recommendations 2012.

August 2012 - A federal judge has blocked an Ohio law that automatically tossed out provisional ballots cast at the wrong precinct. Under the law, voters who showed up at the right polling location, but were directed to a machine or table representing a different voting precinct, would not have their vote counted. The law invalidated over 14,000 ballots in 2008.

July 2012 - With volunteers collecting and submitting over 400,000 valid signatures, redistricting reform will be on the November Ballot in Ohio. The Voters First amendment ensures every Ohio voter's right to fair, competitive elections by replacing the current system - where politicians draw their own legislative and congressional districts - with an independent, non-partisan, citizen's commission that will draw districts out in the open for everyone to see. Politicians, lobbyists and political insiders are not permitted to serve on the commission.

December 2011 - Thanks to the hard work of dedicated individuals, the repeal of HB194 will officially be on the November 2012 ballot. Secretary of State Jon Husted certified 307,358 valid signatures, over 75,000 more than were needed. The measure would severely limit early voting, prohibit poll workers from assisting voters completing forms, and make it more difficult for local boards of elections to promote early voting to all registered voters.

June 2011 - An Ohio Senate panel decided to remove a requirement from an election bill for Ohio voters to show photo identification in person before casting a ballot.

Oregon News Service

April 2011 - For one year after they leave office, state legislators can't jump to non-elected positions in the executive branch, under an ethics bill that made its way through the Oregon Legislature in April. It sets a mandatory one-year waiting period for former lawmakers to be eligible for state jobs and/or positions as lobbyists.

Prairie News Service

Heidi Heitkamp Elected to Senate

November 2012 - Heidi Heitkamp was elected as the first woman that will serve ND in the Senate.

John Boshee Elected to State Legislature

November 2012 - John Boshee was elected as the first openly-gay man to serve in the state legislature.

Tennessee News Service

Voter ID Law Challenged

November -0001 - Tennessee’s voter ID law is being challenged in federal court. Currently the law requires students to have a state-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license. The plaintiffs, a group of college students, want the state to accept their school identifications cards as valid voter identification. The state argues that the lack of uniformity among student IDs would make it difficult for poll workers to certify the validity of an ID. The state does accept college ID cards from school faculty, which also vary in appearance.

Texas News Service

August 2012 - A federal court ruled in August that Texas lawmakers violated voting rights laws while drawing new political maps last year. The court said Texas had not adequately shown than the Legislature's redistricting plan was not conceived with discriminatory purposes. Attorney General Greg Abbott said he plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. Upcoming November elections, meanwhile, will proceed using interim maps created by another federal court.

August 2012 - A U.S. district court in August blocked implementation of Texas' new voter I.D. law, declaring that it, in effect, discriminated against minorities in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act. Civil rights groups had argued that non-whites were less likely than whites to possess one of the acceptable forms of identification mandated by the law. Texas is one of several states with a history of voter discrimination required to seek federal approval before changing voting laws.

November 2011 - After various civil-rights and minority groups sued to block new political maps approved this summer by Texas' Republican-dominated legislature, a San Antonio federal court issued replacement maps designed to better reflect Hispanic and black population growth. The move will almost certainly lead to greater minority representation.

October 2011 - Democrats on the US House Judiciary Committee have called for hearings on whether new state voting laws - such as a photo-ID requirement passed recently in Texas - can disenfranchise certain populations and generally make voting harder. Thirteen states have new laws on the books that Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) fear will reverse years of voting-rights progress. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is currently considering their request for hearings.

September 2011 - The U.S. Department of Justice has delayed implementation of a new Texas law requiring voters to present government-issued photo identification at polling locations on the grounds that the law might interfere with "the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group." Because of its past history of voter suppression, Texas is required to seek federal approval before it can change its election laws. Opponents of the new law say it could make it less likely that some students, minorities, and elderly citizens will participate in elections.

August 2011 - A federal panel announced it would put Texas' redistricting case on a fast track, saying the trial would likely be limited to about nine days. Plaintiffs against the GOP-drawn political maps want a speedy resolution so that candidates can plan for the March 2012 primary elections. If the latest maps stand, some high-profile Democrats will be pitted against each other.

April 2011 - The state House committee charged with redistricting acknowledged the need to address an exploding Hispanic population. The number of Latino-dominated districts are tentatively set to increase from 29 to 30 - less than what Latino advocates are calling for, but greater than an earlier GOP proposal which offered only 28. Under the current plan, seven of eight new seats would be in Republican-dominated areas; however, 14 Republican incumbents statewide would find themselves battling each other in redrawn district races, as opposed to only two Democrats (in Houston).

Washington News Service

October 2011 - Washington gets high marks for retaining and improving voter access - at a time when many states are trying to restrict it by requiring photo identification or proof of citizenship, or changing registration and early voting rules. The survey released by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University says Washington is one of only a few states that managed to sidestep those debates so far.

June 2011 - Washington tops the nation in a new survey of how states treat younger voters. The group Rock the Vote compiled a 100-point scorecard and tracked what each state is doing to make voter registration - and voting - easy and accessible, and whether civics is taught in high school. Washington's grade was 68 points.

West Virginia News Service

First Openly-Gay Legislator Elected in West Virginia

November 2012 - The first openly-gay member of the state legislature was elected from Shepherdstown.

Wisconsin News Connection

July 2012 - Dane County Judge David Flanagan grants a permanent injunction against implementation of the state's new Voter ID law, saying it effectively disenfranchises 300,000 Wisconsin voters by causing a substantial impairment to their right to vote. This means that regardless of Republican appeals, the law will not be in place during the August primary elections and the November Presidential election.

June 2012 - After surviving the recall election, Governor Walker invited the entire state legislature to the Executive Residence for what the media dubbed the "Beer and Brats Summit"; Walker characterized it as an olive branch to the Democrats, saying that now the task is to move forward in a more bipartisan manner. A handful of Democrats (from Dane County) boycotted the event, but the rest of the legislators said it was a cordial event and gave them hope that the two parties could begin again to work together on legislation to benefit all Wisconsinites.

March 2012 - A Dane County judge granted a temporary injunction that bars the enforcement of the new photo ID law at polling places during the general election on April 3. Circuit Judge David Flanagan said the Milwaukee NAACP and Voces de la Frontera had demonstrated that their lawsuit would probably succeed on its merits and had demonstrated the likelihood of irreparable harm if the photo ID law is allowed to stand.

February 2012 - Governor Walker's Campaign Committee announces it will not challenge any of the 1-million-plus signatures on recall petitions, saying it didn't have adequate time to inspect all the signatures. Many media outlets report that of the 300,000 signatures Walker's people inspected, they were prepared to challenge 10 to 20 percent, and that anonymous sources within the campaign admitted that percentage would likely not change even if they reviewed all the signatures. (Just over 520 thousand valid signatures are needed to force the recall election.)

January 2012 - United Wisconsin delivered the recall petitions to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. Included were a million signatures on the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker, and over 850 thousand signatures on the petition to recall Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. The totals are nearly double the number required to force a recall election, and United Wisconsin says nearly half the people who voted in the Gubernatorial Election signed petitions.

August 2011 - In a move which would allow more sunshine into the judicial branch of state government, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson has proposed opening judicial conferences to the public and the media.

Voter ID a No-Go for the Election

November -0001 - The United States Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin cannot impose its controversial Voter ID law for the November election. The decision is seen as a victory for advocates who say the state’s on-again off-again Voter ID law would prevent more legitimate votes than it would prevent voter impersonation. An estimated 300 thousand Wisconsinites do not have the type of voter ID which would have been required under the state’s new law.

“Search for Truth” Controversy Becomes Public

November -0001 - The Center for Media and Democracy has filed a suit against Governor Walker, which alleges he is unlawfully withholding records related to his proposed re-write of the UW mission statement, commonly known as “The Wisconsin Idea”. Walker’s proposal several months ago to change the mission statement to remove such phrases as “search for truth” caused a massive statewide pushback, forcing Walker to drop the proposal. Walker initially called it a mistake made by a lower-level state administration department employee, but then was caught in a chain of e-mails as having direct input to the changes. The CMD suit claims there are more documents relating to the scandal which Walker is not releasing.

Solidarity Singalong Ruling Celebrated

November -0001 - In a long-awaited ruling that will affect similar cases, a state appeals court ruled that a lower court properly dismissed citations against a participant in the daily noontime Solidarity Singalong at the state Capitol because the rule that he violated was unconstitutional. The decision by a three-judge panel of the state 4th District Court of Appeals will affect numerous cases involving dozens of people that have been in limbo, some of them also being heard by the appeals court, others still awaiting decisions in Dane County Circuit Court. The sing-alongs are still held every day at noon in the Capitol to protest passage of Act 10, which gutted public employee unions.

Photo ID Can’t Be Enforced

November -0001 - The state Supreme Court ruled that the state’s new law requiring photo I-D to cast a ballot could not be enforced for the April 7th spring election. The future of the voter I-D law is still cloudy, but the state’s highest court ruled that it could not be enforced in the statewide spring elections.

Voter ID Law Entangles Next Election

November -0001 - Dane County Judge Richard Niess defied a state Supreme Court order to dismiss a challenge to Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law. The suit was brought by the League of Women Voters, and Judge Niess said dismissing the case would violate his oath to support the state’s constitution. A federal appeals court ruled that Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law will be in place for the November election, but a number of suits have been brought to reverse the appeal.


C i v i l

R i g h t s

Civil Rights

All News Services

Prison Phone Industry Caps Exhorbitant Prison Phone Costs

October 2015 - The FCC passed rules that cap rates at 11 cents per minute for state and federal facilities and 22 cents per minute from jails.

Arizona News Connection

Maricopa County Complies with Racial Profiling Prevention Strategy

May 2014 - A federal judge says the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is in compliance with his April 17th order regarding racial profiling.

Prison Healthcare Lawsuit Settled

November -0001 - The Arizona Department of Corrections has chosen to settle rather than fight a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Arizona, and others, over the healthcare services provided to prison inmates. Under the settlement, the Department of Corrections has agreed to meet more than 100 health care performance measures – including providing prisoners with serious mental illnesses in solitary confinement more time outside their cells, and also more mental health treatment. The lawsuit alleged that the lack of medical treatment in the prison system has led to needless deaths.

Warrants Needed for Cell Phone Searches

November -0001 - The ACLU of Arizona is applauding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will require police to obtain a warrant to search a cell phone or smart phone. The unanimous ruling is seen as a major victory for the privacy rights of all Americans, as protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Nine out of ten Americans own a cell phone or smart phone.

Medical Neglect Case Moves Forward

November -0001 - A U.S. Court of Appeals ruling allows a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC), alleging inadequate medical care, to move forward as a class-action lawsuit representing all 33,000 inmates in the state's ten prisons. The suit alleges that the lack of adequate medical treatment in the prison system has led to needless deaths.

California News Service

California to Stop Suspending Licenses for Traffic Fines

June 2017 - Californians will no longer face losing their driver's licenses because of unpaid traffic fines starting July. Gov. Jerry Brown said the punishment doesn't help the state collect unpaid fines and can send low-income people into a cycle of job losses and more poverty.

Privacy Law Signed to Require Police to Get Court Order to Search digital data

October 2015 - California will now require police to get a court order before they can search messages, photos and other digital data stored on phones or company servers.

Commonwealth News Service

Oxfam Joins ACLU in Challenge of Trump Travel Ban

February 2017 - The Boston-based group Oxfam, ACLU of Massachusetts and state Attorney General Maura Healey joined in a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order. They argue that the order in unconstitutional and should be repealed.

Connecticut News Service

Bill Would End Prison Gerrymandering

February 2016 - A coalition of organizations is backing a bill to end prison gerrymandering in Connecticut.

Illinois News Connection

OCR Rules in Favor of Transgender Student

December 2015 - The Office for Civil Rights ruled that suburban Chicago school District 211 is violating an anti-discriminatory Title IX law by denying a transgender female student unrestricted access to the girl's locker room.

Kentucky News Connection

Automatic Restoration of Voting Rights for Former Felons.

December 2015 - In late November Governor Steve Beshear signed an executive order providing automatic restoration of voting rights for non-violent and non-sexual felons.

Voting Rights for Ex-Felons Makes Progress

February 2014 - Legislation to restore voting rights for most ex-felons has passed out of the Senate.

Death Penalty Abolishment Makes Progress

February 2014 - For the first time in two decades a Republican lawmaker filed a bill to abolish the death penalty in KY and make life without parole the maximum sentence.

Keystone State News Connection

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Signed into Law

June 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed Senate Bill 8 into law. The bipartisan bill reforms asset forfeitures, which are civil proceedings against property that allow law enforcement to take possession of property of certain persons suspected of crime. The new law creates significant changes to civil asset forfeiture in Pennsylvania in several key areas, including: higher burdens of proof; improved transparency in auditing and reporting; prohibiting the pre-forfeiture seizure of real property without a hearing; and adding an extra level of protection for anyone acquitted of a related crime who is seeking the return of their property.

Nevada News Service

Warrants Needed for Cell Phone Searches

November -0001 - The ACLU of Nevada is applauding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will require police to obtain a warrant to search a cell phone or smart phone. The unanimous ruling is seen as a major victory for the privacy rights of all Americans, as protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Nine out of ten Americans own a cell phone or smart phone.

New Mexico News Connection

Warrants Needed for Cell Phone Searches

November -0001 - The ACLU of New Mexico is applauding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will require police to obtain a warrant to search a cell phone or smart phone. The unanimous ruling is seen as a major victory for the privacy rights of all Americans, as protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Nine out of ten Americans own a cell phone or smart phone.

New York News Connection

Fair Housing Enforcement Program Launched to Root Out Discrimination in Rental and Home Sale Transactions

February 2016 - Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the launch of a Fair Housing Enforcement Program.

Lower Prison Phone Rates on the Way

August 2013 - After a decade of activism and lobbying by prisoner advocacy groups, the FCC voted to lower inmate phone call rates.

North Carolina News Service

Lawmakers File Bill Overturning HB2

February 2017 - More legislation has been proposed to repeal the North Carolina law known as House Bill 2; the measures would also create LGBT anti-discrimination protections statewide.

Governor Stands Up on Trump's Immigration Policy

January 2017 - Governor Roy Cooper added his name to the growing list of leaders and organizations across the nation who are standing in solidarity against the Trump administration's cruel, reckless, illegal, and unconstitutional immigration orders.

Josh Stein Declares Victory in State Attorney General Race

November 2016 - Democrat Josh Stein declared victory over Republican Buck Newton in a tight race for North Carolina attorney general, with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting. Stein is expected to defend and perhaps overhaul some of the policies enacted by the previous administration, policies we've covered related to civil rights, the environment, education and more.

Justice Department Takes Action Against HB2

May 2016 - This month the Justice Department filed suit against NC saying it is violating the Civil Rights Act as well as Title 9.

Ohio News Connection

Lethal Injection Drug Deemed Unconstitutional

April 2017 - A ruling in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has found the use of midazolam, a proposed drug to be used in Ohio's new three drug lethal injections, unconstitutional. The court sided with defendants' arguments that the drug, alongside potassium chloride and pancuronium bromide, carry an unacceptable risk of pain when administered for the purpose of execution.

In-State Tuition Extended to Immigrants

July 2013 - Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey has ruled Ohio's public colleges must charge in-state tuition to young residents who are undocumented immigrants with temporary legal status.

Law Will Help Minimize Layoffs

June 2013 - Governor Kasich is expected to sign a measure approved by the Ohio House and Senate that will help workers and employers by preventing layoffs.

Tennessee News Service

TN Senators Spoke Out Against Trump's Immigration Policy

January 2017 - U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., hearing public outcry, are taking issue with elements of President Donald Trump's immigration order, calling it confusing and Alexander saying "it comes close to one which is inconsistent with our American character."

Victory for Occupy Nashville Protestors

June 2013 - A federal judge ruled that the state of Tennessee's arrest of Occupy Nashville protesters was an unconstitutional violation of their First Amendment rights.

Texas News Service

Settlement Reached in ER Body Cavity Search Lawsuit

November -0001 - The University Medical Center of El Paso and emergency room physicians have paid a New Mexico woman $1.1 million for their role in the traumatic body cavity searches she suffered at the facility, announced the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico and the ACLU of Texas. The hospital has also agreed to review recent revisions to its internal policies governing law enforcement searches with ACLU lawyers.

Wisconsin News Connection

Police Officer Who Shot and Killed Black Youth Will Not Be Allowed Back On Patrol Duty

March 2017 - For the past two years WNC has run stories saying the way police shootings are investigated in Wisconsin should be changed, so as not to allow the department responsible for the shooting to investigate the incident, and that officers involved in shootings should not be automatically put back on patrol duty if they are cleared in an investigation. In what appears to be a first in state history, a Madison police officer who was cleared in the shooting death of a young black man will not return to patrol duty. The chief said the officer will remain on training duty only, despite his request to return to patrol.

Federal Judges Order Redistricting In Wisconsin

January 2017 - The judge gave Governor Walker and the state legislature until November 1 to fairly re-draw the state's political boundaries, ruling that the secretly-drawn maps the Republicans implemented were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. This is an issue we've covered regularly in the past year, decrying the inherent unfairness of the maps.

Federal Court Strikes Down Republican Gerrymandering

November 2016 - The court ruled that political boundaries in the state drawn by the Republican majority in 2011 in Wisconsin are unconstitutional gerrymandering. The decision may impact unlawfully partisan political boundaries drawn in other states, as well.

"Solidarity Singers" Can Continue Performances

February 2014 - Circuit Court Judge John Markson threw out tickets issued to 29 "Solidarity Singers" on Constitutional grounds.


C l i m a t e

C h a n g e / A i r

Q u a l i t y

Climate Change/Air Quality

All News Services

Senate Rejects Repeal of Methane Waste Rule

May 2017 - Three Republicans joined Senate Democrats on Wednesday to reject an effort to overturn an Obama administration rule limiting methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling. Only 49 senators voted to move forward with debate on legislation to undo the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule, short of the 51 votes needed. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined all 48 members of the Democratic caucus in rejecting the resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

Powder River Basin Resource Council Notches Another Win With National Impact

April 2017 - Peabody Energy Corp., the largest private-sector coal company in the world, is replacing its reclamation self-bonds across the country, worth a total of $1.27 billion dollars.

Senators Introduce Bill to Rescind President's Anti-Climate Executive Order

March 2017 - More than 30 U.S. Senators introduced legislation to rescind President Trump's Executive Order to reverse several landmark U.S. initiatives to combat climate change. The Clean Air Healthy Kids Act would block federal agencies from implementing the actions outlined in President Trump's Energy Independence Executive Order. These actions include reevaluating the Clean Power Plan, which is currently on track to provide $54 billion in climate and health benefits each year, prevent thousands of premature deaths and asthma attacks in children, reduce electricity bills for homes and businesses, and create thousands of good-paying jobs.

BLM Finalizes Rules to Limit Gas Waste on Public Lands

November 2016 - A recent Colorado College poll found 80 percent of westerners, across party lines, support efforts to curb methane waste (venting and flaring) on public lands. Meanwhile, as the clock ticks down on the Obama administration's final days, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management finalizes rules to reduce natural gas waste on publicly owned lands. Some Congressional Republicans have promised to overturn the rules, which would otherwise go into effect days before Obama leaves office. The Interior Department's announcement quickly was followed by an oil and gas industry lawsuit. Industry groups argue operators already are cutting emissions and say new regulations would increase costs.

Wind Energy Costs Could Fall by 40 Percent by 2050

November 2016 - Researchers found advances in technology should continue to drive down wind energy costs by as much as 30 percent by the year 2030, and more than 40 percent by 2050. Ryan Wiser, the report's lead author, says reductions in up-front costs and increased performance output will be the biggest drivers.

Decision on the Clean Power Plan is a Victory for the Environment and Public Health

February 2016 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied requests by industry and allied states to temporarily stay the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.

BLM to Limit Methane Emissions

February 2016 - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed rules to limit methane waste on public and tribal lands.

USDI Announces Moratorium of Coal Leases on Public Lands

February 2016 - U.S. Department of the Interior's announcement to stop new coal-mining leases on public lands.

Mercury Emissions "Loophole"? Closed

April 2014 - A loophole that allowed cement plants to not be subject to fines over toxic emissions if they were labeled the result of a malfunction or "upset" has been closed by a federal court ruling.

Coal Plants Agree to Install Cleaning Equipment

February 2014 - In a settlement with conservationists, PPL agreed to install pollution monitors to assure that the Colstrip and Corette coal-fired power plants are continuously complying with the law for particulate pollution.

Senate Rejects Congressional Review Act to Block New EPA Standards

June 2012 - The U.S. Senate voted to reject Sen. James Inhofe's Congressional Review Act (CRA), which sought to block the Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxic Standards.

Nationwide Standards Set In Place for Mercury and Toxic Air Pollution From Power Plants

December 2011 - More than 20-years in the making, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the first-ever nationwide standards for mercury and toxic air pollution from power plants.

Arizona News Connection

Salt River Upgrades to Reduce Air Pollution

May 2014 - Salt River Project has finished a $470 million upgrade to reduce nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions at its Coronado Generating Station in northern Arizona.

Big Sky Connection

Settlement Announced to Clean Up Colstrip Coal Ash Ponds

July 2016 - The dirty coal ash ponds at Colstrip that have been polluting the aquifer for decades will be replaced with a safer system by 20-22 part of a settlement filed in court on Thursday.

Colstrip 1 and 2 to Shut Down within Six Years

July 2016 - The two companies that own Colstrip 1 and 2, two of the four generating units at the Colstrip Power Plant east of Billings, have agreed to shut them down by 2022 to settle a lawsuit brought by environmental groups.

July 2012 - More than 6,600 in 60 days. That's how many Montanans commented on the Environmental Protection Agency's Carbon Pollution Standard - which limits carbon pollution from new coal-fired power plants. About 2 million comments were submitted nationwide - the largest response ever for an EPA public-comment period. A vast majority of comments showed support for the rule.

December 2011 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled the final Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule, which is aimed at reducing emissions of mercury, acid gases and other toxics emitted from coal-burning power plants. Montana set limits on mercury in 2006.

November 2011 - A coalition of clear air advocates, including NPCA and Sierra Club Montana, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have filed a legal settlement that establishes firm, enforceable deadlines for action on plans to clean up regional haze pollution in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. If approved by the court, the consent decree will require states and the EPA to issue enforceable plans to curb haze-causing pollution from the nation's largest and oldest coal-fired power plants. Yellowstone National Park is listed as one of the sites affected by haze.

California News Service

CA Supreme Court Upholds Cap and Trade Law

June 2017 - The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to consider a challenge by business groups of the state's cap-and-trade law, a ruling that environmentalists hailed as ending a legal fight that had cast a cloud over the program. The state supreme court did not issue a written opinion on the program itself but declined take up the case on appeal from a lower court.

Court Upholds CA Cap and Trade Program

April 2017 - A state appeals court on Thursday ruled California's high profile market system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions does not amount to an illegal tax, a decision that could lift a pall over the so-called cap-and-trade program's marketplace for buying and selling pollution allowances.

SCAQMD Adopts New Air Quality Plan

March 2017 - The South Coast Air Quality Management District today adopted a 21st century blueprint for clean air, calling for stringent regulations combined with incentives to provide healthful air for the region?s 17 million residents. It specifically targets nitrogen oxides.

Governor Signs Climate Solution Act

September 2016 - Climate-change groups are applauding a new bill, just signed by Governor Jerry Brown, that would make it state policy to promote the role of land and soil in scrubbing the air of excess carbon. The Natural and Working Lands Climate Solution Act (Senate Bill 13-86) writes into law that agencies must consider ways to promote good soil health on forests, farms, rangelands, wetlands, deserts, parks and other open spaces.

Governor Brown Signs Law Restricting "Super Pollutants"

September 2016 - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed SB 1383 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), which establishes the nation's toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants including black carbon, fluoridated gases and methane. If followed worldwide, these acts would help cut the projected rate of global warming in half by 2050.

Two Major Climate Change Bills Pass

August 2016 - Two major climate change bills passed the Calilfornia Legislature, and are expected to be signed by the Governor. SB 32 by Senator Fran Pavley will help keep California a climate leader by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. AB 197 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia ensures that the policies we set to meet this target are driven by equity with legislative oversight, agency accountability, and data transparency at the California Air Resources Board.

California Air Resources Board Passes New Rules on Oil, Gas Well Safety

July 2016 - Regulators with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) at a hearing on Thursday removed a major loophole from proposed new rules on oil and natural gas facilities in an effort to prevent another disaster like the massive gas leak at Aliso Canyon last fall. The proposed rules require more inspections of all surface facilities, existing and new, including those offshore.

Colorado News Connection

Clean Air Whistleblower Wins Reprieve

March 2017 - Court of Appeals has dismissed a request by the city of Colorado Springs to impose a Contempt Citation on Monument resident Leslie Weise. Weise was required to appear last month in the Colorado Court of Appeals in Denver to determine if her efforts to seek truth and transparency regarding a damning air quality report that Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has prevented the public from seeing would be met with sanctions and fines from the Court, and the single mother was threatened with up to six months in jail.

Work on Clean Power Plan to Continue

April 2016 - Colorado will continue to work on a plan to reduce carbon emissions.

Region's Improved Air Quality Cuts Cancer Risk

November 2015 - Garfield County has seen a steadily decreasing risk for cancer and other ailments associated with air pollutants.

Governor Hickenlooper Goes to Bat For Clean Power Plan

November 2015 - Governor Hickenlooper will ask the Colorado Supreme Court whether state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman overstepped her authority in challenging the federal Clean Power Plan.

April 2012 - The EPA issued first-ever air pollution rules for "fracking" wells, requiring that drillers burn or capture the gas and its smog-producing compounds released when the wells are first tapped. Going into effect in 60 days, the rules cover the period when a well is first drilled when natural gas is still venting but before it begins actual production.

Pollution Clean-Up on the Way

November -0001 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice and the State of Colorado announced a settlement with Houston-based Noble Energy, Inc. Noble will spend an estimated $60 million on system upgrades, monitoring and inspections to reduce emissions, in addition to $4.5 million to fund environmental mitigation projects, $4 million on supplemental environmental projects, and a $4.95 million civil penalty.

Commonwealth News Service

MA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Drop By 21%

April 2017 - Even as President Trump works to derail the Clean Power Plan; Massachusetts continues to make progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The latest (DEP) numbers show a drop of 21 percent between 2013 and 2014.

Keystone State News Connection

Advocates Call for Continued Progress on Clean Power

February 2016 - Following the US Supreme Court's decision to stay enforcement of the EPA's Clean Power Plan, environmentalists are urging state officials to continue with its development.

Maine News Service

Thousands of Mainers Demand Action on Climate Change

April 2017 - Rallying despite a late spring snowstorm, more than 2,000 gathered at the Maine State House in Augusta to call for action on climate change. Speakers included a lobsterman, a solar company owner and members of the Penobscot Nation tribe.

Friend of the Court Brief in Support of Clean Power Plan

April 2016 - A coalition of health advocates filed a "friend of the court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the EPA's authority to regulate carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

March 2012 - Maine people breathed a little easier after the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama Administration released a proposal to limit carbon pollution from new power plants. The announcement came on the day Maine News Service reported on the state's moose population fighting a life-and-death battle with ticks, due to the mild weather this winter which has been linked to climate change from greenhouse gases.

Michigan News Connection

Michigan Works on Clean Power Plan Goals

December 2015 - Despite joining a federal lawsuit to block the EPA's Clean Power Plan, Governor Rick Snyder said Michigan is putting together a statewide compliance plan to meet the state's goals.

Minnesota News Connection

Pollution Controls to Be Installed at Coal-Fired Power Plants

November -0001 - In a settlement with the United States, Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company based in Duluth, has agreed to install pollution control technology and meet stringent emission rates to reduce harmful air pollution from the company’s three coal-fired power plants located in Cohasset, Hoyt Lakes, and Schroeder, Minnesota, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The settlement will resolve claims that the company violated the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act by unlawfully constructing major modifications at its plants without obtaining required permits and installing and operating the best available air pollution control technology, as the Act requires. EPA expects that the actions required by the settlement will reduce harmful emissions by over 13,350 tons per year, which includes approximately 8,500 tons per year of sulfur dioxide. The company estimates that it will spend over $500 million to implement the required measures.

Nevada News Service

Gardner Coal Retirement Fits Into Clean Power Plan

November -0001 - Conservationists in Nevada and around the nation are applauding new standards that significantly reduce carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency released its "Clean Power Plan," which calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from the power plants by 2030. says Nevada is in a good position to achieve the new carbon standards after state lawmakers approved a law mandating the gradual retirement of the Reid Gardner coal plant.

New Hampshire News Connection

Friend of the Court Brief in Support of Clean Power Plan

April 2016 - A broad coalition of faith, environmental, and public health advocates filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the EPA's authority to regulate carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

New Mexico News Connection

ABQ Lauded in Clean Air Report

May 2014 - Albuquerque is among America's cleanest cities according to the "State of the Air" report released by the American Lung Association.

March 2012 - In a shift in PRC policy, the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) withdrew a resolution to support Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM's) pollution control SNCR plan for PNM's San Juan coal plant. Commissioners Howe, Marks and Becenti-Aguilar all expressed concerns with the resolution, indicating in part that PNM waited too long, developed no viable alternatives other than SNCR or SCR for all 4 units at their coal plant, and failed to plan for a transition from coal. The PRC was reluctant to signal that there would be automatic cost recovery for any pollution control technology.

Clean Energy Doesn’t Impact Reliability

November -0001 - A report concludes that the reliability of electricity in New Mexico and across the nation isn't being be threatened as states move to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. The report from the Analysis Group, a consulting firm, says despite some initial concern about system reliability, the energy grid is responding well to enormous changes. The report addresses implementation of the E-P-A's Clean Power Plan, which calls for a 30-percent reduction in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

New York News Connection

NY Green Bank Reaches Achieves Milestone $2.7M in Profits

June 2017 - During fiscal year 2016-2017, NY Green Bank generated $2.7 million in positive net income as a result of $291.6 million in investments in clean energy transactions across New York. Achieved one year ahead of schedule, the net income surpassed expectations and NY Green Bank's overall portfolio is expected to reduce between 4.3 and 6.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking between 50,000 and 70,000 cars off the road for 20 years.

Cuomo Reaffirms Commitment to Exceeding Goals of Clean Power Plan

March 2017 - With the announcement that the United States will begin to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Edmund Brown Jr. issued a following statement reaffirming their ongoing commitment to exceed the targets of the Clean Power Plan and curb carbon pollution.

New York Launches Program to Encourage Electric Cars

March 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a new electric vehicle campaign that includes the installation of charging stations, incentives for employers to encourage employees to drive electric vehicles and extensive public education and outreach. The increased use of electric vehicles will help the state in achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The campaign will be overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Coal Plant Repowering Application Denied

February 2016 - The Public Service Commission turned down the application of the Cayuga Power Plant to extend its life by adding the capability to burn natural gas as well as coal.

Loophole on Air Pollution Closed

May 2014 - A loophole that allowed cement plants in New York and around the nation to go unpunished over toxic emissions if they were labeled the result of a malfunction or 'upset' has been closed by a federal court ruling.

New Pollution Cap Will Reduce Greenhouse Gases

February 2013 - A new cap is projected to reduce harmful carbon emissions by about 70 million tons per year for New York and its eight partner states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

June 2012 - The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new clean air standards concerning soot, and has promised they will be finalized by the end of the year. The proposed limits on soot pollution deals with particles small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs, and is linked to asthma and heart attacks and tens of thousands of deaths each year. Soot comes from carts and trucks, factories and coal-fired power plants, along with many other sources.

April 2012 - The EPA issued first-ever air pollution rules for "fracking" wells, requiring that drillers burn or capture the gas and its smog-producing compounds released when the wells are first tapped. Going into effect in 60 days, the rules cover the period when a well is first drilled when natural gas is still venting but before it begins actual production.

NY Ahead in Clean Power Plan

November -0001 - Advocates say New York is ahead of the curve in complying with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The EPA held public hearings the last week of July in four cities. Laura Haight, senior environmental associate of New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), says the state should easily be able to cope with the Obama administration's proposed rules, which the EPA rolled out in June because New York is already part of the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

North Carolina News Service

Duke Abandons Plans for a Controversial Transmission Line and Substation in Asheville.

November 2015 - After months of community protests, Duke Energy announced Wednesday it was abandoning plans to create a new transmission line and substation in Asheville.

Northern Rockies News Service

July 2012 - A federal court has upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's air pollution regulations for cement plants, including the Ash Grove Cement Company plant in southeastern Oregon - which is cited as the largest source of airborne mercury pollution in Boise and southwest Idaho

October 2011 - Legislation was recently introduced to reverse new EPA rules to limit air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The argument from mostly Republicans is that those regulations would cost jobs and raise utility bills. But a new poll of voters across the country shows Republicans support the rules, as do Democrats and Independents. An Idaho Republican advisor says the GOP should drop the push.

Ohio News Connection

Clean Air Victory in Ohio

May 2017 - Ohio Citizen Action and eight other environmental groups won a lawsuit against U.S. EPA for failure to update air pollution limits within an eight-year timeframe, as required by the federal Clean Air Act. The lawsuit was on behalf of Ohio communities suffering from toxic air emissions from facilities.

First Energy to Retire Coal Plants

July 2016 - FirstEnergy plans to retire 901 megawatts of dirty coal -- that's equal to the pollution created by 636,781 cars. Environmental groups say the retirements will remove pollution out of Ohio's air that has been linked to thousands of asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature deaths.

Ohio Working on CPP Compliance, Despite Opposition

December 2015 - While continuing to fight the Clean Power Plan in court, Ohio is exploring its compliance options while also seeking a two-year extension for a Statewide Carbon Implementation Plan.

April 2012 - Ohio is improving its air pollution grades, according to the American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report for 2012. Almost every county saw improvement in ozone and particle pollution. The report credits the Clean Air Act, which requires the state and industry to clean up air pollution.

Oregon News Service

Colorado Gas Outlet Closed in Oregon

April 2016 - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied the application to build the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Oregon.

Portland Area Climate Acton Plan Adopted

November -0001 - On June 24, the Portland City Council adopted the joint City of Portland and Multnomah County 2015 Climate Action Plan, increasing local efforts to achieve an 80-percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Portland was the first city in the nation to adopt a local plan to cut carbon, and the county is now home to 12,000 clean tech jobs, an increase of 25 percent in the last 15 years.

Portland Receive Climate Leadership Prize

November -0001 - Portland is one of ten cities worldwide to receive a City Climate Leadership Award in September. Portland was recognized for developing “complete neighborhoods,” allowing people to live in close proximity to essential services without having to drive to find them. It’s estimated that 45 percent of Portlanders live in such neighborhoods, and the city’s aim is to raise that to 80 percent by 2035. The awards are given by corporations C40 and Siemens.

Money to Help Replace Wood-Burning Heat Systems

November -0001 - Southern Oregon has some of the poorest air quality in the state as a result of fireplace and woodstove use for home heating. Gov. Kate Brown announced a $1.5 million plan starting in May to help people in Lake and Klamath counties replace those wood-burning systems with newer and more efficient ones, and to weatherize homes. The plan is expected to add local jobs as well.

Prairie News Service

November 2011 - Great River Energy of Maple Grove, MN, plans to shut down a coal-burning power plant in North Dakota, due to slowed demand and declining power prices. Plant will be off-line until 2013 or longer.

September 2011 - The Environmental Protection Agency is trying to step in to address pollution from 4 North Dakota power plants. A hearing on the EPA's proposal will be held in October.

Utah News Connection

Air Pollution Standards Would Cover Oil Refineries

May 2014 - People living near any of Utah's five oil refineries could breathe a little easier if new Environmental Protection Agency standards are put in place.

Cleaner School Buses Could be on the Way

February 2014 - Lawmakers in the Utah House of Representatives showed overwhelming support for a bill that would replace the so-called "dirty diesel."

Airplane Emissions to be Cleaned Up

November -0001 - On average, 350 airplanes take off from Salt Lake City International Airport every day, and at this point their carbon emissions are unregulated by the federal government. Recently, the EPA announced that greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes should be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The EPA says while emissions should fall under the Clean Air Act, the agency plans to wait until the International Civil Aviation Organization sets a standard, which is likely only to apply to new aircraft that make up five-percent of the world's total aircraft.

Virginia News Connection

March 2012 - The EPA announced its first Clean Air Act standards for carbon pollution from new power plants this month. Environmentalists in Virginia announced this is a great first step and although the rules are only for new power plants, including the proposed plant in Surry, the rules will help clear the way for new technologies as well as a reduction in air pollution in the years ahead.

September 2011 - Virginia's largest utility, Dominion Resources announced it will phase out two of what environmental organizations have called its oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants. The Chesapeake and Yorktown plants, both located in coastal Virginia will end coal operations by 2016. Northern Virginia is also breathing a little easier, as GenOn also announced it will phase out the Potomac Generating Station.

Washington News Service

Seattle Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions 6 Percent in 6 Years

September 2016 - The city of Seattle has been able to cut gas emissions by making building more energy efficient. People are also driving cleaner vehicles, contributing to the cut in greenhouse emissions. Emissions per Seattle resident has decreased 17 percent between 2008 to 2014.

Executive Order on Carbon Emissions

April 2014 - At month's end, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order outlining seven steps the state will take to reduce carbon emissions and increase its' commitment to clean energy.

Seattle Opposes Coal Export Terminals

May 2012 - Seattle has become the tenth city in the Northwest to go on record in opposition to the proposed coal export terminals being planned along the Pacific coast.

Climate Change Plan Agreement for WA

November -0001 - Washington is a founding partner in an agreement to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century – which means reducing carbon emissions by 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. States and provinces in a half-dozen nations are signatories to the new agreement, known as “Under 2 MOU.” It’s a precursor to the United Nations Climate Change Conference coming up in December.

West Virginia News Service

April 2012 - The EPA issued first-ever air pollution rules for "fracking" wells, requiring that drillers burn or capture the gas and its smog-producing compounds released when the wells are first tapped. Going into effect in 60 days, the rules cover the period when a well is first drilled when natural gas is still venting but before it begins actual production.

December 2011 - The percentage of electricity generated from coal - especially the older, dirtier coal fired power plants - continues to decline. A few years ago it was over fifty percent. Soon that number will be close to forty percent. WVNS has also been covering this issue extensively, and is one of the few outlets in West Virginia paying steady attention to the rise of commercially viable clean energy.

Wyoming News Service

Ten Fracking Infrastructure Projects in Wyoming Canceled or Delayed in the Last 24 Months

May 2016 - Fracking efforts slowed after the Oregon LNG company announced that it's ending its years-long effort to build an export terminal and pipeline.

New Call for Air Pollution Standards for Drilling and Fracking

May 2014 - In Wyoming and across the country, it's estimated that more than 150-million people live in areas where oil and gas wells are operating or proposed.

WYO DEQ Takes Aim at Oil and Gas Air Pollution

March 2013 - The Wyoming DEQ is cracking down on air quality violations in the oil and gas industry, with a series of notices issued to BP, Chesapeake, Devon, Encana and Yates, alleging the companies are out of complaints with rules to protect human health and air quality.

DEQ Announces Plan to Reduce Oil and Gas Air Pollution Around Pinedale

January 2013 - The DEQ has announced a response to recommendations fro the Upper Green River Basin Air Quality Task Force to take action on reducing "persistent and severe" air pollution.

April 2012 - The EPA issued first-ever air pollution rules for "fracking" wells, requiring that drillers burn or capture the gas and its smog-producing compounds released when the wells are first tapped. Going into effect in 60 days, the rules cover the period when a well is first drilled when natural gas is still venting but before it begins actual production.

Pollution Reduction Rules Approved

November -0001 - The Wyoming Environmental Quality Council approved a new rule to reduce pollution from oil and gas activity and improve air quality in the state’s Upper Green River Basin.As oil and gas activity in this region of Wyoming has expanded, so too have levels of unhealthy smog. These pollution levels caused the area to fall out of compliance with federal ozone standards.


C o m m u n i t y

I s s u e s

a n d

V o l u n t e e r i n g

Community Issues and Volunteering

Northern Rockies News Service

Report: Boise the Most Caring City in America

December 2015 - Boise is the most caring city in America, according to a new report from WalletHub.


C o n s u m e r

I s s u e s

Consumer Issues

All News Services

Feds Issue New Rules on Prepaid Cards

October 2016 - Consumer groups are praising the new rules on pre-paid credit cards just released by the feds. The regulation, issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, goes into effect next fall and will make pre-paid card issuers follow many of the same rules that apply to credit cards.

Google Is Banning Payday Loan Ads

July 2016 - Beginning July 13, 2016, consumers will still be able to find payday lenders on a Google search, but ads appearing on the top and right-hand side of results will not show marketing from the industry.

Feds Propose Rules on Mandatory Arbitration

May 2016 - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed new rules to block credit card companies, banks and other companies from forcing customers to waive their rights to join class action lawsuits.

Arizona News Connection

Consumer Benefits on Four-Year Anniversary

November -0001 - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which celebrates its fourth birthday in 2015, has recovered billions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulates and investigates banks, credit unions, payday lenders and pawn shops, as well as credit bureaus and debt collectors. The bureau has recovered five billion dollars and received about 400-thousand consumer complaints.

Big Sky Connection

February 2012 - Senator Jon Tester is raising concerns about the rising levels of lead in lipstick, and wants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ramp up efforts to protect women and children from lead exposure. Testing recently revealed that the maximum level of lead found in lipstick more than doubled between 2009 and 2011.

California News Service

Governor Signs Out of State Arbitration Bill

September 2016 - California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1241, placing limits on agreements requiring workers to waive their rights to challenge employers in the court system. The bill specifically bans arbitration clauses which force California residents out-of-state.

Governor Signs Smart TV Privacy Law

October 2015 - The first-in-the-nation bill to address privacy concerns as new smart TVs get equipped with voice recognition features.

Colorado News Connection

Bill Killed that Would Have Boosted Credit Fees

November -0001 - Governor Hickenlooper vetoed House Bill 1390 which would have allowed lenders to increase interest rates by over 50%. The law would have increased the cost of borrowing money for certain consumer credit transactions. The bill was introduced near the end of the session and sailed through. Groups that oppose it say they didn’t have time to make their case and want a veto in order to give the proposal more debate next year.

Illinois News Connection

September 2011 - On September 12, Governor Quinn vetoed the so called "smart grid" legislation that would have increased electric bills to pay for an upgrade of the electrical grid in Illinois. This is a victory for AARP and other consumer groups which opposed it saying that it would have been too expensive for consumers and would have usurped the oversight of state regulators.

Indiana News Service

April 2012 - The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor is recommending that Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) receive only one-eighth (1/8) of the base rate increase it is requesting. In its base rate case, I&M is requesting approximately $174.2 million in new, annual operating revenues from its Indiana customers. The OUCC's recommendations would limit the increase to $21.8 million.

Kentucky News Connection

Rate Increases Held Off

November -0001 - Poverty-fighting, seniors and youth organizations were able to coalesce to stop two energy giants, LG&E and KU, from increasing the basic service charge on more than one million electric and natural gas customers across the state.

Maine News Service

Mainers Keep Watch on G.M.O Food Labeling

October 2015 - Mainers have been keeping watch on a measure that is working its way through Congress that sounds like it would be a good idea, but the devil is in the details.

Michigan News Connection

Push to "Save Thanksgiving"

November 2015 - A Michigan lawmaker has introduced a resolution (HR Res. 172) to encourage businesses to respect the holiday and close on Thanksgiving day.

Missouri News Service

September 2011 - The Missouri Senate rejected a provision that would eliminate more than 105,000 Missouri seniors, veterans and people with disabilities from eligibility for a modest circuit breaker tax credit that is critical to keeping them in their homes. The provision, which was included in a wide-ranging tax bill, was unnecessary to pay for new tax incentives included in that bill during the September special session.

Nevada News Service

Limited Recreational Sales of Marijuana Begins

June 2017 - The Nevada Tax Commission today adopted emergency regulations for recreational marijuana, opening the door for sales to begin on a limited basis. The commission approved regulations for packaging, labeling and advertising.

Nevada A-G Files Suit Against Generic Drugmakers

December 2016 - Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt joined with 19 other attorneys general in filing a federal lawsuit against four generic drug-makers, alleging that the pharmaceutical companies entered into numerous illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the U.S. for two generic drugs: antibiotic doxycycline hyclate delayed release and diabetes drug glyburide.

State Investigates Car Title Lender for Allegedly Overcharging

February 2016 - A consumer advocate is speaking out against car title lender Titlemax - saying some of the company's loans violate state law and overcharge borrowers, sometimes by thousands of dollars.

State investigating Title Loan Company

January 2016 - An attorney from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada is speaking out against car title lender Titlemax, saying some of the company's loans violate state law and overcharge borrowers, sometimes by thousands of dollars.

Rule Change would Restore Class-Action Rights for NV Consumers

November 2015 - Nevada consumers won't have to sign away their rights to file class action lawsuits, because a change in the rules that is pending before the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.

March 2011 - Local consumers gained a new national resource in April. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, www.SaferProducts.gov allows Nevadans to file alerts on defective products and also learn about unsafe products that are still on the shelves. Graham Galloway with the Nevada Justice Association says the new website is an important step in giving consumers timely information about unsafe products.

New York News Connection

June 2011 - A bill that would limit access to prepaid cell phones in Suffolk County came before the county legislature, generating strong reaction. It would have required that anyone purchasing one present two forms of identification to a retailer, and would have authorized the creation of a consumer database maintained by retailers and available to police. The phones serve as a lifeline for low-income residents, undocumented immigrants, tourists, and domestic violence survivors. With the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, SEPA Mujer, and the Suffolk chapter of the NYCLU leading the way, it was defeated, 11-7.

December 2010 - Following more than 30 deaths and numerous recalls, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the manufacture, sale and re-sale of drop-side cribs, with New York consumers and legislators leading the way. As we reported, there was still work to be done educating parents about old style hand-me-down and thrift-store cribs. "We are still in the process of looking into the situation," says Salvation Army spokeswoman Trish Raines.

Medical Bill Surprises to Stop

November -0001 - New York consumers began to see new protections from surprise medical expenses in April. A new law took effect that protects consumers from having to pay big bills for out of network medical expenses that were beyond their control.

North Carolina News Service

June 2011 - Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed Senate Bill 33, after months of pressure from patient rights groups, saying it could cripple North Carolina patients injured as a result of their doctor's negligence in the emergency room.

Ohio News Connection

Measures to Protect Ohio Insurance Customers

January 2016 - Measures designed to provide additional financial protection for Ohio consumers if their life or health insurance company becomes insolvent have become law.

October 2011 - Some utility customers in Ohio will be paying less for their electric next year, thanks to the work of consumer groups, including Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy. An agreement was reached with Duke Energy Ohio that will result in multiple competitive auctions to set the price for electric generation service from January 2012 - May 2015.

Oregon News Service

More Federal Aid Coming to Oregon to Help Rural Microbusinesses Succeed

November 2015 - Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) is expanding the assistance it provides to rural micro-businesses in nine counties in rural Oregon and southwest Washington.

Texas News Service

April 2011 - The state House moved several short-term lending-reform bills designed to curb abusive lending practices (such as high interest, high fee, "payday lending"). HB 2592, HB 2593, and HB 2594 would provide state oversight and protections to make it easier for consumers to avoid cycles of debt.

Insurance Company Reforms Backed by Lawmakers

November -0001 - Lawmakers chose to preserve policyholder protections and said no to the Insurance Act (SB1628). One of the bill's provision would have eliminated a long-­standing Texas law making sure insurance companies pay claims on time and in full. Critics said the change would incentivize low and slow payments.

Local Laws on Transportation and Hand-Held Devices

November -0001 - There's no statewide law prohibiting hand-held cell phone use while driving, but you might find yourself with a big fine if you do it now in two big Texas cities. Austin's new law prohibits the use of all electronic hand-held devices while driving and riding a bicycle. And in San Antonio, you're not allowed to drive while using a mobile device to talk or text.

Utah News Connection

President Makes Rural Internet Promise

November -0001 - President Barack Obama said during his visit to the state that he is taking executive action that will direct the Federal Communications Commission and other government agencies to do everything they can to expand broadband access in rural America.

Washington News Service

Wash. Lawmakers Approve Distracted Driving Bill

April 2017 - Washington lawmakers approved a bill to increase penalties for people caught on their cell phones. Distracted drivers accounted for the most number of fatalities and serious injury accidents on Washington roadways in 2015.

West Virginia News Service

February 2012 - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that collection agencies, credit agencies and so-called payday lenders would face serious new oversight. The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform (which has also started the process currently underway of writing rules which may reign-in unregulated parts of the financial industry, such as the buying and selling of derivatives).

Wyoming News Service

May 2011 - Safety needs to become a part of the workplace culture in Wyoming, and that will take a team effort from employees, employers and state government. The Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association is calling for that "safety first" approach in light of an annual report from the AFL-CIO that shows Wyoming consistently ranks highest in the nation for its worker fatality rate.

February 2011 - Jackson Mayor Mark Barron and the Jackson Town Council have sent a letter to Teton County School District (TCSD) Superintendent Pam Shea, "The Town Council of the Town of Jackson wishes to support the Teton County School District in their efforts to make school children aware of potential hazards associated with cell phone use."


C r i m i n a l

J u s t i c e

Criminal Justice

All News Services

Justice Dept. to End Use of Private Prisons

August 2016 - The U.S. Justice Department has announced that it will end the use of private prisons for federal prisoners. The announcement follows a report that found private prisons are less safe and less effective than government run facilities. DOJ will not cancel current contracts but will review them as they come up for renewal. All federal private prison contracts expire within the next five years. There are currently 13 privately operated federal prisons holding close to 23,000 inmates.

Pfizer Cuts Off the Last Open-Market Source of Execution Drugs

May 2016 - Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that it has imposed sweeping controls on the distribution of its products to ensure that none are used in lethal injections.

Supreme Court: Life Sentences For Juveniles Must Be Reviewed

January 2016 - About 2000 people sentenced to life without parole for acts committed as children may not have to spend the rest of their lives in prison, thanks to a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

Commonwealth Congressional Delegation Supports Obama Executive Action on Gun Sales

January 2016 - President Obama proposed executive actions that would tighten background checks and spend more federal dollars on mental health.

U.S. Releases Non-Violent Drug Offenders

November 2015 - In the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in U.S. history, more than 6,000 inmates have been freed early under a re-sentencing effort for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

Feds Release Nonviolent Drug Offenders

November 2015 - In the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in U.S. history, more than 6,000 inmates have been freed early under a re-sentencing effort for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

FCC Regulates Prison Phone Call Rates Nationally

October 2015 - After a decade of organizing, this morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on rules to rein in the predatory prison phone industry.

Arizona News Connection

Defense Lawyers Challenge Law Limiting Contact with Crime Victims

May 2017 - A coalition of individuals who provide criminal defense counsel to the accused in Arizona filed a federal lawsuit today to block the enforcement of a statute that restricts their constitutionally protected freedom of speech. The challenged law prohibits criminal defense lawyers and other people working on the defense team from speaking to the victim of a crime without using the prosecutor's office as a conduit for the communication. If the crime victim was killed or incapacitated, the communication ban extends to close relatives of the victim. No other state has a similar statute.

Governor Signs Reform of Forfeiture Laws

April 2017 - Gov. Doug Ducey today signed into law HB 2477, legislation that will meaningfully reform civil asset forfeiture practices. With the enactment of HB 2477, police and prosecutors will be required to report publicly what property they have seized. They will also have to go through an approval process before making any purchases with the proceeds of seized property. In addition, the forfeiture reforms in HB 2477 make it easier for Arizonans to challenge the seizure of their property, force the government to make a solid case if a seizure is contested, and eliminate loopholes that currently allow local law enforcement agencies to circumvent state law related to forfeiture.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Voted Out

November 2016 - The sheriff who gained notoriety for draconian immigration measures has lost his job. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Arizona's Maricopa County, was defeated Tuesday in his bid for a seventh consecutive term by his Democratic challenger, Paul Penzone, a 21-year veteran Phoenix police officer.

FCC Takes a Look at Prison Phone Contract Reform

December 2012 - After more than a decade of effort by media reform groups, the Federal Communications Commission finally took a step forward on reforming the prices families pay to stay in touch by phone with incarcerated loved ones.

Inmate Work Rates May be Recalculated

November -0001 - Inmates serving time in Arizona prisons could get a pay raise if state lawmakers approve a bill being considered in the 2015 legislative Session which starts in January. State Senator John Kavanagh introduced Senate Bill 1002, which would update how much inmates can be paid for jobs within the prison and with cities, towns and counties. Kavanagh says the current rate, which pays up to 50 cents per hour, was set in law in the 1970s.

Arkansas News Service

FCC Takes a Look at Prison Phone Contract Reform

December 2012 - After more than a decade of effort by media reform groups, the Federal Communications Commission finally took a step forward on reforming the prices families pay to stay in touch by phone with incarcerated loved ones.

Big Sky Connection

Death Penalty Drug Ruled Unconstitutional

October 2015 - The death penalty is at a stalemate in Montana, after a judge blocked the use of a particular lethal injection drug on Tuesday.

December 2011 - A report by the Death Penalty Information Center shows a drop in new death sentences and executions nationwide. The report notes that it's part of a trend over the past 10 years. A bill to abolish the death penalty in Montana is planned for 2013, after the State Senate said 'yes' to a similar bill earlier this year.

California News Service

Governor Brown Signs Law To Ban Charging the Innocent for Cost of Counsel

July 2017 - Today, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 35, that would end the practice of requiring innocent defendants to reimburse the courts for the cost of appointed counsel. In the future only those who are convicted will be charged.

Orange County Jail Dumps Controversial Contractor

March 2017 - Orange County supervisors voted Tuesday to cancel a contract with a jail kiosk operator over concerns that family members and friends of inmates were being charged too much to use the company's services, including posting bail money and adding funds electronically to commissary accounts. In recent years, the Federal Communications Commission and attorneys general for six states have accused the contractor, Virigina-based Global Tel-Link Corp., of charging excessive rates on jailhouse phone calls. In Orange County's jail, the company charged for use of their kiosks and online payments system, including $8 to deposit $51 into an inmate's commissary and from 5 to 8 percent for most bail payments.

Proposition 57, Gov. Jerry Brown's push to loosen prison parole rules, is approved by voters

November 2016 - Proposition 57, the governor's plan to further shrink the state's prison population, was supported by almost two-thirds of voters in Tuesday night returns. The ballot measure changes the state's prison and legal systems in three significant ways. The least controversial element will reverse a law approved by voters in 2000 that sent more juvenile defendants to adult courtrooms. Those young defendants will now only be charged as adults with a judge's approval. The most controversial parts of Proposition 57 involve the prospect of parole for felons who have not been convicted of one of California's designated "violent" crimes, and the creation of new good-behavior credits that all state prisoners would be eligible to earn.

Governor Signs Asset Seizure Bill

September 2016 - Governor Brown signed SB 443, authored by Senator Holly Mitchell and co-authored by Anderson, which will require a conviction before law enforcement can seize one's property if that property is valued at less than $40,000.

Governor Signs Bill On Proof of Innocence

September 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1134, which ensures that when innocent people are convicted, there is a fair and reasonable path to clear their names if new evidence is later found to support their claims of innocence.

Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Prostitution for Minors

September 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed multiple bills which protect young child sex trafficking victims from further exploitation, including Senate Bill 1322, which decriminalizes prostitution for minors in the state of California.

CA Gets New Online Reporting for Police Use of Force

September 2016 - Following last year's launch of an unprecedented criminal justice open data initiative, OpenJustice, and the passage of Assembly Bill 71, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today launched a web-based tool that allows California law enforcement agencies to digitally report law enforcement or civilian uses of force.

Anti-Death Penalty Proposal Qualifies for the Ballot

July 2016 - The Justice That Works initiative is officially on November's ballot in California as Proposition 62. Prop 62 will replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole.

Supreme Court Rejects Case on Assault Weapons Ban California Gun Control Remains in Place

December 2015 - California's gun strict laws are safe, for now, after the Supreme Court on Monday rejected a case that could have overturned the Golden State's ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado Lawmakers Pass Bill to Close Debtors Prison Loophole

June 2016 - The state legislature gave final approval to a bill that will close a loophole that critics contend gutted efforts to prevent the jailing of poor people who can't pay fines for low-level offenses.

Innocent Man Exonerated

January 2016 - Clarence Moses-El, who has been in prison for 28 years for a crime all evidence suggests he did not commit, has been exonerated.

Colorado ACLU Launches App to Record Police Activity

November 2015 - The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado unveiled a new smart phone app on that encourages people to record police interactions with the public.

"Corporations Are Not People"

November 2012 - Voters took mostly symbolic action, but nevertheless, stated clearly their belief that corporations are not people and should not have the rights of people when it comes to participating in elections.

Connecticut News Service

Gov. Malloy Signs Legislation Reforming the State's Pretrial Justice System

June 2017 - Governor Dannel Malloy has signed into law legislation he introduced and developed with a number of lawmakers and advocates that will create a major reform to the state's methods of detention for people who have only been charged with a crime. The legislation brings the state into compliance with court rulings that have found the current system of bail is unconstitutional. Under current law hundreds of individuals currently locked up in Connecticut jails, not because they are threat to society, but simply because they are poor and cannot afford cash bail.

Legislation to Reform CT's Pretrial Justice System Advances

April 2017 - The General Assembly's Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would begin the process of correcting Connecticut's bail system and moving toward a more just and equitable procedure by taking into account public safety risk rather than a defendant's ability to pay. The bill had been introduced by Governor Dannell Malloy.

Malloy Renews Push for Connecticut Bail Reform

March 2017 - In a presentation to the Sentencing Commission at the Legislative Office Building, Governor Dannell Malloy said: "No one should be sitting behind bars simply because they are poor." Malloy has been unsuccessful so far in getting the General Assembly to back his so-called Second Chance 2.0 legislation, which would eliminate bail bonds for nonviolent misdemeanor offenders and allow 18- to 20-year-olds to be tried as juveniles.

Mallloy Pushes for Bail Reform

February 2017 - Governor Dannel Malloy has again introduced legislation to reform the bail system in Connecticut. A bill introduced last year never came to a vote in the General Assembly. The reforms would help some 3,000 people held in Connecticut jails simply because they cannot afford to post bail to be released.

Governor Calls for Bail Reform

December 2015 - In a speech at a Connecticut Law Review symposium Governor Dannel Malloy called for reform of the state's bail bond system, seeking to eliminate cash bail for misdemeanor offenses.

Governor Calls for Raising Age for Juvenile Justice Jurisdiction

December 2015 - Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy proposed raising the age of those who fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system to 21.

Governor Calls for Raising Age for Juvenile Justice Jurisdiction

November 2015 - Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy proposed raising the age of those who fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system to 21, which would help bring state law into line with the science of behavioral psychology and brain development.

Governor Calls for Bail Reform

November 2015 - In a speech at a Connecticut Law Review symposium Governor Dannel Malloy called for reform of the state's bail bond system, seeking to eliminate cash bail for misdemeanor offenses.

CT Supreme Court Rejects Request to Reconsider Death Penalty

October 2015 - The Connecticut Supreme Court turned down a motion by state prosecutors to reconsider its August ruling declaring capital punishment unconstitutional.

Judiciary Commitee Approves Bill to Repeal Death Penalty

April 2011 - A bill to repeal the death penalty has been approved by the Judiciary Committee and is expected to pass in the General Assembly, and Gov. Malloy has stuck by his campaign pledge to sign it.

Florida News Connection

Florida Death Sentence "Unconstitutional"

January 2016 - The US Supreme Court ruled on 1-12-16 that Florida's death sentence scheme is unconstitutional.

Illinois News Connection

Federal Court Certifies Lawsuit Over Unconstitutional Prison Healthcare

May 2017 - A federal judge has ruled that long-standing problems with the medical and dental care provided in Illinois' state prisons must be addressed systemically, rather than relying on individual challenges from prisoners.

Bill Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana

April 2016 - A bill cleared the Illinois House in April that would put possession of small amounts of marijuana on par with traffic tickets.

Illinois Voters Eager for Criminal Justice Reforms

March 2016 - An ACLU poll shows the overwhelming majority of voters believe the system is "broken," with 76 percent of Illinois Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans agreeing that changes need to be made.

Red Light Cameras Limited

November -0001 - The Illinois House also approved a bill that would ban the use of red light cameras in non-home rule communities, generally towns with a population of less than 25,000. This legislation comes on the heels of Chicago Tribune investigation into the efficacy of red light cameras, which found that the cameras "failed to deliver on safety claims and that the city's yellow light intervals are dangerously short and out of step with national standards."

Indiana News Service

Settlement Reached in Indiana Over The Way Mentally Ill People are Treated in Prison.

February 2016 - Indiana has joined two other states in announcing a settlement over the way people in prison who are mentally ill are treated.

Kentucky News Connection

Kentucky Reducing Youth Incarcertation

October 2016 - Acknowledging that youth prisons cost millions of dollars and don't work - Kentucky is reducing its incarceration numbers. Youth in prisons has been cut by nearly half in the last year-plus since juvenile justice reforms became law.

Bill to Abolish Death Penalty Will Get Hearing

March 2016 - In the never ending grind to abolish the death penalty in Kentucky, there has been momentum this year.

April 2011 - The Kentucky Supreme court has refused to lift a temporary ban on all executions until a lower court judge can decide whether Kentucky's lethal-injection procedures meet necessary standards.

February 2011 - State taxpayers could save as much as $147 million over the next decade under an overhaul of the state's penal code that the Governor will soon sign into law. House Bill 463, sponsored by Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, is the result of a multi-year task force that examined the state's anti-crime efforts in collaboration with the Pew Center on the States. The reform package is the first comprehensive examination of the state's criminal laws since 1974.

Keystone State News Connection

As Prison Population Declines Wolf Calls for Closing 2 State Prisons

January 2017 - In an effort to capitalize on declining prison populations, Governor Tom Wolf wants to close two state prisons to cut costs. Closing the prisons by June 30th could save the cash-strapped commonwealth as much as $160 million in the coming fiscal year. There are fewer prisoners in the state than there were at the peak five years ago. On the downside, legislators with prisons in or near their districts also are concerned by a potential loss of jobs.

PA Settles Lawsuit over Delayed Treatment for Mentally Ill Defendants

February 2016 - The state's Department of Human Services agreed to settle a federal class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania on behalf of defendants in criminal cases who have been ordered to undergo "competency restoration."

Lawsuits Challenges Prolonged Detention of Mentally Ill in PA

October 2015 - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of mentally ill prisoners who are ordered to undergo treatment to restore their competence.

Maine News Service

Compromise Backs Recovery Approach to Drugs in Maine

June 2016 - A compromise crafted during the session averted felony charges for Mainer caught with small amounts of hard drugs.

Michigan News Connection

Governor Endorses Parole Reform

November 2015 - Governor Rick Snyder endorsed House Bill 4138, evidence-based parole reform.

March 2011 - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder introduced the Executive Budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Overall, the Department of Corrections received a slight increase for FY 2012 and 4.3 percent increase for 2013. Included in the budget were several viable options for the state to save money, including putting a larger emphasis on the state's prisoner reentry initiative, better known as The Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative (MPRI).

Minnesota News Connection

Minnestoa Drug Sentencing Reform

January 2016 - Minnesota's Sentencing Guidelines Commission approved a move to reduce the time spent behind bars for first-time drug offenders.

September 2012 - Those who neglect vulnerable adults or mistreat children will face tougher penalties under a new Minnesota law that took effect this summer. The law creates felony crimes for intentionally depriving a vulnerable adult and causing physical harm to a child.

Human Trafficking Protections Become Law

November -0001 - Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) was signed into law by the president in June. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act will help law enforcement further crack down on human traffickers and help ensure that minors sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims

Nevada News Service

Nevada Governor Signs Law to "Ban the Box"

June 2017 - Governor Brian Sandoval signed AB 384, to "Ban the Box" on employment applications that asks about a prior felony conviction. It was proposed by Assembly Member Tyrone Thompson (D-North Las Vegas) as a way to assist some 600,000 Nevadans who often have difficulty landing a job because of their prior criminal records. The City of North Las Vegas has already become the first Nevada municipality to Ban the Box.

FCC Takes a Look at Prison Phone Contract Reform

December 2012 - After more than a decade of effort by media reform groups, the Federal Communications Commission finally took a step forward on reforming the prices families pay to stay in touch by phone with incarcerated loved ones.

New Hampshire News Connection

NH Joins Rest of New England in Decriminalizing Pot

June 2017 - New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is set to sign a marijuana decriminalization bill into law. On the first day of June the state House of Representatives took final action on legislation to remove criminal penalties for small amounts of cannabis, setting up the state to finally become the last in New England to decriminalize.

New Mexico News Connection

Voters Approve Ban on Unaffordable Bail

November 2016 - New Mexico voters passed a constitutional amendment Tuesday that prohibits judges from jailing people solely because they can't afford bail. The statewide measure, approved 87 percent to 13 percent, will scale back the use of money as a means for getting out of jail. It also sets up a process that poor defendants can follow to seek relief from bail, and gives judges another tool for jailing potentially dangerous people.

New York News Connection

Assembly Bill Would Seal Pot-Arrest Records

February 2017 - The New York Assembly has passed a bill to seal the criminal records of people arrested for simple possession of marijuana. If it becomes law the bill could help thousands of New Yorkers including green-card holders threatened with deportation over minor, non-violent drug arrests.

NY Second in Nation for Overturning Wrongful Convictions

February 2016 - A review by the National Registry of Exoneration found that in 2015 New York was second only to Texas for overturning the wrongful convictions of prison inmates.

NY Second in Nation for Overturning Wrongful Convictions

February 2016 - A report from the Michigan based National Registry of Exoneration's says New York State had the second highest number of prison inmates exonerated for crimes they did not commit.

Governor Cuomo to Expand Access to College Courses for Prison Inmates

January 2016 - Governor Cuomo announced that he will use $7.5 million dollars from a pool of hundreds of millions collected from banks as criminal forfeitures by the Manhattan Distict Attorney's office to expand the availability of college courses to prison inmates.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation to Prohibit Shackling of Pregnant Inmates During Transportation

December 2015 - Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation relating to the restraint of pregnant inmates.

New York Agrees to Major Reform of Solitary Confinement

December 2015 - New York State has agreed to a significant reduction in the number of prison rule infractions that can result in solitary confinement as well as limiting the duration of isolation and major changes in the conditions of confinement for those held in solitary.

Proposed Legislation Would Reform Bail System in NYS Courts

October 2015 - State Senator Michael Gianaris is proposing legislation that would eliminate bail for misdemeanors and other non-felony criminal cases in New York State courts.

FCC Takes a Look at Prison Phone Contract Reform

December 2012 - After more than a decade of effort by media reform groups, the Federal Communications Commission finally took a step forward on reforming the prices families pay to stay in touch by phone with incarcerated loved ones.

North Carolina News Service

North Carolina Sees Continued Decreased Use of the Death Penalty.

December 2015 - North Carolina saw no new use of the death penalty in 2015 - continuing a trend seen in the state over the last decade.

Death Row Inmates Pardoned

June 2015 - Two previous death row inmates, Leon Brown and Henry McCollum were pardoned by Governor Pat McCrory.

Racial Justice Act Applied to Three Death Row Cases

December 2012 - Even under the stricter guidelines passed by the State Assembly, a Cumberland County judge still found that race played a factor in the jury selection of three death row inmates.

April 2012 - The first court challenge brought under the landmark Racial Justice Act (RJA) was successful on Friday, with inmate Marcus Robinson's death sentence converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Under the RJA, a North Carolina Superior Court Judge found that in Robinson's original trial, race had been a factor in jury selection. One of Robinson's attorneys, Jay Ferguson, says the decision has significant ramifications for future cases.

February 2011 - The Racial Justice Act continues to stir up controversy in North Carolina and those who oppose the RJA are using every available resource to fight it. In February, a Winston-Salem Superior Court heard arguments about whether the RJA is unconstitutional. In late February, the judge found the law constitutional, allowing death row inmates who feel that race played a factor in their sentence to seek life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Ohio News Connection

Ohio Prisons Win Safety Award

August 2016 - Ohio's prison system has won the first Lucy Webb Hayes Award from the American Correctional Association, given to the agency that reaches 100 percent compliance with hundreds of national accredication standards.

HUD Guidance Gives Former Criminals a Second Shot

April 2016 - A new guidance released by HUD makes it clear that blanket bans on selling a home or renting an apartment to anyone with a criminal records is illegal discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Ohio Exonerations Contribute to National Record

February 2016 - Two Ohio men were among the nearly 150 prisoners were released last year when their convictions were overturned.

"Ban the Box" for Public Workers Passed in Ohio

January 2016 - Governor John Kasich signed into law a bill that will bar public employers from including on job applications questions concerning an applicant's criminal background.

New Effort to Improve Police Relations with Neighborhoods

November 2015 - A new collaborative met for the first time to draft standards aimed at improving the somewhat strained relationship between police and some Ohio communities.

Oregon News Service

Bill Reducing Sentences for Drug and Property Crimes Headed to Governor's Desk

July 2017 - Oregon lawmakers passed the The Safety and Savings Act, or HB 3078, today. The bill targets drug and property crimes for sentencing reductions so that more money can go to local communities for supervision, treatment, and survivor services.

Bill Prohibiting Minors from Adult Prison Passes Legislature

May 2017 - A bill prohibiting anyone under the age of 18 from going to being sent to a Department of Corrections facility (HB 2251) is heading to the governor's desk to be signed into law. Under the bill, minors would be sent an Oregon Youth Authority facility instead.

Family Sentencing Alternative Passes through the Oregon House

May 2017 - The Family Sentencing Alternative, HB 3380, which allows pregnant women to be included in sentencing alternative programs, passed the house. The bill now moves to the state Senate.

November 2011 - Gov. John Kitzhaber placed a moratorium on all executions in Oregon, offering a heartfelt plea to the State Legislature to reform the state's sentencing laws and reevaluate the capital punishment system. He called the current system expensive and unworkable, full of contradictions and inequities. Kitzhaber added that he agonized over the two executions carried out during his previous term as governor and, in his words, "I simply cannot participate once again in something I believe to be morally wrong."

July 2011 - Gov. Kitzhaber created a new Commission on Public Safety to study the state's prison sentencing guidelines, a mix of ballot measures and legislative actions over the years that some believe have raised corrections costs without making Oregonians any safer. He says he expects the commission to recommend "specific concepts to make the public safety system more efficient, smart and fair."

Prairie News Service

ND "John School" Aimed at Helping Curb Sex Trafficking

February 2016 - North Dakota started work on a "John School" that is aimed at educating and rehabilitating people who are caught trying to pay for sex.

Tennessee News Service

Leaders of TN Prison for Women on Leave Amid concerns

October 2016 - The three top wardens at the Tennessee Prison for Women are on leave as the state Department of Correction investigates possible issues with the "enforcement of TDOC processes and protocols" at the Nashville facility, said department spokeswoman Neysa Taylor.

February 2011 - A lawsuit filed in federal court could create a new roadblock for upcoming executions in Arizona and other states, including Tennessee. Lawyers for three Arizona death row prisoners filed suit seeking to force the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to stop foreign imports of a drug used in lethal injections. Nearly all states that have a death penalty require the drug, and because it is in short supply inside the U.S., Arizona and others have quietly turned to foreign suppliers so that executions can proceed.

Texas News Service

Texas Law Protects Landlords Who Rent to Ex-Convicts

January 2016 - A new law protects Texas landlords from liability when they lease apartments to persons with a non-violent criminal history.

September 2012 - New data released in September by the Council of State Governments' Justice Center revealed that Texas' recidivism rate had dropped by 11 percent in recent years. The rate dropped even further -- by 22 percent -- when compared to the early 2000s. Criminal justice reforms dating back to 2007 are largely credited for the success, including expanded treatment and rehabilitation programs, as well as a greater reliance on probation and parole. Criminal justice reform has been considered a rare area where state lawmakers have sought bipartisan cooperation.

July 2012 - A federal court in July indicated that Texas prisons may have to modify living conditions for some prisoners or risk violating the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said that a 64-year-old prisoner suffering from various medical ailments, including high blood pressure, was possibly exposed to extreme and dangerous conditions while living in a Beeville minimum security prison where the heat index reportedly reached summer highs of 130 degrees. The appeals court sent the case back to a lower court for reconsideration.

July 2012 - The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a stay of execution to Marcus Druery in July. Attorneys for the convicted murderer argued that his execution would have been unconstitutional on the grounds that he suffers from a psychotic disorder, and that he was diagnosed as schizophrenic and delusional by the state's own mental health experts. Druery's execution was stayed pending an appeal of a lower court's decision to deny him a mental competency hearing

June 2012 - After rejecting a decade of requests by attorneys of death row inmate Hank Skinner, the Texas Attorney General's office in June reversed course, agreeing to test DNA evidence that Skinner maintains will prove his innocence in the 1995 beating death of his girlfriend. Skinner advocates believe the move could create enough reasonable doubt in the case to allow Skinner to join nearly 50 other convicted Texas inmates exonerated by fresh DNA evidence.

May 2012 - In what transparency advocates described as a victory for open government, state prison officials in May were forced to abandon their efforts to maintain secrecy about precisely what lethal injection drugs are used in Texas executions, and which companies supply the drugs. The Department of Criminal Justice had said that revealing such details could enable opponents of capital punishment to disrupt supply lines and harass participating companies, but Attorney General Greg Abbott called the department's reasoning overly speculative and vague.

May 2012 - Three Texas executions were stayed by courts in May. Lawyers for Steven Staley, a mentally ill convicted murderer, had argued that forcing Staley to take anti-psychotic drugs for the purpose of making him mentally competent for execution was a violation of his constitutional rights. The state court of criminal appeals will revisit the matter to determine whether it agrees with leading national psychiatric and medical associations that consider such medication practices unethical. Two other convicted murderers - Hank Skinner and Anthony Bartee - received temporary reprieves so that the courts could consider the possibility that DNA evidence had been withheld in their prosecutions.

November 2011 - Thanks to a new state law loosening access to post-conviction DNA evidence, convicted murderer Hank Skinner was granted a stay of execution by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. For more than ten years Skinner had been claiming that DNA evidence could prove his innocence. His case was cited by lawmakers as an example of why the new legislation was needed. The court had denied previous requests for new tests, saying, until now, the law narrowly defined when such testing was allowable.

June 2011 - US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli filed an amicus brief in the US Supreme Court asking for a stay of execution for Texas death-row inmate Humberto Leal Garcia (scheduled to be executed July 7). After the Leal case drew international attention because Leal was convicted without consular access, Verrilli determined national interests will be jeopardized if the execution proceeds without further judicial review.

April 2011 - The U.S. Supreme Court granted a 30-day stay of execution to Cleve Foster to allow time for petitions of innocence and constitutional inadequacy of state habeas counsel (as well as ineffective counsel) to be heard.

Virginia News Connection

Virginia Reduces the Use of Solitary Confinement.

February 2016 - Since 2011, Virginia has reduced the use of solitary confinement at state maximum security prisons by more than 60 percent.

May 2011 - Three new pieces of legislation aimed to help the Commonwealth in its fight against human trafficking were signed into law this month. One aims to improve communication between state agencies. Another requires the Department of Social Services to devise a plan to help victims and the third law makes abduction of a minor for the purpose of the manufacture of child pornography or prostitution a Class 2 felony.

Washington News Service

Washington Prisons Get Grant to Help Parent-Child Relationships

November 2015 - The Washington Dept. of Corrections received a five-year federal grant in October to help prison inmates with children.

West Virginia News Service

April 2012 - In spite of legislative inaction on alternative sentences for non-violent drug offenders, West Virginia's criminal justice system seems to be moving in that direction, in large part because of terribly over-crowed jails and prisons. The number of drug courts in the state is increasing and move juveniles are being shunted into their supervision. WVNS has covered the issue of prison over-crowing and the need for a new approach to substance abuse on numerous occasions.

Wisconsin News Connection

Walker Probes Can Move Forward Again

January 2016 - The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the District Attorneys involved in the John Doe probes into Governor Walker's campaign finance activities can move forward as prosecutorial investigations, even though a new state law bans use of John Doe probes into political corruption.

Wyoming News Service

Lawmakers Speed Up Restoring Voting Rights for Felons

March 2017 - Wyoming lawmakers approved a measure that will automatically grant nonviolent felons the right to vote again after serving their sentences. Under previous law, all people convicted of felonies lose the right to vote while in prison - and nonviolent offenders have to wait five years and then, go through a complicated application process before they could legally vote again.


D i s a b i l i t i e s

Disabilities

All News Services

SCOTUS Rules: Student May Bring Service Dog to School

February 2017 - Disability rights advocates applaud the February 22nd Supreme Court decision in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, which they say will provide students with better access to the court system to contest disability-related discrimination at schools.

Autism Funding Extended

November 2015 - The U.S. Senate acted to renew the nation's primary autism legislation.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado Strengthens Protections for People with Disabilities and LGBTQ Coloradans

April 2017 - The Colorado Senate voted 23-12 to pass House Bill 1188, a bill that adds physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, and transgender status to Colorado's existing law concerning bias-motivated harassme

Commonwealth News Service

Massachusetts Senate Passes Five Disability Bills

March 2016 - The Massachusetts Senate passed five bills that are intended to make life easier for persons with disabilities.

Restraints Settlement Agreement

February 2016 - A settlement agreement between DESE, Holyoke Public Schools and the Disability Law Center calls for the Peck school to reduce the use of restraints on students and for the center to monitor disciplinary practices at the school.

November 2012 - Something good may have actually come out of the vituperative arguements among partisan pundits during the presidential campaign. When conservative commentator Ann Coulter used the noun "retard" to describe President Obama in the final days of the campaign, it sparked an angry response from people who consider that "hate speech." According to the ARC of Massachusetts, a Boston-based non-profit serving those with disabilities, Coulter may have done them a favor by helping spread word of a movement against that word using a national campaign called "R-Word: Spread the Word to End the Word."

September 2012 - More medical students in Massachusetts are learning how to interact with patients who have intellectual or developmental disabilities - something not widely addressed in med schools - thanks to a program begun more than 20 years ago at Boston University School of Medicine, and now available at Tufts and Simmons School of Nursing. Operation House Call puts med students into homes of families whose children have I/DD to get familiar with communications and examination challenges.

Illinois News Connection

Governor's OT Cuts Delayed

January 2017 - The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted unanimously to delay the adoption of Rauner administration rules to cut overtime for providers caring for people with disabilities.

December 2011 - A groundbreaking Consent Decree approved in Federal Court in December gives Cook County residents a meaningful choice about where to live. Because of the ruling thousands of people with physical disabilities and mental illnesses who have been living in nursing homes because of the structure of Medicaid funding will be able to live in their own homes and participate in the community. The ruling came in the case of Colbert v. Quinn originally filed in 2007.

March 2011 - The Illinois Department of Human Services unveiled a new federally funded program that helps employers hire workers with disabilities through financial incentives to the employers.

Keystone State News Connection

PA Settles Lawsuit over Delayed Treatment for Mentally Ill Defendants

January 2016 - The state's Department of Human Services agreed to settle a federal class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania on behalf of defendants in criminal cases who have been ordered to undergo "competency restoration" therapy before trial.

Michigan News Connection

New Rules to Improve Disability Services in Michigan Courts

July 2016 - New rules for the use of sign language interpreters are now in effect that will help ensure Michigan residents who have visual or hearing impairments are able to access important services.

Minnesota News Connection

Disability Service Providers Receive Pay Raise

November -0001 - Providers that serve people with disabilities and older Minnesotans in their homes and other community settings received a 5 percent rate increase, effective July 1. The increase will infuse an additional $80 million into home care services this fiscal year. Nursing homes also received additional funding this year.

Executive Order Helps Minnesotans with Disabilities

November -0001 - Governor Mark Dayton issued an Executive Order in August which directs all state government agencies to increase their employment of Minnesotans with disabilities. Over the last 15 years, there's been a steady decline in Minnesotans with disabilities employed by the state – from 10.1 percent of the state’s workforce in 1999, to just 3.2 percent in 2013. The Executive Order directs state agencies to increase that level to 7 percent by 2018.

Missouri News Service

Capable Kids Program Expands

February 2017 - A program for children with disabilities and their families that began in Rolla has now expanded to four Missouri cities.

January 2011 - The Missouri Safe Schools Coalition is building support for a 'Safe Schools Act,' introduced in the legislature this month. Disability advocates have rallied behind this bill, saying youth with disabilities are a high risk group for bullying, and this bill will offer them the protection they need.

New York News Connection

NYC Must Help Voters with Disabilities

May 2014 - A federal appeals court affirmed that the City of New York has failed to give meaningful access to voters with disabilities at over 1,300 polling sites.

Disaster Response Tailored for All – Including People with Disabilities

November -0001 - New York City’s emergency disaster plans should be the most comprehensive in the nation, as part of a federal settlement agreement delivered by the city to a federal judge. The biggest change will ensure New Yorkers with disabilities know where to flee in a disaster. By the end of September 2017, the city should have a minimum of 60 accessible emergency shelters, a change that should allow the city to shelter 120-thousand New Yorkers with disabilities.

Ohio News Connection

New Policy Helps Ohioans with Autism Receive Therapy

March 2013 - The state has implemented policies to help Ohioans with autism by requiring health insurers to cover therapies that can significantly improve their lives.

September 2011 - Groups including the Autism Society of Ohio are applauding President Obama's signing of crucial legislation renewing the landmark Combating Autism Act for another three years. The legislation continues the federal commitment for autism research, services and treatment at current levels, authorizing $693 million over the next three years. The original act provided $945 million over five years.

Oregon News Service

Closed-captioning Required on TVs in Portland Public Places

December 2015 - The City of Portland now requires closed-captioning be activated on all televisions on display in public places.

Washington News Service

May 2011 - The Department of Social and Health Services launched a new website in May to help Washingtonians with disabilities find employment without risking their health care and/or disability-related benefits. The development of "Pathways to Employment" was paid for by a federal grant.

Autism Screening Expanded

November -0001 - Four counties with high numbers of Latino children are part of a University of Washington project to help screen toddlers at risk for autism. At their 18-month medical checkups, each child’s parent will be given a set of questions on computer tablets; their answers will trigger a more formal diagnosis if necessary. UW researchers say Latino children generally tend to be diagnosed later than others with autism.

Wisconsin News Connection

January 2012 - Pending legislative approval (which is essentially assured), a cap instituted in July on the number of seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in the state's Family Care Program will be lifted, and the state will add $80 million dollars to the program. More than six thousand people are on the waiting list for the program, which serves more than 43-thousand Wisconsinites. Governor Walker's hand was forced by the Obama Administration, which ordered the state to lift the cap.

Wyoming News Service

Filling up is easier for people with disabilities

November -0001 - Gassing up is getting easier for the thousands of people across Iowa and the region who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Kum & Go is making modifications at its 430 gas stations across 11 states to bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) following a lawsuit settlement.


D o m e s t i c

V i o l e n c e / S e x u a l

A s s a u l t

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault

All News Services

Protecting At-Risk Kids from Sex Trafficking

September 2010 - Continuing a long tradition of bipartisan leadership on behalf of abused and neglected children, both the House and the Senate passed a law Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.

Arizona News Connection

Arizona Names Task Force to Identify Untested Rape Kits

January 2016 - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey names a task force to identify the number of untested Sexual Assault Evidence Kits, also known as rape kits, sitting in law enforcement evidence rooms across Arizona.

California News Service

Governor Signs "Rape on the Night Shift" Bill

September 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1978 today, a landmark bill authored by Asm. Lorena Gonzalez to protect women whose jobs working the nightshift in empty buildings have made them particularly vulnerable to sexual assault.

Connecticut News Service

Legislation Strengthening State's Domestic Violence and Anti-Stalking Laws Signed into Law

June 2017 - Governor Dannel Malloy has signed legislation that will strengthen the state's domestic violence laws. The bill, which was approved by unanimous votes in both chambers of the General Assembly, amends the criminal statutes governing stalking to include stalking via social media, telephone, and other forms of harassment, tracking and intimidation; changes the strangulation statutes to include suffocation; and enhances the penalty for violation of the conditions of release.

Bill to Help Domestic Violence Victims Clears House

April 2016 - A bill that would require those subject to temporary restraining orders to surrender their firearms and ammunition to police or a federal licensed gun dealer passed in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

Kentucky News Connection

New Laws Increase Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors

June 2017 - Two new laws that increase protections for survivors of domestic violence went into effect June 29. The legislation replaces the state's existing mandatory reporting requirement for spouse abuse with a mandatory education and referral requirement for all survivors of Intimate Partner Violence. The law also requires landlords to provide new leasing protections for victims of domestic violence.

KY Lawmakers Provide Domestic Violence Victims Leasing Protections

April 2017 - After trying for four straight Kentucky legislative sessions, advocates for domestic violence victims achieved passage of a law that provides leasing protections and updates laws on reporting of abuse - by switching to an education and referral approach.

Guidelines Implemented for Kentucky's New IPO's

March 2016 - March brought another significant step forward in Kentucky's implementation of the new law extending civil protections from violence to dating couples.

Tool for Domestic Violence Victims

March 2016 - A bill in the Kentucky General Assembly that would give survivors of domestic violence and interpersonal violence the ability to get out of a home or apartment lease has passed the House.

Transitional Housing for DV Victims

November 2015 - Domestic violence advocates continue to gain wins - the latest an expansion of transitional housing for victims as they move out of shelters toward living independently.

November 2011 - State Senator Denise Harper Angel of Louisville has pre-filed a bill extending domestic violence protections to dating couples to be considered in the upcoming legislative session that begins in January. More than 40 other states recognize dating partner relationships in laws that offer greater protection for battered victims through domestic violence or emergency protective orders.

Protection for Dating Partners

November -0001 - After seven consecutive years of trying, state lawmakers passed legislation extending immediate civil protections to dating partners. Kentucky was one of the last states to not provide that blanket of protection to those who were not married, with common child or living together. The takes effect Jan 1, 2016.

Protection for Dating Partners

November -0001 - The long overdue dating partners protection bill was signed into law, making Kentucky the 49th state to provide civil protections against domestic violence to those in dating relationships This was a fight that took over half a decade to win.

Keystone State News Connection

6 Bills to Combat Sexual Violence Introduced

April 2017 - Six new pieces of legislation to protect Pennsylvania students from a nationwide epidemic of sexual violence have been introduced in the legislature. In January 2016, Governor Wolf launched the "It's On Us PA" campaign, inviting education leaders and all Pennsylvanians to be part of the solution to protect students from sexual violence. Those discussion formed the basis for the legislation.

Minnesota News Connection

New System Helps Young People Who Were Sexually Exploited

November -0001 - Minnesota has launched its new statewide system for helping sexually exploited youth that treats them as abused individuals needing help and support rather than as criminals. Minnesota’s Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Law went into full effect August 1. The law decriminalizes prostitution charges for youth under 18, increases the penalties for buyers and creates a statewide system for helping sexually exploited youth.

New Hampshire News Connection

DV Help Extended to Family Pets

November -0001 - Help is now available to domestic violence victims in the Granite State who often fear moving away from an abuser because of concerns about what will happen to their pets. The Animal Rescue League in Bedford is one of many local shelters that provide "Safe Haven," a program for pets, so that victims of domestic violence can leave their animals in a safe place while they seek help. Studies show pet abuse is one of the top four signs someone is at risk of being an abuser.

Oregon News Service

July 2012 - Acknowledging that numbers of cases are on the rise in Oregon, Gov. Kitzhaber announced the formation of a new Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Task Force. He's appointing its members and says it should begin meeting in September, to focus on correcting service gaps and inefficiencies and creating domestic violence prevention strategies

Texas News Service

Texas AG Forms Unit to Prosecute Human Trafficking Crimes

January 2016 - The Texas Attorney General's office has formed a new unit tasked with reducing both labor and sex trafficking and prosecuting the perpetrators.

Virginia News Connection

April 2012 - Amid growing concern about its fate, the US Senate voted in favor of the reauthorization of The Violence Against Women Act. Since its inception in 1994, intimate partner homicide has decreased by 34-percent. Federal funds help provide a wide array of services and protections for victims in Virginia.


E a r l y

C h i l d h o o d

E d u c a t i o n

Early Childhood Education

California News Service

Poll Shows Supporter for Kindergarten Readiness Act

April 2014 - A Field Poll found overwhelming support for making universal preschool in California available to all four-year old children.

Connecticut News Service

Business Summit on Early Childhood Education

December 2010 - Business is taking a growing interest in promoting early childhood education as a means to ensuring that youngsters grow up to be members of a competent workforce.

Illinois News Connection

Federal child care funding restored

November -0001 - After 18 years without any Congressional action, the Child Care and Development Block Grant has been reauthorized and revised to include basic provisions to improve the quality of child care nationwide. The measure increases state-level investments in activities to improve the quality of care, enhancing states' ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.

Kentucky News Connection

Early Childhood Ed Funding May Be Restored

January 2014 - After months of stressing the importance of child care assistance and pre-school funding, education and youth advocates received positive news in Governor Steve Beshear's budget for the next two fiscal years.

April 2012 - A new study says Kentucky is one of the few states where pre-K program trends are headed in the right direction. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University says Kentucky provides more access to preschool than 80% of other states.

December 2010 - A task force charged with improving early childhood education in KY is recommending the state develop a model curriculum for preschool programs and implement a screening tool for children entering kindergarten. The group made 8 recommendations that it said would strengthen the system. About 50,000 Kentucky children are enrolled in state-funded preschools or Head Start.

Maine News Service

Pre-K Tops in Maine

December 2009 - Maine leads New England and the U.S. in participation in public pre-K: 34% participation versus 15%and 28% respectively.

Michigan News Connection

Kudos for Third-Grade Reading Bill

November 2016 - A bill to boost early-elementary reading skills that includes a controversial provision on third-grade retention was signed into law Thursday, Oct. 6, by Governor Rick Snyder. The bill is aimed at improving childhood literacy, and is based on research showing that literacy after third grade is a key predictor of student academic success.

Minnesota News Connection

Study: Early Childhood Ed Pays Off

December 2013 - The focus and financial investments on high quality early childhood in Minnesota are paying off.

Kindergarten for All in MN

May 2013 - Every Minnesota child will soon have access to free, all-day kindergarten. The Legislature approved the funding as part of investments of more than $735 million in education, from preschool through college.

March 2011 - One bright note from a tough legislative session of budget cuts, after hearing testimony on the need for child care assistance, while some cuts were left in, both House and Senate removed the cuts to the child care assistance grant for college students from the bills.

New York News Connection

October 2011 - Supporters of a statewide ratings system for early education, pre-K and Head Start programs received the support of Gov. Cuomo in their bid for 100 million dollars in federal Race to the Top funding. As a result they are optimistic about the state's chances; winning would allow expansion of QUALITYstarsNY.

North Carolina News Service

August 2011 - Governor Beverly Perdue issued an executive order directing state agencies to admit all qualifying children into pre-k programs. State budget cuts had prompted the legislature to cut pre-k education to low-income children - an issue challenged in the courts since January.

Washington News Service

Early Ed Expansion Underway

November -0001 - Washington is taking the first steps toward a major expansion of the ECEAP (pre-kindergarten for low-income children) program, with an April webinar to explain the changes to prospective new providers and encourage them to sign up. The Legislature voted in 2010 to make early childhood education available to all 3- and 4-year-olds in the state starting with the 2018-19 school year.


E d u c a t i o n

Education

All News Services

Fed Action Leads to Closure of ITT Tech Schools

September 2016 - I-T-T Technical Institute closed all 130 of its for-profit schools on Tuesday, including 15 locations in California, leaving 35-thousand students in limbo. The move came after the U-S Department of Education banned I-T-T from accepting new students with federal education loans - as did the state Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education,and the state Office of Veterans Affairs. ITT was accused of inflating graduation and job placement rates.

"No Child Left Behind" Scrapped

December 2015 - President Obama signed into law a bipartisan bill that finally does away with the failed "No Child Left Behind" legislation of the past.

Arizona News Connection

Education Advocates Sue for More Funding

May 2017 - Four Arizona public school districts and education advocates filed a lawsuit Monday against the State of Arizona and the School Facilities Board for inadequate capital funding after lawmakers cut $2 billion since 2009 from the funds schools use to maintain buildings, buses, textbooks and technology to balance the state budget.

Education Lawsuit Settled; Schools To Get $625 Million

October 2015 - Gov. Doug Ducey signed a trio of bills settling a K-12 funding dispute, if the voters agree, that would clear the path for other education initiatives.

Bill to Increase Private School Tax Credits Vetoed

April 2011 - Gov. Brewer vetoed a bill to increase private school tax credits at the expense of the state's general fund.

Big Sky Connection

Senator Tester Introduces Bill to Attract More Teachers to Montana

October 2015 - College students who agree to work in rural schools will be able to get money for college if a new bill proposed by Montana Senator Jon Tester becomes law.

California News Service

California Senators Vote to Replace No Child Left Behind Act

December 2016 - A bill to replace the No Child Left Behind Act passed in the Senate Wednesday in a landslide.

CA Voters Pass Props 55 and 58

November 2016 - Supporters of public education say they're thrilled that voters passed both Propositions 55 and 58 by overwhelming margins. Prop 55 extends a tax on the wealthy for 12 years in order to send about 8 billion dollars to public education annually, while lowering sales taxes. Proposition 58 also passed, making it much easier for schools to offer bilingual education, by repealing parts of a 1998 law that mandated all children be taught in English-only classes unless their parents requested a waiver each year.

Prop 51 On School Bonds Passes

November 2016 - Voters have passed Prop 51, which authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds: $3 billion for new construction and $3 billion for modernization of K-12 public school facilities; $1 billion for charter schools and vocational education facilities; and $2 billion for California Community Colleges facilities.

University of California to Make $5 Million in Loans to Undocumented Students

February 2016 - The University of California has just announced five-million dollars in loans to undocumented students.

Commonwealth News Service

Bay State Ranks Tops in Nation for Level of Education

January 2017 - A study released this month ranks Massachusetts as the most educated state in the nation (WalletHub), showing the state's ongoing commitment to education. The study focused on the percentage of adults aged 25 and older with at least a high school diploma, average university quality and gender gap in educational attainment.

Question Two Fails

November 2016 - Bay State voters sent a strong message on Election Day rejecting Question 2 which would have lifted the cap on the number of charter schools. It was rejected by a 63 percent to 37percent margin. The Boston CFO estimated passage of the measure would have cost the city 800 million dollars a year for ten years.

August 2012 - Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a bill that forged an agreement over teacher evaluation, and kept an initiative called Stand for Children from becoming a statewide ballot question. The measure calls on districts to institute a system that puts teacher performance ahead of seniority. The teachers' union said it's an acceptable compromise.

June 2012 - The Massachusetts House approved a bill that forges an agreement over teacher evaluation, and should keep an initiative called Stand for Children from becoming a statewide ballot question. The measure calls on districts to institute a system that puts teacher performance ahead of seniority. The teachers' union says it's an acceptable compromise. In that in layoffs and transfers, length of service can still play a role, and even as a tie-breaking factor.

Connecticut News Service

CT School Funding Proposal Improved, but Still Falling Short

February 2017 - Connecticut public-education advocates say the proposals for school funding in Governor Dannel Malloy's preliminary budget are a step in the right direction, but still fall short of the funds and funding formulas needed to make the system more equitable.

Governor Malloy Calls for Equitable School Funding

January 2017 - In his State of the State report Governor Dannel Malloy called for school funding that is fair, transparent, accountable and adaptable. Malloy challenged the General Assembly to act to guarantee "equal access to a quality education regardless of zip code." Last September, a Superior Court judge ordered the state to resolve inequities in the school funding system. The state is in the process of appealing that ruling.

Suit Challenging State School Funding Formula Goes to Trial

February 2016 - The trial in a lawsuit originally filed in 2005 that challenges the state's school funding formula finally began.

Full-Day Kindergarten Expansion Proposed

November -0001 - Governor Daniel Malloy unveiled his proposed $40 billion budget; and the good news is that he plans to increase the number of schools that teach full day Kindergarten. On the downside, Malloy’s budget slashes funding that supports family caregivers.

Illinois News Connection

Illinois Good State for Teachers

November 2015 - Illinois is at the top of the list among states for teachers, according to a new ranking from personal finance website WalletHub.

Indiana News Service

Indiana Closing the Racial Achievement Gap

January 2016 - Educators in Indiana say they're making strides in closing the achievement gap for students of color.

Program Will Help Vets Become Teachers

November -0001 - A new law will give Veterans more support from the state as they seek new careers. A program called "second service" would give veterans scholarships and college credit for their military training to help earn an education degree from Indiana's universities.

School Safety Investments in Schools Boosted

November -0001 - More than 250 Indiana schools and school districts are sharing in some $9 million in state grants aimed at helping them boost school safety. The Governor’s office says nearly $5 million of the funding through the Secured School Safety Grant Program will go toward purchasing new equipment for schools. The remaining $4 million will pay for hiring school resource officers. Another $32,000 in grant money was awarded to four school districts for conducting school threat assessments.

Keystone State News Connection

Bipartisan Appropriations Bill Boosts Education Funding

June 2017 - The General Assembly has passed an appropriations bill that increases spending on K-12 basic education by $100M, early childhood education by $30M, special education by $25M and early intervention services by $19M. While the increases are far from the $3B education advocates say is needed to adequately fund public education in the Commonwealth, they welcome the additional investments in education, especially the emphasis on early childhood education.

Tight State Budget Proposal Boosts Education

February 2017 - Gov. Tom Wolf's $32.3 billion budget proposal would keep most state spending flat, but would give education (early childhood, K-12 and special education) funding a $200 million increase. Education advocates say boost is still a step in the right direction but much more is needed to address long-standing inequities in the state's public schools.

Wolf to Press for Increased Ed Dollars

February 2016 - Governor Tom Wolf has announced that in his budget address he will be calling for an increase of $377M in education spending for the current fiscal year.

Wolf Previews More Ed Spending in Budget Proposal

February 2016 - Governor Tom Wolf announced that he will include a request for $377M additional spending for education for the remainder of the current fiscal year, and an additional $200M for the year starting July 1st.

Governor Releases State Funds to Schools

December 2015 - Governor Tom Wolf exercised his line item veto to allow emergency funds to go to cash-strapped public schools after six months of a budget impasse in Harrisburg.

September 2012 - Nearly a half-million dollars is being added to the Environmental Education Mini Grant Program - and it's available for K-12 programs in Pennsylvania for the first timeNearly a half-million dollars is being added to the Environmental Education Mini Grant Program - and it's available for K-12 programs in Pennsylvania for the first time.

Maine News Service

Maine School Get Help with Repairs

February 2017 - Maine schools are getting help from the state to fix their roofs, improve air quality and remove hazardous materials. The Maine Department of Education has awarded $12.2 million in loans to 21 school districts.

Maryland News Connection

Task Force on Immigrant Education Extends Its Work

December 2015 - A state task force charged with finding better ways to serve immigrant children in Maryland public schools announced that it will extend its work for several additional months.

Common Core Bills Approved

April 2014 - Three bills have received stamps of approval from the General Assembly - all deal with implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and address concerns from parents, teachers and school administrators.

Foster Kids Gain New Avenues for College

April 2013 - Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a new law that will expand the college tuition waiver for foster kids. It will now cover tuition at public vocational schools, and include recipients who are placed into guardianship instead of foster care.

Michigan News Connection

Detroit School Reform Legislation Introduced

March 2016 - The Michigan Senate approved sweeping legislation that would split Detroit Public Schools in two and create a new education commission.

Minnesota News Connection

Minnesota College Students Get Extra Financial Aid

March 2016 - The state is awarding 95,000 students an extra $200 grant increase this year.

Anti-Bullying Law to Protect Students

April 2014 - Governor Mark Dayton signed into law the Safe and Supportive Schools Act.

School Levies Approved Statewide

November 2013 - Nearly nine in 10 Minnesota school districts that asked voters for money on Election Day got it.

Immigrant Students Granted In-State Tuition

July 2013 - The Minnesota Prosperity Act is now a law. It provides undocumented students who are already here, who have successfully completed high school, and who want to go on to higher education, with access to the same in-state tuition and financial aid that all other Minnesota high-school students have.

December 2011 - Minnesota was awarded $45 million in federal grants in the "Race to the Top" early education program. Advocates say the funds will be used on infrastructure and access to get more children ready for kindergarten.

Graduation Rate Increases

November -0001 - The Minnesota Department of Education released a new report in February showing that Minnesota’s graduation rate increased from 79.8 percent in 2013 to 81.2 percent in 2014. The new data also showed the number of black students suspended from Minnesota schools dropped by 26 percent over the same period.

Budget Brings Education Benefits

November -0001 - The supplemental budget signed into law by Governor Dayton last session took effect in July, including $54 million in new funding for Minnesota schools. This new investment will provide additional funding for every school district in the state, fund more early learning scholarships, provide nutritious breakfast and lunches, and more.

Minneapolis “Most Literate”

November -0001 - Minneapolis is the nation's "Most Literate City," according to an annual survey. The study measures "citizens' use of literacy" through criteria including local bookstores, educational levels, Internet and library resources, and newspaper circulation. St. Paul ranks as the nation’s 4th most literate city.

Nevada News Service

State Supreme Court Strikes Down School Vouchers

September 2016 - The Nevada Supreme Court struck down the school voucher system as unconstitutional. The A-C-L-U and the group "Educate Nevada Now" had sued to stop the voucher program from going into effect, and the court decided that allowing parents to use taxpayer money for tuition at private or parochial schools violates the state's constitutional mandate to fund public education.

Feds Decide Not to Punish Nevada, Will Keep Education Money Flowing

March 2016 - Education advocates are breathing a big sigh of relief after the federal government decided not to withhold millions in federal funds.

Feds Decide Not to Withhold Nevada Education Money

March 2016 - Education advocates are breathing a big sigh of relief - after the federal government decided Tuesday not to withhold millions of dollars in federal funds as punishment over problems with the Common Core testing last year.

ACLU Sues Over School Bullying

May 2014 - The ACLU of Nevada is suing the Clark County School District and the Nevada Equal Rights Commission over allegations it did not do enough to help two sixth grade students who were being bullied.

New Money for Schools

November -0001 - State lawmakers approved Governor Brian Sandoval's effort to modernize Nevada's education system through a $1.6 billion tax increase. Senate Bill 483 received the two-thirds support in both the Assembly and Senate, which was necessary for passage. In his State of the State Speech earlier this year, Sandoval said Nevada needs to improve public education to compete in a growing global economy. Sandoval also pointed out that Nevada has the nation's lowest high-school graduation rate, as well as the lowest preschool attendance rate in the country. The new revenues will be generated through increases to the state's business license fee and cigarette tax, and by extending other taxes that were scheduled to sunset. Lindsay Anderson, government affairs director with the Washoe County School District, says the new money will give the state the ability to fully fund full-day kindergarten and several other programs.

New Hampshire News Connection

NH Lawmakers Turn Back "School Choice" Bill

April 2017 - New Hampshire lawmakers stood in-line with the state constitution which says that public funds cannot be used for sectarian purposes. They retained the so called "school choice" Bill (S 193) which means it can't come up again this session.

April 2011 - New Hampshire is set to receive $1.47 million to assist its lowest-achieving schools through the School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. The funds are part of $546 million available to states for the SIG program in fiscal year 2010.

New Mexico News Connection

The New Mexico State Land Office and New Mexico Game Department to Increase Funding to Public Schools.

November 2015 - The New Mexico State Game Commission approved an easement agreement in November and the additional $800,000 will benefit New Mexico's public education.

New York News Connection

NYS Free College Tuition Plan Launched

June 2017 - Excelsior Scholarship has begun accepting applications. SUNY and CUNY students whose families make up to $100,000 annually can apply for tuition-free college. When fully implemented, the Excelsior Scholarship, in combination with other aid programs, will allow 52 percent of resident full-time students to attend a SUNY or CUNY two-year or four-year college tuition-free.

NY Approves Plan to Provide Tuition-Free College to Middle Class Families

April 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Excelsior Scholarship will provide tuition-free college at New York's public colleges and universities to families making up to $125,000 a year. The program, the first of its kind in the nation, is included in the FY 2018 Budget agreement. The Budget additionally includes $8 million to provide open educational resources, including e-books, to students at SUNY and CUNY colleges to help defray the prohibitive cost of textbooks.

Task Force Recommends Changes to Teacher Certification Exams

January 2017 - A special task force has recommended several changes to the tests all teachers need to take to be certified in the state. Critics of the current tests say many of the exams, which were adopted in 2014, are "seriously flawed," and create unnecessary barriers for aspiring teachers.

Cuomo Proposes Tuition Free College in NY

January 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his proposal to make all New York City and State two and four year colleges tuition-free for all New Yorkers in families with incomes of $125K a year or less. If approved by the state legislature the plan would supplement existing federal and state tuition assistance programs and would be phased in over three years. The governor's office estimates the annual cost of the plan when fully implemented would be about $163M a year.

Parents Sue to Enforce School Funding Formula

December 2015 - New York parents went to court to try to force the state to abide by a school funding formula passed by the state legislature in 2007.

Parents Sue to Enforce School Funding Formula

November 2015 - New York parents went to court to try to force the state to abide by a school funding formula passed by the state legislature in 2007.

Gov. Proposes Education Budget Boost

January 2013 - Increases in education spending were conspicuous in Governor Cuomo's proposed 142-point-six billion dollar budget, after several years of cuts in aid to public schools.

May 2012 - Voters around New York State overwhelmingly approved their school districts' annual budgets, the first to be delivered under a new cap on property taxes for schools. Roughly 92 percent of school boards produced budgets that kept tax increases within the cap. Education reform advocates continue to press the governor and legislature to fairly distribute more funding statewide.

March 2012 - Education reform advocates won a partial victory in late March. Governor Cuomo had proposed to divert $250 million out of classrooms and into experimental competitive grants but the Legislature responded to the demand of parents and students across the state by redirecting $200 million of these funds back into our classrooms and schools. Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education thanked both houses of the Legislature on a bi-partisan basis but said, "This year's budget is inadequate in comparison to yet another round of classroom cuts that are expected in local schools as a result of the policies in Albany."

February 2012 - A deadlock was broken at the eleventh hour as New York State United Teachers and Governor Cuomo reached an agreement on a formula for using students' test scores in evaluating teachers. The dispute had threatened to hold up state and federal funds for education in New York's public schools.

December 2011 - In a year filled with layoffs and cutbacks throughout New York's public school systems, many talented teachers still managed to gain recognition for exemplary work - 165 earned the profession's highest credential, National Board Certification. It's a jump of 14.5 percent over last year.

April 2011 - The chancellor of the state's largest school system was a lightning rod from the moment New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed her late last year. Cathy Black, a former Hearst Magazines executive, had an approval rating of just 17 percent in a poll in early April. Her sudden, forced resignation brought praise from some quarters, along with shock and surprise.

Voucher Plan Defeated

November -0001 - The Parental Choice in Education Act has been defeated, which education union leaders called a “voucher system in disguise.” It would have taken more than $150 million from public schools.They say it was an effort by Cuomo to reward billionaire bakers of his re-election campaign.

Common Core Test Used to Judge Teachers Delayed

November -0001 - Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature reached a tentative deal that delays the use of state Common Core student test results to grade teachers who’ve been rated “ineffective” or “developing.” The Common Core test results would still count for teachers who were rated “effective” or “highly effective.”The moratorium is a big victory for teachers’ unions and education advocates who have fought the accountability program tied to the new Common Core standards since they were rolled out two years ago. Union leaders complained of flawed implementation.

North Carolina News Service

NC Protects Specialist Teachers For At Least One Year

May 2017 - Gov. Roy Cooper wasted no time in signing a compromise bill approved Thursday by the N.C. General Assembly that, at least for one year, staves off thousands of lost teaching positions in the early grades. House Bill 13 was approved after a roughly two-month standoff over legislative Republicans' demand that North Carolina schools cut class sizes in K-3. Lawmakers are heeding research suggesting the positive effects of smaller classes in the early grades, but district leaders complained that, without additional state funding, many local school leaders would be forced to lay off arts and physical education teachers in the early grades to find the cash for more core subject elementary teachers.

Proposed Pay Raise for NC Teachers

February 2017 - Gov. Roy Cooper's plan to raise teacher pay by 10 percent in the next two years is projected to have an almost immediate impact on the state's ability to retain teachers. as predicted by the state's largest teacher group, the North Carolina Association of Educators. In three years, the raises would bring North Carolina to the highest pay rate in the southeast.

In-State Tuition Bill Proposed for Certain Immigrants

February 2014 - A bill proposes instate tuition for undocumented students, which could make affordable education available to 25,000 students in the state.

School Voucher Program Overturned

November -0001 - A court ruled against the state’s School Voucher program that immediately ends the transfer of millions of public education dollars to fund unaccountable private schools.

Northern Rockies News Service

Governor Otter Vetoes Bible in Schools Bill

April 2016 - Gov. Butch Otter has vetoed SB 1342a, the Bible in schools bill, saying it violates the Idaho Constitution.

Governor Otter Signs Education Bills

April 2016 - Governor Otter signed multiple education bills today, including HB 630, raising pay by $3,000 a year for career-technical instructors.

Governor Proposes Boost in School Funding

January 2016 - The top of Otter's agenda was his much-anticipated recommendations for public education, telling the joint session of the Legislature that his proposed spending plan calls for a 7.9 percent increase in public school funding.

Governor Wants Tuition Lock, More Scholarships

January 2016 - Otter said he was calling on Idaho public colleges and universities to institute what he called a "tuition lock," meaning Idaho undergraduates would pay the same rate for at least four academic years following enrollment.

School Bonds Do Well at the Polls

November 2015 - In the West Ada School District, the state's largest, voters approved a two-year, $28 million supplemental levy, with 59 percent in favor and 41 percent opposed.

Luna Laws Shot Down by Voters

November 2012 - Voters shot down the "Luna Laws" - initiatives that would have taken very tough action against ID teachers.

Ohio News Connection

Governor Says He'll Move Charter School Reform Ahead

November 2015 - Governor John Kasich says he'll sign a recently-passed charter school reform law that's expected to increase transparency.

No More Funding for Tests

November 2015 - Amid public outcry over excessive testing, lawmakers have cut off state and federal funding for PARCC tests under the new state budget and charged state education officials to identify a new assessment.

Proposal to Reduce Student Testing

November -0001 - The Ohio Department of Education is proposing measures to reduce student testing. The Ohio Education Association is a welcoming the recommendation and says less mandated testing frees up time and resources, creates less pressure to ‘teach to the test,’ and allows educators to focus on what is most important - instilling a love of learning in their students.

New Help for College Tuition

November -0001 - The state budget bill signed in July includes support for college students. Colleges are required to develop a plan by October to reduce by 5 percent the student cost of earning a degree. Colleges must also provide all students with a list of fees in addition to tuition. Additionally, a $10 million program will award grants to colleges that are able to improve programs and stabilize student costs.

Oregon News Service

New Gov's Council Examines Ways to Improve Teacher, Educator Training

February 2016 - A new Governor's Council on Educator Advancement is being formed by executive order.

The "Oregon Promise" program gets a national nod

December 2015 - State Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) represented Oregon at a White House Convening of State Education Leaders on Dec. 8.

Lawmakers Acknowledge Other Pathways to Success Besides College

February 2014 - Oregon lawmakers decided in February to include Registered Apprenticeship Programs as part of the state's ambitious education goal known as the "40-40-20" Plan.

State to Study Community College: "Free" Option

January 2014 - A bill signed into law in March gives the state the go-ahead to study ways to provide free community college to Oregon high school graduates.

Tuition Increases Defrayed

October 2013 - October's brief special session of the Oregon Legislature included some money for tuition relief in the Oregon University System.

Tuition Equity Law Sets In-State Tuition for Long-Time Residents Regardless of Citizenship

March 2013 - At the end of March, the Oregon Legislature sent a Tuition Equity bill to Gov. Kitzhaber's desk. The bipartisan legislation (HB 2787) will allow longtime, high-achieving Oregon high school graduates to pay in-state tuition at Oregon colleges, regardless of their citizenship status.

March 2011 - Some education bills made major progress in the Oregon Legislature during March. They include SB 742, allowing in-state college tuition for Oregon high school graduates regardless of their immigration status; a requirement for school districts to offer full-day kindergarten (SB 248) with no tuition fees by the 2015-2016 school years; and offering an enhanced student loan forgiveness program for middle-school teachers who work in low-income schools (SB 670). We'll continue to follow their progress.

February 2011 - Legislation to set benchmarks for higher education in Oregon (SB 253) passed the state Senate with bipartisan support in February. The bill sets a goal that at least 40 percent of Oregonians have a bachelor's degree or higher; 40 percent earn associates' degrees or post-secondary credentials; and 20 percent receive a high school diploma or the equivalent, by 2025.

College in High School – Recommended

November -0001 - The Legislature’s Accelerated Learning Committee is recommending that the state provide every Oregon high school student access to at least three college-level courses – a total of nine credit-hours, transferable to Oregon community colleges and universities. It says the state could either pay high schools to teach these courses, or partner with post-secondary schools willing to teach younger students.

More Education Funding Needed

November -0001 - The Oregon Education Association launched a “Week of Action” in October, with teachers inviting parents and other community members to forums and fairs across the state. The message in advance of the next legislative session is that strong public schools and colleges build strong communities – and that Oregon needs to invest more in education.

Tuition Help on the Way

November -0001 - Gov. Kate Brown signed the “Oregon Promise” (SB 81) into law in July. It allocates $10 million for tuition payments to Oregon’s 17 community colleges for in-state residents who’ve maintained a good grade-point average and enroll in college within six months of high-school graduation. It’s expected to serve 4,000 to 6,000 students in its first year (2016-17).

Tennessee News Service

Size of Tennessee College Freshman Class is on the Rise

December 2015 - The size of Tennessee's freshman class increased by 10-percent this year, thanks largely in part to the state's new Tennessee Promise program.

Tennessee: Fasted-improving State for Primary Education

October 2015 - Tennessee elementary schools are making significant progress when it comes to education improvement.

Teacher Licensing Changes

April 2014 - Gov. Haslam signed the Tennessee Education Associations's licensure bill in April.

December 2010 - Nashville was one of nine cities nationwide recently recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a model city for forging a partnership between its school district, community and charter schools. Other cities that signed charter compacts under the foundation's project include Baltimore, New Orleans, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Hartford, Conn., New York and Rochester, N.Y. The goal is to ensure all students get a good education no matter which public school — traditional or charter — they choose.

NCLB Waivers Approved

November -0001 - This month the state received approval of its waiver request of certain provisions of No Child Left Behind. It will allow the state to continue its efforts to implement a state-specific accountability system and avoid the rigid accountability system. Education advocates say it will allow the state to continue closing achievement gaps, improve schools and increase workforce readiness. Because the state has already seen some improvements with its programs, the US Department of Education granted the request of four more years for the waiver. Six other states received a waiver, but not for as long of period.

Teacher Pay Boosted

November -0001 - Tennessee was able to provide 100 million dollars in new spending for teacher pay. The amount represents four-percent more than the state spent on teacher salaries last year. It will be up to each local school district to determine how that money is distributed. In additional, teachers will receive an 11th month of insurance premium coverage. Currently they only receive 10 months of insurance a year.

Texas News Service

Judge Rules Texas School Financing is Unconstitutional

February 2013 - A District Court Judge has ruled that the Texas public school finance system violates the state constitution because low-wealth districts lack control over tax rates. MALDEF had filed the case.

November 2012 - Virginia will be one of three states included in a first-ever renewable energy lease sale on the outer continental shelf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that the proposed offshore lease in Virginia totals about twenty- three nautical miles, and is expected to support more than two-thousand MW of wind generation and enough electricity to power 7-thousand homes.

February 2012 - A group of Texas parents filed the state's fifth pending school-finance lawsuit in February, as lawmakers announced the creation of a special out-of-session committee to study the entire school finance system. While other suits focus on the adequacy and fairness of education funding in Texas, the parent-led suit (which includes charter and alternative schools) focuses mainly on the efficiency of the system. Sparked by the Legislature's decision last year to cut education aid by more than five billion dollars, about 500 school districts had joined the initial lawsuits - with additional districts joining the suits each month. Some of the suits are likely to be combined by a state district court later this year.

January 2012 - Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott signaled a possible change in the state's standardized testing strategy when he told a gathering of school administrators that the testing system needed to be "reeled back in." After last year's sweeping state cuts to education aid, surveys of educators and superintendents revealed significant apprehension about new, more rigorous, testing standards going into effect this year - just as resources for teachers and struggling students have been slashed. Scott predicted a "backlash" during the next Legislature against the testing system, and expressed hope that lawmakers will mitigate some of the new pressures educators are currently feeling.

May 2011 - House Bill 400, the so-called "school mandate relief bill" - which would have allowed school districts greater leeway in cutting teacher pay, enacting furloughs, and increasing class sizes - was successfully blocked by Democrats using procedural maneuvers. Teacher advocates said the measure was an attempt to use a budget crisis as an excuse to permanently remove essential protections.

April 2011 - The Senate Subcommittee on Education Funding voted to lessen the severity of education budget cuts. The initial draft Senate budget had called for $10 billion in cuts, but the subcommittee lowered that to $4 billion. Chairwoman Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) also took a stand in opposition to Gov. Rick Perry's insistence that the state budget shortfall not be addressed with the help of the rainy-day fund.

Texas Education Funding Will Have to be Overhauled

November -0001 - A district court judge has declared the Texas school finance system to be unconstitutional on the grounds that it is inadequate and inefficient. Read the ruling here. The Center for Public Policy Priorities says the decision confirms that "overcrowded classes, outdated materials, and insufficient counselors are barriers to educational success."

Virginia News Connection

October 2012 - Educators in Virginia have a lot to be proud of this month - according to the Virginia Department of Education; the statewide dropout rate fell to 6.5-percent compared to 7.2 percent last year. During the last five years, the dropout rate has fallen by more than 25-percent and graduation rates have risen for African American and Hispanic students.

Washington News Service

Washington State Budget Hailed as Success for Students

July 2017 - Washington state lawmakers agreed to a budget that meets the state's constitutional obligation to fund schools under the McCleary decision. Spending on K-12 public schools will be increased by $1.8 billion in the next two years.

Dual-language Classes to Expand in Five WA School Districts

November 2015 - Five Washington school districts have received two-year grants to help boost the academic performance of their English-language learners by offering more dual-language programs in English and Spanish.

September 2012 - Once again, Washington high school students have aced their Scholastic Achievement Test (SATs). The state's combined average score (of 1545 points) was the highest in the nation, tied with Vermont. The math score (528) was also the country's highest. And many more non-white students took the SATs. Participation is up almost 16 percent among Native American students, and almost 15 percent among Latino students.

February 2011 - Community college students are championing a legislation (HB 1568) that would allow students to serve as members of their schools' Boards of Trustees, something that is allowed at four-year universities but not at community colleges in Washington. The bill would give trustee boards the option of including a student member. Labor groups and the League of Education Voters are backing it; some community college presidents and trustees oppose it.

December 2010 - Washington has one of the highest numbers of National Board Certified teachers in the country, ranking fourth overall, and the second-highest number of newly certified teachers (1,272). Certification is an advanced teaching credential attained through a rigorous assessment program that teachers sign up for on their own time.

New High School Grad Requirements Explained

November -0001 - The State Board of Education held the first public meetings in Olympia and Spokane about a new 24-credit “Career and College-Ready Diploma” to better align high school graduation requirements with college entrance requirements. The Legislature endorsed the idea this year after research indicated only four in ten graduating seniors meet basic college admission requirements, but a lot of work remains to finalize and implement it.

Grants Will Boost STEM Education

November -0001 - Washington is getting a $170,000 grant to boost instruction in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. The money from the National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices, will also be used to launch a STEM Education Innovation Alliance between the state, educators and employers.

Recognitions for Programs to Keep Students in College

November -0001 - Six community and technical colleges in Washington received national recognition in September for their work to help students stay in school and earn degrees or certificates despite financial hardships and other major life challenges. They are Everett Community College, Highline College (in Des Moines), Lower Columbia College (in Longview), Pierce College (in Pierce County), Renton Technical College and Tacoma Community College.

Wisconsin News Connection

Project 13 Takes Aim on Tax Cuts that Hurt Education

May 2014 - A movement begun in Eau Claire called "Project 13" is gaining traction in many other communities in the state.

School Voucher-Supported Private Schools Miss the Mark

April 2014 - Data released by the state Department of Public Instruction shows students at private schools receiving taxpayer-funded vouchers actually do worse on state reading and math tests than students at Wisconsin's public schools.

Bill Would Require Private School Testing Accountability

September 2013 - State Senator Luther Olsen of Ripon introduced a bill to require private schools receiving state voucher money to also administer and report the results of achievement tests.

Exams Not to be Used Against Teachers

November -0001 - Governor Walker signed a bill that will ensure scores on the statewide “Badger Exam” given to public school students will not be used against teachers, or put on the report cards that are issued to public schools purportedly measuring their “performance.” The Badger Exam is now acknowledged to be full of problems, and has been the source of complaints and criticism from parents, school administrators, teachers, and state policymakers.

Walker Backs Off Budget Move to Change UW Mission

November -0001 - A day after delivering his biennial budget message, reporters uncovered an item put in the budget by Governor Scott Walker which would have changed the fundamental mission of the University of Wisconsin, the so-called “Wisconsin Idea”, which has driven the University to become a world-class research institution. Walker wanted to cut the language that says the boundaries of the UW are the boundaries of the state, even eliminating “search for the truth” from the mission statement. He inserted language saying the UW should adapt itself to the needs of the workforce. The public push-back was so fast and so intense that the next day Walker backed off, calling it a “drafting error”; when reporters discovered it was not a drafting error and uncovered e-mails showing it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the Walker administration to change the mission of the University, Walker shifted the blame to a functionary in the State Department of Administration.

Wyoming News Service

Bill to Replace No Child Left Behind Passes U.S. Senate

December 2015 - The U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan education reform bill today to replace No Child Left Behind and return much of the control over policy to the states.


E n d a n g e r e d

S p e c i e s

&

W i l d l i f e

Endangered Species & Wildlife

All News Services

Two Big Retailers Phasing Out Neonicotinoids

May 2017 - Walmart and True Value decided to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides. True Value will phase them out by Spring of 2018, Walmart says the bee killing pesticides aren't being sold in at least 80 percent of it's plants.

Fed Judge Moves Coastal Marten Closer to Endangered Species Status

March 2017 - In response to a lawsuit brought on by the Center of Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center, a federal judge overturned an April 2014 decision by the U.S Fish and Wildlife service denying endangered species protection to coastal marten. It now must reconsider granting that protection. Coastal martens were believed extinct until 1996 because of historic fur trapping and loss of their old-growth forest habitats, but are now known to occur in three small, isolated populations in California and Oregon. The groups were represented by the public-interest law firm EarthJustice.

Retailers Selling More "Bee Friendly" Plants

August 2016 - New tests have found a drop in the number of garden plants pre-treated with pesticides that can hurt bees, and the groups that released them say people are more likely to shop at stores that carry "bee-friendly" products.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Confirms Critical Habitat for Marbled Murrelet

August 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reaffirmed that nearly 3.7 million acres of forest from Washington to California is critical habitat for the Marbled Murrelet. The service reviewed the acreage after a change in the definition of critical habitat. Marled Murrelet need continuous old growth forest in order to nest.

Service Distributes Nearly $50 Million to Support State Wildlife Conservation Projects

April 2016 - Species across the nation will benefit from almost $50 million in funding allocated to state wildlife agencies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program.

Lifeline for Endangered Right Whale

January 2016 - The National Marine Fisheries Service provided a lifeline to the critically endangered right whale.

Spending Bill Leaves Sage Grouse Protections Intact

December 2015 - Conservation groups are celebrating a recent victory in the movement to protect the greater sage grouse, a small bird the size of a chicken - and then planning additional efforts in 2016.

CA Home Depot to phase out bee-killing pesticides

December 2015 - Home Depot has announced that it has removed neonicotinoid pesticides, a leading driver of global bee declines, from 80 percent of its flowering plants and that it will complete its phase-out in plants by 2018.

Navy Rethinks Training That Endangers Whales, Dolphins

November 2015 - The Navy is taking steps to protect whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine mammals from harmful sonar and may soon modify their training exercises accordingly, thanks to a lawsuit from conservationists.

SeaWorld Changes Orca Show

November 2015 - SeaWorld announces they will end the theatrical orca shows and put them on display in a more natural setting.

Arizona News Connection

Judge Requires Feds To Study How to Protect Ocelots

June 2017 - In a victory for conservation groups, a federal judge in Tucson has approved a settlement that forces federal agencies to figure out how to avoid accidentally killing endangered ocelots. Wildlife Services, a program within the U-S Department of Agriculture, regularly lays metal traps that snap shut on an animal's leg to deter predators that feed on farm animals.

Conservation Advocates Sue Over Trump Border Wall

April 2017 - The Center for Biological Diversity and Congressman Raul Grijalva sued the Trump administration over its proposed border wall and other border security measures, calling on federal agencies to conduct an in-depth investigation of the proposal's environmental impacts. The lawsuit seeks to require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to prepare a supplemental "programmatic environmental impact statement" for the U.S.-Mexico border enforcement program. The program includes Trump's proposed wall as well as road construction, off-road vehicle patrols, installation of high-intensity lighting, construction of base camps and checkpoints, and other activities. These actions significantly impact the borderlands environment stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, which is home to millions of people, endangered species like jaguars and Mexican gray wolves, and protected federal lands like Big Bend National Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Elusive Jaguar Spotted in Arizona

March 2017 - A jaguar caught on a wildlife camera in the Dos Cabezas mountains may bring new hope for the species. It's the third big cat caught on camera prowling the state since 2012 but researchers don't know if it is female, and could be part of a breeding pair. If so that would be a first in many years.

Feds Move to Protect Ocelot in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico

August 2016 - Federal officials have released a plan for restoring and protecting populations of the endangered ocelot that lives in portions of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says loss of habitat and over-hunting have caused the number of ocelots in the United States to fall to critical levels.

Court Rules For AZ Conservation Groups in Lead Ammo Case

January 2016 - A federal appeals court rules that the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Wildlands Council can move forward with a lawsuit to ban hunters' use of lead ammunition in Arizona's Kaibab National Forest.

Butterfly to be Considered for Endangered Species Status

January 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has selected three rare insects, including the Great Basin silverspot butterfly from New Mexico, to be evaluated for possible protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Habitat Designated for Jaguars

March 2014 - Nearly 1,200 square miles of southern Arizona and New Mexico have been designated as protected habitat for jaguars.

Mexican Gray Wolf Population Rises

January 2014 - The latest count of Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico shows an increase from 75 to 83 over the past year.

Mexican Gray Wolf Numbers Rise

February 2013 - The number of endangered Mexican gray wolves in the Southwest grew from 58 to 75 in the past year, to their highest population ever since the recovery program began in 1998.

Big Sky Connection

Petition Drive Launched to Stop Wolf Killings in Montana Near Yellowstone

January 2016 - The Endangered Species Coalition launched an online petition to encourage Montana and Idaho wildlife officials to stop the killing of gray wolves.

Northern Rockies Fisher One Step Closer to Endangered Species Protection

January 2016 - The Northern Rockies Fisher, a cat-sized carnivorous weasel related to wolverines and otters found only in the border area of Idaho and Northern Montana, is one step closer to protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

California News Service

Sardine Fishery Closed For Third Year to Protect Population

April 2017 - Today, federal fishery managers voted to keep the U.S. West Coast Pacific sardine fishery closed for the upcoming commercial season. With an estimated 86,586 metric tons (mt) of sardine remaining, and 150,000 mt necessary for fishing to occur, this will be the third year in a row there are not enough sardines to support a fishery. Had the decision gone the other way, the fishery would likely collapse to near extinction and greatly impact animals like sea lions that feed on sardines.

Davis Co-Op Wins Award For Protecting Raptors

July 2016 - The advocacy group Raptors Are The Solution gave an award to the Davis co-op for switching from rat poison to traps in order to protect owls, hawks, and other wildlife. It was presented at the co-op in downtown Davis, where they also received an award State Senator Lois Wolk's office.

Sea World Ends Killer Whale Breeding

March 2016 - SeaWorld will end killer whale breeding, the company announced, after years of controversy over keeping its orcas in captivity.

Bill Introduced in CA Senate to Protect Bees from Toxic Pesticides

March 2016 - A new bill aims to slow the collapse of bee colonies by making certain pesticides available only to trained professionals.

Lead Ammo Banned

September 2013 - The state Legislature has passed a bill that would ban the use of lead ammunition for hunting.

Gray Wolf Gets Protections

December 2010 - The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released a draft plan Wednesday to protect the gray wolf, which recently established the first pack in California in decades.

Illinois News Connection

Conservationists Celebrate Success of Eagles in Illinois

March 2016 - As the bald eagle population continues to grow in Illinois, The Nature Conservancy hosted an Eagle Day to celebrate effective conservation efforts.

Illinois Welcomes Endangered Wildlife

April 2014 - Illinois is taking steps towards welcoming back wolves, black bears and mountain lions to the state.

Maine News Service

New Mapping Project to Plan for Climate Change

December 2012 - Scientists and land management experts in Maine are at work on identifying open spaces where the state's animals and plants can shift to as the globe continues its warming.

Maryland News Connection

Saving the Bees in Maryland

January 2016 - Legislation to stop bees in Maryland from dying off has been proposed.

Maryland a Leader in Wildlife Conservation

January 2016 - The wildlife action plan for the state is available to the public this month and the National Wildlife Federation and Audobon Maryland say the Department of Natural Resources has done a great job putting it together.

Maryland Proposes Adding 108 Species to State Protected List

December 2015 - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources related a draft of its 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan, recommending a 22 percent increase in the number of species considered in need of protection.

Michigan News Connection

A Boost for Michigan Bees and Butterflies

June 2016 - Michigan and Wisconsin are partnering to help save troubled bee and butterfly species. The states have been awarded $500,000 in a federal grant to restore habitats for the pollinators in the states.

New Hampshire News Connection

NH Drought Spells Good News for Moose

April 2017 - While the recent drought caused trouble for many - that's not the case for the moose population. The National Wildlife Federation says a large number blood-sucking ticks, which attack moose, died because they were deprived of moisture.

New Mexico News Connection

Three Endangered Species in NM Have Recovered, are Thriving

January 2017 - Three endangered species native to New Mexico, a bat and two plants, have significantly recovered, a development that conservation groups credit to the protections of the Endangered Species Act. U-S Fish and Wildlife officials are proposing to take the lesser long-nosed bat, which ranges across southern New Mexico and the southern border, off the endangered species list.The agency also wants to de-list a plant known as gypsum wild buckwheat, and to change the status of the Kuenzler hedgehog cactus from 'endangered' to 'threatened.'

Critical Habitat Designation for Endangered Jaguars

March 2014 - Thousands of acres in Southern New Mexico and Arizona now has critical habitat status to protect the endangered jaguar.

North Carolina News Service

Judge Sides with Conservationists on Efforts to Protect Red Wolves

October 2016 - U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle has temporarily restricted the federal government's ability to remove red wolves from private property in North Carolina in a ruling issued Thursday that conservationists are cheering.

Northern Rockies News Service

Judge Orders Increased Spill on Snake River Dams to Help Salmon

March 2017 - A federal judge has ordered dam operators to increase water releases over dam spillways on the Snake River in order to help endangered salmon. Survival rates for salmon have been down for many years on the Snake and Columbia rivers.

Conservation Groups Sue Federal Government over Idaho Wolf Killings

June 2016 - Five conservation groups filed suit in U.S. District Court in Boise on Wednesday to stop federal wildlife agents from killing wolves in Idaho until they complete an environmental impact statement.

Judge Protects Idaho Wild Bighorn Sheep, Restricts Domestic Grazing

March 2016 - Conservation groups are cheering a recent court decision that limits domestic sheep grazing in order to protect wild bighorn sheep in Idaho.

Oregon News Service

Marbled Murrelet Moves Closer to Endangered Species Status

September 2016 - Oregon Fish and Wildlife will consider whether to move the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered status. There are only about 1,100 murrelets left in Oregon.

No Wolves Killed in 2013

February 2014 - For the second year in a row, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reports no wolves were killed by the state in 2013.

Pesticides Restricted After Bee Kills

November 2013 - The Oregon Department of Agriculture has placed restrictions on two types of pesticides implicated in mass bee die-offs in Wilsonville and Hillsboro.

Sage-grouse Plan Signed

May 2013 - The Oregon Cattleman's Assn., Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service signed a new agreement that makes sage-grouse conservation a priority in livestock grazing on public lands.

Utah News Connection

Sage Grouse Protections Polished Up

April 2013 - The state has put the finishing touches on its plan to protect sage grouse in Utah. It's the result of a yearlong working group that received substantial public input.

Washington News Service

Judge Orders Dam Operators to Increase Spill on Snake Rivers to Help Salmon Populations

March 2017 - A federal judge has ordered dam operators to increase water releases over dam spillways on the Snake River in order to help endangered salmon. Survival rates for salmon have been down for many years on the Snake and Columbia rivers.

A Christmas Win for Wolves in Washington

December 2015 - Just before Christmas, a federal court rejected plans to kill more wolves in the state of Washington.

Steelhead Gene Banks Established

March 2014 - The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has designated three tributaries of the lower Columbia River as "wild steelhead gene banks."

Court: Science Ignored in Navy Training

September 2013 - A U.S. District Court judge has decided the National Marine Fisheries Service did not take the most current science into account when it issued five-year permits for Navy training exercises off the Pacific coast.


E n e r g y

P o l i c y

Energy Policy

All News Services

Court Rejects Delay of EPA's Methane Pollution Rule

July 2017 - The Trump administration cannot delay an Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting methane pollution from oil and natural gas drilling, a federal court ruled. The decision means the EPA must immediately start enforcing the rule.

Boom for Electric Vehicles

April 2017 - Tesla says it will nearly double its global network of Superchargers this year from 5,400 to 10,000, including 1,000 new charging units in California

Conservation and Public Health Groups to Defend BLM Methane Rules in Court

December 2016 - More than a dozen conservation and public-health groups are making plans to defend the Bureau of Land Management's new methane waste rules in court, which are being challenged by two oil and gas industry groups and the states of North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The groups recently petitioned a federal judge seeking to join the case on behalf of the B-L-M.

Feds Ramp Up Solar, Wind Energy on Public Lands

November 2016 - The Bureau of Land Management has finalized rules that encourage increased solar- and wind-energy production on public lands. The policies create a competitive process similar to how oil and gas leases are granted. The new rules also offer financial incentives to steer production away from key environmental, cultural and recreational resources.

B-L-M Pushes Renewable Energy on Public Lands

November 2016 - The Bureau of Land Management has finalized rules that encourage increased solar and wind energy production on public lands. The policies create a competitive process similar to how oil and gas leases are granted.

New Federal Initiative Aims to Help More Homeowners Afford Solar

July 2016 - The Obama Administration announced Tuesday plans to make solar an option for all homeowners by extending more zero-down loans.

Pause in Coal Program on Federal Land

January 2016 - The Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recently announced a pause in coal leases on federal land and a review of the coal leasing program.

Obama Administration Rejects Keystone Pipeline

November 2015 - Progressive organizations say the project was designed to accommodate foreign and oil priorities at the expense of American consumers and the environment.

February 2015 - In his first presidential rejection of major legislation, President Barack Obama vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Solar Panels Finally on Top of the White House

May 2014 - The White House is finally on the solar grid in response to prodding by environmentalists.

The Wind Production Tax Credit is Extended One Year

January 2013 - Congress passed legislation that will extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for wind energy for one year.

Fuel Economy Reaches All-Time High

November -0001 - New vehicles achieved an all-time-high fuel economy in 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency announced in October, 2014. Model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 miles per gallon (mpg) -- a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Fuel economy has now increased in eight of the last nine years. The average carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 369 grams per mile in model year 2013.

Arizona News Connection

Coal-Fired Power Plant to be Shuttered for Pollution Reasons

July 2013 - Operators of the West's largest coal-fired power plant are proposing to close one of its three 750-megawatt generators by 2020. The proposal is in response to an expected EPA mandate to cut emissions at the plant and clear haze over Grand Canyon and other national parks.

Two New Solar-Power Plants Planned

July 2012 - The Interior Department has designated two Arizona sites for solar-power plants to be quickly permitted and built.

Lawsuit Challenging Arizona's Clean Elections System Thrown Out

March 2012 - A judge has thrown out the latest lawsuit challenging Arizona's Clean Elections system of public campaign finance.

Pheonix Sky Harbor Airport Implements Solar Panels

February 2012 - A massive solar panel project just completed at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport will provide up to 51-percent of the energy for two parking garages and the rental car center.

Salt River Project Purchasing From Local Wind Power Source

July 2011 - Salt River Project has agreed to purchase power from a Navajo Nation wind generation project planned west of Flagstaff.

Commercial Charging Station Open in Tempe

June 2011 - The first commercial charging station for electric vehicles is open for business in downtown Tempe.

Support for Solar Power Usage Increasing

June 2011 - Surveys by Arizona's two largest utilities have found widespread support for increasing the use of solar power.

Salt River Project Increases Goal for Renewable Energy Use

May 2011 - Arizona's second-largest utility, Salt River Project, has increased its goal for energy production from renewable sources and conservation to 20-percent by the year 2020.

Free Training and Certification in Renewable-Energy Industry

March 2011 - Another federal grant is providing free training and certification for 500 Arizonans to help them find jobs in the renewable-energy industry.

New Solar Generating Station Announced

February 2011 - The state's job outlook improved in February, with a new solar generating station announced for Gila Bend, and a solar equipment plant for Surprise.

Solar Panels to Cover 70% of Buckeye School District Energy Needs

January 2011 - Buckeye schools will soon have solar panels on every one of its six campuses and district office without having to spend any money.

AZ Tops for Renewables in Schools

November -0001 - Arizona ranks third in the nation in terms of solar energy being used in public schools. That's the finding of a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association titled "Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools." Steven Church is the energy education coordinator with Tempe School District Number 3. He says using solar as an energy source is a valuable teaching tool for students, and saves some money. The report concludes that 226 public schools in Arizona have some type of solar unit. The research also shows that solar savings in the Grand Canyon State amount to more than nine-million dollars per year.

Big Sky Connection

Missoula to Pull City's Money from Wells Fargo Over Dakota Access Pipeline

April 2017 - The city of Missoula is pulling its money from Wells Fargo over the banking institution's investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The resolution passed 12-0. In the past, Missoula has passed a resolution in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Wind and Solar Advocates Praise Governor's New Energy Plan

June 2016 - Governor Steve Bullock's new energy plan calls for a doubling of solar power by 20-25, and for the creation of a state energy infrastructure authority to facilitate more renewables. It also directs state agencies to look at putting solar on their own buildings and begin scouting public property suitable for solar arrays.

Montana Clean Air Advocates Laud Court Decision on Clean Power Plan

January 2016 - Clean air advocates are hailing a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. to leave President Obama's Clean Power Plan in place while the suit against it goes forward.

September 2012 - There's strong support in 11 western states for developing renewable energy on public lands - and ensuring at least some of the rents or royalties from developers are used locally for conservation and recreation purposes. That's according to a new bipartisan poll (commissioned by The Wilderness Society).

Montana's Renewable Energy Standard Leads by Example

December 2010 - Montana's renewable energy standard is an example of how states are taking a leadership role to keep the U.S. competitive in an expanding global market.

California News Service

LADWP Puts Hold on Gas Plants

June 2017 - The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), the largest publicly owned utility in the country, announced that it will pause a $2.2 billion investment in gas plants until it can do a clean energy analysis. This is a clear signal that the DWP sees clean energy and energy efficiency as a strong competitor to gas. This hold comes after a year of the community advocating at the utility for greater investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.

CA Joins Lawsuit to Defend Energy Efficiency Regs

April 2017 - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, with the California Energy Commission and six Attorneys General, filed a motion late yesterday to intervene in a lawsuit in order to defend energy saving light bulb regulations. In March, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) challenging energy efficiency regulations for lamps (light bulbs). California defends these laws to safeguard their massive energy savings.

Oil Company Abandons Last Offshore Rig in CA Waters

April 2017 - Local environmentalists and community members are celebrating the announcement that Venoco has quitclaimed its oil and gas leases offshore near Santa Barbara. The leases include those supporting operations from Platform Holly and the Ellwood Pier. Holly is the last offshore rig in CA waters. The California State Lands Commission will take over the process of plugging the wells and decommissioning the structures. The Ellwood Onshore Facility (EOF), which processes oil and gas from Platform Holly, will also likely be decommissioned. The environmental community has been united against Venoco's controversial projects for decades. At various times, the oil company has used Platform Holly for Acid Well Stimulation (acidizing) and in recent years has sought authorization to expand drilling from Holly using slant drilling techniques, reaching more than four miles into a Coastal Sanctuary.

Local Board Blocks Oil Train Proposal

March 2017 - The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors today voted to reject Phillips 66's proposed oil train offloading terminal. The project was denied with a 3-1 vote, with one supervisor recusing himself in a conflict of interest. Phillips 66 had appealed the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission decision to reject their controversial oil train project last October, which came after a nearly three-year review process. More than 25,000 Californians have opposed the project in comments and petitions, and more than 45 cities, counties, and school boards have sent letters urging the County to deny the crude-by-rail proposal. The Board of Supervisors' denial was the second community victory in less than a week, after a Superior Court judge ruled that Phillips? legal challenge to the earlier Planning Commission decision was premature.

Calif. Tops Nation for Energy-Efficiency Jobs

January 2017 - California is number one in a dynamic industry that has created almost 1.9 million jobs nationwide, according to a new report. The report, by the group Environmental Entrepreneurs, indicates that policies in California, like targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, are paying off.

Governor Signs Bill Promoting Green Energy

October 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1110 (Phil Ting, D-San Francisco) which sets a new standard for consumer protection in the green energy market, one that all retail suppliers will have to include in their marketing and advertising materials.

Governor Signs Bill to Rein in CPUC

September 2016 - Governor Brown signed a bill, SB 215, that limits meetings between utilities and regulators, establishes new disclosure requirements for contacts between Commissioners and self-interested Wall Street and industry representatives, and increases penalties for violations.

California Releases Proposed New Rule to Curb Leaks at Oil and Natural Gas Facilities

May 2016 - Oil and gas facilities, including storage wells like the one that created a disaster this winter at Aliso Canyon, will have to undergo rigorous new inspections, if a groundbreaking proposal released by the California Air Resources Board goes into effect.

Environmental Groups Praise Criminal Indictments on Santa Barbara Oil Spill

May 2016 - Environmental groups are applauding the criminal indictment of the company responsible for the massive oil spill last may in Refugio, about an hour north of Santa Barbara.

California Offshore Oil Fracking Permits Halted While Federal Government Performs Environmental Review

January 2016 - The U.S. federal government will stop approving offshore oil fracking operations off California's coast while it studies how damaging the practice is to the health of wildlife and the environment.

The California Public Utilities Commission Decided to Keep Net Metering

January 2016 - In a big win for rooftop solar in California, the state Public Utilities Commission rejected big fee increases and cuts to reimbursement rates on changes sought by the big three utility companies.

Water Rules Drafted in Response to Drought

November -0001 - The State Water Resources Control Board put out a framework on how the mandatory water cuts can be achieved. Also the California Energy Commission approved new standards for water appliances.

Colorado News Connection

Boulder City Council Approves 100 Percent Clean Electricity by 2030

December 2016 - The Boulder City Council approved a measure to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity by 2030. The Council considered the move as a major step toward reaching the city's longer-term goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

Feds Cancel Thompson Divide Oil and Gas Leases

November 2016 - U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze joined Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper yesterday in Denver to announce the final resolution of disputed oil and gas leases, cancelling leases in the Thompson Divide area of the White River National Forest.

November 2012 - The Colorado town of Longmont banned the practice of fracking for natural gas. This should set up quite a firestorm pitting the town's interests agains the state with a heavy influence from the energy industry constant through the process.

February 2012 - Colorado Rep. Jared Polis eliminated a measure from the House highway bill that would mandate commercial leasing of public lands for the unproven technology of oil shale development.

February 2012 - Senator Michael Bennet introduced an amendment (along with Kansas Senator Jerry Moran) to extend the wind energy production tax credit. Wind energy industries provide 6,000 jobs in Colorado.

November 2011 - Senator Mark Udall introduced legislation allowing clean energy development on federal lands, such as wind or solar energy. It's called the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act.

June 2011 - The new DOD funding bill increases goals for renewable energy on military bases. Colorado Senator Mark Udall's plans would wean the military off of billions of gallons of fossil fuels, creating huge annual savings. CNC reported on the "greening" of Colorado bases earlier this year.

January 2011 - A lawsuit was filed January 19th by a coalition of groups, including Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, challenging the Sunflower Coal Plant expansion in Kansas. It's an issue long on the radar of environmental groups sounding the alarm about pollution and questioning whether the plant is needed to meet energy demands.

December 2010 - A good sign in Colorado's push to wean the state from coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuels. Gov. Hickenlooper named wind-energy executive TJ Deora as director of the Governor's Energy Office. The idea is to facilitate the state's "new energy economy."

Commonwealth News Service

Solar Progress in Bay State

February 2017 - The town of Montague approved plans for a 23-acre solar power farm. The plan calls for 18,000 solar panels to be built on land already owned by electric utility Eversource.

Massachusetts Tops in Energy Efficiency Scorecard

October 2015 - It is now five years in a row the Commonwealth rated top honors in the "Energy Efficiency Scorecard" for 2015 awarded by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Funding Comes Through for Offshore Wind Projects

December 2012 - Massachusetts' offshore wind industry got a couple of big boosts, as the Obama administration announced funding for seven projects and environmentalists reached an agreement to protect an endangered species of whales.

September 2012 - Supporters of alternative energy - and job creation - got a boost from a new report in which some of the country's most influential environmental groups said it's time for a concerted effort at building and operating wind energy turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of 14 coastal states.

April 2011 - The sometimes controversial Cape Wind Project got the green light from the federal authorities, and construction could begin as early as this fall for the countries first offshore wind farm.

Connecticut News Service

Amendment to Overturn CT Pipeline Tax Introduced

June 2017 - A bill has been introduced in the Connecticut state Senate to end the Pipeline Tax passed in 2015 that would impose a surcharge on Connecticut electricity ratepayers to fund interstate gas pipelines to be built across Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Should these pipeline proposals move forward, Connecticut ratepayers would be the only ones at the ratepayer level who would be subsidizing them. A recent study estimated that the proposed Access Northeast Pipeline would cost $6.6B.

September 2012 - Supporters of alternative energy - and job creation - got a boost from a new report in which some of the country's most influential environmental groups said it's time for a concerted effort at building and operating wind energy turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of 14 coastal states.

Connecticut at Forefront of Green Chemistry and Clean Technology Development

April 2011 - A bill passed in the session ending May 5 creating a Chemical Innovations Institute at UConn Health Center (House Bill 5126) puts Connecticut at the forefront of green chemistry and clean technology development.

CT Ranks High in Energy Efficiency

November -0001 - Connecticut ranks near the top in an annual ranking of state car-related energy efficiency, but is lagging behind in home-related energy efficiency. The report from Wallethub, a financial advice, research and social networking website said when it comes to energy efficiency behind the wheel Connecticut just misses the top ten, ranking number 12 nationwide. The state came in lower at number 23 for home-related energy efficiency. Overall the state ranked number 12.

Florida News Connection

Legislature Approves Amendment 4

May 2017 - The Florida Legislature has officially approved a bill to implement the pro-solar Amendment 4, which voters overwhelmingly passed with 73% of the vote on the August 2016 primary ballot. The bill, S.B.90, is slated to reduce tax barriers for Floridians who want to go solar while also ensuring proper consumer protections are in place.

Florida Voters Reject Amendment 1

November 2016 - Voters overwhelmingly said no to the utility-backed Amendment 1, which would have penalized solar customers with fees and set back the effort to expand the solar market in the state.

New Biofuel Plant Will Recycle Brush

December 2012 - One of the country's first cellulosic biofuel plants is set to open in Florida in the coming months.

Federal Trade Commission Investigates Links Between Sugar Industry and Off-shore Ethanol Imports

October 2011 - FNC ran a two-part series detailing links between sugar industry interests and off-shore duty free import of sugar based ethanol--- under-cutting US produced corn based ethanol.

Illinois News Connection

Agreement Expected to Jump-start State's Clean Energy Industry

September 2013 - Illinois' largest power generator, Exelon Corp., and environmental groups have reached an agreement in principle on legislation to jump-start the state's stalled clean-energy industry.

April 2011 - To help support people using more "green" forms of transportation, Governor Quinn announced that the state will start tracking "dooring" accidents between cars and bicycle riders. The idea is to look for ways to making biking safer.

February 2011 - Governor Pat Quinn and Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the advancement of electric vehicle and renewable energy technologies in Illinois. As part of the agreement, Illinois will receive a limited number of Mitsubishi Motors "i" battery electric vehicles (i MiEV) on a temporary basis to evaluate the new electric vehicle (EV) technology on the state's fleet. Saves 1200 jobs at Mitsubishi plant in Normal, IL.

February 2011 - The state will invest $1 million of Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to install state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure throughout the Chicagoland area. This project is expected to be the largest concentration of DC quick-charge stations in the world.

December 2010 - Developers in December agreed to build two new wind farms in Illinois. These new projects will create hundreds of jobs in construction and maintenance during the next 18 months, as well as provide valuable new landowner payments and property taxes to their host communities for years to come.

Poll Shows Support for Renewables

November -0001 - A new poll conducted by Natural Resources Defense Council found that Illinoisans are committed to renewable energy and energy efficiency. According to the survey, 70 percent of those surveyed "strongly" support energy efficiency, 64 percent strongly support increased solar energy, 59 percent strongly support more wind power, 49 percent strongly support more natural gas, and 42 percent strongly support the use of more hydropower.

Bill Would Expand Renewable Energy

November -0001 - Legislation introduced in the Illinois General Assembly will expand support for renewable energy in Illinois. Supporters say HB 3328 and SB 1879 will ensure that energy consumers and the state economy will continue to benefit from affordable power, as well as a more secure and resilient grid. The legislation package features a proposal to construct microgrids, which are small power grids that can connect to the main grid or operate independently, reinforcing reliability and resiliency during extreme weather or other events. It is expected to create at least 400 full-time equivalent jobs in Illinois.

Indiana News Service

Nipsco to Shutter at Least One Coal-fired Power Plant

August 2016 - An Indiana utility, Nipsco, plans to significantly reduce its coal-fired generation, retiring a plant by 2018 and most of another one in 2023.

Coal Gasification Plant Financing Questioned

January 2013 - Two Republican lawmakers have filed bills to reexamine the terms of a proposed $3-billion Rockpor coal gasification plant.

Solar Capacity Grows

November -0001 - Indiana ranked 14th in the nation in installed solar capacity last year, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review. In 2014, Indiana added 59 MW of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 112 MW. That’s enough energy to power more than 12,000 homes. There are 65 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Indiana, employing nearly 1,500 people.

Kentucky News Connection

Solar Farm Makes Progress

July 2013 - A renewable-energy collaborative involving three environmental groups (including Sierra Club and KFTC) made progress on hammering out deals with the East Kentucky Power Cooperative, an electric supplier to more than a half million customers in the state.

August 2011 - A coalition of 24 governors from both major parties and each region of the country, including Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, asked the Obama administration to take a series of steps to encourage and facilitate the development of wind energy. Among other things, the letter calls for an extension of tax credits for the wind industry, currently slated to expire next year, and the establishment of an inter-state task force on wind development. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth has long pressured the Beshear administration and Kentucky legislators to increase the seriousness with which the state approaches the development of all renewable resources, including wind.

June 2011 - Bowling Green, Kentucky, should have its first large-scale solar generating facility by the end of June. Earlier this month developers were installing poles that will hold up some of the 7,000 solar panels planned for a 10-acre site at Scotty's Development. The poles will have a metal fulcrum that allows the panels to move with the sun and collect the maximum amount of solar energy.

February 2011 - Members of the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee considered how a how Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards could also mean an economic boost for Kentucky's economy. A renewable and efficiency portfolio standard (REPS) would require electric utilities to generate a minimum portion of their electricity from clean, renewable sources and energy efficiency. Twenty-nine states have passed clean energy portfolio standards

Keystone State News Connection

Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants Awarded to Pennsylvania Schools, Businesses, and Municipalities

April 2017 - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded grants to 17 alternative fuel projects that will save an estimated 650 million gallons of fuel in Pennsylvania. These Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIG) will be used to develop and promote the use of alternative fuels and develop supporting infrastructure, improving air quality through alternative fuel use.

Maine News Service

Maine House Votes to Overturn "Anti-Solar Net Metering"

June 2017 - The Maine House voted 90-54 in favor of the "Majority report" which would overturn the PUC's so-called anti-solar net metering rule. The measure (LD 1504) is opposed by Governor Paul LePage.

Solar Gets a Boost In Kennebunk

June 2017 - The Kennebunk Light & Power District signed a 20-year agreement to support a large solar array on district property. It is projected, the solar array will produce 3.9 kilowatt-hours during its first year of operation.

Portland Ranked #35 Solar Power

April 2017 - A new report ranks Portland ahead of New York and Richmond for the amount of installed solar installed per capita. The "Shining Cities" report says despite that growth the recent P.U.C. decision phase out the solar power incentive of net metering will likely leave Maine trailing cities in neighboring states in New England.

State Agency Teams-up with Nonprofits to Keep Mainers Warmer

February 2017 - The York Rotary Club, York Community Service Association, the town of York and the state agency Efficiency Maine have teamed up to winterize about 15 York houses this winter, with funds from Rotary and Efficiency Maine.

Three-Year Energy-Efficiency Plan Proposed for Mainers

December 2015 - Efficiency Maine's Board of Trustees approved a three-year plan that should save consumers almost a billion dollars.

Solar Ban Defeated

November -0001 - Maine saw a major victory on the environment when lawmakers were able to override a veto on solar development. Governor LePage made his opposition to solar clear when he vetoed the measure (LD 1263) which simply called for the Public Utilities Commission to get into gear and develop a solar policy. Apparently that was a step too far, because the vote against the veto was overwhelming in both houses.

Maryland News Connection

Two New Wind Farms for Maryland

May 2017 - Maryland's Public Service Commission approves two offshore wind farms totaling 368 megawatts.

September 2012 - Supporters of alternative energy - and job creation - got a boost from a new report in which some of the country's most influential environmental groups said it's time for a concerted effort at building and operating wind energy turbines in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of 14 coastal states.

Solar Projects OK for Neighborhoods

November -0001 - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill enabling the establishment of community solar projects today. Maryland is now the 11th state to allow community solar projects. Community solar projects expand access to renewable energy by allowing multiple people to invest in or subscribe to one solar energy project and offset a portion of their electric bill from the energy generated through a credit. Projects could be sited in a variety of places, like the roof of an apartment building, a community center, a church or even in an open field.

Minnesota News Connection

Rural Energy Co-ops Get a Boost

June 2017 - Recently passed energy legislation in Minnesota will significantly change the state's renewable energy fund and eliminate regulatory oversight of fixed charges for rural co-ops and small municipal utilities.

Gov Vetoes Republican Budget Propsoal

May 2017 - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has vetoed a Republican-backed budget proposals that critics say would have harmed the state's clean energy sector.

More Solar in Minnesota

April 2017 - St. Paul, Minnesota signs an agreement to power one-fourth of its municipal buildings through community solar gardens.

Minnesota Gets Solar Boost

February 2017 - The Twin Cities have powered up a couple of new, large community solar gardens, and they're expected to save the state some money by reducing the amount of fossil fuel that has to be purchased.

July 2012 - With final approval in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, construction of the final leg of the CapX2020 transmission line is now set to begin next year. The line will allow more wind-generated energy to get onto the grid.

March 2011 - Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz announced the formation of the House Energy Working Group, a bipartisan group that will introduce a clean-energy independence plan that creates a new energy infrastructure and rebuilds our country's aging roads, bridges, locks and dams.

January 2011 - U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced that seven Minnesota biofuel producers will receive over $748,000 to expand advanced biofuel production. The funds, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, will be administered by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels.

Coal Plant Closing

November -0001 - On April 8, the last shipment of coal was delivered to Xcel Energy’s Black Dog power plant in Burnsville, marking the end of the facility’s 60-year history of producing electricity from coal. Instead, all of the electricity produced at Black Dog will come from more efficient, cleaner natural gas, reducing the carbon-dioxide emissions from that plant by more than 690,000 tons a year.

Cleaner Diesel Coming this Summer

November -0001 - Diesel drivers on Minnesota roads and highways will be running on cleaner fuel this summer as they start filling up with the nation’s first required 10 percent biodiesel blend. Known as B10, this higher blend will be sold annually from April 1 through September 30. A 5 percent mixture that works better in Minnesota’s winter weather, called B5, will be used between October and late March each year.

MN Tops for Wind Power

November -0001 - Minnesota remains one of the leading wind power producing states, according to the recently released 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report. Minnesota ranks seventh in total electricity generated by wind in 2013 and fifth in terms of percentage of the state’s electricity generated by wind power, according to the U.S. Department of Energy report.

MN Sees a Solar Boom

November -0001 - The solar boom in Minnesota is underway. This summer the market got its biggest boost yet when Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard announced plans for a new 10-MW solar electric array at Camp Ripley in Little Falls. The Solar Electricity Standard and other state policies were established by the 2013 Minnesota Legislature to accelerate the solar market in Minnesota.

Missouri News Service

Missouri Trying to Catch Energy Efficiency Train

November 2015 - The newly released state energy policy proposal recommends that Missouri enact minimum building standards aimed at increasing efficiency and saving money.

February 2011 - The CWIP (Construction Work In Progress) bill being pushed by an investor-owned utility company would have ratepayers front the cost for the construction of utility plants before they're operational. This bill repeals a portion of a consumer protection law voters overwhelmingly passed in 1976. This is the second time there's been a push for this bill. The House bill is slowly stalling after being voted out of committee.

Nevada News Service

Bill to Streamline Permitting for Renewable Energy Projects Reintroduced in U.S. House

February 2017 - Today, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, including Dean Heller (R-NV) re-introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, S. 282. This legislation works toward an "all of the above" energy strategy by simplifying the permitting process for solar, geothermal, and wind projects on public lands.

Governor's Task Force Recommends Reestablishing Net Metering

September 2016 - Solar advocates are praising the recommendations just released by Governor Brian Sandoval's New Energy Industry Task Force to allow people to sell excess solar electricity back to the grid at reasonable rates, in exchange for a small baseline fee on their bills.

PUC Approves Grandfathered Net Metering Solar Rates

September 2016 - The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on Friday morning unanimously approved an agreement reached by NV Energy and SolarCity earlier this week to grandfather up to 32,000 customers under older, more favorable rates for residential rooftop solar.

Energy Efficiency Push

April 2014 - Individuals and groups in Nevada are calling on state lawmakers to help the Silver State sharpen its focus on energy efficiency.

Conservative Report Finds Solar in Sunny States Can Stand on its Own

January 2013 - The fiscally conservative "Economist" Magazine gave sunny states like Nevada a strong endorsement in the renewable energy department.

Energy Efficiency Stretches Assistance for Troubled Teens

December 2012 - The Boys Town of Nevada is providing more services to troubled youth thanks to money they saved under energy efficiency measure approved the Public Utilities Commission in 2012.

May 2012 - Nevada moved closer to its goal of getting 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources as the Enbridge Silver State North Solar Project went on-line in Clark County. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was at the facility to "flip the switch" sending power to the grid from the first major solar project built on public land.

June 2011 - The Silver State became the first in the nation to pass "Smart from the Start" legislation. Under the new law (AB307) energy companies that propose renewable energy projects will have to collect a fee that will fund planning as well as mitigation efforts to protect Nevada wildlife.

April 2011 - A bill to support rooftop renewable energy was approved by the State Senate by a vote of 13-8.

Survey Shows Nevadans Want Renewable Development to Benefit State

November -0001 - Three out of four Nevadans support revenues from wind and solar energy development in the state benefiting local and state governments, as well as funding conservation projects on public lands impacted by development. That's according to the "Multi-State Western Survey" released in September. Alex Daue is with The Wilderness Society, which is among the groups that sponsored the survey. It found that 75 percent of Nevadans "strongly favor" or "somewhat favor" revenues from renewable energy being returned to the state.

New Hampshire News Connection

NH Now has Targets for Energy Efficiency

August 2016 - The Public Utilities Commission approved the first-ever statewide targets for reducing energy consumption. For the first three-year period, the targets are: 0.8% for electric and 0.7% for gas in 2018; an additional 1% for electric and 0.75% for gas in 2019.

July 2011 - The green light is now on for the construction of a 48-megawatt wind farm proposed for Groton. The new project will be home to 24, 400-foot turbines and construction is expected to begin this fall.

May 2011 - A groundbreaking ceremony took place this month for a renewable energy power plant project at the Glencliff home in Benton. A new wood chip boiler will replace current boilers at the long-term nursing facility which provides care for New Hampshire residents with mental illness and developmental disabilities will continue to generate all its own heat, hot water and electricity more efficiently while also benefitting the environment. The funds for the project came in part from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

New Mexico News Connection

NM Teams Compete to Bring Solar Power to Underserved Communities

May 2017 - New Mexico has moved from 16th to 15th in the country for providing solar and is on the increase, still.

NM Clean-Energy Advocates Undeterred by Trump Executive Order

March 2017 - In the face of Trump's executive order to rollback the Clean Energy Plan, the city of Taos has instated a goal to achieve 100 percent renewable energy. No matter what the federal position on clean energy or air pollution.

Bill Reintroduced to Streamline Permitting for Renewable Energy Projects

February 2017 - A group of U.S. Senators including Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Tom Udall (D-NM) re-introduced the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, S. 282. This bipartisan legislation works toward an "all of the above" energy strategy by simplifying the permitting process for solar, geothermal, and wind projects on public lands.

Renewable-Energy Advocates to Fight PNM at NM Supreme Court

January 2017 - The state Supreme Court heard a case today pitting renewable-energy advocates against the Public Regulation Commission and P-N-M, the state's biggest utility. At issue is whether the P-R-C was right to grant P-N-M permission to buy more coal and nuclear power versus investing in more wind and solar resources.

Renewables Outpace Nuclear in N.N. and in Nation

October 2016 - Renewable energy is outpacing nuclear power in the state and nationwide, according to two new government reports. The Energy Information Administration?s latest "Monthly Energy Review" shows in the first half of 2016, domestic renewable energy production was 25 percent greater than nuclear power production. Another report, from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, says renewable energy generating capacity is now double that of nuclear.

PRC Blocks Proposed Hike in Solar Energy Fees

August 2016 - A settlement reached Wednesday means customers of Southwestern Public Service Company in New Mexico will avoid paying higher fees for producing their own solar energy. The state Public Regulation Commission voted to keep solar surcharge fees the same or lower for customers who produce renewable energy at a home, small business, municipal building or school.

Peabody and State of NM Cut a Deal on Cleanup

August 2016 - The country's largest coal producer has reached a deal with New Mexico and two other states on how it plans to cover the cost of mine cleanups. Peabody Energy has filed for bankruptcy and the company has been allowed to self-bond, which means it promises to pay for coal-site cleanup without actually setting aside the cash. Environmentalists are calling it a win.

New Renewable Energy Research

August 2013 - Sandia National Laboratories and Arizona State University have signed a partnership agreement to encourage research in renewable energy sources.

January 2012 - Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) dedicated the new Las Vegas (NM) Solar Energy Center, the last of five new utility-scale solar power plants PNM has brought online within the past year. The five solar energy centers were built as part of PNM's effort to comply with New Mexico's renewable portfolio standard, which currently requires that 10 percent of energy produced for customers comes from renewable resources.

February 2011 - Following a loss in the state Supreme Court over separate sets of rules and regulations, the Martinez administration relented in the face of a lawsuit from the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, agreeing to publish new, "greener" building codes that were approved last year.

December 2010 - New Mexico was highlighted more than once in December for its leadership on the clean energy front, both for "Green policies" and for pursuing the state's major renewable energy potential. One report from the Wilderness Society in particular gave kudos to a proposal to harvest solar energy with minimal impacts to wildlife habitat at the Afton site near Las Cruces.

New York News Connection

NY State Taking Bids for Big Increase in Renewable Energy

June 2017 - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York Power Authority have announced plans to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates for a combined total of 2.5 million megawatt-hours per year of renewable power generation. The announcement followed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order committing the state to upholding the Paris Agreement on climate change. The purchases could lead to the development of between 600 and 1,600 megawatts of new clean-energy generation capacity.

Cuomo Supports Major Development of Offshore Wind Farms

January 2017 - In his series of State of the State reports Governor Andrew called for approval of a 90-megawatt wind farm off Long Island, and the future development of up to 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power. With the announced closing of the Indian Point nuclear power plants new New York City wind power will be key to achieving the state's goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. The governor has also directed state agencies to undertake a study to determine the fastest, most cost effective and responsible way for the state to reach 100 percent renewable energy.

Agreement Reached to Close Indian Point

January 2017 - New York state has reached an agreement with Entergy to permanently shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant over the next four years. Under the agreement, the Indian Point Two reactor will shut down in 2020 and Indian Point Three the following year. The closures will mean finding other sources for about 2,000 megawatts of power. Clean energy advocates point out that the development of areas already leased for offshore wind power could provide up to 2,000 megawatts, and more offshore areas could be leased in coming years.

Cuomo Orders Investigation of Indian Point Leak

February 2016 - Following reports of "alarming levels" of radioactive tritium detected in test wells at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Station, Governor Cuomo ordered state environmental officials to investigate the source.

Governor Cuomo Launches $5 Billion Clean Energy Fund

January 2016 - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Public Service Commission's approval of a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund to accelerate the growth of New York's clean energy economy.

Governor Calls for Closing Indian Point

December 2015 - Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stating his opposition to the re-licensing of the nuclear reactors at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Station.

Governor Vetos Port Ambrose Offshore LNG Facility

November 2015 - Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to the US Department of Transportation vetoing the construction of the offshore Port Ambrose Liquefied Natural Gas Facility proposed for 20 miles off Jones Beach.

Closing of Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant Announced

November 2015 - Citing a bleak economic outlook for nuclear power Entergy, the owner of the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in upstate New York, announced that the plant will be closed by early 2017.

August 2011 - With Congress spending much of the summer focused on deficit reduction, supporters say the Power New York Act signed into law should provide a jobs jolt just when the Empire State needs it most — while at the same time, tackling climate change pollution.

June 2011 - Lawmakers passed a measure that should help New York homeowners be able to spend money to save money by making their homes more energy efficient. The measure is projected to create 14-thousand new construction jobs, and supporters say it also will prevent "dirty" power plants from being located in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

North Carolina News Service

Case Builds Against Construction of Dukes Natural Gas Plant in Asheville.

February 2016 - Columbia Energy Inc in South Carolina has surplus energy from its natural gas plant and the company says that Duke is federally obligated to purchase that energy instead of building a new natural gas plant.

Direct Solar Purchase Bill Introduced

June 2015 - A House Bill - The Energy Freedom Act (HB 245) is currently being considered.

Solar Grows in NC

March 2015 - North Carolina continues to make progress with the advancement of solar energy in the state.

Northern Rockies News Service

Idaho Power to Close Coal Plants Early

May 2017 - Idaho Power has announced it will close two coal plants at Nevada's North Valmy Generating Station early. Units 1 and 2, originally set to close in 2031 and 2035, will close in 2019 and 2025, respectively.

Feds To Restructure Coal Leases

January 2016 - The Obama administration is imposing a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands, arguing that the $1 billion-a-year program must be modernized to ensure a fair financial return to taxpayers and address climate change.

Former Exec in Idaho Nuke Plant Scam Sent to Prison for 30 Months

January 2016 - The No. 2 executive of a company that roamed Idaho and beyond bilking investors of millions of dollars in a scheme to build a phony nuclear power plant was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

PUC Approves Idaho Power's 20 Year Plan

December 2015 - The Idaho Public Utilities Commission decided just before Christmas to ratify Idaho Power's latest 20 year plan, which is the first ever to include a plan to retire a coal-fired power plant.

September 2012 - There's strong support in 11 western states for developing renewable energy on public lands - and ensuring at least some of the rents or royalties from developers are used locally for conservation and recreation purposes. That's according to a new bipartisan poll (commissioned by The Wilderness Society).

Ohio News Connection

No Bail-out for Coal Plants

November 2015 - The Public Utility Commission of Ohio rejected AEP's request to raise rates to bail out the company's stake in the Kyger Creek and Clifty Creek coal plants.

"Right to Know" About Oil and Gas Toxins

September 2013 - Oil and gas companies are being told for the first time to give county officials and local fire departments information about the toxic chemicals drillers use to fracture shale.

Credits on the Way for First Energy Customers

August 2013 - State regulators ordered First Energy to credit its Ohio customers $43.3 million it overcharged them for renewable energy between 2009 and 2011.

February 2012 - February saw a historic win for clean air in Ohio. First Energy announced it will retire six coal-fired power plants in the state and GenOn Energy Inc. plans to close two older coal-fired power plants in Ohio, one in Avon Lake and another in Niles. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, say it is a win for public health and another chance for Ohio to move toward clean energy.

January 2011 - The Buckeye State is blazing some trails in green energy. According to the Department of Energy, more than 300-thousand homes have been weatherized through stimulus funding... and the Buckeye State is in the lead with 23-thousand homes weatherized. And when it comes to job creation in Ohio, the wind and solar energy supply chain is a generator. A new report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center says at least nine-thousand jobs in the state are tied to the wind and solar energy sectors.

Oregon News Service

Energy Company Hit with Deluge of Opposition to Expanding Natural Gas-Fired Plant

February 2017 - More than 7,000 comments were submitted regarding Portland General Electric's proposed plan to increase its natural gas-fired capacity at its Boardman plant, most of them in opposition to the plan. Oregon Department of Energy says it was the most comments it had ever seen by far, with the previous high around 1,000.

Solar Jobs: Get Your Feet Warm, and Get In Early

March 2016 - Oregon legislature passed a bill that will increase the amount of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, to 50 percent of the state's requirements by 2040.

OR Selected for Offshore Wind Energy Development

May 2014 - Oregon has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of three demonstration project sites for offshore wind energy development.

Solar Soars in Oregon

January 2014 - Oregon ranks thirteenth in the nation for per-capita solar installations, according to a report released at the end of January by the Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center.

Energy From the Sea Plans Move Forward

January 2013 - Oregon's Territorial Sea Plan will allow future siting of wave energy projects, with an amendment passed in January.

June 2012 - Twenty farms and small rural businesses around the state learned in June that they're receiving federal grants to help them reduce energy consumption and/or look into using renewable energy. The Oregon grants total $242,000 and are part of the 2008 Farm Bill funding, through the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program.

April 2012 - Gov. John Kitzhaber asked federal agencies to conduct more thorough analyses of the "environmental, community, economic, transportation and energy security impacts" of proposed coal exports to Asia before any further permits or leases are made to build coal terminals. He points out that Oregon and Washington would feel the effects of increased coal exports more keenly than any other state.

March 2012 - At month's end, Columbia Biogas and the City of Portland announced plans to develop a facility to turn food waste into an energy source. The biogas plant is expected to eventually generate enough power to serve 3,000 homes. Construction will employ about 85 people, with 20 ongoing operations jobs.

March 2012 - USDA's Rural Development office has put out the word that it wants "innovative, affordable and energy-efficient" ideas for building single-family houses for low-income residents of rural Oregon. Builders and developers have until July 6 to submit their proposals.

New Report on Green Jobs in Oregon

February 2012 - The Oregon Employment Department estimates about 3 percent of Oregon's jobs are "green."

June 2011 - State lawmakers also passed "Cool Schools," the bill to finance energy-efficiency projects to make public schools less expensive to heat and cool, while putting people to work repairing and retrofitting the buildings.

January 2011 - Portland now has 600 residential solar electric systems that total 1.6 megawatts, and residents in North and Northwest Portland are starting the year with workshops so more homeowners can learn about how to "go solar" and even band together for discounts on purchasing the equipment. The effort is called Solarize Portland.

Clean Fuels Law on the Books

November -0001 - Gov. Kate Brown signed SB 324, Oregon’s “Clean Fuels” legislation, into law. Among the most controversial bills in the session, it continues a 2009 program to require 10-percent less “carbon intensity” in vehicle fuel in the next decade. Critics predict unintended consequences – including higher fuel prices – but Brown says Oregon needs to “keep its end of the bargain,” as California and Washington are taking similar steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tennessee News Service

February 2011 - The U.S. Department of Energy has cleared construction of a 5-megawatt solar array in West Tennessee, ruling that the project will have no significant impact on the surrounding environment. Energy officials approved the solar farm near I-40 in Haywood County under the National Environmental Policy Act, the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Texas News Service

More Texas Solar Jobs

November -0001 - Texas has the country's sixth highest number of workers in the solar industry at nearly 7,000, according to the latest National Solar Jobs Census.

Utah News Connection

Utah Earns Good Grades for Conservation

May 2014 - Utah lawmakers are scoring good grades with an energy conservation group for enacting laws and policies that benefit electric vehicle use.

New Solar Program Announced

April 2014 - The University of Utah is partnering with a nonprofit organization to get more homes solar-powered.

Solar Jobs Grow

November -0001 - Utah ranks 27th in the U.S. in the most recent National Solar Jobs Census. 2014 was a year of growth for Utah's solar sector as the cost of residential solar products has dropped by two-thirds in recent years, which drives demand and job growth. The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan is also predicted to grow the solar sector. It calls on states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

Virginia News Connection

November 2012 - Virginia will be one of three states included in a first-ever renewable energy lease sale on the outer continental shelf. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that the proposed offshore lease in Virginia totals about twenty-three nautical miles, and is expected to support more than two-thousand MW of wind generation and enough electricity to power 7-thousand homes.

August 2012 - Health organizations and environmentalists breathed a sigh of relief this month, as a The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) put its plans to build a new coal fired power plant in Hampton Roads on hold. According to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a group that opposed the plant, the delay means about 2 million cars worth of carbon dioxide will not be released into the air. Groups plan to continue a dialogue with ODEC in hopes the company will move toward creating more climate friendly fuels.

February 2012 - Offshore wind projects are one step closer to reality…The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it is moving forward with the next phase in offshore wind energy development off the Virginia coast. The BOEM is publishing the call for information and nominations targeting industry interest from developers. Once responses are received, BOEM will determine their leasing process.

October 2011 - Virginia landed a collaborative project to establish a facility for the testing and certification of large offshore and land-based electricity-producing wind turbines. The project, called "Poseidon Atlantic" will be the first such facility in the United States and will fill a growing need for facilities that test and certify wind turbines. The initial phase of the project is to be developed on Virginia's Eastern Shore in Northampton County. The project is expected to create 25 new jobs within two years.

July 2011 - Legislation aimed at promoting alternative fuel use for government vehicles was signed by the governor this month. A new plan requires the Department of General Services along with the secretary of administration, and the governor's senior advisor on energy to develop a plan for the replacement of all government vehicles with vehicles that will use electricity or other alternative fuels.

Clean Energy Bills Signed

November -0001 - Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed into law several pieces of clean energy legislation passed by the 2015 General Assembly. The bills signed include legislation doubling the cap on the size of solar energy systems that Virginia businesses are allowed to install to offset their own energy usage (HB 1950/ SB 1395), and legislation creating a new Virginia Solar Development Authority (HB 2267/ SB 1099).

Washington News Service

Seattle Cuts Ties with Wells Fargo over Dakota Access Pipeline

February 2017 - Seattle will no longer rely on Wells Fargo for city financing after a unanimous vote by the city council. The council decided to cut ties with the bank because its involvement in financing the Dakota Access Pipeline. It also cited the bank's financing of private prisons.

State Denies Lease for Coal Export Terminal

January 2017 - Washington state will not allow aquatic lands on the Columbia River in Longview to be used for a major coal export terminal. The denial deals a serious blow the Millennium Bulk Terminals project. The Department of Natural Natural Resources said the project manager has shown a "chronic failure" to provide "essential and accurate information."

Weatherization Day Commemorated in Washington

November 2015 - Oct. 30 was "Weatherization Day" in Washington, a nod to the program that will help improve energy efficiency in about 2,250 lower-income homes this year.

April 2011 - Gov. Gregoire has signed much-anticipated legislation to transition the state's only coal-fired power plant off of coal. The bill requires TransAlta to significantly reduce haze pollution from its Centralia plant by Jan. 1, 2013; phase out coal use between 2020 and 2025; and provide $30 million for economic development and another $25 million for clean energy technology development in the state.

January 2011 - Washington's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says it managed to save $3 million in costs last year by eliminating 125 vehicles from its agency motor pool and reducing employee travel. Going forward, it predicts annual savings of $300,000, as fewer vehicles will mean lower operating costs. The agency is also looking into the use of biofuels for the heavy equipment it operates to save money and curb emissions.

Energy efficiency targets are on target

November -0001 - In November, the Northwest Energy Coalition reported 2013 was the ninth straight year that Northwest utilities and their customers beat the regional targets for energy efficiency outlined in the Sixth Northwest Power and Conservation Plan. Energy efficiency has become the region’s second-largest power source, after hydropower – and the utilities say they’re on track to exceed their 2014 efficiency target, as well.

Regional Plans to Respond to Oil Spills

November -0001 - Washington has nine new geographic response plans (GRPs) to guide responses to oil spills. The Legislature allocated one-time funding for the Ecology Department to work on the plans, in light of increased oil shipments through the state. They were developed jointly with the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard. The new plans focus on marine and coastal spills; next, the state will be working on similar plans for inland areas.

Collaboration with China for Clean Energy

November -0001 - The Washington State Dept. of Commerce has inked a deal with China to collaborate on clean and low-carbon energy technologies. One potential project involves two gas-to-methanol plants for the Ports of Kalama and Tacoma, each worth $1 billion, to create cleaner-burning methanol for shipment to China.

More Awards for the “Greenest” Building

November -0001 - A Seattle structure that has been dubbed “the world’s greenest commercial building” received more honors in June. The Bullitt Center (1501 E. Madison St.) uses just one-fourth the energy of a similar new building, and its rooftop solar panels generate more power than it uses – even in cloudy Seattle. The NW Energy Coalition chose the building for its Headwaters Award.

Renewable Energy Standard Update Proposed

November -0001 - Some Washington lawmakers are already thinking ahead about what happens when the state’s renewable energy standard expires in 2020. Utilities have until then to generate at least 15 percent of their power through energy-efficiency and renewables. They’ve beat their targets so far, and legislation (HB 2073) would allow them some flexibility, not requiring that they add more renewable capacity if efficiency measures mean they don’t need to generate as much electricity.

West Virginia News Service

Appalachian Power to Expand Use of Wind Power

July 2017 - The huge electrical utility, part of what was once the largest consumer of coal in the world (AEP) has said it will buy wind farms as part of its diversification of its power fleet. The wind farms are in Ohio and WV, and the customers for App Power are in WV, VA and TN.

Wyoming News Service

Study: Renewable Industry Could Absorb Coal Layoffs

August 2016 - The growth of solar- and wind-related jobs could easily absorb coal-industry layoffs over the next 15 years and provide full-time careers, if investments are made to retrain workers.

Air Quality Regulation Board Looking at Extending Environmental Regulations to Entire State

October 2015 - In a new move, Wyoming regulators are considering a plan to place tighter oil and gas restrictions in Laramie County and other parts of eastern Wyoming.

Fracking in Wyoming

January 2015 - The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will be updating its policies regarding industry requests not to disclose hydraulic fracturing chemicals in the name of "trade secrets."


E n v i r o n m e n t

Environment

All News Services

True Value and Walmart to Phase Out Bee-Killing Pesticides

May 2017 - Walmart and True Value have announced they will phase out pesticides that kill bees and have led to a decline in bees' numbers. The retailers said that will stop selling neonicotinoids and plans treated with the hazardous chemical.

Northern Access Natural Gas Pipeline Halted

April 2017 - The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has denied a water-quality permit for construction of the Northern Access Pipeline, a 99-mile, 24-inch pipeline proposed to carry natural gas through western New York State from Pennsylvania to Canada. Last year the DEC used denial of the same water quality permit to stop construction of the Constitution Pipeline in eastern New York.

Mine Land Restoration Groups Laud Introduction of Federal RECLAIM Act

March 2017 - The RECLAIM Act was introduced in both the House and Senate yesterday with bi-partisan support in both chambers. It would speed $1 billion in funding already available in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund over the next five years to communities struggling with the impacts of the downturn of the coal industry and the scars of historic coal mining. If enacted, RECLAIM will speed as much as $300 million in funding from the Abandoned Mine Land Fund for projects that restore mine-scarred land and enhance local economic development in coal field communities.

Report Confirms Impact of Federal Coal Emissions

January 2017 - A new report from the federal Bureau of Land Management acknowledges that coal mined on public land accounts for 11 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In early 2016 the Obama administration halted new leases for coal mining on public land as it conducted a review of the leasing program. Federal coal leases account for about 40 percent of all coal mined in the United States. Environmentalists say the report underscores the imperative to stop burning coal and transition to clean, renewable energies.

EPA Says Fracking Can Contaminate Drinking Water

December 2016 - The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that hydraulic fracturing, the oil and gas extraction technique also known as fracking, has contaminated drinking water in some circumstances, according to the final version of a comprehensive study first issued in 2015. The original version said the agency had found "no evidence that fracking systemically contaminates water" supplies. That sentence has been deleted from the final study.

Study: National Retail Outlets Give Bees Some Relief

August 2016 - A campaign to protect declining bee populations is making progress. A new study conducted at garden centers across the U.S. found plants containing neonicotinoid pesticides dropped by more than half in just two years.

Supreme Court Rejects New Challenge to Obama Air Pollution Rule

June 2016 - The Supreme Court has declined conservative states' third request to overturn a sweeping Obama administration air pollution rule.

EPA Completes Analysis of Mercury Rule

April 2016 - The federal Environmental Protection Agency completed its analysis showing that reducing emissions of mercury and other toxic substances would have enormous health benefits.

EPA Finds Costs of Mercury Rule Reasonable

April 2016 - The Environmental Protection Agency has decided that its standards for mercury and other toxic substance emissions from coal and oil power plants reasonably considers costs for the power sector.

BLM Draft Rule Promotes Clean Air

January 2016 - Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced of rules to limit methane waste on public and tribal lands.

Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Throw Out Air Toxics Standards

January 2016 - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

U.S. Bans Micro-beads

January 2016 - President Obama signed a law amending the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which bans the use of synthetic plastic micro-beads in cosmetics.

Good News for Bees

January 2016 - Home Depot has announced that it has removed neonicotinoid pesticides, a leading driver of global bee declines, from 80 percent of its flowering plants and that it will complete its phase-out in plants by 2018.

Congress Extends Conservation Funding

January 2016 - Congress has included a three-year reauthorization of the expired Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has been one of the country's most important tools for conserving fish and wildlife habitat for the past 50 years.

EPA Says 9th Circ. Has Power To Nix Dow Herbicide Approval

December 2015 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused to back down from asking the Ninth Circuit to vacate registration for Dow's Enlist Duo weed killer.

Clean Air Standards Upheld

December 2015 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a bid by the coal mining industry and its allies to throw out the first-ever national limits on mercury and other toxic air pollution spewed by power plants.

Bill Filed to Create Grand Canyon National Monument

October 2015 - One point seven million acres adjoining the Grand Canyon's north and south rim would become part of a new national monument if a bill announced Monday becomes law.

Environmentalists Praise New EPA Power Plant Rules

October 2015 - Environmentalists are calling the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules for wastewater from power plants a victory.

March 2015 - McDonald's announced a new policy to curb the overuse of antibiotics in raising the chickens that ultimately become McNuggets or other McDonald's products. Within two years, farming operations supplying McDonald's USA restaurants will not be allowed to routinely administer medically important antibiotics to chickens, a practice that is commonplace, even when animals are healthy.

February 2015 - President Obama has promised (since 2013) that he would reject the Keystone pipeline if it would lead to a significant increase in carbon pollution.

Conservation for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

January 2015 - Conservationists applauded President Obama for adopting a conservation plan that for the first time proposes to designate a large portion of the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness to protect it from development, though Congress has to decide whether to take action. ANWR is compared to Yellowstone and Yosemite as a place of "incalculable beauty."

Grants Will Help Clean Up Contaminated Sites

May 2014 - The EPA is investing $1.4 million in three Montana organizations working to clean up and re-develop contaminated sites across the state.

FEMA Assistance on the Way

April 2014 - FEMA granted Governor Mike Pence's appeal for federal assistance for the severe winter storms that impacted much of the state from January 5-9 this year.

Coal Train Traffic Impacts to be Considered

February 2014 - The Washington Department of Ecology announced it will include the impacts of coal train traffic in Montana as part of its review for a proposed coal export terminal at Longview, Washington.

Arizona News Connection

New Mexico Protests for Clean Energy

May 2012 - New Mexico organized a protest at Public Service Company of New Mexico's annual shareholder meeting in Albuquerque to deliver a message.

Ban on New Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon Extended

June 2011 - A ban on new uranium mining in the vicinity of Grand Canyon National Park has been extended until December, and may last much longer.

New Recycling Center Opened Near Phoenix

January 2011 - A new, state-of-the-art recycling center has been opened northwest of Phoenix by Waste Management.

Big Sky Connection

Tongue River Railroad Plan Withdrawn

November 2015 - The Tongue River Railroad Company (TRR) today requested that the Surface Transportation Board (STB) temporarily suspend permitting efforts for the construction and operation of its proposed rail line along the Tongue River in southeast Montana.

Judge Orders State to Pay Legal Fees in Environmental Case

October 2015 - Montana must pay nearly $171,000 in legal fees and expenses to the attorney who represented three Butte residents in their effort to get a mostly dry, mine waste-contaminated channel.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Rules for New Power Plants Issues

September 2013 - The White House and EPA issued long awaited rules restricting how much greenhouse gas pollution new power plants can emit.

Coal Railroad Impacts to be Studied

March 2013 - The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has agreed to study the impacts of the proposed Tongue River Railroad from the mine to the ports on the West Coast.

June 2012 - Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has withdrawn its application to the state of Montana to haul more than 200 megaloads of oil sands equipment over Lolo Pass and through northwestern Montana into Canada. The company said it's already brought in all the loads it needs for the first phase of its oil sands project via other routes, despite initially saying the route on the small highways was the "only option."

June 2012 - The Surface Transportation Board announced that the controversial Tongue River Railroad (TRR) must reapply for a permit to haul coal from the isolated Otter Creek coal tracts in southeastern Montana. The coal is destined for markets in China and other Asian countries, through ports on the West Coast. The STB order says environmental analysis and data needs to be gathered before reapplying for a permit. The TRR was first proposed about 30 years ago to haul coal for different purposes than plans in existence today.

November 2011 - The U.S. State Department announced the environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline project will undergo a reevaluation - along with consideration of rerouting the pipeline to avoid environmentally sensitive areas.

July 2011 - Imperial Oil and Exxon Mobil announced they would seek additional alternate routes for shipping oversized loads along small highways in Idaho and Montana. Specifically, they'll plan to use four-lane highways, instead of rural two-lane roads, and find ways to reduce the size of the shipments. Originally, the companies claimed there were no other possible routes. Grassroots small business organizations and environmental groups had protested the use of small highways for the projects.

July 2011 - The Montana District Court issued an order granting a motion to halt mega-load shipments by Imperial Oil along Montana state highways. The court held that the Montana Department Transportation violated the Montana Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider alternative routes, failing to consider decommissioning the highway modifications needed for the project and failing to conduct an independent evaluation of the proposal.

April 2011 - Judge Dayton ruled that there is "sufficient likelihood of irreparable harm" to warrant a restraining order to halt all further permitting of Exxon's modules (known as megaloads), along with all road work and utility line modification to facilitate Exxon's project until the lawsuit is resolved. Unfortunately, test load will be allowed to proceed.

January 2011 - District Court Judge Joe Hegel has ruled that a lawsuit against the State of Montana and Arch Coal can go forward. The suit alleges the state should have taken environmental, economic and public health concerns into account before leasing the coal tract.

January 2011 - North America's largest nonprofit cycling organization formally wheeled into the ranks of big rig opponents. The board of Adventure Cycling voted overwhelmingly to oppose the use of rural highways for massive oil industry modules. They say those are bike-friendly mountain highways in Idaho and Montana - that would be far less bike-friendly if the roads become industrial shipping routes.

California News Service

Lake Tahoe Restoration Act Passes U.S. Senate

September 2016 - The U.S. Senate passed the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, which was included in the underlying text of the Water Resources Development Act. The legislation authorizes $415 million over 10 years for forest fuels management, environmental and watershed restoration, stormwater management and other projects. It now moves to the House of Representatives.

Bill to Help the Salton Sea Signed into Law

August 2016 - Senate Bill 1416, by Senator Jeff Stone (R-LaQuinta), which would establish a check-off box on State Income Tax forms to help restore the Salton Sea, passed the Senate and was signed by the Governor.

Feds Move to Clear the Way for Renewable Energy and Protect the California Desert

November 2015 - The future of more than 10 million acres of public land in the southern California Desert is laid out in a plan released by the Bureau of Land Management Tuesday.

Monterey Shale Oil Targets Drastically Reduced

May 2014 - Energy Information Administration say they are cutting their estimate of how much oil can be drawn out of California's massive Monterey Shale formation by a whopping 96 percent.

Victory for Lake Tahoe Ecosystem

January 2014 - Developers and environmentalists have settled a lawsuit that blocked a major redevelopment of Lake Tahoe's Homewood Mountain Resort.

Fracking Halt Won't be Halted in CA

April 2013 - Three bills that would halt fracking in California passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, despite intense pressure from the oil industry.

October 2012 - California Air Resources Board says more truckers are driving cleaner trucks. After inspecting more than 4,000 trucks at 40 locations statewide, the California Air Resources Board says truckers have gotten the message about obeying state air pollution laws.

September 2012 - A judge ruled the state may not include aerial spraying in eradication efforts against the Light Brown Apple Moth. While environmental groups are pleased with that part of the ruling, they say that restriction isn't enough. Health and environmental groups argue the rest of the approved plan involves applying harmful and untested pesticides in order to control a minor agricultural pest that has not been proven to damage California crops.

March 2012 - A victory for farm workers and those who live near strawberry fields. The manufacturer of a controversial strawberry pesticide is pulling its product out of California and other U.S. markets. Arysta LifeScience Inc. says it will no longer sell the fumigant Midas (methyl iodide.) The announcement comes as an Alameda County Superior Court judge was about to issue his decision in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the use of the chemical.

December 2011 - Environmental groups may have lost a regulatory battle to keep the controversial pesticide methyl iodide off the California market, but it now appears they may be winning the ground war against the chemical. Only six California growers have used methyl iodide to kill pests and weeds before planting crops like chili peppers, strawberries and walnut trees. That's compared to more than 8,500 soil fumigations that took place in California in 2009.

February 2011 - A newly-approved pesticide used in strawberry fields may be banned. Lawmakers are discussing alternatives to methyl iodide after hearing from critics who say the California Department of Pesticide Regulation ignored the recommendations of a science-review panel that found the chemical unsafe to farmworkers and the water supply.

Colorado News Connection

No GMOs at Chipotle

April 2015 - The Mexican fast-casual dining chain Chipotle announced that it has become the first national restaurant chain to use only non-GMO (genetically modified) ingredients.

Colorado Steps Ahead on Renewable Energy Policy

April 2013 - Colorado reaffirmed its role as a national leader in renewable energy when the State House approved the only bill in the country seeking to expand the use of wind, solar, and other alternative resources.

Fracking Decision Delayed Because of Overwhelming Number of Comments

December 2012 - The Department of the Interior decided to delay a ruling on hydraulic fracturing on Bureau of Land Management (federal) lands.

December 2011 - The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission adopted a law which would require oil and gas drillers to disclose all chemicals used in hydraulic fracking.

May 2011 - Fracking continues to be a big issue in the region. A shareholder's group has approached major oil conglomerates asking them to back off of fracking in the mountain West because of its lack of sustainability as a petroleum source and its ecological impact.

Commonwealth News Service

Southbridge Landfill Expansion on Hold

January 2016 - In response to more than 2,000 signatures from local citizens the Massachusetts environmental officials (MEPA) are putting the controversial Southbridge Landfill Expansion on hold.

Connecticut News Service

Budget Proposals Would Restore Funding for Clean Energy

April 2016 - Environmentalists praised Governor Dannell Malloy for proposing the restoration of funds for renewable energy programs in Connecticut.

Connecticut Lawmakers Lead for the Environment

February 2016 - The annual League of Conservation Voters National Environmental Scorecard gives high marks to Connecticut's congressional delegation.

November 2012 - Before Superstorm Sandy hit Connecticut, environmentalists told Connecticut News Service that beaches and salt marshes shield coastal areas from the worst impacts of storm surge and community planning that protects these natural barriers pays off big-time during high-intensity weather events. Following the storm, which did more than $360 million dollars in damage in the Nutmeg state, Gov. Dannel Malloy may have gotten the message, saying, "We have some real big infrastructure issues," including shoreline water protection.

Bill Introducaed to Ban Boilers

December 2010 - Many Connecticut residents have complained of toxic smoke entering their homes from their neighbors' outdoor wood boilers.

Florida News Connection

Fracking Update

March 2016 - Legislation to permit fracking in the state has died in the legislature.

BP Settlement Funds Restoration

December 2012 - BP reached a $4.5 billion dollar criminal settlement with the government over the 2010 Gulf oil explosion.

November 2012 - The US Environmental Protection Agency announced that oil giant British Petroleum would not be eligible for government contracts because of its controversial role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After BP pleaded guilty to assorted felonies related to the disaster, the EPA stated that the company's "lack of business integrity" forced the agency into taking the action. The bar is temporary but open-ended; lasting until BP provides "sufficient evidence" that it can meet federal standards.

Land and water conservation wins at the ballot box

November -0001 - Voters adopted Amendment 1 – a measure which will dedicate 33 percent of net revenue from the existing excise tax on documents to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. The fund improves conservation easements, wildlife management areas, wetlands, forests, fish and wildlife habitats, beaches and shores, recreational trails and parks, urban open space, rural landscapes, working farms and ranches, historical and geological sites, lands protecting water and drinking water resources and lands in the Everglades Agricultural Areas and the Everglades Protection Area.

Oil Drilling Opposition in Broward County

November -0001 - The Broward County Commission took action to oppose an application for a state oil-drilling permit on an Everglades site in the county’s southwest corner. County commissioners unanimously agreed last week to seek an amendment to state law giving counties the legal authority to determine whether drilling for oil is permissible within their borders.

Gulf Coast Restoration Funding Soon

November -0001 - The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council is now evaluating submissions for funding under the Restoration agreement that comes as a result of the BP Horizon settlement money. Currently there are restoration projects proposed in Pensacola Bay, Apalachicola Bay, Suwannee River, Tampa Bay and Northwest Florida estuaries. Collectively, the funding will provide millions to Florida Gulf Coast communities to enable them to repair damage done by the oil spill to the wildlife and coastline. The RESTORE funding aims to make sure the money paid by BP because of the still will be applied towards areas impacted by the spill, instead of being diverted to unrelated projects.

BP Loses in Court

November -0001 - A federal court ruled against BP, making the gulf coast eligible to receive billions in fines from the oil giant – all related to the Gulf Coast spill.

Illinois News Connection

Sulfur Dioxide CO2 reduction

November 2015 - Emissions of sulfur dioxide carbon dioxide (CO2), and other pollutants will be significantly reduced by rules adopted in October by the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

Fast-Tracking for Fracking Stopped in its Tracks

May 2014 - A bill aimed at speeding up the start of fracking in Illinois was killed in late May.

Petcoke Disclosures Come Clean

February 2014 - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced new legislation that would require facilities to fully enclose petcoke if it is within five-thousand feet of communities.

Highway Toll Plan Stopped Because of Environmental Issues

November -0001 - A Federal District Court issued a decision in favor of environmental groups in Illinois finding that the federal and state transportation agencies’ approval of the final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the proposed Illiana Tollway were “arbitrary and capricious and in violation of NEPA.” The Environmental Law and Policy Center says it’s a major victory, and that by stopping the Illinois Tollway is a great win for Illinois taxpayers, for sound regional planning, and for protecting the Midewin National Prairie.

Indiana News Service

Victory Over Polluters

December 2015 - People in Elkhart, who endured 11 years of hazardous fires has been awarded just over $50 million in a class action lawsuit.

Ag Gag is Gagged

April 2013 - Indiana SB 373 - the so-called Ag-Gag bill - died as lawmakers finished up their budget writing session. The bill was modeled after ones that surfaced across the country this year, and would have banned people from using video for undercover operations that investigate animal abuse and environmental issues.

Coal-Gasification Scrapped

November -0001 - A controversial Southern Indiana coal gasification plant deal is scrapped. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management rescinded an air-quality permit for Leucadia National Corp.’s planned Rockport coal gasification plant at the firm’s request. The company requested the permit be rescinded since it hadn’t yet begun construction as a key deadline loomed. Opponents, including Citizens Action Coalition, said it would have driven up the cost of home heating in Indiana.

Companies Say They Will Pay for Pollution Cleanup

November -0001 - Under a proposed settlement the Atlantic Richfield Company and DuPont will pay for an estimated $26 million cleanup of lead and arsenic contamination in parts of a residential neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana. The yards in this neighborhood are contaminated with lead and arsenic through industrial operations that took place from at least the early 1900s through 1985.

Kentucky News Connection

Unauthorized Dumping of Fracking Waste

July 2016 - Led by media reports and citizens' protests, the unauthorized dumping of fracking waste (TENORM) in Kentucky has led to civil action and put state regulators and lawmakers on notice that more needs to be done to monitor and control the byproducts from deep well exploration.

Stopping Natural Gas Liquids Pipelines

April 2016 - As reported noted by Ecowatch, since April 2014, 10 fracking infrastructure projects in the U.S. have been canceled or delayed.

Erosion of Coal Mine Safety Regs in Kentucky Blocked

March 2016 - Efforts by conservation and grassroots organizations in Kentucky played key roles in blocking legislation that would have eroded coal mine safety regulations in the state.

Clean Power Plan Support

January 2016 - Despite strong opposition from politicians and the coal industry in Kentucky to the Clean Power Plan and EPA rules to reduce carbon emissions, others in Kentucky are getting their messages out that it is the right direction for a diversified approach in Kentucky.

Empower Kentucky Growing Conversation about Energy Conversion

November 2015 - Against strong political and industry opposition to the Obama administration's Clean Energy Plan conservationists in Ky are getting their message across about the need to transition away from coal.

Coal Ash Landfill Plans Dropped

March 2013 - After a House resolution opposing the use of a cave to store coal ash surfaced, the power company proposed the project pulled the plug on the coal ash landfill.

September 2012 - A program designed to reforest parts of Appalachia where surface mines once operated, could be a driver of jobs for veterans.. The group Green Forests Work says it may ultimately mean some two thousand jobs helping to reforest and maintain areas bulldozed by surface mine operators in the past.

May 2011 - The Sierra Club has sued a coal company, alleging environmental violations at a large surface mine in Leslie County. The lawsuit charges that ICG Hazard LLC has discharged selenium and other pollutant into creeks near the Thunder Ridge mine in violation of federal law, state standards and its own permit conditions. The complaint seeks several remedies, including orders for the mine to stop discharges that violate clean water standards, and install adequate treatment facilities.

Clean Water Act violations merit tougher penalties

November -0001 - The Franklin Circuit Court issued two orders rejecting settlement deals between the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and Frasure Creek Mining arising from the coal company’s thousands of violations of the Clean Water Act from 2008 through 2011. In extraordinarily vigorous language, Judge Phillip Shepherd said that due to the coal company’s actions, “The inherent danger of the violations at issue here to the environment is impossible to determine based on Frasure Creeks' wholesale abdication of its monitoring and reporting responsibilities, and the cabinet's inability to fully investigate the environmental harm that is likely to have occurred.”

Keystone State News Connection

Court Ruling Called Victory for Environmental Rights

June 2017 - A majority decision of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court broadens the interpretation of the Environmental Rights Amendment to Pennsylvania's state constitution, strengthening protections for public natural resources. The ruling came in a case challenging the use of proceeds from oil and gas leases on public lands for anything other than environmental preservation. The court ruled that the governor and the General Assembly are trustees, not proprietors of public land.

Governor Tom Wolf Reaffirms Commitment to Clean Water for Chesapeake Bay.

March 2017 - Following the release of a federal budget that calls for cutting Environmental Protection Agency funding by 31 percent and elimination of the Chesapeake Bay Program, Governor Wolf acknowledged the importance of reducing pollution in the Keystone State. "We are still in the middle of the biggest part of the river (Susquehanna) that empties into the bay," Governor Wolf said. "We have a big role to play in cleaning up the bay."

Governor Wolf Proposes Rules to Curb Methane Emissions

January 2016 - Governor Tom Wolf's administration has proposed new rules to curb emissions of methane from new oil and gas wells, pipelines and other infrastructure.

EPA Scientists Question Agency Report on the Impact of Fracking on Water Supplies

January 2016 - The Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Advisory Board issued a draft report saying the conclusion of an EPA study of the impact of fracking on drinking water.

Pennsylvania Finalizes Smog Reduction Rules

November 2015 - The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board voted to finalize new rules that will reduce smog-causing pollution from most coal-fired power plants in the state.

EPA Holds Clean Energy Plan Hearing

November 2015 - The Environmental Protection Agency held hearings in Pittsburgh on implementation of the Clean Energy Plan.

River Pollution Reduction Efforts Receive Major Grant

October 2015 - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation received a $265 thousand dollar grant to reduce pollution in the Juniata River Basin.

May 2011 - The Environmental Protection Agency held a hearing in Philadelphia on Tuesday (5/24) to get public input on a new plan to reduce mercury, arsenic, dioxin and other toxic air pollutants coming from the nation's coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Maine News Service

More Voices Call for Halt to Tar Sands Oil Pipeline Project

March 2013 - Opposition to the Portland-Montreal pipeline conversion plan continues to grow. More than 55 groups and individuals from New England and the Midwest, including George LaPointe, former Commissioner, Maine Department of Marine Resources, petitioned the federal government to halt plans to pump corrosive tar sands oil from Canada to American ports, including Portland, for export. They say current regulations are inadequate and raise the risk of catastrophic spills.

Maryland News Connection

Report Shows Improving Health for Chesapeake Bay

January 2017 - The latest State of the Bay report showed that the Chesapeake Bay's health index has gone up two points since 2014, from a grade of D-plus to C-minus. Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker cited gains across all three rating categories - fisheries, habitat and pollution - and for nine of 13 specific indicators. The report said all six watershed states showed progress, but Pennsylvania, the source of half the water flowing into the bay, still is behind in meeting its pollution-reduction goals.

Chesapeake Bay Greening Projects Receive Funding

July 2016 - Funding has been awarded to neighborhood "greening" projects to improve water quality around the Chesapeake Bay. It's part of the G3 Initiative

Legislators Introduce Clean Energy Jobs Bill

January 2016 - On the opening day of the new legislative session legislative leaders introduced the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016.

Maryland Groups Receive Grants to Improve Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat

October 2015 - Grassroots organizations in Maryland will be sharing part of a record $11.5 million in grants for projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Minnesota News Connection

Minnesota Joins Climate Fight

June 2017 - Minnesota becomes the first Midwest state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of states committed to upholding Paris Agreement targets despite President Trump?s pledge to withdraw from the accord.

No GMOs at Chipotle

April 2015 - The Mexican fast-casual dining chain Chipotle announced that it has become the first national restaurant chain to use only non-GMO (genetically modified) ingredients.

April 2012 - A bill that opponents warned would favor development over local control was rejected by state lawmakers. Those against House File 389, including the Land Stewardship Project, said approval would've made it difficult for local governments to enact interim ordinances or moratoriums, when considering development proposals on everything from feedlots to mining.

Nevada News Service

Lake Tahoe Restoration Act Passes U.S. Senate

September 2016 - The U.S. Senate passed the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, which was included in the underlying text of the Water Resources Development Act. The legislation authorizes $415 million over 10 years for forest fuels management, environmental and watershed restoration, stormwater management and other projects. It now moves to the House of Representatives.

Law Would Ban Power from Reid Gardner

May 2013 - A bill headed to the Governor's desk would end the state's use of electricity from the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant.

Judge: Homewood Mountain Resort Needs to Scale Back

January 2013 - A federal judge told the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency that it needed to consider smaller alternatives than the plan they already approved to enlarging the Homewood Mountain Resort.

Colorado River Economic Values Calculated

November -0001 - Local economies and the Colorado River are linked to the point - that one may not exist without the other. That's according to a new study from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. It concludes that Colorado River water generates $1.4 trillion and 16-million jobs across the seven Colorado Basin states: Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

New Hampshire News Connection

More Voices Call for Halt to Tar Sands Oil Pipeline Project

March 2013 - Opposition to the Portland-Montreal pipeline conversion plan continues to grow. More than 55 groups and individuals from New England and the Midwest, including George LaPointe, former Commissioner, Maine Department of Marine Resources, petitioned the federal government to halt plans to pump corrosive tar sands oil from Canada to American ports, including Portland, for export. They say current regulations are inadequate and raise the risk of catastrophic spills.

New Mexico News Connection

January 2011 - The State Supreme Court says Governor Martinez is not above the law. The High Court ruled against the administration in a case brought by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, ordering that new rules to control pollution from dairies and to begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state be published. Martinez had put a 90 day hold on all new rules, but the court ruled from the bench that the Governor was violating the separation of powers.

New York News Connection

5,900 Acres of Hudson Highlands Parkland Preserved

April 2017 - On Earth Day more than 5,900 acres of parkland in the Hudson Highlands were added to the list of preserved areas, expanding access to outdoor recreation and forever protecting diminishing open space. The parkland includes a 3,777-acre conservation easement for Black Rock Forest in Orange County as well as significant parcels abutting Bear Mountain, Clarence Fahnestock, Goosepond Mountain, Harriman, Rockland Lake, and Schunnemunk Mountain State Parks.

NY State Denies Pipeline Permit

April 2016 - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied permits necessary for the construction of the Constitution Pipeline.

Fitzpatrick Closing Date Announced

April 2016 - The owner of several nuclear power plants sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announcing that it's Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego, NY will shut down.

Governor Cuomo Directs a Safety Analysis of The Algonquin Pipeline Near Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

February 2016 - Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to issue a letter calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to immediately halt construction of the Algonquin natural gas pipeline.

DEC joins Pipeline Environmental Review

December 2015 - The Cuomo Administration announced that the Department of Environmental Conservation will participate in the environmental review of a controversial pipeline proposal to carry crude oil from Albany to Linden, NJ, and refined products back north.

Grant Helps Restore Native Fish Populations

November 2015 - A 150 thousand dollar grant to the Nature Conservancy will help with the construction of a fish ladder to allow migratory fish return to their spawning grounds.

Albany County Votes to Ban Microbeads

November 2015 - The Albany County legislature passed a ban on products containing microbeads, tiny plastic particles used as a non biodegradable ingredient in personal care products from facial scrubs to toothpaste.

Styrofoam to be Banned in NYC

December 2013 - New York's City Council voted to ban Styrofoam.

Court Rules Towns Can Ban Oil and Gas Development

May 2013 - Fracking opponents celebrated a huge victory in May. In a major ruling that could have impact all across the state, a New York Appeals Court ruled in favor of the upstate towns of Dryden and Middlefield, affirming lower court decisions that said the towns had a right to ban oil and gas development activities, including fracking (the hydraulic fracturing of shale rock to extract natural gas.)

August 2012 - Opponents of hydrofracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale Formation are not easing up, despite indications Gov. Cuomo is going to allow it in 5 Southern Tier counties where local communities opt for it. Matt Ryan, mayor of the city of Binghamton, took issue with the assertion that 40 towns have passed resolutions supporting drilling. Ryan, a fracking opponent whose city has banned gas drilling, said the resolutions only say that the decision is up to the DEC."They continue to perpetrate the myth that all these towns are for it," he told the AP. Health-care professionals have called on Cuomo to have a university conduct a formal health impact assessment as part of the DEC review. Lawyers from the Natural Resources Defense Council have said they may file a lawsuit challenging the validity of the DEC environmental impact review if a health study isn't done.

October 2011 - Critics of fracking for natural gas considered it a victory when the DEC announced it needed more time to gather more input before issuing an advisory report that could lead to the issuing of permits to drill in the state's Marcellus shale formation.

June 2011 - The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules for coal-fired power plants to help curb the air pollution that has marked the eastern United States for years. The new regulations will affect power plants in 28 states and are scheduled to go into effect in 2012. They will cut millions of tons of soot and smog emissions from power plants at a cost of less than $1 billion per year to utility companies.

May 2011 - Backers of a new comprehensive water management program for the state saw it moving toward approval in the Senate. The measure would - among other things - require anyone withdrawing more than one hundred thousand gallons of water a day to first get a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and could possibly impact the spread of hydraulic fracking for natural gas, which is currently under a moratorium. The bill advanced to a third reading on May 10.

April 2011 - Hundreds rallied in Albany to ask Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to give priority to water and air quality when it comes to "fracking" - the extraction method to get to the gas in the Marcellus Shale formation. The blowout of a natural gas well in Pennsylvania, across the border from Binghamton, further raised concern. In mid-month, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he has given the federal government one month to commit to "conducting a full environmental review."

January 2011 - Absent from the blizzard of complaints following the release of Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget were many environmentalists. After several conservation groups sent the Governor a package of green policy recommendations designed to spur economic development, or save taxpayers in long-term environmental costs, many were thankful that Cuomo didn't want to "sweep" or pull unused funding from the $134 million Environmental Protection Fund, which pays for things such as land acquisition, farmland preservation, recycling, municipal parks and other measures. "Governor Cuomo has effectively targeted cuts to inflict the least amount of pain," Marcia Bystryn of the NY League of Conservation Voters told the Albany Times-Union. "The governor has made good on his campaign pledge," added Ned Sullican, president of Scenic Hudson, a group that advocates on behalf of the Hudson River.

LI Projects To Protect Against Storm Damage

November -0001 - Governor Cuomo announced hundreds of millions of dollars for projects on Long Island that will reduce nitrogen pollution and shore up natural defenses against future storms. The biggest share of the state money, 383 million dollars, is dedicated to sewer projects in Suffolk County. And the state is also advancing 97 million dollars to Nassau County to expedite upgrades to the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which failed during Sandy. The sewage fixes are a major step in restoring natural storm protection. By removing nitrogen pollution, marshes and underwater grasses will stay healthy and help reduce the impact from waves during storms.

Cuomo Blocks Tar Sands Oil Plans

November -0001 - The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) halted Global Companies’ proposed expansion of its massive Albany oil train facility to handle tar sands oil. Citing project changes, new information, questions about the project’s ability to meet air quality, and impacts to the neighboring residential community, the DEC issued a letter today notifying Global it would rescind its prior finding that the project would have no significant environmental impacts and that a full environmental review will be required.

Supreme Court Rules Communities Can Ban Fracking

November -0001 - This is seen as a huge victory for the 170+ towns in New York that have passed bans or moratoriums on fracking—and the dozens more New York communities that have been waiting for this court decision before passing bans of their own.

North Carolina News Service

Efforts Move Forward to New Wilderness Designation in NC

October 2016 - When the forest planning process for the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests kicked off more than two years ago, it didn't take long for the question of wilderness designation - whether and how much more acreage should be recommended, which areas should make the cut - to rise to the top of the stack of contentious issues. With a draft plan expected to come out in spring 2017, the conversation is heating up once more ? in homes, at public meetings and in the boardrooms and legislative chambers of government. A plethora of bills and resolutions are currently in play to address the wilderness issue, but this week The Smoky Mountain News highlights four that are drawing ample discussion among wilderness stakeholders in Western North Carolina.

Duke Energy will pay $6 Million for NC Chemical Plant Spill

October 2016 - Duke Energy Corp. has agreed to pay a $6 million fine for a big spill that coated the Dan River with liquefied coal ash in 2014, North Carolina's environment agency said Friday.

Charges Filed Against Duke Energy for Pollution

May 2015 - Federal prosecutors filed multiple criminal charges against Duke Energy after years of alleged illegal pollution from coal ash ponds at its North Carolina Power plants.

Northern Rockies News Service

Feds To Spend $10 Million on Fire Resistance

May 2016 - The Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, went to Boise to announce ten million dollars to fund projects that help western landscapes bounce back after a wildfire.

Judge Rejects Federal Salmon Plan as Insufficient

May 2016 - A big victory for conservation and fishing groups on Wednesday as a district court judge in Portland Oregon invalidated the 2014 Columbia Basin salmon biological opinion also called the Bi-Op.

Boise Conservation Measure Passes

November 2015 - Voters also favored a conservation levy by a rate of almost 3 to 1.

Megaloads Banned on Section of Highway 12

September 2013 - Federal forest administrators issued a closure order for a section of U.S. Highway 12 through north-central Idaho that suspends all future trucking of big and wide loads.

October 2012 - A miner who had plans to dredge the bed of the Salmon River to search for gold has withdrawn his lease application. There was strong support from river guides, anglers and conservation groups who raised concerns about damage to the river and fisheries.

January 2012 - U.S. District Chief Magistrate Judge Williams determined Atlanta Gold Corporation is illegally polluting Montezuma Creek, a tributary of the Boise River near Atlanta, Idaho, with toxic levels of arsenic and iron, constituting over 1,400 violations of the Clean Water Act.

January 2011 - North America's largest nonprofit cycling organization formally wheeled into the ranks of big rig opponents. The board of Adventure Cycling voted overwhelmingly to oppose the use of rural highways for massive oil industry modules. They say those are bike-friendly mountain highways in Idaho and Montana - that would be far less bike-friendly if the roads become industrial shipping routes.

Ohio News Connection

Farming Changes Required to Stop Algae

May 2015 - Ohio's efforts to slow the spread of toxic algae in Lake Erie will soon force some farmers to change how they handle livestock manure and require more testing for pollutants at the state's largest wastewater treatment plants.

No GMOs at Chipotle

April 2015 - The Mexican fast-casual dining chain Chipotle announced that it has become the first national restaurant chain to use only non-GMO (genetically modified) ingredients.

Women Saluted for Enviro Work

April 2015 - They work hard to make a difference when it comes to the environment, and in April four Ohio women were honored for their efforts at promoting outdoor childhood education, climate and clean energy advocacy.

Legislation Aims to Clean up Manure Contamination in Waterways

November 2014 - Ohio Senate Republican leaders say they will fast track legislation to attack the flow of the nutrients that feed toxic algae blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie.

Seismic Monitoring for Fracking

April 2014 - State regulators are requiring seismic monitoring of hydraulic fracturing wells being drilled near known fault lines.

A welcome 'victory' in the fracking wars

October 2013 - Oil and gas companies were told for the first time to give county officials and local fire departments information about the toxic chemicals drillers use to fracture shale.

Hydraulic Fracturing Law Proposed

May 2013 - Legislation introduced at the Statehouse would ban the disposal of waste from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, into injection wells.

Obama Administration Champions Great Lakes Health

April 2013 - The Obama administration is requesting $300 million for the restoration of Lake Erie and other Great Lakes. Initiatives currently underway are restoring fish and wildlife habitat to support the region's outdoor recreation industry; fight invasive species like the Asian carp to protect the region's 7 million sport and commercial fisheries, and prevent farm and urban runoff to protect human health and keep beaches open.

Oregon News Service

Oregon and California Governors Agree to Remove Klamath River Dams

April 2016 - The governors of Oregon and California met at an event on the Klamath River and signed an agreement to remove four dams from the river.

No GMOs at Chipotle

April 2015 - The Mexican fast-casual dining chain Chipotle announced that it has become the first national restaurant chain to use only non-GMO (genetically modified) ingredients.

Task Force Will Look at Pollinator Issues

May 2014 - Oregon has a new Task Force on Pollinator Health, created by this year's Legislature and prompted by honeybee health concern.

September 2012 - The Portland City Council passed a resolution opposing coal trains traveling through the city until the Army Corps of Engineers does a thorough Environmental Impact Study. It is also asking the Corps to ensure that decisions about coal shipments be made with plenty of public input.

Coal-Loading Permit Denied

November -0001 - The Oregon Department of State Lands denied a permit mid-August for a coal-loading dock on the Columbia River at Boardman. Ambre Energy's Morrow Pacific project could have meant as many as six coal barges a day on the river, and state regulators found the plan “inconsistent” with Native American fishing rights in the area, and protection of the river itself. The decision reduces the number of active proposals to ship coal through the Gorge from six to two.

Tennessee News Service

TVA Abandons Plans for Nuclear Plant

May 2016 - The Tennessee Valley Authority board voted Tuesday at a meeting in Buchanan to declare the Bellefonte nuclear plant near Hollywood, Alabama, surplus.

Texas News Service

BP Settlement Funds Restoration

December 2012 - BP reached a $4.5 billion dollar criminal settlement with the government over the 2010 Gulf oil explosion.

Railroad Commission Outlines new Fracking Rules

December 2012 - The Texas Railroad Commission in December proposed new rules for oil-and-gas drilling operations in the state.

November 2012 - The US Environmental Protection Agency announced that oil giant British Petroleum would not be eligible for government contracts because of its controversial role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After BP pleaded guilty to assorted felonies related to the disaster, the EPA stated that the company's "lack of business integrity" forced the agency into taking the action. The bar is temporary but open-ended; lasting until BP provides "sufficient evidence" that it can meet federal standards.

April 2012 - The government announced in April that 7,300 homeowners and businesses harmed by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill should collectively receive $64 million more than what was previously assessed by BP. After an independent audit of Gulf Coast claims, the Justice Department concluded that processing errors shortchanged applicants, and that BP's Gulf Coast Claims Facility was delaying the processing of appeals by claimants. A court-ordered administrator seized control of the claims process in March in response to a class-action lawsuit.

March 2012 - Austin's city council in March passed one the most far-reaching disposable bag bans in the country, prohibiting retailers from offering customers both paper and plastic bags for purchases. Austin is now Texas' largest city to impose a bag ban. Most of the nation's other municipalities that have done so allow stores to offer disposable bags to customers in exchange for small fees; the Austin measure has no such provision. The city plans a multi-million dollar informational campaign before the ban is implemented in March of 2013.

March 2012 - The US Senate in March passed bipartisan legislation to ensure that at least 80 percent of fines from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill be used specifically to repair the gulf coast's economy and ecosystem, instead of diverted to other areas and uses. The Restore Act was attached to sweeping transportation legislation, and later suffered a setback when it was dropped from a stopgap transportation bill at the end of the month. Gulf coast lawmakers, however, expressed optimism that that legislation would eventually become law, since both the House and Senate have now on separate occasions supported its provisions.

Denton voters ban fracking

November -0001 - Voters approved a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the North Texas town of Denton in November, making it the first city in the Lone Star State to outlaw the oil and gas extraction technique behind the U.S. energy boom. Green groups said the result, which is sure to face legal challenges, served as a wake-up call to the industry.

Utah News Connection

Judge Blocks Law That Restricted Fishing

November 2015 - A state judge on Wednesday invalidated core provisions of a 2010 law HB141 that largely blocked anglers and other members of the recreating public from streams flowing over private ground.

Nat Gas Burn-off Unpopular with Public

October 2014 - Sixty-nine percent of likely voters in several oil and gas-rich states, including Utah, support a rule that would require oil companies to significantly reduce the amount of natural gas they release or burn off while extracting oil from public lands. Venting and flaring - which is the release and burning of natural gas into the atmosphere -means that a good amount of energy is wasted, costing taxpayers lost royalty payments.

EPA Levels Fine Against Chevron for Oil Spills

May 2014 - The Environmental Protection Agency is levying an $875,000 penalty against Chevron Pipe Line Company, a division of Chevron Corporation, for spills involving oil and diesel fuel in Utah.

Colorado River Economic Values Calculated

November -0001 - Local economies and the Colorado River are linked to the point - that one may not exist without the other. That's according to a new study from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. It concludes that Colorado River water generates $1.4 trillion and 16-million jobs across the seven Colorado Basin states: Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Virginia News Connection

January 2012 - Governor Bob McDonnell announced that the ban on uranium mining will stay in place - at least for 2012. A proposal to lift the ban and begin mining in Pittsylvania County spurned much opposition and a study on both the environmental and economic impacts was completed last month. Governor McDonnell announced more extensive on site studies must be done before a decision can be made regarding the safety of uranium mining in the state.

August 2011 - Eight new pieces of environmental stewardship legislation were signed by Governor Bob McDonnell this month. One new law would prohibit the sale, distribution or use of lawn maintenance fertilizer containing phosphorous, which will kick in at the end of 2013. Another would regulate fertilizers and institute penalties for those not in compliance. New studies have also been commissioned to aid in Chesapeake Bay Watershed quality improvements.

January 2011 - A coalition of several statewide organizations applauded Governor Bob McDonnell's establishment and appointment of an Independent Bipartisan Commission on Redistricting. Governor McDonnell established the advisory commission through executive order to create and review proposed redistricting plans for the House of Delegates, the state Senate and Virginia's 11 seats in the U.S, House of Representatives.

Washington News Service

Federal Judge Tells EPA to Finalize Water Standards for Washington Waters

August 2016 - A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered the EPA to make a decision on Washington state's water standards. The EPA determined the state's water quality rules were not in compliance with the Clean Water Act, but has not acted to finalize new rules in the state. The federal judge has asked the EPA to make a decision by November.

WA Tackles Oil Refinery Pollution Ahead of Fed Regulations

May 2014 - Before the EPA's proposal for federal regulations to clean up air pollution at oil refineries, the Washington Dept. of Ecology adopted its own rule to jumpstart that goal.

State Gets Tough with Feds About Leaky Tank at Hanford

March 2014 - The Ecology Department got tough with the federal government in March, requiring a faster cleanup of another leaky tank at the Hanford nuclear plant site.

Money Set Aside to Address Flood Damage

December 2013 - The Legislature has appropriated just over $11 million to find innovative ways to reduce flood damage, risks and hazards statewide.

Coal-shipping Receives Extra Environmental Review

September 2013 - The agencies assessing the environmental impacts of a controversial coal-shipping terminal in the Bellingham area have decided to produce two Environmental Impact Statements instead of one.

I-90 Corridor Proposed for Recognition

April 2013 - U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert has introduced legislation to make the I90 corridor between Seattle and Ellensburg a National Heritage Area.

July 2012 - The state Ecology Department got tough with a gold-mining operation in Okanogan County that has had long-running water quality problems. Operators of the Buckhorn Mountain mine were fined $395,000 in July for violations in the past two years that Ecology says caused a landslide and damaged a creek. Crown Resources, which operates the mine, can pay the fine or file an appeal. Ecology has already issued six violation notices and fined the company $62,000 since 2007.

June 2011 - The PCC Farmland Trust inked its ninth conservation easement agreement in June. It's a contract that pays landowners to keep farming and ensures that when they retire, the next owners of the property will also farm rather than selling the land off for development. The new easement is on the Williams Hudson Bay Farm near Walla Walla.

Milestone for electronics recycling

November -0001 - In November, Washington’s statewide recycling program for electronics hit a big milestone. E-Cycle collected its 250-millionth pound of electronic equipment since 2009. That’s more than five-million computers, televisions and other electronic devices turned in at 340 E-Cycle drop-off locations across the state.

Skagit Delta Restoration Begins

November -0001 - At the end of June, a two-year construction project began in the Skagit River Delta to restore some of the delta’s marsh habitat. It involves replacing an existing dike with a new one, set farther back from the shoreline, and is expected to restore 131 acres of marshland to benefit juvenile salmon, and 100 acres of bird forage and habitat. The Skagit is the largest river that flows into Puget Sound.

Gold Mine Water Quality Fines Help Communities Near the Mine

November -0001 - Instead of being deposited into the state’s general fund, fines from water quality permit violations by owners of the Buckhorn Gold Mine are being used to fund environmental remediation projects in the area near the mine. They include installing rain gauges in an area recovering from wildfire, and relocating a road that floods frequently. The Washington Dept. of Ecology says it makes these types of settlements to help improve the areas that also experienced the damage that prompted the fine.

West Virginia News Service

Chemical Storage Rules Tightened

March 2014 - In response to the Freedom Industries chemical spill, West Virginia lawmakers have tightened restrictions on chemical storage.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Rules for New Power Plants Issues

September 2013 - The White House and EPA issued long awaited rules restricting how much greenhouse gas pollution new power plants can emit.

MTR Ditched by Patriot Coal

December 2012 - A legal agreement between Patriot Coal and several environmental groups means that one of Appalachia's most important mountaintop removal mining companies will no longer use that practice.

August 2011 - Although regulation of fracking at the state level seems slow or stalled, and in spite of disappointing moves by the White House on other environmental rules, the EPA is moving ahead with much needed controls of air pollution connected to natural gas production. (5-17 "Residents Say Marcellus Air Pollution a Problem")

Wisconsin News Connection

County Halts Frac Sand Mining Permits

August 2013 - The Trempealeau County Board has imposed a moratorium of up to a year on allowing any more frac sand mining permits, citing environmental and health concerns, saying there are too many unanswered questions right now.

August 2011 - Massive pushback from Wisconsin environmental groups caused the state Department of Natural Resources to halt the process of approving a huge new open-pit iron ore mine near Crandon, and the DNR Secretary now says it will be up to the full state legislature this fall to decide whether Wisconsin's mining laws need to be rewritten.

Wyoming News Service

Wyoming Federal Lawmakers Applaud End to Cap on Abandoned Mine Funds

December 2015 - Contained within the $305-billion, five-year federal transportation funding bill passed Thursday by the U.S. House is a provision Wyoming's federal lawmakers worked hard to get included.

Groundwater Protections Approved to Protect Against Oil and Gas Pollution

November 2013 - The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission gave unanimous final approval to new statewide rules that will require oil and gas drillers to monitor the quality of groundwater around sites of oil and gas development.

Fracking Decision Delayed Because of Overwhelming Number of Comments

December 2012 - The Department of the Interior decided to delay a ruling on hydraulic fracturing on Bureau of Land Management (federal) lands.

February 2012 - Great news from our perspective: FERC dismissed the permit for proposed Flaming Gorge water pipeline today.

December 2011 - Governor Matt Mead sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today. That letter expresses the Governor's deep concern about the proposed water pipeline from the Green River in Wyoming to Colorado's Front Range. Governor Mead's comments are meant to protect Wyoming's economy and resources and show the project is not feasible.

December 2011 - The EPA has released an initial finding that links groundwater pollution in the Pavillion area to fracking. Families affected by pollution have seen their land values plummet and have to use bottled water and special venting to avoid in-home explosions.

Fracking Disclosures Required

November -0001 - Companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands must now disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. A national rule that took effect on June 1st requires companies to disclose the chemicals they use within 30 days of the fracking operation. It also updates requirements for well construction and disposal of water and other fluids used in fracking.

Colorado River Economic Values Calculated

November -0001 - Local economies and the Colorado River are linked to the point - that one may not exist without the other. That's according to a new study from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. It concludes that Colorado River water generates $1.4 trillion and 16-million jobs across the seven Colorado Basin states: Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.


E n v i r o n m e n t a l

J u s t i c e

Environmental Justice

Arizona News Connection

Victory for Navajo and Uranium Cleanup

April 2014 - The Navajo nation will get $1-billion from a U.S. Justice Department settlement to clean up contamination from abandoned uranium mines on the reservation.

Big Sky Connection

Feds Force Review of Coal Companies' Reclamation Funds

January 2016 - Feds act in response to bonding complaint by Powder River and WORC.

California News Service

California Energy Commission Takes A Step Back on Puente Power Plant

June 2017 - The California Energy Commission has decided to allow the California Independent System Operator (CalISO) to study the feasibility of clean energy alternatives to the proposed Puente Power Project in Oxnard. The proposed natural gas plant is slated for construction on the coast in Oxnard, a community of color already disproportionately impacted by pollution and power plant construction.

Governor Signs Environmental Justice Bills

September 2016 - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed legislation that directs $900 million in cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs that benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.

Coastal Commission Votes to Oppose Power Plant

September 2016 - The California Coastal Commission voted today to oppose the siting of a gas-fired power plant on the coast in Oxnard. Community groups had opposed the Puente Project on the basis that they already have three fossil fuel burning power plants polluting the air in this low-income city.

CA Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Suction Dredge Mining

August 2016 - A victory for environmental groups and tribes on Monday as the California Supreme Court upheld the 2009 ban on suction dredge gold mining in state rivers.

Keystone State News Connection

Pennsylvania Revives Its Office of Environmental Justice

October 2015 - The state has appointed a new director to the Office of Environmental Justice, a position that has been vacant for three months.

Nevada News Service

Nevada Agrees To Ask EPA to List Anaconda Mine as a Superfund Site

March 2016 - Nevada agreed to efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to include an abandoned copper mine near the town of Yerington on its priority list of contaminated sites.

Ohio News Connection

Ohio Superfund Site Added to National Priorities List

September 2016 - Valley Pike VOCs in Riverside, Ohio was added the Superfund programs National Priorities List.


F a m i l y / F a t h e r

I s s u e s

Family/Father Issues

All News Services

Universal Family Leave Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

February 2017 - 27 Senators reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, or FAMILY Act, to create a universal, gender-neutral paid family and medical leave program that provides all Americans with the paid leave they need to take care of their families without worrying about losing their jobs or a paycheck. Only 14 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave through their employer, and the United States is the only industrialized nation without a national paid leave program. Without a national paid family leave program, the U.S. economy loses almost $21 billion a year, women lose $324,000 and men lose $284,000 in wages and retirement benefits over a lifetime, and American businesses incur an additional 20 percent cost to recruit and retrain new workers to replace those who left in need of paid leave.

Washington News Service

Washington Gets High Marks for "Grandfamily-friendly" Policies

February 2016 - The national group Generations United ranks Washington fifth in the U.S. for laws and policies that are friendly to grandparents raising grandchildren.


G L B T Q

I s s u e s

GLBTQ Issues

Arizona News Connection

Phoenix Law Bans GLBTQ Discrimination

February 2013 - The Phoenix City Council has voted to outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents in housing, employment and public accommodations. Gay-rights advocates said the city is playing "catch-up" with at least 166 other U.S. cities and counties that have adopted similar laws.

Two Former AGs Support Marriage Equality

November -0001 - Two former Arizona Attorneys General are part of a recently formed organization supporting marriage equality in the Grand Canyon State. Former Attorneys General Terry Goddard and Grant Woods are among more than 150 attorneys who have come together to form "Arizona Lawyers for the Freedom to Marry." Goddard, who served as attorney general from 2003 to 2011, says his legal opinion is that marriage is a fundamental right for all Americans. There are multiple court cases in play which hope to overturn Arizona's voter-approved ballot initiative, Proposition 102, which amended the state constitution to define a marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Big Sky Connection

Homosexuality Removed From State Crime Law

April 2013 - Governor Steve Bullock signed Senate Bill 107 - which decriminalized homosexuality. The law had been on the books for decades, and while not enforced, it was seen as discriminatory.

California News Service

July 2011 - Governor Jerry Brown signs bill to require all CA public schools include gay history education in their curriculum.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado One of the Latest States to Say "Yes" to Marriage Equality

March 2013 - The state legislature voted to legalize civil unions.

February 2011 - Obama Administration announced that it will stop defending the discriminatory federal "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA) in court The Colorado bill to recognize civil unions is set for a Senate committee hearing on March 7th.

Birth Certificate Change Approved

November -0001 - Colorado House Committee passed the Birth Certificate Modernization Act -- a bill that eliminates one of the many barriers transgender Coloradans face every day. (later killed in the Senate but seen as a sign of progress).

Marriage Equality Comes to Colorado

November -0001 - Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to not review appeals court rulings regarding same-sex marriage bans, same-sex marriage is now legal in Colorado.

Commonwealth News Service

February 2011 - Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick issued two executive orders, which extend nondiscrimination protections to state employees on the basis of gender identity and expression, and apply to all state agencies and programs, as well as businesses that contract with the state.

Florida News Connection

Gay Adoption Ban Repealed

November -0001 - Governor Scott signed a bill repealing the state’s ban on gay adoptions. The law had been declared unconstitutional in 2010 but this officially repeals it.

Illinois News Connection

January 2011 - Governor Quinn signed legislation legalizing civil unions in Illinois. This was seen as a major human rights victory by LGBT civil rights organizations, and the ACLU.

December 2010 - In early December, both houses of the state legislature have signed a law that would allow gay couples to enter into civil unions in Illinois.

Indiana News Service

LGBT Rights Progress Noted in Indiana

November -0001 - A report finds Indiana is making progress when it comes to LGBT equality. The Movement Advancement Project examined the ways laws protect LGBT people, also how laws, or lack of laws, put them at risk of harm. Indiana is ranked among the 14 states under what the report calls 'medium equality.' Chris Paulsen with Indiana Equality Action says it’s an improvement because the state finally moved from the bottom to the middle.

Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Overturned

November -0001 - A federal judge ruled in August on the last remaining same-sex marriage case in Indiana, once again overturning the state's ban on gay marriage. In his ruling, Judge Richard Young struck down Indiana's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages that are performed in other states. Like Young's previous rulings, that decision is stayed pending appeal. The following week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals the next week heard arguments in three other same-sex marriage cases from Indiana.

Minnesota News Connection

Legislature Listens to Marriage Equality Arguments

March 2013 - The first-ever legislative hearings into legalizing same sex marriage in Minnesota were held in March. The push comes just four months after voters in the state rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

November 2012 - Minnesota became the first state in the nation to reject a marriage question put up for a vote of the people. Minnesotans rejected the marriage amendment, which would have defined marriage as a union only between a man and a woman, effectively banning gay marriage via the state constitution.

Missouri News Service

February 2011 - Missouri lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they would love to stop bullying in Missouri schools. They stood together on Valentine's Day to raise awareness about bullying and the bills filed this session to address this social issue. This is the first time there has been a bipartisan effort to improve bullying laws in Missouri in recent years.

Oregon News Service

Same-Sex Couple Wins Lawsuit

November -0001 - An administrative law judge awarded a total of $135,000 in damages to a same-sex couple who filed a complaint with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) after a baker refused to prepare a wedding cake for them. The business owner had cited religious reasons for the refusal; BOLI said it was a violation of the Oregon Equality Act of 2007.

Utah News Connection

Court Rules for Marriage Equality

November -0001 - A federal court ruling favoring marriage equality in Utah is being called by some, the biggest legal victory in the history of the gay rights movement. The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling affirming that same-sex couples have the right to marry. Late last year, U-S District Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3, which had amended the Utah state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Washington News Service

February 2012 - Citing the need for equal rights for all families in the state, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed historic legislation into law mid-month, making Washington the seventh state to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Wisconsin News Connection

Gov. Clears Up Marriage Equality Questions

November -0001 - In a surprising move, Gov. Scott Walker said that hundreds of same-sex marriages performed in June will be recognized by the state, ending uncertainty for those couples and likely putting a stop to a federal lawsuit filed over the issue. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the ruling declaring the same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, meaning such marriages are legal going forward in Wisconsin and four other states.

Judge Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban

November -0001 - Federal Judge Barbara Crabb overturned Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying gay couples are entitled to the same treatment as heterosexual couples. Republican Wisconsin Attorney General J.D. Van Hollen filed an emergency appeal to stay the decision, but County Clerks in all but a handful of Wisconsin’s 72 counties began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately, and a huge number of marriage ceremonies were held over the weekend.


G u n

V i o l e n c e

P r e v e n t i o n

Gun Violence Prevention

Arizona News Connection

Gun Law Vetoed - Again

April 2014 - Governor Jan Brewer has again vetoed a bill that would have allowed guns in public buildings and events.

California News Service

Bill to Restrict Guns from People Convicted of Hate Crimes Passes Assembly

May 2017 - With bipartisan support, the California Assembly passed The Disarm Hate Act, to keep guns out of the hands of people convicted of hate crimes. AB 785 by Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D, Los Angeles). Existing California law prohibits people convicted of violent crimes like assault or battery from owning guns for ten years, but that same statute does not apply to violent hate crime convictions. Those convicted of a violent hate crime get to keep their guns. This bill changes that.

L.A. City Council Targets "Bad Apple" Gun Dealers

June 2016 - The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to have L-A-P-D work with a nonprofit to identify "bad apple" gun dealers who sell the majority of guns used in crimes. Los Angeles will now become the only city in California to trace gun sales in this manner.

No Concealed Weapons on School Campuses

October 2015 - SB707 prohibits people with concealed weapons permits from carrying firearms on school and college campuses.

Colorado News Connection

Gun Safety Legislation Becomes Law

March 2013 - The state passed a comprehensive gun reform package, which includes limits on the size of magazines, universal background checks and a charge to gun buyers for those checks.

Commonwealth News Service

Gov. Presents Gun Safety Legislation

January 2013 - Gun safety advocates in Massachusetts saw positive developments when proposed legislation reducing gun violence in the state and around the country was proposed.

Connecticut News Service

Gun Safety Measures Progress

February 2013 - Connecticut lawmakers filed 16 gun-safety bills in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, including expanded background checks and updating the state's assault weapons ban.

Michigan News Connection

MI Advocates Hail Gun Violence Prevention Measures

January 2016 - Michiganders working to end gun violence are commending President Barack Obama for taking steps to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

Minnesota News Connection

Gun Background Check Legislation Goes on the Books

May 2013 - A gun background check measure, passed both houses and was funded for $1 million.

Gun Safety Law Signed

December 2009 - Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill restricting gun possession rights for people convicted of domestic abuse and those subject to restraining orders.

New Hampshire News Connection

Permit Still Required to Carry a Concealed Weapon in NH

October 2016 - NH lawmakers sustained Gov. Maggie Hassen's veto of Senate Bill 336, a measure supported by the gun lobby that would have allowed anyone to carry a concealed weapon in the state.

Washington News Service

Measure Preventing "Extreme Risks" from Accessing Firearms Passes in Wash. State

November 2016 - A measure allowing courts to issue extreme risk protection orders to remove individual's access to firearms passed in Washington State. Proponents say the measure will allow law enforcement and families to step in if they feel someone is a danger to themselves or others.

Voters say ‘yes’ to background checks for gun sales

November -0001 - Iowa City is one of 38 cities nationwide that received a perfect score on the 2014 Municipal Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign. The index takes into account lgbt protections like non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition and employment policies.

Wisconsin News Connection

Bill to Allow More Guns in Schools Dropped

November 2013 - State Assembly Republicans have decided to kill a bill that would have allowed off-duty and retired law enforcement officers to carry guns in schools.


H e a l t h

I s s u e s

Health Issues

All News Services

Senate Attempts to Repeal and Replace ACA Pushed Back

June 2017 - Under intense public pressure the U.S. Senate GOP has taken the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" (BCRA) - the senate version of the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare - off the floor. Efforts with the same or similar legislation is likely to continue, but the task is proving very difficult. Critics note that under the bill more than twenty million Americans would lose health coverage, and the Medicaid funding would be cut by a quarter.

Texas Grand Jury Indicts Film-makers, Not Planned Parenthood

January 2016 - The Harris County Texas District Attorney's office has announced that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast had been cleared in a two-month-long investigation.

March 2015 - McDonald's announced a new policy to curb the overuse of antibiotics in raising the chickens that ultimately become McNuggets or other McDonald's products. Within two years, farming operations supplying McDonald's USA restaurants will not be allowed to routinely administer medically important antibiotics to chickens, a practice that is commonplace, even when animals are healthy.

FDA Takes Aim at Farm Antibiotics

December 2013 - The FDA has issued two major proposals in an effort to cut back on antibiotics used on farms that can spur drug-resistant superbugs.

Organ Donation Laws Changed

November 2013 - Advocates in Illinois are applauding legislation that could change the lives of thousands of people living with HIV.

FCC to Review Cell Phone Exposure Safety Standards

June 2012 - The Federal Communications Commission says it's planning on reviewing its safety standards on cell phone exposure.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act

June 2012 - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld almost all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Arizona News Connection

Feds Reject Most of Governor Ducey's Medicaid Reforms

October 2016 - The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected key parts of Governor Doug Ducey's requests to change the medical system for low-income families in Arizona. The governor wanted the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, known as 'ACCESS,' to stop providing non-emergency rides to doctor appointments, require enrollees to be actively looking for work, place a lifetime limit of five years on benefits, and introduce a health-care premium for people with incomes below the poverty line.

Pro Choice Victory as Judge Ends Battle Over Abortion Medication

September 2016 - A federal district court has ended the legal challenge to an unconstitutional Arizona law which would have forced a woman who decided to end her pregnancy with medication abortion to use an outdated, inferior method. Women will now be able to use the most up-to-date methods.

AZ Meets ACA Sign-up Target

May 2014 - A surge of late enrollments has resulted in nearly a quarter million Arizonans signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, either private insurance through the federal exchange or expanded Medicaid coverage.

Medicaid Expansion Inked

June 2013 - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the largest expansion of Arizona's Medicaid program in history. The expansion will provide health coverage to an additional 350,000 people.

AZ Senate Okays Medicaid Expansion

May 2013 - The bill will allow the state to accept federal funding to extend health care coverage to about 350,000 Arizonans.

Gov. Brewer Continues to Champion Medicaid Expansion

March 2013 - Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer is broadening her efforts to expand Medicaid in the state, despite opposition from Republican legislative leaders and the state GOP.

One-Cent Sales Tax Permanently to Benefit Education, Health Care, and Transportation

August 2012 - The Arizona Supreme Court has put a measure on the ballot to make the state's temporary one-cent sales tax permanent.

Arizona Children Receiving Health Coverage Under Government-Funded Plan

June 2012 - 22,000 Arizona children will get health coverage under a temporary plan funded by the federal government and the state's hospitals.

Federal Officials Rejects Proposed Cuts to Arizona's Medicaid Program

October 2011 - Federal officials have rejected several proposed cuts to Arizona's Medicaid program, including a special fee on smokers and a cap on enrollment for low-income parents.

Federal Review Pending for Medicaid Cuts

June 2011 - A state plan to cut 135,000 people from AHCCCS, Arizona's Medicaid plan, has been put on hold pending further federal review.

Group Sues State of Medicaid Cuts

May 2011 - Three public-interest law groups are suing the state over its plans to cut up to 250,000 people from Arizona's Medicaid program.

ACA Enrollment Climbs

November -0001 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that nearly 73,000 Arizonans selected plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the first month of Open Enrollment, which started November 15th. Urias says 53 percent re-enrolled in a Marketplace plan, while 47 percent signed up for the first time.

Arkansas News Service

Private Option Means More Health Coverage

April 2013 - On Apr. 23, Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law bills to create a unique "private option" for the state that will make 250,000 more people eligible for health coverage. It allows Arkansas to use the federal money available for expanding Medicaid to purchase private insurance policies instead.

Big Sky Connection

Some Rural Montana Hospitals Struggling, Solutions Discussed at Rural Health Summit

May 2016 - Senator Jon Tester is hosting a Rural Health Summit today in small town in central Montana called Ennis, about 60 miles southwest of Bozeman. The summit brings together officials from Washington and from the rural hospitals that dot the state.

Montana Enrolls 58,000 in Health Insurance

February 2016 - Montana is making a serious dent in its number of uninsured residents.

Montana Expands Medicaid

November 2015 - Starting today, tens of thousands of low-income Montanans will qualify for affordable health insurance on the state health care marketplace.

275 New Doctors and Health Professionals for MT Thanks to ACA

December 2013 - Montana saw nearly 275 more doctors and other health professionals on the job in rural areas over five years because of the National Health Service Corps.

California News Service

Judge Says Berkeley Can Keep Cell Phone Warnings in Landmark Ruling

April 2017 - Berkeley won a major decision in a federal appeals court. The court denied a request by the CTIA-The Wireless Association to block Berkeley's landmark cell phone "right to know" ordinance. Berkeley's ordinance, which has been in effect since March 21 of last year requires cellphone retailers in the city to provide consumers with the following notification: To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radiofrequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.

Some CA cities Making Strides in Tobacco Control

January 2017 - The American Lung Association's California chapter graded cities and counties on their tobacco-control initiatives, and noted a lot of progress. More than 20 received an overall "A" average, though the list doesn't include any of the 10 largest cities. San Francisco scored a "B," Los Angeles got a "C," and Anaheim got an "F."

California Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

November 2016 - At the stroke of midnight, recreational use of marijuana became legal in California. But there are a few important details about the new law. It is now legal for adults over 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or eight grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use.

California Passes Proposition 56 Tobacco Tax

November 2016 - After voters twice turned back attempts to raise the state's tobacco tax over the last decade, California passed Proposition 56, which would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack.

California passes Proposition 52 to Make Medi-Cal Funding Permanent

November 2016 - Californians have chosen to make permanent the hospital fee program that helps fund Medi-Cal, the state's subsidized healthcare program for low-income residents. Early election returns show the measure passing with more than 70% of the vote. Proposition 52 will hobble state lawmakers' ability to change or end the hospital fee program. Through the program, hospitals pay to generate a federal contribution to Medi-Cal that results in a net benefit to the hospitals. During the fiscal year that ended in June 2016, the program generated $4.4 billion in federal funding for Medi-Cal.

Governor Signs Bill to Protect Very Ill Children

September 2016 - Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 586 (Hernandez) which will help prevent potentially life-threatening disruptions in care during an upcoming restructure of state program California Children's Services (CCS), which currently coordinates healthcare for California's medically fragile kids.

Governor Signs Bill Banning Surprise Medical Bills

September 2016 - After over 40 years of legislative gridlock on the issue, Governor Brown signed AB 72 (Bonta, et. al.) shielding consumers from surprise out-of-network medical bills when they follow the rules of their plan and visit in-network facilities.

Bill On Consumer Notice of Unreasonable Premium Hikes Passes Assembly

August 2016 - SB 908 passed the State Assembly. It now takes two simple steps to make sure consumers know their rights.

CA Bills To Help Healthcare Consumers Pass Key Committees

June 2016 - In a big win for consumers, a bill passed the State Assembly Health Committee late Tuesday to force pharmaceutical companies to justify how much they charge for prescription drugs and disclose large price hikes ahead of time. The same committee also passed S-B 908, which requires health insurers to provide notice to consumers if a rate hike has been deemed unjustified by state regulators.

Medical Aid in Dying Becomes Legal in California

June 2016 - Starting June 9th, medical aid in dying, also known as assisted suicide, became legal in California. Mentally competent, terminally ill patients will be able to seek a prescription from their doctor that will allow them to die peacefully in their sleep.

35 CA Counties Expand Medical Programs for Undocumented Adults

May 2016 - Dozens of California counties are expanding their indigent care as of today to include the undocumented.

Undocumented Children Eligible for Full Medi-Cal

May 2016 - Starting today, about 170-thousand undocumented children in California are newly eligible for full scope Medi-Cal insurance. It?s part of the Health4All program that would extend coverage to children in low-income families who qualify.

Anthem Blue Cross Fined $415,000 for Lack of Responsiveness to California Consumers

May 2016 - The California Department of Managed Health Care fined Anthem Blue Cross $415,000 for failing to identify, process, and resolve consumers' complaints in a timely manner.

Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect

January 2016 - California's medical marijuana industry is growing up fast, so to speak - because a new law professionalizing the growth, sale and taxation of the plant goes into effect on Friday, January first.

California Latino Advocates File Civil Rights Claim Over Medi-Cal

December 2015 - California is violating the civil rights of Latinos by under-funding Medi-Cal, the state's healthcare program for low-income families and the disabled- according to a federal civil rights complaint filed this week.

Anthem, Blue Shield Fined Over Misleading Provider Directories

November 2015 - California Department of Managed Health Care announced it issued fines against Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross for inaccurate provider directories.

Right to Die Approved in CA

October 2015 - Governor Brown signs ABx2 15: "Right to die" law.

Medical Marijuana Regulations Passed

October 2015 - The Governor signed a trio of bills aimed at bringing order and oversight to California's medical marijuana industry nearly 20 years after the state became the first to legalize pot for medical use.

Children's Dental Care Coverage Made Easier

January 2014 - The board of California's health exchange, Covered California, has voted to reinstate the requirement that insurers include children's dental coverage.

May 2012 - The City and County of San Francisco recently updated its website to include precautionary health warnings about cell phone radiation. Burlingame is the only other municipality in the U.S. that has adopted such warnings on their websites.

September 2011 - The San Francisco Department of the Environment has announced that the nation's first cell phone ordinance is now in effect. The Department will conduct extensive outreach in October to distribute materials and educate local cell phone retailers about the ordinance. Retailer compliance with the ordinance is required by the end of October.

August 2011 - Burlingame became the second city in California and the United States to adopt precautionary health warnings regarding cell phone use. The guidelines adopted by the Burlingame City Council on August 15, 2011, state that the World Health Organization lists cell phones as "possibly carcinogenic," and that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates that all cell phone manuals caution users to hold the phone a short distance from the body. Although the ongoing research and debate within the scientific community about the health effects of cell phones is recognized, the Council makes six recommendations to minimize "exposure to cell phone emissions."

June 2011 - A state bill that would require most hospitals have a policy in place to provide education about breastfeeding to new moms, has passed its first hurdle. Proponents say breastfeeding has been shown to help prevent the onset of chronic health conditions and diseases and that for many women, especially low-income women, assistance in hospitals may be the only help that they receive.

June 2011 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched an initiative to support a program that helps reach the nation's underserved Hispanic/Latino communities and educate them about the availability of health services and insurance. A program launched in California four years ago by L.A. Care Health Plan, has already trained nearly 70 Health Promoters.

March 2011 - California regulators have asked Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to set up a process so its customers can opt out of smart meters if they have concerns about the devices' potential health effects. Dozens of people and advocacy groups have claimed the radio frequencies and radiation from the wireless electricity and gas meters was harming people's health.

Physician Shortage Plan Unveiled

November -0001 - Democrats in the CA State Senate introduced SB 22, which would address the dire shortage of primary care physicians in California. This bill would establish a nonprofit public benefit corporation, to be known as the California Medical Residency Training Foundation. The bill would also create the Graduate California Medical Education Trust Residency Training Fund in the state treasury. It would fund grants to create new graduate medical residency training programs.

Cell phone warning measure approved in Berkeley

November -0001 - Berkeley City Council moved forward with a consumer warning measure. It would highlight the possible risks of cellphones, including details about keeping phones away from the body when not in use.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado to Continue Funding for Colorado's Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) Program

June 2016 - Governor John Hickenlooper signed Colorado's annual budget legislation, also known as the Long Bill, fighting off efforts to stop contraception program.

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Health Care Bill Into Law in Frisco

June 2016 - Health-care bill HB 16-1336 is a law after Governor John Hickenlooper made a stopover in Frisco to add his signature. The new decree calls for the state's Division of Insurance to conduct a study looking at the viability of creating a single rating area from which health-insurance companies develop individual plan costs. The report is due in August.

Coverage Increases After Medicaid Expansion

March 2016 - A new report shows states that expanded Medicaid have lower uninsured rates than non-expansion states.

Mercy for Animals Commends Wendy's New Cage-Free Egg Policy

February 2016 - Wendy's announced its commitment to improving animal welfare in its U.S. and Canadian supply chains by switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2020.

Colorado Gets Aggressive on ACA

April 2013 - The Colorado legislature passed the Family Care Act (H.B. 13-1222), which creates state family and medical leave protections for civil union and domestic partners. It's seen as a victory for equality and Colorado families, and if a loved one becomes seriously ill or faces a family emergency, they will not have to choose between health and a job.

Constitutional Amendment Regulates Marijuana Like Alcohol

November 2012 - Voters supported a constitutional amendment to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

October 2012 - Colorado received a $43.5 million grant from the federal government in order to build the state-run Insurance Exchange as established under the Affordable Care Act. The grant will provide two years of funding for the building process, after which Colorado would be eligible for a "Level Two" grant.

May 2011 - Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed into law SB11-200, which establishes insurance exchanges in Colorado. Seven other states have passed similar exchange laws. The exchanges are part of the Affordable Care Act.

April 2011 - The Colorado Health Exchange bill was approved by the state senate and is currently under review by the house. The Exchange would provide a way for Coloradans to comparison shop for insurance, getting the best coverage at the most affordable price. We've extensively covered this issue, which is a part of Federal Health Care reform and is considered by many state health advocacy groups to be a crucial part of protecting health care for Coloradans.

Commonwealth News Service

Bay State First to Approve Recreational Marijuana in Northeast

November 2016 - Voters in the Commonwealth approved a ballot measure that legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Hours later, when the votes were added up, a similar measure passed in Maine. A big factor was revenue; when sales tax and state and local surcharges are added up, the tax for pot will be around 12 percent.

Outreach to Non-English Speakers About Health Benefits

February 2013 - Some of the Bay State's Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking small businesses are eligible for subsidized health insurance for employees but are unaware of their options. An outreach campaign is underway to inform them, as well as individuals and families.

November 2012 - With the re-election of President Obama, his Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) will see wider implementation in Massachusetts, which is ahead of the curve, having passed its own reforms six years ago. Advocates are making an effort to help small businesses and their employees take full advantage of tax credits. Some 50-thousand Massachusetts residents who are single, with incomes at or under about 44-thousand dollars, should get sliding-scale subsidies to help them afford insurance.

May 2012 - Governor Hickenlooper signed the Hospital Payment Assistance Program into law on May 7th. The law included provisions requiring hospitals to clearly state charges (allowing for comparative shopping in non-emergency situations) and allowances for extended bill payments for uninsured patients to avoid bankruptcy

May 2012 - House leaders released a revised plan to curb health care costs, keeping several key provisions intact, including a requirement that the health care industry cut spending growth in half by 2016, according to the Boston Globe. The reworked proposal, which was the focus of intense lobbying by hospitals, businesses, and other groups, also retains a provision that would impose a luxury tax on certain expensive providers and would redistribute the money to struggling hospitals.

February 2011 - After two years of debate, Governor Patrick put legislation forward aimed at taking the next step in health care reform in Massachusetts, which is cost containment. The plan, in part would change the "fee for service" system by encouraging better coordination of care and focus more on preventive medicine.

December 2010 - Governor Patrick announced that only 1.9 % of the state's residents are without health insurance- the lowest percentage to date. That's according to the state's annual household survey on health insurance which was released by the Division of Health Care Finance & Policy.

Connecticut News Service

November 2012 - Connecticut doesn't have to worry about next month's deadline to tell the federal government whether it will participate in the Affordable Care Act. The state is already implementing "Obamacare." The state has received a $107 million federal grant to help implement the law, a cabinet level department has been created to oversee the law and the state has staffed the Connecticut Health Care Exchange, which will create a new online marketplace for insurance.

SustiNet Moves Through General Assembly

April 2011 - SustiNet, Connecticut's health reform legislation, continues to move through the General Assembly, having been approved by three committees so far.

Husky Program Improves Access to Healthcare

February 2011 - The state is changing the way it provides health care for 400-thousand low-income children and parents in the Husky program, and 200-thousand seniors and people with disabilities.

Small Businesses for Health Care Reform Organization Formed

January 2011 - An organization of small business owners (Small Businesses for Health Care Reform) has formed to promote federal health reform and state reform (SustiNet), in a state where other business groups oppose it.

Florida News Connection

Medical Marijuana Amendment is Welcomed by Patients

November 2016 - After failing in 2014, voters in Florida overwhelmingly (70%) approved an amendment to the state constitution to give patients with debilitating illnesses access to medical marijuana.

May 2011 - FNC Broke the story that Florida's efforts to move low-income Medicaid patients into HMO's is getting a thumbs-down from HHS in D.C. A pilot program in five Florida counties has been plagued with lack of access, abuse and fraud. The Governor signed a law expanding the plan state-wide, but it needs a federal waiver to take effect. HHS has said no waiver is likely.

April 2011 - Florida's efforts to move low-income Medicaid patients into HMOs is getting a thumbs-down from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A pilot program in five Florida counties has been plagued with lack of access, abuse and fraud. The Governor signed a law expanding the plan state-wide, but it needs a federal waiver to take effect - a waiver that is now unlikely.

Special Session to look at Medicaid Funding

November -0001 - The Florida Senate called a special legislative session for June to reiterate support for a plan that would use federal Medicaid funding to provide health insurance to about 800,000 Floridians. The plan is set to be approved by the Florida Senate by June 3rd. The expansion may not move as swiftly in the State House since Republican leaders and the Governor are against the health coverage expansion.

ACA Enrollment Stays Strong

November -0001 - Florida’s ACA Enrollment remains high, in spite of efforts to limit access to enrollment by some conservative leaders in the state. Florida’s tally exceeds that of California. Up until now, Florida lawmakers have chosen to opt out of creating a Health care marketplace for Florida, leaving it up to residents to utilize the federal marketplace. They have also opted not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Even with that, as of mid-January 1.27 million Floridians enrolled in exchange plans, slightly more than California. Health care advocates consider that a victory, considering the fact that California has a larger population and is a democratic-led state.

More Children Gain Health Insurance

November -0001 - Enrollment of school-age children in Medicaid rose by 137,000 this year, which included more than 62,000 kids who transferred from the state's CHIP program, according to Florida Healthy Kids Corp., the nonprofit that runs CHIP in the state. That switch saved families money, since they previously had to pay a $15- or $20-a-month premium in CHIP.

Greater Dakota News Service

South Dakota Voters Backing Medicaid Expansion

March 2016 - A recent poll commissioned by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network shows 74 percent of voters support Gov. Dennis Daugaard's Medicaid expansion plans.

December 2010 - The Community Health Care Association is setting the stage for some major expansions. They anticipate almost doubling the number of clinics in the Dakotas, and could add up to 100,000 new patients. They also had initiatives for diabetes education, and rural clinic mammograms. Employees at several clinics raised funds on their own to give back to their communities

Illinois News Connection

November 2011 - A new report released by Georgetown University says the number of Illinois children who are uninsured has dropped by nearly one percentage point. That means since 2008, more than 24 thousand Illinois children who would have gone without, have been given access to health care because of the Affordable Care Act.

August 2011 - Governor Pat Quinn signed new laws designed to improve the quality of life for those needing behavioral health services and ensure equal access to necessary treatments. The laws build upon Illinois' efforts to ensure equal access to health care for Illinois residents and coordinate care to improve outcomes.

Medicaid Cuts Restored

November -0001 - A law signed in June will restore some Medicaid cuts Illinois made in 2012 and could give the state access to about $2.4 billion in federal money over the next few years. The new law seeks about $400 million in federal matching funds for the approximately 349,000 new Medicaid sign-ups in Illinois under the Affordable Care Act expansion. Supporters hailed the new law as a way capitalize on federal money and improve the state's safety net for the most vulnerable residents.

Indiana News Service

Indiana Won't Challenge Judge's Order on Abortion

August 2016 - Indiana has decided not to appeal a federal judge's order blocking a state law that would ban abortions because of a fetus' genetic abnormalities. The judge had issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky filed a lawsuit, arguing the law is unconstitutional and violates women's privacy rights.

Judge Blocks Indiana Abortion Law

July 2016 - A law that was supposed to go into effect July 1st in Indiana was blocked by a federal judge. HEA 1337 would have banned abortions of a fetus with genetic abnormalities or because of race, gender or ancestry.

Indiana Saw a Huge Drop in the Number of People Killed in House Fires in 2015.

February 2016 - Indiana saw a 14% drop in the number of fire deaths last year.

Medicaid Expansion Inked

November -0001 - Indiana is now the 28th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The program will be run under the state’s Healthy Indiana Plan, and expands eligibility to those earning incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. It’s estimated to be available to 350,000 lower income Hoosiers.

Kentucky News Connection

Effort to Expand Oral Health Care in KY

June 2017 - A new initiative is examining ways to improve dental health in Kentucky. Delta Dental of Kentucky provided $1 million in seed money to launch five regional networks to engage diverse partners who will create local oral-health solutions.

Backlash Forces Bevin Administration Response to Problems with Kentucky's Transition to Benefind

March 2016 - Kentucky News Connection was the first media outlet in the state to report on troubles with state government's transition to a single system to determine eligibility for health insurance.

More Kentuckians Now Have Health Insurance

November 2015 - Despite some political push back, Kentucky continues to show advances in access to health insurance with growing number of adults and children covered through the state's health benefits plan, Kynect.

May 2011 - The Democratic-led Senate on Wednesday, May 25th, rejected a Republican plan to overhaul Medicare, defeating it by a 57-40 vote, with five Republicans breaking with their party to vote against the proposal.

Keystone State News Connection

Single-Payer Healthcare Bill Introduced in PA

October 2015 - State lawmakers announced that they would be filing a proposed bill in the Pennsylvania legislature to create a single-payer health insurance program.

December 2011 - A new report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Center for Children and Families shows the number of kids in America without health insurance is down - and Pennsylvania is among the states showing signs of improvement. The report shows just over five percent of kids in Pennsylvania are without coverage, one of the best rates in the nation.

Maine News Service

Prescription Drug Price Bills Pending

May 2017 - Maine lawmakers are considering a pair of bills that would lower the cost of prescription drugs by requiring state agencies to pay the same or lower prices than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The measures are LD 655 and LD 652,

Maine Becomes 2nd Northeast State to OK Recreational Marijuana

November 2016 - Maine voters approved a ballot measure approving the recreational use of marijuana on Election Day. Massachusetts approved a similar measure, and the vote was tallied first. Recreational marijuana in Maine will be be regulated by the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

October 2011 - The Maine Legislative Council of party leaders in the House and Senate, recently met to decide what bills to consider in the session that begins in January, and several of the measures address changes to the recently passed health care reform package. The need to revisit that package was highlighted in a story produced by the Maine News Service in October. The story focused on the latest research released by the U.S. Census American Community Survey which says Maine still has about 10% of the population without healthcare coverage. The figures put Maine behind Massachusetts and Vermont in the percentage of residents covered.

Michigan News Connection

Lead Testing for Flint WIC Participants

February 2016 - Officials with the U-S Department of Agriculture are continuing support for residents reeling from the Flint water crisis.

December 2011 - On Dec.19, federal regulators denied a request from Michigan's Republican governor, Rick Snyder, to waive new limits on profits and administrative costs for the state's health insurers. To the outrage of consumer advocates, the state had attempted to file for a waiver from the Medical Loss Ratio, which requires that no more than 20% of premiums can go toward administrative costs. Michigan becomes the second-largest state to have such a request turned down by the Obama administration. The government rejected a similar request from Florida on Dec. 15.

Health Insurance Enrollment Record Set

November -0001 - Healthy Michigan, the state’s expanded Medicaid program, launched on April 1. Recently, the state announced that the Healthy Michigan Plan has surpassed its original two-year and total eligibility projection by reaching more than 477,000 enrollees, just eight months after launching.

Minnesota News Connection

ACA Sign-Up Surge

April 2014 - The number of Minnesotans signing up for health care with the ACA marketplace continues to grow. As of April, more than 200,000 had enrolled in coverage through MNsure.

Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Offerings Signed into State Law

March 2013 - Governor Dayton signed into law the Minnesota Insurance Marketplace Act, to bring a new, consumer-friendly health insurance marketplace to Minnesota families and small businesses as allowed under the ACA.

April 2012 - Governor Dayton signed a bill that requires all students in Minnesota to take one 30-minute course on CPR. The American Heart Association says this will save lives as bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates after cardiac arrest.

March 2011 - A newly-formed Minnesota Patient Advocacy Coalition is dedicated to giving patients a stronger voice in the capitol and improving access to affordable health care for all Minnesotans, and consists of more than a dozen health and patient groups representing the elderly, the disabled, patients, survivors and caregivers whose lives have been impacted by diseases or chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and MS.

January 2011 - In his first official action as Minnesota's governor, Mark Dayton signed two executive orders on Wednesday, January 5, to extend Medicaid coverage and bring the state more than $1 billion in federal funds. The action effectively scraps former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's August order barring state agencies from accepting the federal dollars.

January 2011 - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar joined Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and four other senators to introduce legislation that would strengthen criminal penalties against individuals and corporations who knowingly violate food safety standards and endanger American lives. The Food Safety Accountability Act would increase the sentences that prosecutors can seek for individuals who knowingly contaminate the food supply from a maximum of three years in prison to up to 10 years. These offenses, now considered misdemeanors, would be felonies under the bill.

Obesity Rates Hold Steady

November -0001 - Minnesota’s adult obesity rates have held constant since 2008, while rates continued climbing nationally and in nearby states. Minnesota was the only state in the region to succeed at bringing its obesity rate below 26 percent. In addition, the number of Minnesotans at a healthy weight in 2013 has increased by more than 60,000 compared with 2010.

Record Low for Uninsured

November -0001 - Minnesota's uninsured rate is at a historic low with the annual open enrollment for MNsure now underway. With the ACA helping more people gain coverage, the uninsured rate in the state has fallen to 4.9%.

Consumer Demand for Natural Brings Cereal Changes

November -0001 - Minnesota-based General Mills has announced that it plans to eliminate artificial colors and flavors from its cereals such as Trix, Cocoa Puffs and Reese’s Puffs by the end of 2015. This as the company tries to adjust to changing consumer demands on natural and nutritional foods.

Alzheimer’s Funding Secured

November -0001 - Minnesota is taking action to help try to determine the causes and cures for Alzheimer's, the fastest growing disease in the country. The latest state budget includes funding for research, along with public awareness. Minnesota is also looking at the possible creation of a system to alert law enforcement and the public when a vulnerable adult goes missing.

More Radon Help for Residents

November -0001 - The number of Minnesota homes mitigated in the last year to remove radon doubled over previous years, and the increase may be due in large part to a new state law, state health officials say. The law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2014 requires more detailed disclosure be provided to buyers about radon during Minnesota home sales.

Medical Marijuana Approved

November -0001 - Minnesota in July joined 21 other states in offering medical marijuana in July. It is one of the most restrictive such laws in the country with only pills or oil allowed to patients under nine specific medical conditions.

Uninsured Rate Sets a Record Low

November -0001 - Minnesota’s uninsured population rate is now below 5%, its lowest point since records on the rate have been kept. With the ACA's expansion of Medicare and the implementation of the state's health insurance marketplace, between September 30, 2013, and May 1, 2014, the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by 180,500, a reduction of more than 40%.

Health Insurance Enrollment Tops 300,000

November -0001 - More than 300,000 Minnesotans have now enrolled in comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage through the state health insurance marketplace, called MNsure. Since the marketplace went online last fall, the number of uninsured Minnesotans has declined by more than 40 percent to reach a record low.

Missouri News Service

May 2011 - The federal government had issued a sanction against the state of Missouri for what's called overly-restrictive home health standards for Medicaid recipients. The state subsequently took action, which senior and disability advocates in Missouri are applauding.

December 2010 - According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of sexually transmitted infections has dropped in Missouri. Paula Gianino with Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region says the 'expedited partner therapy' law that went into effect in August has been helpful.

Nevada News Service

Nevada Improves Health Access for Latino Children

December 2016 - Nevada is making huge strides in ensuring its Latino kids have access to health insurance. According to the findings from the National Council of La Raza, from 2013 to 2015 the total number of uninsured Latino children in the state fell nearly 50 percent, down to 29-thousand.

Nevada Makes Progress Insuring Latino Kids

December 2016 - Nevada has the 14th largest population of Latinos in the country, and a report released today (Thur.) shows the state is making huge strides in ensuring its Latino kids have access to health insurance. According to the findings from the National Council of La Raza, from 2013 to 2015 the total number of uninsured Latino children in the state fell nearly 50 percent, down to 29-thousand.

Nevada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

November 2016 - Nevada went green on Tuesday by approving a ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana.The law makes it legal for anyone over 21 to possess as much as one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrate. A 15 percent excise tax plus fees and licensing for dispensaries will by some estimates generate $20 million for schools. Municipalities will not be able to create their own prohibition laws, effectively making marijuana use legal all over the state. However, localities do have some say on zoning for dispensaries. Backers of the initiative are projecting around $393 million in sales in 2018, a possible $1.1 billion in economic impact by 2024 and as many as 6,200 new jobs for the industry-friendly bill. All marijuana must be grown in Nevada.

Nevada Drug Overdoses Go Down

December 2015 - Drug overdoses were down in Nevada by almost 13 percent in 2014, the second biggest drop in the country, at a time when many states are seeing major increases.

April 2011 - Nevadans would know a lot more about the safety of local hospitals under five "transparency" bills that are pending in Carson City. Three of the bills are sponsored by State Senator Shirley Breeden, and will make public details like infection rates at Nevada hospitals and how often Nevada doctors perform a particular surgical procedure. (The Bills are SB 209,264, 338, 339, and 340).

ACA Grant Brings New Benefits

November -0001 - Thousands of people in Utah, including the homeless population, are expected to benefit from $2.3 million dollars in Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding to expand nonprofit community health centers.

More Nevadans Sign up for Health Insurance

November -0001 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that just over 40,000 Nevadans selected plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace during the first month of Open Enrollment, which started November 15th

New Hampshire News Connection

NH Funding Restored to Planned Parenthood

July 2016 - A special five member body, the New Hampshire Executive Council, that has veto power over state contracts, voted to restore more than $500,000 in funding to Planned Parenthood.

Medicaid Expansion Re-Upped in NH

April 2016 - Governor Hassan signed bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the state's Medicaid Expansion plan.

NH House Rejects Planned Parenthood Defunding Bill

February 2016 - The New Hampshire rejected HJR 3, a bill that would have blocked state funding for any health center providing abortion services regardless of the reason.

May 2012 - The Obama administration allocated more than $5 million in grants for New Hampshire community health centers, most of which will be used to serve the Granite State's neediest families.

March 2012 - New Hampshire's aging veterans now have a new opportunity to stay in their homes and receive care. The NH Department of Health & Human Services announced the new pilot program in Belmont and is being offered through Service Link. The Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services program (VD-HCBS) is in response to a national effort by the Veterans Health Administration. The program is an option for veterans who are eligible for nursing home placement and wish to remain in their homes.

New Mexico News Connection

Heroin Surge Addressed

April 2014 - Santa Fe city leaders are hoping that a new hotline will encourage people in the community to report suspected drug dealers as the city deals with increased heroin use.

September 2012 - U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman announced that New Mexico will receive an estimated $1.38 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) help the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool continue to offer health care insurance options to those who otherwise are denied coverage and considered uninsurable due to preexisting conditions.

Number With Insurance Rises

November -0001 - The number of people who don't have health insurance in New Mexico dropped by five percent since the Affordable Care Act started at the first of the year, according to the latest Gallup poll. The research shows the state's uninsured rate fell from 20 percent to 15 percent in the first half of 2014. About 700-thousand New Mexicans are now insured under Medicaid.

New York News Connection

NY Expands Premature Babies' Access to Breast Milk

April 2017 - The New York State budget includes a provision allocating $3M Medicaid payments for breast milk for premature infants. The measure will help get lifesaving breast milk to the 3300 premature infants born in NYS every year, saving millions spend on treatment for an often fatal gastro-intestinal disease that affects one-of-six premature babies.

GMO Labeling Bill Advances in Assembly

February 2016 - The Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection approved a measure to require the labeling of genetically modified foods.

April 2012 - Governor Cuomo took executive action to create a statewide health exchange, thwarting attempts by opponents of President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act to bog down health care reform in the Empire State.

June 2011 - A slimmed down, less restrictive insurance exchange bill was agreed upon by the Cuomo administration and the state Legislature. The exchange, a component of President Obama's health care overhaul, would create a system for individuals and small businesses to get health insurance. While it passed in the Assembly, it was not addressed in the Senate. Senate staffers said they may return to tackle the exchange issue later in the summer during a brief "cleanup" session.

North Carolina News Service

Reduction in Teen Births and Increased Immunization

March 2016 - A report from NC Child finds that the state has seen a reduction in hospitalization rates for asthma, reduction in teen births and increased immunization.

Northern Rockies News Service

Governor Signs Executive Order Authorizing Cannabis Oil Treatment for 25 Epileptic Children

October 2015 - It was announced that 25 children suffering severe epilepsy in Idaho may begin clinical trials next week with the GW Pharmaceuticals drug called Epidiolex.

ACA Brings New Health Professionals to Idaho

December 2013 - The Affordable Care Act is credited with getting 367 medical professionals into areas of Idaho where there's a shortage.

Ohio News Connection

Health Care Commitments Applauded in Kasich Budget

February 2017 - Amid the hundreds of pages of details in Governor John Kasich's new two-year budget proposal are what some call "important investments" in health and human services. One of the most notable is the continued funding of Medicaid expansion, which extended coverage to around 700,000 Ohioans. The budget proposal also expands Medicaid Managed-Care plans to Ohioans living in long-term care facilities, and changes the Medicaid Managed-Care Tax, a sales tax that doesn't conform to federal regulations.

Feds Deny "Healthy Ohio" Proposal; Preserve Healthcare for Low-Income

September 2016 - The federal government denied the state's request to impose premiums and other costs for Medicaid enrollees through the "Healthy Ohio" proposal. Health care advocates say now health care for hundreds of thousands of struggling Ohio will be preserved.

Medical Marijuana Legal Now in Ohio

June 2016 - Governor John Kasich approved a law legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio, which allows physicians to prescribe cannabis products as treatment for 21 different medical conditions, including AIDS, epilepsy, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. While a committee works to establish rules for growing and distributing Ohioans should be able legally use marijuana by September by getting a doctor?s recommendation and obtaining the medicine from another state.

New Bill Would Expand Dental Care Access in Ohio

May 2016 - A new bill backed by health care organizations in Ohio could expand oral health care to the state's under-served communities. SB 330 would allow dental therapists to practice under the supervision of a dentist, which could improve the availability of dental health care services for kids enrolled in Medicaid, low-income families and people in rural communities.

Ohio Medicaid Enrollment Crushing Projections

March 2016 - Ohio's Medicaid expansion remains on track to double enrollment projections in the next few years.

Medicare Program in Ohio Ranked Top Nationally

January 2016 - An Ohio program designed to help Medicare beneficiaries understand complex health care benefits and options has been named the best of its kind in the nation.

Medicaid Expansion Approved

May 2015 - Governor John Kasich signed a $71.2 billion, two-year state budget that continues his expansion of the Medicaid health program.

Medicaid Expansion Sets Records

March 2015 - Ohio Governor John Kasich'ss Medicaid expansion put more than half a million Ohioans on Medicaid in just 14 months, with enrollment hitting 510,544 in February.

Wendy's Drops Soda from Children's Menus

January 2015 - Columbus-based Wendy's is dropping soda from its children's menu.

Grant Will Promote Health Insurance Outreach

September 2014 - The Ohio Association of Foodbanks was recently awarded a $2.18 million federal Navigator grant by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the second consecutive year.

More Children Covered by Insurance

November 2013 - A poll released from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families shows the number of kids without insurance has actually decreased in the last five years.

Expansion of Medicaid in Ohio

September 2013 - Ohio officials accepted $2.5 billion in extra Medicaid funds from the federal government.

Medicaid Expansion Will Cover Thousands of Ohioans

September 2013 - Officials are clearing the way for thousands more Ohioans to receive health coverage under an expansion of Medicaid.

More Ohioans Covered Through Medicaid Insurance

November -0001 - A new report examines the benefits of Medicaid expansion in Ohio, and found it is giving hundreds of thousands access to care while ensuring providers and health systems receive payment. Ohio broadened coverage to reach poor working adults through the Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act. And according to Policy Matters Ohio, since January of this year, 367,395 Ohioans enrolled and many are getting health care services they need.

Oregon News Service

ACA Early Sign-up Success

October 2013 - In the first month of the health care exchange that is part of the Affordable Care Act, the "fast-track" application process for the Oregon Health Plan signed up 70,000 people.

Oregon Senate Pushes for Health Insurance Transparency

April 2013 - The Oregon Senate unanimously approved a bill that requires health insurance companies to tell customers annually how they can find out about rate filings and hearings for proposed premium increases.

Grants Arrives for State Health Insurance Exchange

January 2013 - The state's health insurance exchange - called Cover Oregon - received $226 million in grant funding over the next two years from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Oregon One of First States to Receive OK for Health Insurance Exchange

December 2012 - Oregon made a big step forward in the long process of creating its Health Insurance Exchange.

May 2012 - Nine Community Health Centers around Oregon learned in May that they will share a total of more than $9 million to expand and renovate their facilities. The federal money, through the Affordable Care Act, is part of a plan to double the capacity of the nation's Community Health Center system by 2015.

January 2012 - Healthcare reform in Oregon is moving forward, with a proposal for coordinated care organizations (CCOs) finalized and sent to state lawmakers in January. CCOs are expected to improve health outcomes and lower costs by coordinating medical, dental and mental health services for Oregon Health Plan patients. They will focus on early intervention, chronic-care management and should mean fewer emergency room visits - an approach that's expected to save Oregon $3 billion over five years

April 2011 - Oregon is making real progress on establishing a state health insurance exchange. Even Republicans in the Legislature, who have been hesitant to accept any portion of the federal health care reform law, indicated in April that they'd go along with accepting a $48 million federal grant to create the exchange. They say they'd rather have the state do it than the feds.

Basic health plan study makes case

November -0001 - The Oregon Center for Public Policy released a study that makes a compelling case for a Basic Health Plan for Oregon. It describes the plan as an option for those people who make too much to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan, but too little to afford private-market insurance. At least 10,000 low-income Oregonians are in that category; the study says 56,000 more could get coverage at lower costs than they now pay.

Medicaid ER Visits Drop

November -0001 - The Oregon Health Authority reported in January that between July 2013 and June 2014, Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) members’ emergency room visits were down 21 percent since 2011, and there were fewer hospital admissions for diabetes complications and COPD. It’s especially significant considering that there are now 990,000 Oregon Health Plan members, 380,000 of whom signed up in 2014.

Thousands Go To Community Health Centers

November -0001 - Community Health Centers (CHCs) in Clackamas County, Medford, North Bend and Multnomah County are splitting more than $900,000 in federal grants to build or improve facilities and work on coordinating patient care. CHCs see patients no matter their insurance status or ability to pay. There are 32 of them in Oregon, and they operate more than 200 clinics statewide.

Prairie News Service

January 2012 - The North Dakota Department of Human Services received a $3.2 million performance bonus from the federal government in January for improving access and covering more low-income children through its Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance programs.

November 2011 - The percentage of uninsured children in North Dakota dropped from 7.1% to 6.5% from 2008 to 2010.

Tennessee News Service

Bill Introduced To Make Home Care More Accessible for Tennesseans.

March 2017 - As it stands - home health aids cannot administer medicine or take care of other smaller health tasks. Instead a RN must do carry the responsibility, which makes home care expensive for the thousands who need it. This bill would allow aids and family members to be trained by a nurse and then administer medicine and other more simple care tasks.

TN Senator Lamar Alexander Pushes for ACA Replacement before Repeal

December 2016 - All indications are that President-elect Trump will be overturning Obamacare upon his election, but bowing to public pressure, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is pushing Congress to have a replacement plan in place before the repeal.

Plan Revealed to Close Coverage Gap

July 2016 - There is new hope for the 280,000 Tennesseans currently in the coverage gap - making too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford insurance on their own through the Health Exchange.

New Program to Support Breastfeeding

January 2014 - The Tennessee Department of Health has launched a new hotline to help support mothers who are breastfeeding, at any time of the day or night.

Third Try for Insure Tennessee

November -0001 - Tennessee State Democrats asked Governor Haslam to reconvene legislators for another special session to try for a third time to pass the Insure Tennessee Program. The Governor and several Republican lawmakers support the program. If passed, it would allow the state to make a deal with the federal government for Medicaid expansion and access to millions of dollars a day in federal funds. If Insure Tennessee was put in place, 280,000 Tennesseans, including 24,000 veterans would be covered with health insurance. It took Governor Haslam 21 months of negotiating with the federal government to create Insure Tennessee with the help of TennCare’s director.

Utah News Connection

Judge Reinstates Planned Parenthood Funds

December 2015 - A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked Utah's governor from cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood in the state, which he had ordered amid a controversy over the use of fetal tissue from abortions.

Judge Orders State to Keep Funding Planned Parenthood

October 2015 - A federal judge ordered Utah to keep sending money to the local arm of Planned Parenthood on Thursday amid a lawsuit over the governor's decision to defund the organization.

More Than Expected Signed up for ACA Coverage

May 2014 - The final numbers show 84,601 Utahns signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

ACA Grant Brings New Benefits

November -0001 - Thousands of people in Utah, including the homeless population, are expected to benefit from $2.3 million dollars in Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding to expand nonprofit community health centers.

Virginia News Connection

Medicaid Pilot Program Proposed

March 2014 - Advocates for uninsured, low-income working Virginians applauded Governor Terry McAuliffe's proposal to expand Medicaid under a two-year pilot program.

Medicaid Expansion is a "Go", It was a long battle

February 2013 - The House of Delegates voted to adopt amendments to the state budget that will allow for reforms and the expansion of Medicaid to about 400 thousand uninsured Virginians.

Medicaid Expansion is a "Go"

February 2013 - It was a long battle, but the Medicaid expansion will happen in Virginia. The House of Delegates voted to adopt amendments to the state budget that will allow for reforms and the expansion of Medicaid to about 400 thousand uninsured Virginians.

July 2012 - A new law went into effect this month in Virginia that expands health coverage to pregnant women, and to children, who are legal immigrants. They'll be covered through Medicaid and FAMIS (Family Access to Medical Security). Approximately one thousand pregnant women, and hundreds of children, will benefit from the new coverage.

Poll: Views of Health Reform Move to

November -0001 - According to a new poll (Kaiser Family Foundation), more people now approve of the Affordable Care Act than disapprove, for the first time in years. Supporters say that’s because the law is working as it was supposed to, and that the big problems predicted for it haven’t happened.

Washington News Service

Healthy Initiative Ordered by Gov.

November 2013 - Gov. Inslee has created a new State Employee Health and Wellness Steering Committee tasked with developing a comprehensive wellness program for state employees.

ER Re-visits Reduced for Medicaid Patients

January 2013 - A plan by Washington doctors and hospitals to curb repeat visits to emergency rooms is on track to save as much as $31 million in its first full year.

Washington Voters Legalized Marijuana for Recreational Use

November 2012 - Voters supported an initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The action prompted King and Pierce County prosecutors to drop all pending misdemeanor charges involving only marijuana.

New Health Law Makes it Easier to Compare Prices

November -0001 - Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation in May to create what’s known as an “all-payer claims database” for health care. Backers of the new law say it will give the public much greater access to information about the health care system, including quality and cost of services to allow people to compare them. Twenty other states already have such databases.

New Plan For Medicaid Cost-Control

November -0001 - As part of a five-year Health Care Innovation Plan, the state of Washington has adopted a set of 52 measures to use when the Health Care Authority, Washington’s Medicaid plan, purchases health services. They will help determine how well the system is performing, both in terms of quality and cost.

State Seeks Flexibility for Medicaid

November -0001 - The state is asking Medicaid for a waiver to allow more flexibility to fund “nontraditional” services for targeted populations in its Apple Health (Medicaid) program. The goals are to reduce hospitalization, improve overall health, and accelerate the state’s ability to pay providers for better health outcomes rather than by number(s) of patients or procedures – all while keeping the “cost curve” at least two percent below Medicaid’s national trend.

West Virginia News Service

Coal Dust Safety Rules Finalized

September 2013 - The White House and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued long awaited rules reducing the allowable level of coal dust in the mines.

Medicaid Expansion Announced by Gov.

May 2013 - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced that West Virginia would expand Medicaid to include families up to 138% of the federal poverty line, an option offered under Obamacare.

Wisconsin News Connection

Supreme Court Rejects WI Appeal on Abortion Law

June 2016 - The Supreme Court has rejected appeals from Wisconsin and Mississippi seeking to put in place restrictions on abortion clinics that were struck down by lower courts. The justices today refused to hear appeals involving laws that would have forced doctors who perform abortions at clinics in the two states to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

WI Surpasses Goals for ACA Sign-ups

May 2014 - According to the U.S. Department of Health Services, more than 68,000 Wisconsinites signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the final seven weeks of enrollment.

Chemo Coverage Expanded

March 2014 - Public pressure and constant media coverage forced the Republican-controlled state Senate to pass a bill requiring insurance carriers to cover the cost of oral chemotherapy pills.

Senator’s ACA Lawsuit Rejected

November -0001 - A federal judge dismisses Republican Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act saying he has no standing to sue, and suggesting the Senator pursue a remedy in the realm of politics.

Wyoming News Service

More Docs in WYO Thanks to ACA

December 2013 - Wyoming saw nearly 100 more doctors and other health professionals on the job in rural areas because of the National Health Service Corps.


H I V / A I D S

P r e v e n t i o n

HIV/AIDS Prevention

Florida News Connection

Syringe Access Legislation Approved

March 2016 - Gov. Scott signed a bill creating the state's first sterile syringe exchange program.

New York News Connection

Cuomo Proposes Expanding Access to HIV treatment

February 2016 - Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing legislation to allow minors to receive treatment for HIV without requiring parental consent.

Ohio News Connection

LGBT Healthcare Equity Award for Ohio Center

March 2016 - The Aids Resource Center of Ohio has been recognized as a "Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality" by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Bill Improves Access to STD Medications

January 2016 - Ohioans will be able to better access prescription medications to treat sexually transmitted infections.


H o u s i n g / H o m e l e s s n e s s

Housing/Homelessness

Arizona News Connection

Bill to Criminalize Panhandling Fails State Senate

January 2017 - SB 1051 (Aggressive solicitation, approaching stopped vehicle) failed to pass through the Senate Judiciary committee this morning. If passed, this bill would have criminalized panhandling within ten feet of a car parked at an intersection. The bill did not receive a single vote.

New Approach Moves 35 Homeless into Phoenix Housing

December 2012 - Thirty-five chronically homeless Phoenix people are moving into homes through a local Housing First program being funded for the first time by federal housing vouchers.

Public Interest Firms Holding Mortgage Lenders Responsible

May 2012 - Public interest law firms are suing to prevent state lawmakers from putting more than half of a $98-million settlement paid by mortgage lenders into the state's general fund.

Arizona Banks Participate in Foreclosure-Prevention Program

March 2011 - Major Arizona banks have agreed to begin offering mortgage loan modifications for homeowners struggling to make their payments.

Grant to Help Housing and Homeless Programs

January 2011 - The federal government has renewed a $22.5 million grant for programs that provide housing and support services for homeless people and families in Maricopa County.

December 2010 - Some Arizona banks are teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to help the non-profit obtain foreclosure homes. Some banks are providing grants so Habitat can buy the homes. Others are donating the properties.

President Announces Home Ownership Plan

November -0001 - The President came to Arizona to announce plans to cut mortgage insurance premiums charged by the Federal Housing Administration. The Arizona Association of Realtors estimates the move should put hundreds of thousands of potential first-time homeowners into the market.

California News Service

Governor Signs "Housing First" Bill

September 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1380, making California a "Housing First" state and establishing a Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council. Authored by Senator Holly Mitchell, SB 1380 requires all state programs targeted to end homelessness to incorporate the core components of Housing First.

Governor Signs Law To Encourage More Affordable Housing

September 2016 - Today, Governor Brown signed AB 2031 (Bonta, D-Oakland). AB 2031, sponsored by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH) and supported by Housing California, gives cities the authority to bond against their "boomerang funds" (former redevelopment funds) for affordable development without voter approval.

Governor Signs Two Bills To Help Homeless Students

September 2016 - On September 21, two bills meeting the needs of homeless higher education students became law. AB 801 (Bloom, D-Santa Monica), co-sponsored by Housing California, creates the Success for Homeless Youth in Higher Education Act.

Bill to Require CA Renters to Pay Up During Evictions Pulled Before Vote

May 2016 - Assemblyman Mike Gatto killed his controversial bill on evictions ahead of a scheduled vote in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Bill to Fight Housing Discrimination Introduced in State Senate

February 2016 - A bill to make it illegal for landlords to discriminate against people with Section 8 housing vouchers was introduced in the California State Senate on Tuesday.

Commonwealth News Service

Dip in Family Homelessness in Bay State

March 2017 - A new (Boston Foundation) report find family homelessness was down for the past two years; that after nearly a decade of increases. Homeless advocates also held a lobby day this month calling for more funding to move families out of shelters and into affordable housing.

Connecticut News Service

$23 Million Awarded to Support the Development of Affordable Housing

April 2017 - Connecticut Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne M. Klein announced that nearly $23 million in state funding is being awarded to support the development of affordable housing in six communities across Connecticut as part of the latest round of funding under the state's Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties (CHAMP) program. These awards will play a role in helping to create, rehabilitate, or preserve more than 200 units of affordable housing and greatly expanding access to mixed income and supportive housing units. These new units are essential in the state's work to prevent and end homelessness.

Connecticut Ends Homelessness for Veterans

February 2016 - Governor Dannel Malloy announced that Connecticut had officially ended homelessness for veterans.

Connecticut Aims to End Homelessness for All Vets

November 2015 - On Veterans Day Connecticut was able to celebrate being the first state in the nation to eliminate chronic homelessness among veterans.

State Commits to Help Homeless

April 2013 - The budget approved by the Appropriations Committee sustains significant new investments in strategies to end homelessness, according to advocates, including a continuing commitment to rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing and affordable housing.

Illinois News Connection

HUD Awards Money for Homeless Illinois Vets

December 2015 - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $443,453 in grants and vouchers to be used to expand support services and housing for Illinois veterans.

December 2011 - Governor Pat Quinn in December launched the Welcome Home Heroes program to promote homeownership for Illinois Veterans, active military personnel, reservists and Illinois National Guard members. The financing package is available statewide, and provides a forgivable grant up to $10,000 toward the purchase of a new home, as well as an additional mortgage tax credit up to $20,000 over the life of the loan. It also creates hundreds of jobs statewide.

Program Ensures Stability for Shaky Housing Situations for Teens

November -0001 - A project underway in Illinois is the first nationally to address a problem many homeless children and teens have of safely storing their belongings. The Chicago Youth Storage Initiative is working to develop storage programs that can create some stability for homeless youth. Tracy Baim, publisher, Windy City Times and project coordinator. This summer, the initiative is building lockers at a Southside overnight youth shelter as a pilot, and possibly two additional sites.

Kentucky News Connection

Making a Dent in Homelessness

January 2017 - Kentucky's homelessness, largest in Louisville, is dropping because of an effort to focus on veterans who were homeless.

Keystone State News Connection

More Vulnerable Pennsylvanians Being Served in Their Communities

June 2017 - The Department of Human Services says increased access to housing over the past two years has served 10 percent more people in the community. Specifically, people over the age of 60 who are receiving home- and community-based waivers increased by 15 percent; people under the age of 60 who are receiving attendant care services increased by 25 percent; Pennsylvanians receiving services through the LIFE program increased by 24 percent; and persons with developmental disabilities who are served in home- and community-based long-term care waiver services increased by 20 Percent.

Michigan News Connection

Mortgage Crisis Relief for some MI Homeowners

February 2016 - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says some folks who lost their homes or are underwater on their mortgages may receive part of a $3.5 million settlement with lender HSBC.

Money Approved to Fight Blight in Michigan

January 2016 - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, along with Congressman Dan Kildee led a bipartisan effort to help cities across Michigan and the country revitalize neighborhoods and keep communities safe.

Minnesota News Connection

HUD Reports Decline in MN Homeless Vets

December 2015 - A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports the homeless rate among the state's veterans has been declining.

Nevada News Service

June 2011 - Advocates for Nevada homeowners prodded state lawmakers into doing the right thing and passing a measure this session which prohibits debt collectors from going after Nevadans who are unlucky enough to lose their homes, but still have debts that were not covered in the short-sale of their homes.

New York News Connection

Proposal Could Reduce Homelessness Statewide

March 2017 - Advocates for the homeless are supporting a proposal called the Home Stability Support program, which they say could drastically reduce and prevent homelessness in New York state. The program would raise the amount of the housing allowance for people on public assistance to 85 percent of the prevailing rents in the area. Cities could provide the final 15 percent. The program could reduce the NYC shelter population by an estimated 80 percent for families with children, and 60 percent for adults over ten years.

NY Village Ends Housing Discrimination

February 2016 - The village trustees of Garden City, NY, approved a measure to end housing discrimination by reforming exclusionary zoning rules.

Grants Help Vets

November -0001 - There’s help for veterans who face a wide range of stressful situations; a grant is helping some local veterans deal with them – before they put their home or family at risk. A Long Island Community Foundation grant helps increase outreach in the number two region in the nation for veteran population.

Ohio News Connection

Homelessness Continues to Drop in Ohio

November 2016 - A new federal report shows a 17 percent drop in overall homelessness in Ohio since 2010. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress also showed a 29 percent reduction among homeless families in Ohio; a 39 percent drop in veteran homelessness in Ohio and a 65 percent 27 percent decline in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

Foreclosures Fall

January 2015 - A new report finds foreclosures in Ohio fell to their lowest level last year since 2001, but the state is still feeling the effects of the housing bubble burst.

Oregon News Service

Affordable Housing Supporters Gather in Salem

March 2016 - Oregon's legislature has passed a few bills on affordable housing, including lifting the ban on inclusionary zoning and protection for renters.

West Coast Mayors Summit Tackles Homelessness, Lack of Affordable Housing

December 2015 - At the first-ever West Coast Mayors Summit in early December, mayors from Portland and Eugene, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco put their heads together to form an alliance.

Spendy Portland Steps Up To Fast-track New Shelter and Affordable Housing Projects

November 2015 - The City of Portland is directing an additional $66.7 million to affordable housing projects in five Urban Renewal Districts over the next five years.

July 2012 - Sen. Jeff Merkley announced a plan that addresses an underserved part of the mortgage crisis.

May 2011 - SB 827 would require that homeowners facing foreclosure receive timely, standardized information about how to request loan modifications - and gives them recourse for violations, adding teeth to the current law. It also allows the state foreclosure law reforms passed in 2009 to remain in effect rather than being subject to sunset. Both bills will see their House votes in June.

January 2011 - Compared to many states, Oregon has made amazing progress in battling homelessness. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says between 2008 and 2009, the number of chronically homeless individuals statewide decreased 15 percent, and the number of homeless families is down by almost 25 percent.

Farmworker Housing Opens

December 2009 - Twenty-two more farmworkers families have housing in Forest Grove. The governor was among the guests at the grand opening of Juniper Gardens Apartments' second phase.

Sweat Equity Gets Families into Homes

December 2009 - Six families in Lafayette, Ore., got a visit from a U.S. Agriculture Dept. official in June.

More affordable housing units on the way

November -0001 - Oregon Housing and Community Services awarded funding in November to build or preserve 14 affordable apartment complexes across Oregon for lower-income families. The grants and tax credits will allow nearly 600 units to be built or refurbished. About half the projects are in the Portland metro area; others are scattered around the state, from La Grande to Medford, to Prineville.

Prairie News Service

ND Gets $2 Million in Public Housing Grants

March 2016 - Advocates for the state's homeless population are praising the funding efforts of the state, saying repairs are sorely needed at many of these homes.

December 2011 - A recently established fund to help provide more affordable multi-family housing in North Dakota, without state monies, surpassed $5-million in total donations in December. All donations are from residents and businesses, which get a tax credit, dollar-for-dollar, in return. Developers can then apply for low-interest loans from the fund, with projects where affordable multi-family housing is scarce given priority.

Tennessee News Service

Nashville Creates Community for Homeless

March 2017 - Open Table Nashville is creating a tiny home community to provide transitional housing for the city's homeless. The project is mean to target homeless that aren't able to find shelter because they're part of a family, have a criminal record or mental illness.

Virginia News Connection

More Housing Grants Written Into State Budget

April 2013 - Governor McDonnell's office announced that $1 million dollars in permanent supportive housing grants are to be including in the 2013 state budget.

Washington News Service

Seattle Mayor part of West Coast Mayors Summit

December 2015 - At the first-ever West Coast Mayors Summit in early December, mayors from Portland and Eugene, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco put their heads together to form an alliance.

July 2011 - Troubled homeowners in Washington have clearer options when faced with a pending foreclosure since the state's Foreclosure Fairness Act went into effect July 22. It requires prompt communication from lenders, spelling out homeowners' rights to mediation and counseling and offering a face-to-face meeting with the lender.

January 2011 - There is some good news about Washington's homeless population in the most recent figures from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Between 2008 and 2009, the number of chronically homeless individuals decreased 15 percent. However, almost 23,000 people statewide are homeless, or about three of every 100 residents.


H u m a n

R i g h t s / R a c i a l

J u s t i c e

Human Rights/Racial Justice

All News Services

Predatory Prison Phone Rates Reined In

October 2015 - The FCC voted 3-2 on rules to stop predatory phone pricing in prisons, an important victory for the tens of thousands of families who have struggled to have contact with loved ones who are in prison.

California News Service

New Racial Profiling Board Meets For First Time

July 2016 - California is taking concrete steps to fight racial profiling with the first meeting of the new Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board today in Los Angeles.

Connecticut News Service

Bill to Strengthen Accountability for Police Misconduct Introduced

March 2017 - House Bill 7285 recognizes problems in Connecticut's police complaint system and that could be strengthened to fix them. An ACLU of Connecticut investigation found that nearly one million Connecticut residents are living in towns where police departments are not following state rules for accepting misconduct complaints. The bill would require police departments to establish policies to bring them into full compliance with a 2015 law on reporting police misconduct and abuse. However civil liberties advocates say the bill needs to be stronger to have any real effect.

April 2012 - Connecticut became the 17th state to abolish the death penalty.

Illinois News Connection

August 2011 - The State of Illinois has created a Muslim American advisory council to advise the Governor on appropriate policy developments, official directives, and other issues of significance impacting Illinois' Muslims.

March 2011 - Governor Quinn signed the bill that abolishes the death penalty.

Indiana News Service

Human-Trafficking Bill Introduced

March 2015 - A bill that aims to reduce human trafficking in the state is moving through the Indiana General Assembly.

Nevada News Service

No More Shackles for Pregnant Prisoners

March 2014 - A recent lawsuit settlement will end the practice of shackling pregnant prison inmates.

New York News Connection

DOJ Agreement Addresses Hate Crimes

December 2013 - Immigrants right advocates on Long Island hailed as an important first step an agreement by the Department of Justice after four years of scrutiny into hate crimes.

Oregon News Service

Ethnic Studies Standards Bill Passes Through Oregon Legislature

June 2017 - A bill setting up an advisory board to create ethnic studies courses in Oregon schools passed the state House and Senate. The standard will be for K-12 schools and include histories of ethnic minorities, LGBT communities, and gender groups.

Prairie News Service

Human Trafficking Hotline Working in ND

March 2016 - Hotline calls about human trafficking are up in North Dakota.

Texas News Service

Court Upholds Race Recognitions in College Admissions

December 2009 - The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the University of Texas may continue using race in the undergraduate admissions process as a method for promoting campus diversity.

Washington News Service

New Home-Visiting Program for Young Parents

January 2016 - Family Spirit is the name of a new, culturally-appropriate home-visiting program for young American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) parents during pregnancy and their child's first three years of life.


H u n g e r / F o o d / N u t r i t i o n

Hunger/Food/Nutrition

All News Services

U.S. Senate Rejects Anti-GMO Labeling Bill

March 2016 - The US Senate has turned aside a bill that would have prohibited states from requiring the labeling of GMO foods.

Sign of Bipartisanship When It Comes to School Nutrition

February 2016 - The U.S. Senate released a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize child nutrition programs for the next five years.

New "No Paperwork" Option for Free School Lunch

May 2014 - Schools in high-poverty areas of Idaho have a new option for their lunch and breakfast programs.

Advisory Could Mean More School Breakfast

December 2009 - The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education issued an advisory that says instruction provided during the breakfast period can count towards learning time.

SNAP for Storm Victims

December 2009 - Replacement SNAP benefits for Household Misfortunne were extended for low-income families in Provincetown and Nantucket to replace food that spoiled or was lost during Winter Storm Juno in late January.

Arizona News Connection

AZ Congressman Introduces Bill to Have Doctors Learn About Nutrition

March 2017 - Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today reintroduced legislation for the third consecutive Congress that would encourage a stronger focus on nutrition and disease prevention in continuing medical education. The Education and Training (EAT) for Health Act directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue guidelines that ensure federally employed primary care providers learn more about the role nutrition can play in preventing cancer, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. While physicians are already required to earn a set number of continuing medical education credit hours each year, Grijalva's bill would help ensure that federally employed providers spend a portion of those hours learning about nutrition.

Arkansas News Service

Arkansas Schools Boosts Participation in Federal School Breakfast Program

March 2017 - The annual School Breakfast Scorecard ranks Arkansas seventh in the nation for the number of low-income students who participate in both breakfast and lunch programs. The report from the Food Research and Action Center shows more than 155,000 kids regularly ate breakfast in Arkansas schools during the last school year, an increase of almost three percent over the previous year.

Money on Way to Fight Hunger and Obesity in Arkansas

June 2016 - Arkansas is on the receiving end of a big grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with the goal of helping low-income residents eat more fruits and vegetables.

Arkansas School Breakfast Program has Made Strides By Making Sure Kids Get Something to Eat.

March 2016 - Arkansas has made a lot of progress in increasing the number of low-income students eating breakfast at school.

AR is Tops for Breakfast in Schools

March 2014 - According to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and their national partners Share Our Strength, the state has been one of the best for increasing the number of children getting breakfast in schools.

California News Service

November 2012 - Voters shot down a requirement to label all Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO's) after Monsanto & co. spent $46 million on advertising against the measure.

January 2011 - Wal-Mart has made a commitment to promote good nutrition by selling healthier foods in its stores and lowering the price of fresh fruits and vegetables. The retailer is also promising to provide more support to California groups that help low-income adults make healthy and affordable choices at the supermarket.

Colorado News Connection

SNAP Dollars Worth Double at Some CO Farmers Markets

August 2016 - Food stamps are now worth double for fresh fruits and vegetables at more than 30 farmers markets and other outlets in Colorado.

Commonwealth News Service

April 2011 - Governor Deval Patrick announced the establishment of the Massachusetts Food Policy Council, which aims to bring healthy and local foods to all residents of the Commonwealth. The council will be to address hunger in the state, increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods and protect land and water resources for sustained local food production. Training, retaining and recruiting farmers will also be a priority.

Illinois News Connection

New School Lunch Program for All Students

November -0001 - More than one thousand high-poverty schools in Illinois adopted a new federal program this academic year aimed at improving access to free meals for students, according to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, enables qualifying high-poverty schools to serve no-cost breakfast and lunches to all students. The program, designed to make school meal operations more efficient and help reduce hunger, eliminates the need for schools to collect household applications to determine which students are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals.

Indiana News Service

Effort Underway to Make Sure Everyone has Access to Fresh Food

February 2016 - A bill to eliminate Indiana's food deserts won approval in a key legislative committee this winter.

Breakfast Grants on the way to Indiana

November -0001 - Indiana is among several states selected to receive grant funding from Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, to help schools expand or begin breakfast-in-the-classroom programs. The districts that will receive funding will be selected later in the spring.

Local Food for Food Banks

November -0001 - A new program is getting underway that will improve access to fresh, nutritious and locally grown food for some of Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens. Farms to Food Banks program is kicking off this summer. It allows food banks to purchase surplus or number-two grade produce at below-market rates from local growers. Supporters say farmers will make money on produce that otherwise would have gone to waste, and food banks will have better quality produce.

Maine News Service

More School Breakfasts Served

November -0001 - Maine jumped up to number 15 in the nation in February in a school breakfast report card that focused on reaching low-income students with a healthy breakfast. According to the Food Research and Action Center report, Maine moved up two notches and now reaches about 57 students with breakfast for every 100 kids who eat school lunch.

Maryland News Connection

Gov. O'Malley Proposes Big Support for School Breakfast

January 2013 - Governor O'Malley asked for an additional $1.8 million for Maryland Meals For Achievement.

Michigan News Connection

USDA Ramps Up Food Assistance for Flint

June 2016 - About 17,000 low-income Flint residents will be receiving additional food assistance to help fight the ill effects of the lead crisis.

Minnesota News Connection

School Lunch Expanded

July 2014 - A $4 million investment in school lunch and breakfast programs statewide took effect in July.

Food Shelf State Help Grows

May 2013 - The legislative session brought more help for food shelves. Lawmakers approved an additional $750,000 for the state's food shelves per biennium, a 30 percent increase over current funding levels.

Food Donations Set a Record

April 2013 - The 31st annual Minnesota FoodShare campaign was another success, raising almost $8.4 million and almost 4 million pounds of food.

April 2012 - More Minnesota students are finding locally-grown foods as they peruse the choices in the cafeteria lunch line, thanks to the Farm to School program from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. When the IATP started the Farm to School program in 2006, less than 20 districts took part. This year, there are 145.

April 2012 - The final numbers are in, and the March Campaign from Minnesota FoodShare was again a success this year. Some 4.4-million pounds of food and 8.5-million dollars was raised in what is the state's largest food drive. The money and food will stock some 300 food shelves around the state for six months.

December 2011 - Hunger Solutions Minnesota and Senator Tom Bakk hosted the 5th Annual Stock the Shelves event in December. The event raised $65,000 dedicated to Arrowhead regional food shelves.

December 2010 - The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) passed in the House of Representatives. The bill contains the most significant improvements to the child nutrition programs in over 30 years, and it includes critical provisions from Congresswoman McCollum's National Farm to School Act (H.R. 5456), including grants up to $100,000 for school districts to implement farm to school programs.

More Breakfast Served in Schools

November -0001 - The average number of low-income Minnesota students taking part in school breakfast programs each day is now more than 136,000, according to the latest analysis from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

Nevada News Service

September 2012 - More hungry children in Northern Nevada now have access to a well-balanced hot meal in the late afternoon.

April 2011 - U.S. Senator Al Franken introduced federal legislation to extend mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) to dairy products.

More Nutritious Food During Summer for Kids

December 2009 - More children are benefiting from the Agriculture Department's Summer Nutrition Programs.

New Hampshire News Connection

Good News in the Granite State Fight Against Hunger

February 2017 - The New Hampshire Food Bank says it received an anonymous 1 million dollar donation, most of it meant for partner agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, after school programs and senior centers. We've been covering the serious food insecurity for some years.

School Breakfast Progress for NH

November -0001 - A new (FRAC) report shows the Granite State is making much needed progress in getting a health breakfast to more low-income children at school. The report shows the state boosted enrollment in breakfast nutrition programs by one thousand students.

New Mexico News Connection

More Nutritious Food During Summer for Kids

November -0001 - More children are benefiting from the Agriculture Department's Summer Nutrition Programs. A report from the Food Research and Action Center shows about 59-thousand kids in New Mexico were served a free meal each day last summer, reflecting a 14-percent increase from the year before. It also ranks New Mexico second in the nation behind the District of Columbia. Jennifer Ramo with New Mexico Appleseed, a nonprofit poverty policy organization, says part of the increase is linked to getting more meals to children. The report also shows that the number of feeding sites dropped five percent, which Ramo says is likely linked to several rural sites failing because of the cost of travel and other factors. Nationally, the research says more than three-million children participated in Summer Nutrition Programs in July 2014, up seven percent over the previous year.

New York News Connection

GMO Labelling Bill Advances in Assembly

February 2016 - A bill to require the labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was approved by the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection.

Governor Expands Access to SNAP Benefits for the Working Poor

January 2016 - Governor Cuomo announced that he would use his administrative authority to increase the gross income test for SNAP benefits from 130 percent of the federal poverty level to 150 percent.

September 2012 - A Roosevelt, Long Island soup kitchen that has consistently helped feed more than 100 people on Saturdays for the past 13 years has found two new locations to move into after being in danger of becoming homeless.

North Carolina News Service

Law Would Help Get Healthy Food to Local Stores

March 2015 - House lawmakers passed the Healthy Food Small Retailer Act.

Ohio News Connection

Governor Supports Hunger Fighting Program

January 2016 - Governor John Kasich signed an Executive Order providing an additional $500,000 to support the Ohio Food Program and Agricultural Clearance Program.

Food Bank Budgets Boosted

April 2015 - The Ohio House of Representatives demonstrated their support for hungry Ohioans through the passage of amended H.B. 64 in April.

More School Breakfast on the Table

February 2015 - School breakfast continues to make significant gains across the nation, and in Ohio according to a new "School Breakfast Scorecard" from the Food Research and Action Center.

Oregon News Service

More Breakfast for School Kids

December 2009 - Starting this fall, more kids across Oregon will start the school day with a nutritious breakfast.

Texas News Service

Texas Ranks High for Participation in Federal School Breakfast Program

March 2017 - The 2017 School Breakfast Scorecard from the Food Research and Action Center ranks Texas eighth-best in the nation for the number of schools providing breakfast to low-income students. The report shows that in Texas, just over 63 percent of students who get lunch also receive breakfast, compared to the national average of 56 percent.

School Breakfast Served to More Students

November -0001 - The average number of low-income Texas students taking part in school breakfast programs each day is now more than 1.5 million, according to the latest analysis from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

Washington News Service

Hunger Strike Prompts Immigration Legislation

May 2014 - Early in May, the hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Center ended after 56 days.

SNAP Kept in Place for Families

April 2014 - Washington is one of seven states opting to help keep a low-income family's SNAP benefits in force, by agreeing to pay more in emergency home heating assistance (known as LIHEAP) to the family.

Washington tops for helping the hungry

December 2009 - Washington is in the top five states for accurately determining people's eligibility for food assistance, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, with an accuracy rate of 99.67 percent for this fiscal year.

Wisconsin News Connection

Major Foodmakers Agree To Label GMO's

March 2016 - A number of large food manufacturing corporations have agreed to start labeling their products that contain genetically modified organisms.


I m m i g r a n t

I s s u e s

Immigrant Issues

All News Services

Federal Court Order Blocking Immediate Deportation of Iraqi Nationals in Michigan Extended Nationwide

June 2017 - The federal court that blocked the immediate deportation of Iraqi nationals in Michigan last week has extended its order nationwide. The move helps ensure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not deport individuals who face persecution, torture, and death in Iraq without having a chance to prove their lives would be in danger if returned to Iraq.

Federal Appeals Court in S.F. Blocks Immigration Order

February 2017 - The Ninth Circuit U-S Court of Appeals in San Francisco announced its verdict on whether to reinstate the travel ban on some refugees from conflict zones - and voted unanimously to keep the status quo in place and allow those travelers to enter the U-S.

Report Offers Legal Guidance on Sanctuary

January 2017 - About 400 counties, cities and states around the country, as well as churches, schools and hospitals, have taken steps to create sanctuary for immigrants in their communities. A new report from the public policy organization Demos and LatinoJustice PRLDEF offers guidance to state and local jurisdictions and institutions that want to protect immigrants threatened with deportation. The authors say U.S. Constitution and civil rights law supports a wide range of local pro-immigrants' rights policies, including policies that protect undocumented community members from draconian federal immigration enforcement.

Obama to Appeal Immigration Decision to Supreme Court

November 2015 - Immigration activists are praising President Obama's decision to appeal a case to the Supreme Court that could shield five million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program Unveiled

August 2012 - The Obama administration has unveiled a new program that will allow children brought to the country illegally a way to gain a work permit and avoid deportation.

U.S. Will Stop Deporting Young Illegal Immigrants Born in U.S.

June 2012 - President Obama said the U.S. will stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children if they meet certain requirements.

Arizona News Connection

Federal Court Slams Border Holding Facilities

November 2016 - A federal district court today found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is violating the constitutional rights of people detained in holding facilities in Arizona and ordered the government to take steps to improve conditions in these facilities, known as hieleras. This is the latest turn in a legal challenge filed in June 2015 by the National Immigration Law Center, the American Immigration Council, Morrison & Foerster, the ACLU of Arizona, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Feds Charge Sheriff Arpaio with Criminal Contempt

October 2016 - Longtime sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix Arpaio has been charged with criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge's order in a racial profiling case, leaving the 84-year-old lawman in a tough spot two weeks before election day as he seeks a seventh term.

Lawsuit Over "Show Me Your Papers" Law Ended

September 2016 - The Arizona Attorney General's Office today issued an opinion establishing guidelines for the implementation of two remaining provisions of the state's 2010 racial profiling law, SB 1070.

Groups Hail Court's Decision to Hear Obama Immigration Case

January 2016 - Arizona immigration activists rallied to praise the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear a case challenging President Obama's executive order easing some immigration rules.

Appeal to be Filed in "Show Me Your Papers" Lawsuit

October 2015 - The legal fight continues against Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law Senate Bill 1070.

DA Looks at "Driving While Brown" Allegations

March 2014 - The Suffolk County D.A. is widening his probe into local police traffic stops.

Border Patrol Issues Guidelines to Save Lives

March 2014 - The U. S. Border Patrol has issued new guidelines for use-of-force that are designed to reduce deadly encounters between agents and people along the border.

Another Court Strike Against SB 1070

September 2013 - Yet another part of Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, has been struck down.

Courts Again Reject part of SB 1070

March 2013 - An injunction against part of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law has been upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court agreed that the section of the law targeting obstruction of traffic by day laborers is an unconstitutional infringement on commercial speech.

3 Sections of SB 1070 Struck Down

June 2012 - The U.S. Supreme Court struck down three sections of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration law and left open the possibility of declaring a fourth section unconstitutional.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Accused of Racial Discrimintation

December 2011 - A report from the U.S. Justice Department accuses the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office of rampant discrimination against Latinos in its police and jail operations.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Immigration Screening Priviledges Revoked

December 2011 - The Department of Homeland Security has revoked the authority of Maricopa County sheriff's detention officers to perform immigration screening of county jail inmates.

Arizona Residents Strongly Favor Path to Citizenship

November 2011 - A poll from Arizona State University found that Arizonans strongly favor allowing undocumented immigrants who have been living in the state for many years to earn citizenship.

SB 1070 Immigration Bill Defeated

November 2011 - The author of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration bill, Senate President Russell Pearce, was defeated in a recall election.

Justice Department Investigating Targeted Enforcement Against Latinos

August 2011 - Facing a federal lawsuit, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has agreed to release records being sought in a racial-profiling probe after refusing for nearly a year.

Arizona Governor Vetoes "Birther" Bill

April 2011 - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer issued a number of vetoes, including the so-called "birther" bill that would have required a candidate to submit a long-form birth certificate to get on the ballot.

Injunction Help Against SB 1070 Immigration Law

April 2011 - A federal appeals court upheld an injunction against key parts of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration law. Supporters of the law say they'll ask the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.

Lawmakers Reject Bills That Crack Down on Undocumented Immigrants

March 2011 - State lawmakers have rejected five bills intended to further crack down on undocumented immigrants.

"Birthright-Citizenship" Bill

February 2011 - Opponents of a "birthright-citizenship" bill scored a temporary victory when the measure was held in a state senate committee when it became apparent it didn't have the votes to pass.

California News Service

CA A-G Joins Legal Challenge to Trump Immigration Order

February 2017 - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed court papers today joining the legal challenge to President Donald Trump's immigration orders, supporting Washington state's lawsuit that contends the travel restrictions targeting people from Muslim-majority countries are unconstitutional.

Covered CA Moves to Open Up To Undocumented Immigrants

September 2016 - Covered California submitted one of the first 1332 waiver requests under the Affordable Care Act, for the purpose of allowing all Californians, regardless of immigration status, to use the state health insurance marketplace to purchase a health plan with their own money.

Immigrant Rights Advocates Cheer Supreme Court Decision to Take Case

January 2016 - Immigrants rights groups in California are cheering the announcement Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that could end the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants across the country.

Undocumented Children to Get Medi-Cal

November 2015 - Governor signed SB4: The plan extends California's health care program for the poor to cover immigrant children from low-income families, regardless of their legal status.

Colorado News Connection

Health Coverage on Rise for Hispanic Kids in Colorado

February 2016 - More Hispanic children in Colorado have health insurance, but they're still lagging behind their peers, according to a new report by a Georgetown University research center and the National Council of La Raza.

Connecticut News Service

Toolkit for Families Concerned about Immigration Enforcement is Now Available in Nine Languages

April 2017 - The state toolkit provides user-friendly, step-by-step resources and forms for parents and guardians who have concerns about immigration enforcement and its potential impact on the custody of their children is now available to download in nine languages: Arabic, English, French, Haitian Creole, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Latinos Use Holiday as a Cultural Bridge

November 2015 - New Haven's Latino Community celebrated the traditional "Day of the Dead" as both a way to remember those who have passed, and as a means to integrate their traditions with those of their adopted community.

Connecticut Resettlement Agencies Ready to Help More Syrian Refugees

October 2015 - The head of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, a refugee resettlement organization in New Haven, says Connecticut could double the number of refugees it takes in every year.

Interfaith Clergy Supports Immigrants' Rights

February 2012 - Interfaith clergy from southern Connecticut have come out in support of immigrants' rights in East Haven and have demanded that immigrants arrested by four East Haven police officers have their records expunged.

Illinois News Connection

August 2011 - The Illinois DREAM Act has been passed and signed into law creating a privately-funded scholarship program for high school graduates from immigrant families who wish to attend college.

May 2011 - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn sent a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement notifying the agency that because of its indiscriminate use of the "Secure Communities" deportation program, the State is ending its participation in the program. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights praises the Governor's action for taking the state of Illinois one step forward toward sensible solutions for our country's broken immigration system.

Indiana News Service

Indiana takes in Syrian Refugee Family

January 2016 - The Archdiocese of Indianapolis resettled a refugee family from Syria, despite a call by Indiana Governor Mike Pence for a halt on the acceptance of Syrian refugees.

Keystone State News Connection

Philadelphia City Council Condemns ICE Raids

January 2016 - The Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution condemning raids by federal immigration agents for the forced deportation of immigrants who fled violence in Central America.

Mayor Kenney signs anti-deportation Executive Order

January 2016 - Jim Kenney reinstated the "ICE Hold Ban" executive order, banning city officials from collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport immigrant community members out of Philadelphia city.

Maine News Service

Progress on Immigrant Integration

June 2016 - A new (FPI) report finds that immigrants from key groups are making progress integrating into better jobs, speaking English and "becoming Americans." The Somali community in Lewiston is one example of positive impact.

Nevada News Service

Driving Cards for Immigrants

January 2014 - The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles has started issuing Driver Authorization Cards.

New Hampshire News Connection

Granite State and Nation See Progress on Immigrant Integration

June 2016 - A new (FPI) report finds that immigrants from key groups are making progress integrating into better jobs, speaking English and "becoming Americans." The Bosnian community in Manchester is one example of positive impact.

New York News Connection

Cuomo Stands Up for Immigrants

January 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken action to protect the legal rights of immigrants being detained at New York airports. Immediately after President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, officials began detaining those arriving at U.S. airports, including refugees and green card holders returning home. Concurrently, citizens showed up at airports protesting the policy. On Saturday evening, when State Police attempted to stop thousands of people from using the Skytrain to travel to JFK to protest the immigration ban, Cuomo order the police to allow protesters to use the train.

Nassau County Biz Leaders Examine Immigration Reform

March 2013 - In a discussion local advocates said would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, Nassau County business, labor and immigrant leaders exchanged ideas on a variety of issues linked to comprehensive immigration reform.

October 2011 - The Board of Regents made it a top priority to push Congress to pass the DREAM Act. The measure would provide a path toward citizenship for young immigrants who are in the United States illegally through no fault of their own, making them eligible for college tuition assistance.

September 2011 - Legislation introduced in Albany by State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins would prevent online job-search companies like Monster.com, CareerBuilder and Craigslist from posting help-wanted ads that prohibit unemployed people from applying.

June 2011 - Two developments were hailed by those following immigrant issues. First, Governor Cuomo's move to suspend the state's involvement in the controversial national fingerprint data base known as the "Secure Communities Program." Second, the decision to end an "English Only" law for public employees in the upstate town of Jackson, which opponents say could have hurt public safety efforts in tornados and other disasters.

May 2011 - Rallies and vigils were held around the state in May - and covered by New York News Connection - as Gov. Cuomo was urged to follow the lead of Illinois and pull NY out of the Secure Communities Program which required the state to send fingerprint data of all arrested persons to immigration authorities. On June 1st, the governor announced he was suspending the state's participation in the program because, he said, it had not only failed to meet its goal of deporting the most serious immigrant criminals but was also undermining law enforcement and compromising public safety.

Oregon News Service

Local Law Enforcement Rejects ICE Requests

April 2014 - Sheriff's Departments in several Oregon counties announced in April that they will no longer honor requests from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold people in jail without probable cause.

Legislature Approves Driving Cards for Those Without Papers

April 2013 - April was a big month for immigrants' rights in Oregon. The legislature voted to approve a plan for undocumented Oregon residents to obtain short-term drivers cards, allowing them to legally drive and obtain insurance.

February 2011 - In Lane County, the mayors of Eugene and Springfield are among those who have pledged their support for Oregon's immigrant population in their quest to get driver's licenses and in-state college tuition for Oregon residents despite their citizenship status. A wide range of religious groups also voiced support for these aims at a community meeting in Eugene.

Tennessee News Service

Tuition Opportunity Bill passes House Education Sub-committee

April 2017 - A bill in TN is making progress in the State Assembly that would extend in-state tuition to students who meet certain criteria - regardless of immigrant status. HB0863 passed the committee in a voice vote. The bill will now move to the full Education Committee. The Senate version of the bill passed the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 7-2 on March 22nd.

TN AG Will Not Sue Feds Over Refugee Policies

July 2016 - The state attorney general announced his office would not file the anti-refugee suit requested by the Tennessee General Assembly, but Attorney General Herbert Slatery says that still leaves state lawmakers with the ability to hire outside counsel.

Texas News Service

Travis County, Other Texas Municipalities Adopt "Sanctuary" Policies

February 2017 - Travis Country, Texas, Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced that her department will not cooperate with certain policies of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in regards to detaining undocumented immigrants for deportation proceedings. A number of other agencies in Texas have adopted similar policies in the past several months.

Judge Denies Childcare Licensing for Detention Center

December 2016 - A Texas judge has ruled that two South Texas federal detention center designed to house immigrant families cannot be licensed by the state a child care facilities. Advocates had complained about "inhumane" conditions at the facilities, which were not designed to handle families. Hundreds of women and children were immediately released from detention.

October 2011 - Just a few weeks after being interviewed by Texas News Service about his dissatisfaction with Governor Rick Perry's changing positions on immigration reform, the Texas head of Somos Republicans quit the Republican Party.

August 2011 - Immigration reform advocates were pleased with the Obama administration's decision to allow non-violent illegal immigrants to remain in the country for the time being. The Department of Homeland Security plans to review hundreds of thousands of deportation cases in an effort to prioritize the deportation of violent criminals, dismissing cases against students and others who are not considered threats.

May 2011 - The "Sanctuary Cities" bill (HB 12) - an Arizona-style immigration-enforcement measure - was blocked by twelve lawmakers: Senators Wendy Davis, Rodney Ellis, Mario Gallegos Jr., Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa , Eddie Lucio Jr., Jose Rodriguez, Carlos Uresti, Leticia Van De Putte, Kirk Watson, John Whitmire, Royce West and Judith Zaffirini. Opposition to the bill included police chiefs and sheriffs, faith leaders, business associations, and human rights activists across the state.

Washington News Service

DREAM Act Passes House

January 2014 - When the Washington Legislature convened in January, the first bill passed in the House was HB 1817, the state's version of the "DREAM Act."


L i v a b l e

W a g e s / W o r k i n g

F a m i l i e s

Livable Wages/Working Families

All News Services

Protests By Low-Wage Workers Derail Pudzer

February 2017 - Controversial labor secretary nominee Andre Puzder withdrew his name for confirmation following protests at fast-food restaurants and also media report about an incident of alleged spousal abuse.

New Overtime Protections for Salaried Workers

November 2016 - An updated rule established by the U.S. Department of Labor will bring overtime protection to 12.5 million American workers, including 351,000 Ohioans. The rule, slated to take effect December 1, requires that salaried employees who are paid less than $47,476 a year be paid time and a half for hours that they work beyond 40 in any given week.

Unions Strike Against Verizon for Increased Wages

June 2016 - The IBEW and CWA have declared victory for workers after ratifying a new contract with Verizon that includes pay raises and a halt to the outsourcing of jobs in the company's call center. Verizon will add 1,300 new call center jobs in the United States. The two unions, which represented nearly 40,000 workers, ended their strike after 45 days.

Supreme Court Tie Vote a Victory for Labor Unions

March 2016 - A 4 to 4 vote in the US Supreme Court ended a lawsuit seeking to prevent public employee unions from collecting dues from individuals who choose not to join the union but benefit from collective bargaining agreements.

Northeastern University Inspires Million Student March

December 2015 - Students from 120 college campuses took part in a "Million Student" march in November to call attention to three basic demands.

Arizona News Connection

Arizona Minimum Wage Initiative Passes

November 2016 - Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans will get a raise Jan. 1. Arizona voters have approved Proposition 206 to boost the state's minimum wage and to require employers to provide paid sick time. Prop. 206, also called the Healthy Working Families Initiative, proposed raising the state's current $8.05 per hour minimum wage during the next several years to: $10 per hour in January; $10.50 in 2018; $11 in 2019; and $12 in 2020. Starting in 2021, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually based on cost of living.

AZ Passes $12 Minimum Wage

November 2016 - Hundreds of thousands of Arizonans will get a raise Jan. 1. Arizona voters have approved Proposition 206 to boost the state's minimum wage and to require employers to provide paid sick time. Prop. 206, also called the Healthy Working Families Initiative, proposed raising the state's current $8.05 per hour minimum wage during the next several years to reach $12 per hour. Starting in 2021, the minimum wage would be adjusted annually based on cost of living.

Arizona Raises Minimum Wage

November 2012 - The state industrial commission says Arizona's minimum wage will rise to $7.85 an hour in January, well above the federal minimum of $7.25.

Big Sky Connection

November 2011 - The Montana Board of Regents is expected to give its stamp of approval this month to contracts recently ratified by MEA-MFT members in the Associated Faculty of Montana State University. They're the first faculty contracts ever at the campus.

California News Service

CA Nurses Win Favorable Contract

February 2017 - The recent victory by National Nurses United/California Nurses Association at Kaiser Permanente after a 17 month struggle has secured a good contract for 1200 Los Angeles nurses. Another 550 nurses at 21 Kaiser hospitals across northern and central California just became NNU/CNA union members. The nurses haven't had a raise in six years.

Governor Signs Bill on Paid Parental Leave

September 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2393 (Campos), a bill that would provide classified school employees with up to twelve weeks of paid parental leave. AB 2393, which expands paid parental leave to school bus drivers, cafeteria staff and teaching assistants.

Governor Signs Bill Creating New Retirement Accounts

September 2016 - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 1234 by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), that will create new retirement savings accounts for the nearly seven million workers who do not have one. Under the new law, workers who do not have a workplace retirement plan will automatically contribute 3 percent of wages to a new retirement account, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust. This fund will invest in a diversified portfolio that focuses on long-term financial growth. Workers can change their contribution levels at any time, or choose not to participate. The legislation prohibits the state or employers from incurring any liabilities associated with the new program.

Governor Brown Signs Farmworker Overtime Bill

September 2016 - Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed historic legislation that would expand overtime pay for California farmworkers.

Farmworker Overtime Bill Passes Legislature

August 2016 - The California legislature voted to become the first state in the nation to end 80 years of excluding farmworkers from equal rights to overtime pay. The bill now goes to the Governor's desk.

California Governor Signs $15 Minimum Wage Bill

April 2016 - Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law giving California the nation's highest statewide minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2022.

Deal Struck to Raise CA Minimum Wage Statewide

March 2016 - Lawmakers and labor unions have struck a tentative deal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 an hour next year and then gradually to $15.

California's Minimum Wage Goes Up

January 2016 - Tens of thousands of minimum wage workers in California will be making an extra dollar an hour starting on Friday.

Ballot Measure to Raise Minimum Wage

December 2015 - The Fight for $15 movement is taking its case to the voters'filing on Tuesday to put a measure on the ballot to raise California's minimum wage from 9 dollars an hour to 15 by the year 2020.

Minimum Wage Pay Raise Approved in LA

November -0001 - Los Angeles City Council votes to move forward with a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020

Colorado News Connection

State EITC Created

November -0001 - The Colorado Legislature passed the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC puts cash in the pockets of Colorado working families, rewarding families who are often working multiple jobs and are just trying to make ends meet. Advocates argue it’s an investment in Colorado that encourages and rewards work while helping to offset the impact of stagnant wages.

Commonwealth News Service

Harvard Grad Students Unionize

October 2016 - It took a petition to the National Labor Relations Board and this week Graduate Students at Harvard University cleared the way for November elections for the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW.

Equal Pay Law Signed into Law in MA

August 2016 - A new law in Massachusetts will require men and women to be paid equally for comparable work in the state. Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law. Women are currently paid on average about 82 percent of what their male counterparts make for comparable work in the Commonwealth. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2018.

MA Minimum Wage Boost in 2016

January 2016 - The minimum wage increased to ten dollars per hour at the start of 2016 and will jump by another dollar in 2017.

Connecticut News Service

General Assembly Joint Labor Committee Approves Paid Leave Bill

March 2017 - Assembly Bill 1, bill to create system of paid medical and family leave in Connecticut, passed by voice vote in the Joint Labor Committee. The bill would give covered employees up to 12 weeks of compensation to care for a newborn child or ill family member.

Yale Grad Students Rally for the Right to Join a Union

October 2015 - Graduate Student employees at Yale University are demanding the right to vote on forming a union.

Connecticut Ranks High in Supports for Working Families

November -0001 - A new state-by-state review of supports for working parents shows Connecticut is tied for second place, with only California scoring higher. But much remains to be done, according to advocates.

Greater Dakota News Service

SD Gov. Suggests Tax Bump to Boost Teacher Pay

February 2016 - South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard proposed a half-cent sales tax hike to help boost teacher pay in the state.

Illinois News Connection

Nursing Home Strike Averted

May 2017 - Nursing home workers have reached a tentative agreement with nursing home owners for a three-year contract, averting the largest nursing home strike in history.

Illinois Anti-Poverty Policies Make Progress, Need More Work

March 2016 - New report shows progress has been made to help reduce poverty by enacting certain laws, including one that bans employers from asking about criminal histories on job applications.

City of Springfield Passes TPP Resolution

October 2015 - The city of Springfield appears to be ahead of the pack in passing a resolution in October that called on lawmakers in Congress to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other deals like it.

Minimum Wage Increase Approved for Ballot

May 2014 - The Illinois Senate passed legislation that would place a question on the November ballot asking voters if the state's minimum wage should be raised to $10 per hour.

Minimum Wage Proposal Receives Backing

March 2014 - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is joining labor unions and workers to push for raising the minimum wage.

Min. Wage Hike Proposed

September 2013 - State Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago) introduced a bill in the House to increase the minimum wage in Illinois from $8.25 to $10.65 by 2016.

January 2012 - Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to increase tax relief for working families across Illinois. Senate Bill 400 doubles the state's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) over two years, saving low-income workers an extra $105 million per year. The new law also benefits all Illinois taxpayers by improving the value of the personal exemption and indexing it to inflation.

Project Helps Veterans Learn Career Skills

November -0001 - A new initiative in 25 cities, including Chicago, is working to promote economic success for veterans and their families through educational and employment opportunities. The Veterans Economic Communities Initiative is helping veterans gain competitive career skills and knowledge in local, in-demand fields. Cloud says the VA is partnering with businesses, educators, community organizations and others to connect veterans and their families to educational and employment opportunities in their area.

Workplace Protections for Pregnant Employees

November -0001 - A new law gives expecting and new mothers in Illinois some protection from workplace discrimination. Illinois employers are now required to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant employees which might include more frequent or longer bathroom breaks, limits on heavy lifting and assistance in manual labor; access to places to sit; time off to recover from childbirth; and private space for breast-feeding and expressing breast milk—accommodations that could prevent pregnant women from being fired due to their condition.

Minimum Wage Bill Heads to the Ballot

November -0001 - Governor Pat Quinn gave voters the chance to make their voices heard on an important issue that would benefit hundreds of thousands of working people across Illinois. House Bill 3814 was signed, which places an advisory question on the November 4 ballot that asks if the state’s minimum wage for those over the age of 18 should be raised to $10 by January 1, 2015.

Home Ownership Grows With Assistance Program

November -0001 - The Welcome Home Illinois program is setting all-time records in home ownership across the state. Since the program’s launch in April, 2, over 800 home buyers in 85 counties have reserved more than $360 million in financing, creating an estimated 1,400 new jobs. The response is the greatest the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) has seen in its 30-year history of providing mortgage financing.

Job Opportunities Act Signed

November -0001 - Governor Pat Quinn signed the Job Opportunities Act in July to help former inmates get hired. The new law requires private employers in Illinois to first evaluate a job applicants' skills and then ask about their criminal histories.

Committee Votes to Raise Minimum Wage

November -0001 - The Illinois Senate's Executive Committee passed legislation to raise the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2019. The bill, which passed by an 11-5 vote, would increase the minimum wage in Illinois to $9 an hour on July 1, increasing it 75 cents from the current $8.25 hourly wage.

Indiana News Service

Right to Work Doesn't Stand Up in Court

September 2013 - Indiana's Right to Work law was ruled unconstitutional by a state court judge.

Caregivers Win Under New Law

November -0001 - A measure that will better support the 1.3 million family caregivers in Indiana was recently signed into law. The CARE Act goes into effect Jan. 1, and under the new law when a person is admitted into the hospital, he or she will have the option to designate the name of a family caregiver. The caregiver also can be notified upon discharge, and will be provided an explanation of medical instructions including medication management.

Keystone State News Connection

Philly Airport Workers Now Have a Union

April 2017 - Workers for two major subcontractors at Philadelphia International Airport voted to join SEIU Local 32BJ, making the airport one of the first in the country to have a large majority of its subcontract workers represented by a union. The announcement caps more than four years of organizing efforts with airport workers.

Building Cleaners Start Contract Negotiations

December 2015 - Office cleaners in commercial buildings began negotiations for a new contract with the owners of 170 buildings in the Philadelphia area.

Building Cleaners Start Contract Negotiations

November 2015 - Office cleaners in commercial buildings began negotiations for a new contract with the owners of 170 buildings in the Philadelphia area.

Report Outlines Benefits of $15 Minimum Wage for Nursing Home Workers

November 2015 - The Keystone Research Center issued a report indicating the low wages paid to nursing home workers are costing the state almost 120 million dollars a year in taxpayer subsidized benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.

Janitors/Contractors Reach Contract Agreement

October 2015 - A janitors strike was averted when negotiators for 32BJ-SEIU and MOCA (Managers, Owners And Contractors) agreed to a new 4 year contract.

Maine News Service

LePage Offers Hope to Teacher's Union

February 2017 - Governor Paul LePage gave teachers reason for hope in his state of the state message when he indicated he was open to the idea of state teacher's contract. Union officials indicated there was a long way to go, but this was a good start.

Signatures Delivered for Maine Ballot Proposition on Minimum Wage

January 2016 - A coalition of Mainers delivered 75,000 verified signatures to the Secretary of State calling for a ballot referendum to boost the statewide minimum wage.

Maine Receives Good Grade for Supporting New Parents

November -0001 - Maine gets a good grade in a new report analyzing how each state supports – or doesn’t support – new parents in terms of leave time and job protection. The study, timed for the White House Summit on Working Families, was from the National Partnership for Women and Families, and gave Maine a B-minus.

Michigan News Connection

Municipal Retiree Health Care Cuts Dropped for Now

December 2016 - Michigan Republican lawmakers backed off on plans to cut retiree health care benefits for local government workers during the lame duck session. The bills will be left to the next Legislature in 2017. The announcement came the same day police and firefighters protested at the Capitol.

Minnesota News Connection

MN Gov Proposes Paid Parental Leave Program

March 2016 - Governor Mark Dayton's plan to ensure that Minnesota state employees have six weeks of paid parental leave is earning praise from workers.

Low-Wage Workers Get a Pay Raise

April 2014 - More than 325,000 of Minnesota's lowest-wage workers are getting a raise!

Pilot Program Will Connect Vets to Jobs

October 2013 - Minnesota is among the six states selected by the National Governors Association to launch pilot programs to help veterans find jobs.

MN Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery

September 2013 - Minnesota's job market in August surpassed its pre-recession peak, adding 12,200 jobs in its strongest month since January.

Child Care Providers Can Form Unions

July 2013 - A federal judge ruled in late July to dismiss two lawsuits that sought to stop a union election for home-based child care providers in Minnesota.

Child Care Workers Win Right to Unionize

May 2013 - After an 8-year struggle, the Child Care Representation Act was passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor. It gives in-home child care providers who receive state subsidies the right to vote to join a union.

March 2012 - After a more than year-long campaign, 4,500 graduate assistants at the University of Minnesota finally were able to get a vote on unionization.  The union, however, was rejected.

December 2011 - An additional $14.1 million in federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds were allocated to Minnesota. That money will help about 19,000 more households with their heating bills this winter.

November 2011 - Governor Dayton ordered a unionization vote for some at home day care providers in Minnesota.

Mail Workers Get Good News

November -0001 - Workers at Duluth's mail processing center were informed in April that some mail sorting will remain in Duluth and employees will retain their jobs here beyond a previously announced closure date, according to a union official. At this point, it’s unclear if the change will be permanent, or just a temporary delay in the planned consolidation.

Education Now Favored in Welfare-to-Work

November -0001 - July 1st marks the beginning of an historic law, transforming how adult education is approached in Minnesota's welfare-to-work program. Parents are now allowed to pursue unlimited adult basic education, GED coursework, ESL, and post-secondary education/training. Minnesota is the only state in the country that allows parents enrolled in TANF to pursue a 4-year degree without barriers.

Jobless Rate Low Record Set

November -0001 - Minnesota gained 8,500 jobs in June, as the state unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 4.5 percent in June, its lowest rate since February of 2007.

Healthcare Workers Unionize

November -0001 - Some 27,000 home healthcare workers voted to unionize in August, in the largest union election in Minnesota history. U.S. Representative Keith Ellison called the vote a cause for celebration, saying “Collective bargaining is essential to restoring economic mobility to American workers and rebuilding the middle class. The home healthcare workers’ vote is a vote for fair wages, safe working conditions, and a better future.”

Correctional Employees Receive Extended Health Coverage

November -0001 - A bill that won unanimous approval in the Legislature took effect in August, providing some needed protection for many of Minnesota's correctional employees. The law requires ongoing affordable health care for those rendered permanently disabled because of an assault in the line of duty.

Nevada News Service

Nevada Unemployment Hits 5 Year Low

January 2016 - Nevada has seen steady economic recovery for the last five years, and now has the lowest unemployment rate since 2008.

NV Restoration Project Provided Jobs and Job Skills for Veterans

November 2015 - The Conservation Lands Foundation, worked with a 75,000 dollars grant to provide jobs to Nevada veterans who spent several months doing restoration work in Sloan Canyon.

February 2012 - It was a close call, but Congress voted to help more than 160,000 Nevadans and millions more Americans who are out of work, by extending unemployment benefits in mid-February. Supporters of the measure say cutting those benefits now would cause major hardship for millions and also endanger the nation's fragile economic recovery.

New Hampshire News Connection

So-Called "Right to Work" Bill Defeated

February 2017 - 32 Republicans joined Democrats rejecting GOP Governor Chris Sununu's Right to Work Bill, which would have prohibited unions from charging fees to nonmembers for the costs of representation. Republicans and pro-business groups have pushed similar measures in a number of states.

Labor Scores Major Victory in Granite State

February 2017 - GOP lawmakers joined the opposition in helping to defeat the so called, "Right to Work" bill that was a major goal of Governor Chris Sununu. Labor leaders remain cautious because other measures remain in the pipeline to limit their abilities to collect union dues.

Paycheck Fairness Clears House

February 2014 - The New Hampshire House voted to pass a paycheck fairness bill and strengthen worker payroll protections.

April 2012 - Unions and pro-worker groups rejoiced this month when two battles in the long war against what many refer to as union busting "right to work for less" bills were shot down. HB 1677 & HB 383 were both tabled by the Senate, indefinitely.

November 2011 - The battle to turn New Hampshire into a "right to work" state continued this month, and proponents of the bill received a mighty blow when the house fell 13 votes shy of the two-thirds mark to override the Governor's veto of the right to work legislation. The legislation, had it passed, would ban unions from collecting fees from non-union members.

New Mexico News Connection

May Day Protest Plans Build Across NM

April 2017 - Record numbers turned out for International Workers Day protests this year (2017).

Santa Fe Approves "Living Wage"

February 2014 - The Santa Fe County Commission voted 5-0 to become the 9th municipality in the country to adopt a local minimum wage.

Fair Pay for Women Act Becomes Law

March 2013 - Governor Susana Martinez signed the Fair Pay for Women Act into law.

November 2012 - Albuquerque voters approved an increase in the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50.

New York News Connection

NYS Files Regulations to Implement Paid Family Leave

February 2017 - New York state filed regulations for the implementation of the state's paid family leave program. The new regulations provide guidance to employers, insurance carriers and employees about their rights and responsibilities under the law. New York's Paid Family Leave Law will provide for 12 weeks of paid leave when fully phased-in for employees who seek to take care for a new child, a close relative with a serious health condition or relieve the pressures created when a family member is called to active military service.

Gov. Cuomo Signs Law to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 in NYC by 2018

April 2016 - Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation raising the minimum wage in New York City by 2018 and by 2021 in some NYC suburbs.

Cuomo Launches "Drive for $15"

February 2016 - Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a statewide bus tour to promote passage of a $15 an hour minimum wage for all workers in New York.

Paid Family Leave Bill Advances

February 2016 - The State Assembly passed a bill to create a system of paid family leave for all New York workers.

Assembly Passes Paid Family Leave Bill

February 2016 - The State Assembly passed a bill to create a system of paid family leave for all workers in the state.

V.P. Biden and Governor Cuomo Push for Paid Family Leave in NY

January 2016 - Governor Mario Cuomo was joined by Vice President Joe Biden to launch a campaign for enactment of paid family leave insurance in New York State.

NYC Raises Public Workers to $15

January 2016 - Mayor Bill DiBlasio announced that New York City with increase the minimum pay for public workers to $15 an hour by the end of 2018.

SUNY to Raise Minimum Wage to $15

January 2016 - Governor Cuomo announced that the State University of New York will raise the minimum wage for its workers to $15 an hour.

Minimum Wage Increases Take Effect

December 2015 - On the last day of the year the hourly minimum wage in New York State will increased: for tipped workers statewide, from $5.65 to $7.50.

Airport Workers Fast for Fifteen

November 2015 - Workers at fifteen major airports around the country held a pre-Thanksgiving fast to push for union rights and a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage.

Governor Advocates Statewide $15 Minimum Wage

November 2015 - Governor Andrew Cuomo advocates raising the minimum wage for all New York workers to fifteen dollars an hour.

Governor Raises Minimum Wage for State Workers to $15

November 2015 - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will unilaterally raise the minimum wage for all state workers to $15 an hour, making New York the first state to set that wage for its public employees.

State Task Force on Worker Exploitation Gets Boost

October 2015 - Governor Cuomo announced new efforts to support the state's inter-agency Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation.

Sick Leave Law Expanded

February 2014 - Proponents for a state law mandating paid sick leave for workers got a boost from New York City's City Council which expanded the city's law on paid sick leave from a watered-down version passed last year.

May 2012 - Pressure grows to raise the state's minimum wage. Six Occupy Albany demonstrators were charged with misdemeanor trespassing in the Capitol in a demonstration. The protesters were arrested and handcuffed by state troopers after they staged a sit-in in the office of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Senate Democrats, in the chamber's minority, mostly support the minimum wage bill pushed by the Assembly's Democratic majority.

December 2011 - 2011 came to a close with a major victory for union office cleaners in New York City. Commercial building owners had been pressing for a two tier waged system with a lower tier that would never make current union wages. But, faced with a New Year's Day strike threat by 22 thousand members of local 32bj of the Service Employees International Union, the building owners dropped that and other demands and have tentatively approved a four year pact that will provide cleaners with a 6 percent pay raise.

September 2011 - Legislation introduced in Albany by State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins would prevent online job-search companies like Monster.com, CareerBuilder and Craigslist from posting help-wanted ads that prohibit unemployed people from applying.

Ohio News Connection

Payday Lending Protections for Service Members

September 2015 - Consumer advocacy groups in Ohio that have been fighting predatory lending for years applauded the Department of Defense for issuing new proposed rules to protect service members and their families.

Proposal Would Raise EITC

May 2014 - The state's new Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be raised from 5 percent to 10 percent of the federal credit, under a proposal from the Senate Finance Committee.

Minimum Wage Rises

January 2014 - Ohio's minimum wage rose 10 cents to $7.95 per hour in January.

EITC Proposal Applauded

January 2014 - Ohio Governor John Kasich is being applauded for measures in the state budget that will help the most vulnerable citizens.

July 2012 - In July, the bank that issues prepaid debit cards used to distribute unemployment insurance benefits in Ohio eliminated widely-criticized overdraft fees on the cards, which are used by more than 300,000 jobless residents. US Bank will no longer collect a $17 overdraft charge for ATM or store-based transactions that exceed balances on its ReliaCard Visas, which are loaded with recurring payments to state aid recipients. Those who worked to end the fee say unemployed workers cannot afford to have any part of their compensation siphoned off.

January 2012 - A program designed to help Ohioans keep their home in the midst of a financial hardship like loss of a job, reduced pay, death or divorce now has expanded eligibility. The Restoring Stability program provides mortgage assistance and other options to maintain home ownership.

January 2012 - Ohio's minimum wage increased 30 cents to $7.70 per hour in January and is now higher than all its neighboring states. The increase is part of a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2006, which says minimum wage will increase each year at the rate of inflation. According to Policy Matters Ohio, an estimated 347,000 workers will receive wage increases.

November 2011 - The hard work of Ohio groups, including education, family, public policy and public service, paid off in November as voters defeated Issue 2 by a nearly two-to-one margin. It means Senate Bill 5, which stripped the collective bargaining rights of so many Ohio workers -- including nurses, teachers, and firefighters -- has been repealed.

Oregon News Service

Center for Public Policy: Raising Minimum Wage Makes Working Families "More Self-Sufficient"

March 2016 - Oregon Governor Kate Brown has signed a bill into law that will raise the minimum wage gradually over the next 6 years.

Gov. Brown asks Oregon Legislature for higher minimum wages

February 2016 - In January, Gov. Kate Brown announced a plan for a minimum-wage hike and then amended it with slightly lower figures before month's end.

BOLI Cracks Down on Government Contractors for Skirting Fair Pay Laws

November 2015 - Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries cracked down in November on state government contractors accused of not paying workers fairly shorting overtime pay, falsifying payroll statements and so on.

New State Funding for Rural Entrepreneurship in Oregon

November 2015 - Mid-November, Gov. Kate Brown announced a $250,000 boost to Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, for rural entrepreneurship grants.

Multnomah County Breaks New Ground with First Paid Parental Leave Policy

November 2015 - Multnomah County has implemented a paid parental leave policy of up to six weeks following the birth.

Committee Looks at How to Helps Oregonians Save

May 2014 - The Legislature's Joint Interim Task Force on Retirement Savings held a May hearing to discuss ways to make it as easy as possible for people to sock away a decent nest egg.

IDA Grants Help Families Save

April 2014 - Grants totaling almost $9 million were awarded in April to nine nonprofit organizations in Oregon to use to help people learning to budget and save for life's big expenses.

September 2012 - Oregon's minimum wage will increase 15-cents an hour, to $8.95, starting January 1, 2013. The state adjusts the minimum wage every September based on the Consumer Price Index. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour; Oregon's has been higher since 2002.

September 2012 - U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) introduced legislation to curb predatory online lending practices, and require that online lenders follow the same rules as other lenders in a state. It's a companion bill to one introduced this summer by Sen. Jeff Merkley. Both are geared toward closing loopholes in the current usury laws and are backed by the Center for Responsible Lending.

March 2012 - In March, it became illegal for employers in Oregon to include language in ads for job vacancies that only people who are currently employed will be considered. Legislators say it removes an unnecessary roadblock, particularly for the long-term unemployed who are trying to reenter the job market.

December 2011 - At year's end, the Oregon Business Plan touted by Gov. Kitzhaber had created more than 18,000 jobs in 2011. The idea behind the plan is to move away from economic "booms and busts" and focus on more sustainable and innovative industries - and to boost exports of Oregon-made finished goods instead of raw materials.

September 2011 - After eight months of intense negotiation, nearly 4,000 classified workers in the Oregon state university system reached a new contract agreement in September with the state. If ratified by members of SEIU Local 503, it will mean a 1.5 percent cost-of-living wage adjustment on December 1.

August 2011 - More than 19,000 state agency workers have a new contract with the State of Oregon. About three-quarters voted to ratify the collective bargaining agreement in August. The bargaining committee for SEIU Local 503 called it the "best agreement possible in the current environment," referring to continued state budget woes. The union continues to push for greater efficiency in state agencies overall.

New Funds to Train Job-Seekers and Vets

November -0001 - The U.S. Labor Department awarded a grant of $8.5 million to launch “Reboot Northwest.” Its goal is to help at least 1,000 long-term job-seekers and veterans find work, with a focus on advanced manufacturing and information technology. It's a coalition of three Local Workforce Investment Boards, businesses and industry associations, and 15 job-training organizations.

USPS Office Closures Canceled

November -0001 - Oregon’s entire congressional delegation met mid-May with senior U.S. Postal Service administrators about mail plant closures and mail delay, part of a national series of actions that appears to have worked. On May 22, the USPS said it would freeze plans for future mail-plant closures, including one in Eugene/Springfield.

Discrimination Settlement Serves as a Warning

November -0001 - Oregon workplaces are on notice that discrimination won’t be tolerated, after a $2.4 million settlement was reached in January between Daimler Trucks North America, six former employees, and the Bureau of Labor and Industries. BOLI interviewed more than 60 current and former Daimler workers and supervisors after reports of racial threats and intimidation at the north Portland plant. Daimler has agreed to mandatory supervisor training, and a new system of incident reporting and internal investigation.

Union Membership Rises in Oregon

November -0001 - Oregon continues to buck a national trend by showing growth in union membership in 2014. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in January that Oregon union membership grew from 13.9 percent to 15.6 percent. Tom Chamberlain at Oregon AFL-CIO said it’s because, “Oregonians want a better life, and we’re willing to stand up and demand it.” A total of 17 percent of the state’s workforce is now represented by a labor union.

Grants Will Provide Worker Training

November -0001 - Oregon found out in June it will receive $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor. The funds will be distributed statewide as two-year grants to train unemployed people for high-demand industries that say they’re having problems recruiting workers. The fields include high-tech and clean-tech industries, advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and healthcare.

Minimum Wage to Rise

November -0001 - Oregon’s minimum wage increases to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2015, it was announced in September. That’s a raise of 15-cents an hour for almost 142,000 workers, or about $234 per year for a full-time worker.

Prairie News Service

Child Care Assistance Expanded

August 2013 - More moderate to low-income families in North Dakota will qualify for help with child care costs through the Child Care Assistance Program. North Dakota increased qualifying income levels and reduced family co-payments.

Tennessee News Service

Bill That Tied School Grades to Welfare Fails

April 2013 - A controversial welfare reform bill was pulled from consideration by its author on the day it was to be up for a vote. The legislation would have penalized parents with children failing in school by reducing their cash welfare payments.

Utah News Connection

Utah Man Champions Fair Lending

November -0001 - Money magazine named a Utah man one of its "50 Heroes in 50 States" for his work on predatory lending issues. Art Sutherland, a retired aerospace engineer who lives in Sandy, has worked with city council members and state lawmakers for several years to enact laws and policies that limit payday lenders. Nearly every municipality in the Salt Lake City area now limits the number of payday lenders that can set up shop. He adds the Utah State Legislature passed a recent law that allows consumers to repay loans from payday lenders interest-free, under certain circumstances.

Washington News Service

State Legislature Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave Bill

July 2017 - Washington state lawmakers joined four states and Washington, D.C. in guaranteeing paid family and medical leave. Eligible workers will have access to 12 weeks of family leave and 12 weeks of medical leave beginning in 2020, with a 16 week annual cap.

Washington State Budget Ensures Funding of State Worker Contracts

July 2017 - Washington state reached a budget compromise that ensures state workers' contracts are fully funded. That includes pay raises and full funding of workers' health care.

Farm Worker Union Reaches Collective Bargaining Agreement

June 2017 - The indigenous farm worker union Familias Unidas por la Justicia has reached a collective bargaining agreement with Sakuma Bros Berry Farm. The agreement concludes a long struggle between the union and the Skagit County berry producer.

Paid Family/Medical Leave Bill Passes Wash. House Committee

February 2017 - The Washington State House Appropriations Committee passed a Paid Family and Medical Leave bill out of committee with funding. Under the measure, family members would be given paid leave after the birth of a child or to help family members with severe medical conditions.

Measure to Raise Minimum Wage in Washington State Passes

November 2016 - Washington State's minimum wage will rise to $13.50 over the next four years thanks to a ballot measure passed on Election Day. The measure also requires employers to give employees paid sick leave.

Sakuma Brothers Farmworkers Vote to Organize Familias Unidas por la Justicia Union

October 2016 - In September, farmworkers on the Sakuma Brothers farm voted to form a union, the Familias Unidas por la Justicia. Farmworkers have staged a number of walkouts and have been fighting for livable wages for many years.

WA Ballot Initiative for $13.50 Minimum Wage Gets Signatures

March 2016 - According to an SEIU survey, Washingtonians overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage and paid sick leave.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Lasts an Entire Month in Washington

November 2015 - Global Entrepreneurship Week was Nov. 16-22. It is a national event, but it's been so successful in Washington that it now lasts the full month of November.

Sick Leave Wins House Approval

January 2014 - The House passed HB 1313, legislation that allows workers to earn from 5 to 9 days of paid sick leave, one hour at a time.

Min. Wage Raised for SeaTac Airport and Hotel Workers

November 2013 - It was a squeaker, but SeaTac Proposition 1 passed in the Nov. 5 election.

Judge Affirms Worker Rights to Organize

September 2013 - It's being considered a victory for Northwest farm workers, as a Skagit County judge issued an order prohibiting the Sakuma Brothers farm from interfering with workers who have been organizing to improve working conditions and pay.

October 2012 - After a four-year wage freeze and repeated reductions in hours and take-home pay, in-home caregivers in Washington got a modest pay raise (from the current $10 an hour to about $11 by 2015) and continued access to affordable health care in their new contract with the State of Washington. An independent arbitrator helped negotiate the deal.

September 2011 - In September, the Seattle City Council voted to pass a landmark ordinance that requires most businesses to allow employees to earn paid sick days. It is considered one of the strongest such policies in the nation, and makes Seattle the third city in the nation with a paid sick leave policy. The Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workforce, made up of more than 100 local organizations and small businesses, pushed for the measure, which is expected to benefit almost 190,000 people who had been at jobs without paid sick days.

Farm Must Open Access in Labor Camps

November -0001 - The Skagit County Superior Court ruled that Sakuma Brothers Farms must stop prohibiting farm workers who live at its labor camps from having visitors in their own homes. The court also struck down rules preventing distribution of literature at the camps.After workers unionized last year, Sakuma changed its rules in 2014 to prohibit anyone who was not a resident of a cabin from entering that cabin, and to require all visitors to use the "visitor center," a sparsely furnished trailer near the guard house, with access controlled by Sakuma's guards. The effect of the rules was to stop workers' family members from entering their homes, stop workers from visiting each other for any reason - including to talk about working conditions or plan union activities - and to stop union organizers from doing their work in the camps.

Veterans Benefit from Transition Program

November -0001 - In less than two years, nearly 190 veterans have completed Washington's “NW Edge” program to help with their transitions from military to civilian life, and about half have gotten jobs. It’s a joint project of the state Office of Financial Management and the U.S. Army Reserve Corps. In July, the National Association of State Personnel Executives honored the program for innovation in human resources.

House Passes Minimum Wage Hike

November -0001 - The governor called them “modest, measured and much-needed,” as the Washington House passed two pieces of legislation early in March: HB 1355, to raise the state minimum wage to $12 an hour over four years, and HB 1356, to allow workers to accrue paid sick and safe leave. By month’s end, their first public hearings in the Senate were taking place

Gender Pay Protection Approved

November -0001 - The House passed an Equal Pay Opportunity Act (HB 1646), which expands the state’s current equal pay law. It says people can’t be denied more favorable job or career tracks because of gender, and protects employees who want greater clarification from employers about job opportunities and pay issues. The Senate’s first public hearing on the bill was March 30.

West Virginia News Service

Minimum Wage Will Rise

March 2014 - The state will raise the minimum wage by $1.50 over two years.

Patriot Coal Will Cover Health and Pension Obligations

August 2013 - In August, after many painful and difficult days for mine retirees and their families, Patriot Coal and the UMWA reached an agreement to cover the health and pension obligations of former employees and their loved ones, obligations the company had shed during bankruptcy.

Locals Win Natural Gas Plant Jobs

May 2013 - Dominion Resources announced that non-union Texas general contractor CBI would not be hired to build the second phase of a large natural gas processing plant in the Northern Panhandle, and that the work would instead go to a contractor who would use union, West Virginia workers.

Governor Decides Against Cutting Childcare Assistance

December 2012 - Governor Earl Ray Tomblin rescinded a plan to cut state subsidies for childcare.

Wisconsin News Connection

Child Support Bill Withdrawn Amid Questionable Goals

January 2014 - Republican state representative Joel Kleefisch withdrew a bill that would limit how much wealthy parents have to pay in child support, after a constant barrage of criticism from progressives in Wisconsin.

Court Ruling Favors Unions

October 2013 - Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan Colas held key officials in the Walker administration in contempt of his ruling which abolished most public employee unions.

November 2012 - Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas refused to stay his decision in a suit filed by a couple of local government unions that the Governor's collective bargaining changes, as passed in Wisconsin Act 10, are unconstitutional. This means the suit to overturn the controversial law will proceed.

October 2012 - Dane County Circuit Judge Joan Colas will not delay enforcement of his September ruling which overturned changes to collective bargaining rights. The state had asked the judge to delay enforcement of his ruling while it appealed his ruling, but the judge said even a temporary infringement of fundamental rights is an irreparable harm. Colas' ruling threw out many parts of Wisconsin's controversial Act 10 as violations of the state and national Constitution.

September 2012 - Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas rules that Act 10, the controversial piece of legislation that removed collective bargaining rights from most public employees, violates both the Wisconsin and United States Constitution. Judge Colas enjoined the state from further enforcing the act. Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. VanHollen says he will appeal the ruling.

September 2011 - Republican Governor Scott Walker announced that he supports President Obama's American Jobs Act, and says Wisconsin would receive approximately $1.5 Billion if the Act is passed. Walker says the money would create or save as many as 20 thousand jobs in WI, and the state's schools would be in line for an additional 368 million dollars in funding. Walker has been a staunch critic of the Obama administration but says he will support this idea.

Wyoming News Service

Gov. Mead Vetoed Unemployment Benefits Bill

March 2013 - The Equality State Policy Center and Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association had urged Mead to veto the bill, that the groups said would have allowed employers to deny benefits in almost any situation because of vague language that could have led to denial for honest mistakes.


M e d i a

R e f o r m

Media Reform

All News Services

NM's Udall Defends, Celebrates Free Press in U.S. Senate

March 2017 - Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, blasted President Donald Trump on Wednesday on the U.S. Senate floor, for his administration's testy dealings with the news media. Udall's comments come during Sunshine Week (March 12-18), an annual observance of the importance of open government and a free press.

Net Neutrality Upheld

June 2016 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the FCC's Net Neutrality rules, agreeing that the agency can protect peoples' rights to connect and communicate. Former FCC Michael Copps commissioner called the move a victory for free speech and said the judges' unambiguous holding that the FCC has clear authority to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service should end legal challenges to the open internet.

Net Neutrality Guaranteed Place on Next Year's Ballot

April 2012 - AT&T shareholders voted on a proposal calling on the telecom giant to publicly commit to Net Neutrality on its wireless networks.

Duopoly Avoided In Wireless Marketplace

December 2011 - Consumer groups hailed the collapse of a plan by AT&T to take over T-Mobile and create what was criticized as a duopoly that would have reduced competition in the wireless marketplace and harmed consumers.

FCC Votes to Expand Broadband Internet Service to Rural Areas

October 2011 - The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to take $4.3 billion from an $8 billion subsidy for telephone connections in hard-to-reach rural areas.

AT&T Takeover of T-Mobile Blocked

September 2011 - The Justice Department has filed suit to stop the takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T, saying it would "substantially lessen competition" in the wireless phone market.

AT&T Takeover of T-Mobile Blocked

August 2011 - The Justice Department filed suit to stop the takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T, saying it would "substantially lessen competition" in the wireless phone market.

FCC Votes for Net Neutrality

December 2009 - The Federal Communications Commission rules in favor of so-called "net neutrality", insuring that the Internet remains equally available to all users/customers, small and large.

Indiana News Service

Broadband Access Will Expand

December 2009 - Governor Mike Pence signed two bills into law that will expand broadband Internet access across the state.

State-Run News Nixed

November -0001 - Indiana Governor Mike Pence has halted the development of a state-run news website. The Indianapolis Star published internal documents that detailed plans to have stories and news releases written by state press secretaries for the public and the media. The documents said the site at times would break news. The notion of prewritten stories for the media sparked criticism from journalists around the country, who likened the endeavor to state-run media in Russia and China.

Kentucky News Connection

August 2011 - Telecommunications companies in 16 states (including KY) will share more than $103 million in federal funding to help expand broadband Internet access to those areas of rural America that haven't been reached by the high-speed service or are underserved, the U.S.

New York News Connection

Verizon Backs Away from Non-Traditional Phone Lines

September 2013 - Verizon was planning to replace traditional phone lines destroyed by Hurricane Sandy with an alternative, wireless system called Voice Link. After facing numerous complaints, Verizon in September backed away from its plan.

Northern Rockies News Service

Republican Donor Loses Suit Against Mother Jones

October 2015 - Mother Jones has won a resounding victory in the defamation case filed by a major Republican donor, Frank VanderSloot, and his company, Melaleuca Inc.

Texas News Service

September 2011 - After reading a Texas News Service story about a proposed takeover of T-Mobile by AT&T, a regional AT&T representative asked to meet with Ron Rogers, of the South Texas Adult Resource and Training Center, who was quoted in the story as being concerned about job losses in the Rio Grande Valley - a region with some of the worst unemployment rates in the country.


M e n t a l

H e a l t h

Mental Health

All News Services

US House Passes Mental Health Reform Legislation

August 2016 - In July, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass (422-2) HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016. The law would support the mental health workforce so more trained professionals are available to help and support integration of health and mental health care. The measure is now making its way to the Senate.

Senate Next to Take Up Mental Health Legislation

July 2016 - The House approved legislation that provides help for millions of Americans living with a mental health condition.

Congress Moves Mental Health Bill (HR 2646) Forward

November 2015 - Congress has taken the first crucial step in moving forward comprehensive, bipartisan mental health legislation.

Feds Release Nonviolent Drug Offenders

November 2015 - In the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in U.S. history, more than 6,000 inmates have been freed early under a re-sentencing effort for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

Senate Passes Bill Addressing Veteran Suicide

February 2015 - The U.S. Senate passed legislation aimed at reducing America's soaring suicide rate for military veterans. It includes third-party evaluations of mental health and suicide prevention efforts in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department.

Funding for the Suicide Prevention Hotline

December 2009 - Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK), the state's only nationally accredited suicide prevention hotline will receive a $60,000 grant from United Way. This will ensure 24/7 operation.

Arizona News Connection

Funding for Mental Illnesses Increased

May 2012 - The new state budget restores $39-million dollars in funding for Arizonans with serious mental illnesses.

Commonwealth News Service

Mental Health Gets Boost in Proposed Budget

January 2016 - Governor Baker released his FY 2017 state budget proposal at the end of January. He proposes to fund the Department of Mental Health at $761 million dollars. That's in crease of 20 million dollars, about three percent.

Keystone State News Connection

Lawsuits Challenges Prolonged Detention of Mentally Ill in PA

October 2015 - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of mentally ill prisoners who are ordered to undergo treatment to restore their competence.

Minnesota News Connection

Clay Hunt Bill Signed

December 2009 - President Obama signed the Clay Hunter Bill into law during the month and advocates say it will mean increased access to mental health services and suicide prevention programs for those returning to the Granite State from service in the armed forces.

New Hampshire News Connection

January 2011 - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Behavioral Health (BBH) will receive a $220,000 grant that will assist in improving the delivery of mental health services in the State. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) selected New Hampshire as one of 13 states to receive an award.

Clay Hunt Bill Signed

December 2009 - President Obama signed the "Clay Hunter"? Bill into law during the month and advocates say it will mean increased access to mental health services and suicide prevention programs for those returning to the Granite State from service in the armed forces.

Ohio News Connection

May 2012 - The Kasich Administration has just announced that it will make an additional $3 million available for community alcohol and drug addiction services in the upcoming fiscal year! This is indeed terrific news. It's an issue advocates have been working on for most of this year.

Utah News Connection

Utah Debuts Mental Health Diagnosis Website

October 2015 - The recent mass shooting in Oregon has once again focused national attention on undiagnosed mental health issues.

Washington News Service

Gov. Inslee Asks Lawmakers to Make Western State Hospital a Priority

February 2016 - Gov. Jay Inslee visited the Western State Hospital in January and also got legislators from both parties together to focus on improving care and safety at the psychiatric facility.

More Mental Health Services

April 2014 - Gov. Inslee signed legislation to combine mental health services with other types of care.


N a t i v e

A m e r i c a n

I s s u e s

Native American Issues

All News Services

EPA Announces $2 Million to Assist Tribes' Brownfields Efforts

January 2017 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected Kansas State University (KSU) to receive approximately $2 million in funding over the course of five years to provide technical support to tribes addressing environmentally contaminated land across the country. The university will help tribes with technical support around cleaning up these lands, known as brownfields.

Obama Administration Halts Dakota Access Pipeline

September 2016 - The Obama administration says it will halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the Midwest. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation has been protesting construction of the pipeline for the last few months because they say it puts their sacred lands and drinking water at risk. Tribes and people across the nation have offered their support for the Standing Rock Nation.

Big Sky Connection

Saylish and Kootenai Water Compact Introduced in U.S. Senate

May 2016 - U.S. Senator Jon Tester introduced a bill Thursday to ratify the water compact between the State of Montana and the Confederated Saylish and Kootenai tribes, also known as the CSKT. If passed by both houses of Congress, it would resolve the tribes' water rights claims against the federal government, avoiding the threat of extended, costly litigation.

Wild Bison Free to Go Home

June 2013 - The Montana Supreme Court cleared the way for the return of wild bison to their historic prairie habitat on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, reversing a lower court ruling that had blocked state plans to transfer bison to the Fort Belknap tribes for more than a year.

California News Service

CA Bans Redskins as School Names

October 2015 - California public schools will be barred from using the Redskins name for sports teams and mascots under the legislation.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado Cities Celebrate Indigenous People's Day

October 2016 - Denver and Boulder celebrated their first-ever Indigenous People's Day, after years of activist struggles to "transform Columbus Day," still a federal holiday. A Boulder resolution called for a correcting of the historical omissions of native peoples from public places, and is calling for tribal input to establish a new name for the city's Settlers Park.

Nevada News Service

President Obama Puts Land into Trust for Nevada Tribes

October 2016 - President Obama signed into law the bipartisan Nevada Native Nations Lands Act, which conveys more than 71,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands to the U.S. Department of the Interior to place into federal trust status for six Nevada tribes. The tribes will use their newly acquired lands to expand housing, provide economic development opportunities and promote cultural activities for and by their tribal members.

New Solar Installation Announced on Tribal Land

September 2016 - U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians and First Solar to announce approval of the 100-megawatt Aiya Solar Project on tribal trust land in Clark County, Nevada. Located about 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas, the Aiya Solar Project is the third utility-scale photovoltaic facility approved for development on the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians Reservation. The project is the 60th renewable energy project approved for federally administered land since 2009 as part of a Department-wide effort to advance smart development of renewable energy on our nation's public lands.

30 Tribes Against "Water Grab"; BLM Holds First-ever Hearing on Tribal Land

May 2012 - A record number of tribes voiced their opposition to Southern Nevada Water Authorities massive pipeline project in May. Thirty different tribes filed a joint statement against the so-called water grab. Native American and their supporters in the environmental community also scored a symbolic victory when they successfully lobbied the B-L-M to hold a first of its kind hearing about the project on tribal land.

Utah News Connection

Native American Treatment Acknowledged

March 2014 - Lawmakers in Utah passed a resolution that recognizes "atrocities" committed against Native Americans and calls on Congress to build a national museum that also would recognize the atrocities.

Wisconsin News Connection

Native American Mounds Bill Pulled

January 2016 - Because of a huge public outcry driven by media coverage, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced that a bill to allow commercial excavation (gravel extraction) from areas near and on Native American Burial Mounds in Wisconsin was being pulled from consideration.


N u c l e a r

W a s t e

Nuclear Waste

Nevada News Service

NV Senators Reject Trump Proposal to Restart Yucca Mountain

March 2017 - Today, U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney expressing their opposition to a proposal in President Trump's proposed budget to restart licensing for a nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain.

New York News Connection

Cuomo Orders Investigation of Ground Water Radiation at Indian Point.

February 2016 - Responding to a huge increase in levels of radioactive tritium detected in ground water at test wells Governor Cuomo ordered state environmental and health officials to investigate the cause.


O c e a n s

Oceans

All News Services

Sardine Fishery Closed For Third Year to Protect Population

April 2017 - Today, federal fishery managers voted to keep the U.S. West Coast Pacific sardine fishery closed for the upcoming commercial season. With an estimated 86,586 metric tons (mt) of sardine remaining, and 150,000 mt necessary for fishing to occur, this will be the third year in a row there are not enough sardines to support a fishery. Had the decision gone the other way, the fishery would likely collapse to near extinction and greatly impact animals like sea lions that feed on sardines.

California News Service

Governor Signs Bills on Ocean Acidification

September 2016 - Governor Brown signed into law two bills designed to protect our oceans and marine environments: SB 1363 (Monning) and AB 2139 (Williams).

Marine Protected Areas Grow Bigger Fish

February 2013 - A study of the first five years of the state's first MPAs is encouraging. Scientists found bigger and better fish in the marine sanctuaries, which is evidence these underwater parks are working.

North Coast Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Complete Underwater Parks Network

December 2012 - The final region for the Marine Life Protection act was finalized.

May 2011 - Northern California's newest underwater state parks celebrated their one-year anniversary of having greater protections under the Marine Life Protection Act. Not only are the fish in the protected areas expected to increase in numbers, but a park ranger says the MPAs are just beginning to attract divers, beach-goers, kayakers, birders, and tide-poolers who know wildlife viewing is best in protected areas.

December 2010 - The California Fish and Game Commission voted in December to adopt a network of marine protected areas that stretch from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. Conservationists have been working for many years to create the plan for the underwater parks.

Florida News Connection

February 2011 - New fishing regulations and restrictions went into effect on Jan. 31 on the Atlantic Coast, and a few weeks later an endangered Right Whale was found on a Florida beach. Advocates are hoping the discovery will add more momentum to the movement to scale back overfishing and protect threatened species.

January 2011 - Overfishing off Florida's Atlantic Coast is blamed for the devastation a number of fish species, but a comeback kicked off on January 31st, with the implementation of a new plan and limited closures designed to specifically help 9 threatened species. Combined with efforts to protect other species like the Red Snapper, it's part of a large push to combat overfishing in the Southeast.

December 2010 - President Obama announced no new oil drilling off the Florida coast for at least seven years, but some are concerned that this measure will not stop the legislature from continuing efforts to allow drilling in state waters. The newly-elected Republican veto-proof majority has been loudly critical of federal efforts to ban oil drilling off the coast.

Oregon News Service

July 2011 - Mid-July, Gov. John Kitzhaber announced Oregon is moving forward with the Ocean Policy Advisory Council recommendations to establish five marine reserves: at Cape Falcon, Cape Perpetua, Cascade Head, Otter Rock and Redfish Rocks. The 2011 Legislature approved the plan, but limited its funding as part of budget cutbacks.

December 2010 - In December, the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) approved three new marine reserves and adjacent marine protected areas that had been recommended by coastal community teams for Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, and Cape Perpetua. Now that the sites have been selected, the Legislature and Governor will hear more about the process and results from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Arctic Ocean Protections Introduced

January 2010 - Mid-July, Sen. Jeff Merkley joined others in Congress to introduce the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act of 2015.

Virginia News Connection

December 2010 - In light of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obama administration announced its decision to halt all offshore drilling off the coast of Virginia - a move applauded by many environmentalists who voiced concern over approval in March for exploratory drilling in offshore waters.

Washington News Service

Washington Shellfish Initiative Gets an Update

February 2016 - Washington leads the nation in shellfish production and the governor's office launched Phase 2 of the Washington Shellfish Initiative in January.


P e a c e

Peace

New Mexico News Connection

NM Senator Sponsors Bill to Reduce Political Pressure on National Security Council

February 2017 - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced legislation that will clarify the permanent membership of the National Security Council (NSC) to ensure that decisions affecting national security are not clouded by political calculations. The legislation addresses significant concerns following President Trump's reorganization of the NSC, which diminished the roles of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence and extended NSC membership to a top campaign and political advisor.


P h i l a n t h r o p y

Philanthropy

All News Services

"Giving Tuesday" Gains Traction

November 2012 - Nonprofit organizations' efforts to create a new identity for the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving appeared to pay off.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado Gives Day Broke Records

December 2012 - Colorado Gives Day on December 4th broke its previous record, giving $15.7 million to 1,246 Colorado nonprofits.

Keystone State News Connection

March 2011 - A new report from a watchdog group shows money raised and invested by nonprofits in Pennsylvania has translated to some major community benefits. The report from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy points to more than three billion dollars in benefits generated in the past few years for low-wage workers, public school funding, affordable housing and other projects.

Maine News Service

November 2012 - The Maine Community Foundation was one of many groups nationwide taking up the cause of #Giving Tuesday. Using social media like Twitter, organizers set Tuesday, November 27th as the first "Hashtag Giving Tuesday," asking people to donate money, services or volunteer time to charities. According to the United Nations Foundation, donors gave more than $10 million to nonprofit organizations - 53 percent more than on the same day last year - and more than 2,500 charities around the country participated in the event.

Minnesota News Connection

Minnesotan Honored for Help to Needy

February 2013 - Mary Jo Copeland was at the White House this month for a ceremony where President Obama awarded her the \Presidential Citizens Medal" the second-highest civilian honor" for her charitable work. Copeland is the founder of Sharing and Caring Hands the Minneapolis-based non-profit that provides care shelter and food to those in need."

Minnesotan Honored for Help to Needy

February 2013 - Mary Jo Copeland was at the White House this month for a ceremony where President Obama awarded her the "Presidential Citizens Medal," the second-highest civilian honor, for her charitable work. Copeland is the founder of Sharing and Caring Hands, the Minneapolis-based non-profit that provides care, shelter and food to those in need.

November 2012 - Minnesota's annual Give to the Max Day raised more than $16-million for 4,381 local nonprofits and schools, breaking the previous state and national records for charitable giving. More than 53,000 people donated Minnesota's annual 24-hour philanthropic marathon.

New Mexico News Connection

New Mexico Residents Give Big to Nonprofits

May 2014 - The "Give Grande New Mexico" one day online fundraiser held on May 6th raised nearly 900-thousand dollars to benefit several hundred nonprofits in the state.

Utah News Connection

Online Giving Campaign Sets Record

November -0001 - The annual fundraiser “Love Utah Give Utah raised over $1.2 million to benefit several hundred nonprofits in the state. The event, now in its third year, raised $650,000 dollars in 2013, and just over a million dollars in 2014.


P o v e r t y

I s s u e s

Poverty Issues

All News Services

Winter Heating Help

October 2015 - After a push from U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, the Obama Administration in October released funding for critical heating assistance for low-income families.

Ohio News Connection

May 2012 - Groups including the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, the Public Children's Services Association of Ohio, and AARP Ohio spoke out against an amendment introduced by the Senate Finance Committee in the Mid-Biennium Review (HB 487) that would have created a pilot program to drug-test prospective TANF recipients before receiving benefits. Their worked paid off with the committee pulling the discriminatory and punitive provision from the bill before advancing it to the Senate floor.


P u b l i c

L a n d s / W i l d e r n e s s

Public Lands/Wilderness

All News Services

Bill Author Backs Off Proposal to Sell Off Public Lands

February 2017 - After an outcry from outdoor enthusiasts and conservation groups across the country, Utah Senator Jason Chaffetz today decided to withdraw a bill he introduced last week, H.R. 621 that had the explicit aim to sell Federal lands.

Obama Expands Two National Monuments in California

January 2017 - California Coastal National Monument and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument at the Oregon border have more space to recreate. The newly protected areas include the Orange County Rocks, the Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County, and Trinidad Head. The new designations include some 6,200 acres on the California coast and another 47,000 at the border with Oregon, 5,000 of which are in California.

American Lands Council Sees Membership Drop by Almost Half

October 2016 - County memberships in the American Lands Council, a national group working to transfer publicly owned lands to states, have dropped by as much as 45 percent, according to an investigation by the Western Values Project.

Senate Makes Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent

April 2016 - The U.S. Senate passed an energy bill that would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Senate Defeats Attack on Antiquities Act

February 2016 - A move to gut the Antiquities Act and effectively block a U-S president from declaring new national monuments died in the U-S Senate on Tuesday.

Land and Water Conservation Fund Revived in Omnibus Spending Bill

December 2015 - The Land and Water Conservation Fund is back from the dead because Congress included it in the omnibus spending bill that is supposed to get a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives today.

Sagebrush Landscape Plans Unveiled

May 2015 - The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service unveiled a set of plans to manage sagebrush landscapes in Utah and across the West.

Central Coast Heritage Protection Act Introduced

May 2014 - The congresswoman representing the Central California coast has proposed legislation, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, to increase wilderness protection for a large area of the Los Padres National Forest.

Land and Water Conservation Funding Approved

January 2014 - Congress voted to restore funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Land Added to McDowell Sonoran Preserve

November 2012 - The City of Scottsdale completed a 20-year project to add 10 square miles of land to the city's McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

EIS Recommends Moratorium on Mining Claims Near Grand Canyon

October 2011 - An environmental impact study of uranium mining near the Grand Canyon recommends a 20-year moratorium on new mining claims.

Arizona News Connection

Interior Secretary Bans New Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

January 2012 - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has signed the order banning new uranium mining claims near the Grand Canyon for the next 20 years.

Arizona State Parks Pertnering with Local Governments to Remain Open

March 2011 - Partnerships with local governments are keeping several Arizona State Parks from closing. Parks officials warn that the partnerships are not a permanent solution to funding shortfalls.

Grand Canyon Hopes to Reuce Aircraft Noise

February 2011 - The National Park Service is seeking public comment on a draft plan to reduce aircraft noise at the Grand Canyon.

Legislation Would Help Fund Firefighting

November -0001 - Treating major wildfires as natural disasters and spending more money on improving forest health are goals of proposed federal legislation. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 would update how the federal government funds suppression efforts. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is considering the legislation.

Big Sky Connection

Governor Announces Push to Improve Access to MT Public Lands

June 2016 - Governor Steve Bullock announced a series of measures to improve access to Montana public lands. Bullock has created the position of Public Access Specialist, in the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Forest Jobs Act Headed to Senate Floor

December 2013 - The U.S. Senate floor is the next stop for the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act from Montana Senator Jon Tester.

Rocky Mtn. Front Heritage Act Heads to Senate Floor

November 2013 - The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act unanimously passed out of mark-up in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee - with no changes.

Winter Travel Rules for Yellowstone Finalized - Tight Controls on Pollution

October 2013 - The National Park Service has finalized its winter travel plan for Yellowstone National Park, saying it's based on 15 years of research, experience and public input.

November 2012 - Conservation is just as important as gun rights, according to a new poll of sportsmen by the National Wildlife Federation. Nearly half said those two priorities have equal weight in their minds. And given a choice between prioritizing oil and gas production or protecting public lands, 35 percent chose the fuel and 49 percent chose the public lands.

November 2012 - Wide open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities mean more jobs and fatter paychecks in Big Sky County. A new report, "West is Best," makes connections between protected federal lands and economic prosperity in Big Sky Country.

December 2011 - Ask first, and the job gets done. That's one of the successful components of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), according to a new report from the U.S. Forest Service - which finds the program's goals in Montana are being met. And the new U.S. House budget bill recommends fully funding it for another year.

June 2011 - Montana Senator Max Baucus has re-introduced a bill for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with a 1.5 percent provision added by Senator Jon Tester that will be dedicated to additional access to hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands.

June 2011 - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has signed the "check" - which means millions are on the way the Southwestern Crown of the Continent Restoration Project in Montana.

May 2011 - Montana Senator Jon Tester's (D) "Forest Jobs and Recreation Act" was examined by a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee yesterday. A hearing is seen as a positive step for the legislation, which would designate wilderness as well as working forest projects.

April 2011 - A new report from Headwaters Economics takes a look at oil, gas and coal development, and the role of those industries in state economies for Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The findings show that the economic benefits to states are limited - accounting for less than three percent of both total employment and total personal income.

February 2011 - The America's Great Outdoors initiative has been unveiled, after months of public listening sessions around the country. The first stop on that tour was in Montana, to learn more about local efforts to preserve landscapes, recreation access and water quality. Blackfoot River Valley rancher, and chair of the Blackfoot Challenge's Forestry Committee, was on hand when the plan was unveiled this week in Washington, D.C., and he says it's obvious that officials really did listen to what locals had to say.

January 2011 - A U.S. District Judge has upheld the Forest Service "travel plan" for the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Motorized groups sued because ATV, dirt bike and snowmobile access was banned in most of the area. The Blackfeet Tribe lists it as a sacred site.

California News Service

President Obama to Declare Three New Monuments in Southern Calif.

February 2016 - The southern California desert will soon have three new national monuments - Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains.

Point Arena Stornetter Public Land Protected

March 2014 - President Obama used Antiquities Act to protect Point Arena Stornetta Public Land on CA coast.

The New Year May Bring New Protections for Pinnacles National Monument

December 2012 - The U.S. Senate has approved legislation that would make it a national park, and now all that's left is for President Obama to sign the bill.

April 2012 - President Obama has named California's former military base, Fort Ord, as the country's newest National Monument. The designation will protect the 14-thousand acres of coastal land in Monterey County, while also recognizing the service of the generations of military personnel who trained on the base. Local groups and veterans groups have worked hard to get the designation.

February 2011 - There's a "silver lining" in the recession in CA and across the country. The poor economy is allowing public land trusts to buy more land for conservation. These public trusts have been snapping up large tracts of land or buying conservation easements - agreements in which landowners essentially promise not to allow development on their land in exchange for money - while developers have been sitting on the sidelines or going out of business.

January 2011 - Legislation to protect California's San Gabriel Mountains and Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia in San Diego County were introduced on the first day of the 112th Congress. CANS featured a story of how a local church supports protection for the San Gabriel Mountains because they consider the area sacred and a place where they go to retreat. A San Diego County businessman says the protection will also help the desert tourism economy.

Colorado News Connection

Browns Canyon Proposed to be a National Monument

March 2013 - Mark Udall announced he's introducing a bill to turn the beloved angling and recreation area Browns Canyon into a National Monument - a series of public meetings on his proposal (which was developed with lots of stakeholder input) began this month.

November 2012 - Wide open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities mean more jobs and fatter paychecks in Big Sky County. A new report, "West is Best," makes connections between protected federal lands and economic prosperity in Big Sky Country.

July 2012 - A seven-year process to develop a roadless rule for Colorado ended in July, when the state and U.S. Forest Service came to an agreement. The new Colorado rule includes creation of an upper tier category of lands that provides the highest safeguards to 1.2 million acres, a refined inventory that includes 400,000 acres of previously non-inventoried roadless lands and measures protecting species and vegetation.

June 2012 - Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced that noted conservationist Louis Bacon intends to donate a conservation easement totaling approximately 90,000 acres in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains bordering the San Luis Valley. This easement will provide the foundation for the proposed new Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area, which the Service is in the process of establishing.

May 2012 - The Rocky Mountain Greenway Project, an urban park connecting Denver's metro area trail systems with Rocky Mountain National Park, three area National Wildlife Refuges and community trail systems, moved forward this month as part of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative.

May 2012 - The U.S. Forest Service released a final version of the Colorado Roadless Rule this month, which will help manage 4 million acres backcountry public lands in the state. It addresses key concerns raised by sportsmen and environmental communities, including safeguarding key landscapes/habitats. This is one of two state-based roadless rules (Idaho is the other).

April 2012 - The Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089) passed the House April 18 with bipartisan support and a vote of 274-146. It would require federal land managers to consider impacts to hunting and angling when developing land management plans, among other measures.

October 2011 - At a meeting with Mark Udall, the proposed San Juan Wilderness expansions received broad and wide-based support from groups including local governments, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, sportsmen (hunters & fishermen) and homeowners from the region.

September 2011 - Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett introduced legislation to increase the San Juan Wilderness, protecting water supplies and helping to preserve recreational opportunities for Coloradans. Some of the land would be new wilderness, and other acreage would merely be protected from invasive procedures like mining. This is a bill which was shaped by community input - a grass roots effort mostly supported by locals

April 2011 - A new report from Headwaters Economics takes a look at oil, gas and coal development, and the role of those industries in state economies for Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The findings show that the economic benefits to states are limited - accounting for less than three percent of both total employment and total personal income.

Browns Canyon National Monument Declared

November -0001 - President Barack Obama plans to name Browns Canyon, in central Colorado, a national monument, a designation that adds a new layer of federal protection to the popular spot for whitewater rafting.

Commonwealth News Service

June 2011 - The Patrick-Murray Administration announced $602,525 in Conservation Partnership Grants that will enable nine nonprofit organizations to preserve 136 acres of open space throughout the state -- including 57 acres of working forest. Conservation Partnership grants are designed to help nonprofit organizations purchase land or interests in land for conservation or recreation.

Florida News Connection

Conservation Move Headed to the Ballot

January 2014 - The Legacy Amendment (Amendment 1) will be placed on Florida ballots in November.

Greater Dakota News Service

SD Rejects "Dangerous" Biking Law

February 2016 - South Dakota lawmakers rejected a bill that opponents said would have made bicycling more dangerous on certain roads in the state.

Illinois News Connection

New National Monument in Chicago

November -0001 - President Barack Obama has designated Chicago’s Far South Side district of Pullman a national monument. According to the Chicago Tribune, “portions of Pullman will be maintained by the National Park System in a manner similar to how it treats the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument,” and “individual residents will continue to own the row houses, the church and small businesses … .”

Indiana News Service

A Big Step is Taken in Effort to Restore Habitat in the Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore.

February 2016 - After years of negotiations, a deal was reached to buy one of the last pieces of land in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Keystone State News Connection

February 2012 - The focus in Pennsylvania's only national forest, the Allegheny National Forest, will be restoration and multiple-use activities under new management guidelines being finalized by the Obama administration. Officials hope the new 'forest planning rule' will break a 30-year political and legal stalemate between environmentalists and the timber industry.

February 2011 - The Obama administration is releasing its 'America's Great Outdoors' initiative, and Pennsylvania streams and rivers stand to gain much in the way of additional preservation and restoration. The group American Rivers says it shows a willingness to invest in clean water and healthy rivers for future generations.

Maine News Service

New National Monument Designated for Maine

August 2016 - President Obama made good on his pledge to designate more than 80 thousand acres of the North Woods for the nation's newest national monument. Supporters say the monument is likely to increase tourism and help the economy in a region of the state that has been struggling.

November 2012 - Conservation is just as important as gun rights, according to a new poll of sportsmen by the National Wildlife Federation. Nearly half said those two priorities have equal weight in their minds. And given a choice between prioritizing oil and gas production or protecting public lands, 35 percent chose the fuel and 49 percent chose the public lands.

March 2011 - Several environmental advocacy groups breathed a collective sigh of relief when the U.S Senate rejected a House passed funding bill that would have blocked the EPA from updating and enforcing limits on a variety of pollutants. It also would have cut funding for Acadia National Park.

February 2011 - Maine environmental groups cheered President Obama for including Acadia National Park in his Great Outdoors Initiative. The administration held several listening sessions around the country, including one in Bangor last year. Environmental groups rallied concerned citizens from around the state and gathered hundreds of signatures to highlight the importance of protecting the park.

ME Leads in Land Conservation

November -0001 - Maine is a national leader in land conservation, according to a new report aimed at making sure it stays that way. The report from the Maine Development Foundation says the state has far exceeded its goal in conservation acreage, but issues still remain around which lands are conserved. For example, an acre up in Northern Maine will not necessarily have the same recreational benefits to an acre in the Greater Portland area, if that ‘s the goal of the conservation organization. The quarterly economic report focused on conserved lands because of their importance to Maine’s prosperity and sense of place.

Nevada News Service

Amodei Says He Won't Revive Public Lands Transfer Bill

May 2017 - A proposal for the federal government to sell off millions of acres of land in Nevada probably won't return to Congress. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, introduced a massive lands bill last session and had considered reviving it. Now he says, "Transferring millions of acres of public lands is not something I think the majority of people think is a good idea." During the previous session of Congress Amodei introduced H.R. 1484, known as the Honor the Nevada Enabling Act. The first phase covered nearly 7.3 million acres, with about half within a checkerboard pattern that traverses the state from Sparks to Wendover. Other Phase One land included property the Bureau of Land Management has already designated for disposal.

NV Lawmakers Seek Wilderness Protections in Pershing County

February 2017 - Senator Dean Heller re-introduced the Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act of 2017 in the Senate (S. 414). Representatives. The bill will designate seven key wilderness areas across the County: Cain Mountain, Bluewing, Selenite Peak, Mount Limbo, North Sahwave, Grandfathers (Tobin Crest), and Fencemaker. Total wilderness acreage amounts to a little over 136,000 acres of permanently protected wildlife habitat.

President Obama Declares National Monument at Gold Butte

December 2016 - President Obama just designated Gold Butte, Nevada's piece of the Grand Canyon, a national monument. Gold Butte covers almost 350,000 acres between the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and Lake Mead National Recreation Area and is home to many petroglyphs and sites considered sacred to local tribes.

Western A-G's Pan Legality of Land Transfers

October 2016 - Lawsuits to force the federal government to turn over land to states have little chance of succeeding, according to new findings from the Conference of Western Attorneys General. Two years ago, the group formed a subcommittee to study whether the federal government was legally obligated to sell or transfer the public lands within a state, to that state. A-Gs from all the Western states except California, found the legal claims to be weak.

Public Lands Attract Retirees

March 2016 - Older Americans are three times more likely to retire in areas of Utah and other Western states that have protected public lands.

February 2011 - The Bureau of Land Management was listening to Nevadans in February, getting local input on how big a footprint solar energy projects should have on Public Lands. Meetings were held in Las Vegas, Goldfield and Caliente to help the BLM set guidelines for the state's solar energy zones. Groups like The Wilderness Society and Nevada Wilderness Project say the zones will help developers by reducing time and cost for solar development, while at the same time minimizing impact on wildlife and the environment.

Westerners Don’t Wants States Taking Federal Public Lands

November -0001 - The majority of Nevadans and people throughout much of the West oppose states taking control of federally managed public lands. That's the finding of the survey titled "Western Voter Attitudes Toward Management of Public Lands" from the Center for American Progress. The survey also shows majority support among both political parties and in both urban and rural areas for the federal government to continue managing public lands. It also shows that nine-out-of-ten voters view protecting and conserving public lands as their top priority for the lands.

Legislation Would Help Fund Firefighting

November -0001 - Treating major wildfires as natural disasters and spending more money on improving forest health are goals of proposed federal legislation. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 would update how the federal government funds suppression efforts. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is considering the legislation.

New Mexico News Connection

"Monumental" Anniversary Marks a Win for NM Public Lands

March 2017 - A celebration recognizing Rio Grand Del Norte in obtaining national monument status represents success in the ongoing struggle to preserve public lands access in New Mexico.

Conservation Groups Praise Demise of Mineral-Rights Bill to Fund Education

February 2017 - Conservation groups are celebrating after a bill that would put revenue from the sale of mineral rights toward early-childhood education was tabled by its author. On Wednesday the Senate Education Committee tabled and essentially killed Senate Bill 182, following a public outcry. Ben Shelton with Conservation Voters New Mexico opposed the measure, viewing it as something of a wolf in sheep's clothing because it offered funds for education should the state gain the right to exploit mineral rights on 6-point-6 million acres of federal public land.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks New National Monument

May 2014 - President Obama designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument.

Organ Mountains National Monument Movement Gains Biz Backing

March 2014 - Some southern New Mexico businesses are backing the effort to designate the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks as a national monument, and seeing it as an opportunity to help market their products.

New Mexico has a New National Monument

March 2013 - President Obama designated 240,000 acres of BLM lands in Taos County at the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument.

Rio Grande de Norte Protection Plan Introduced

February 2013 - New bills from Rep. Lujan, Sens. Udall and Heinrich call for permanent protection of the Rio Grande del Norte region near Taos. The Rio Grande del Norte is a 236,000-acre parcel that stretches from the Colorado border to the Rio Grande Gorge west of Taos. The area is famed for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation.

September 2012 - Two new wildlife refuges were dedicated in New Mexico, including the first urban refuge in the Southwest. The urban refuge - Valle de Oro, is Spanish for "Valley of Gold" is located along the Rio Grande on the southern edge of Albuquerque. The Wind River Ranch near Mora, N.M. was the location of a signing ceremony establishing the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area of over 4,200 acres donated by the Pew Charitable Trust.

April 2011 - A new report from Headwaters Economics takes a look at oil, gas and coal development, and the role of those industries in state economies for Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The findings show that the economic benefits to states are limited - accounting for less than three percent of both total employment and total personal income.

January 2011 - More federal wild lands are now set to be protected in New Mexico. A controversial Bush-era rule was reversed, allowing the Bureau of Land Management to once again survey lands with wilderness characteristics and set them aside until Congress has a chance to determine whether or not to designate official wilderness.

Young People Put to Work in the Carson Nat’l. Forest

November -0001 - A conservation project at Carson National Forest in Northern New Mexico is under way in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the "Wilderness Act." Young work crews are thinning about 160 acres of dense forestland to reduce the thick vegetation that can fuel the spread of forest fires

Legislation Would Help Fund Firefighting

November -0001 - Treating major wildfires as natural disasters and spending more money on improving forest health are goals of proposed federal legislation. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 would update how the federal government funds suppression efforts. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is considering the legislation.

Request at the Top to Protect Chaco Canyon

November -0001 - New Mexico's congressional delegation is asking U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to monitor a possible escalation of fracking in an area considered sacred by many Native Americans, Chaco Canyon. In a letter to Jewell, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (lou-HAWN), stress the historic, cultural, and ecological significance of Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

LWCF Supported in Congress

November -0001 - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico is among a bipartisan group of lawmakers urging Congress to renew the fund which is credited with paying for many recreation areas in the Land of Enchantment and across the nation. Heinrich says the Land and Water Conservation Fund helped create Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in the Rio Grande Valley and the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico. Heinrich was among those who joined the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition for the release of a new report on the fund’s 50th anniversary. The fund, created by Congress, expires next year.

New York News Connection

January 2011 - New York State has purchased a conservation easement protecting 89 thousand acres of Adirondack forestland in a deal that's designed to increase revenue from hiking, fishing and snowmobiling and preserve lumbering jobs at the same time. This was hailed by everyone from The Nature Conservancy to the New York State Snowmobilers Association.

North Carolina News Service

Judge rules in favor of Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary.

October 2014 - Judge rules in favor of Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary.

Northern Rockies News Service

Land in Northern Idaho Forest Permanently Conserved

September 2016 - The Idaho Department of Lands has permanently conserved approximately 5,568 acres of forestland to benefit wildlife, local economies, clean water and recreation. The land is located in Northern Idaho within the McArthur Lake Wildlife Corridor.

Winter Travel Rules for Yellowstone Finalized - Tight Controls on Pollution

October 2013 - The National Park Service has finalized its winter travel plan for Yellowstone National Park, saying it's based on 15 years of research, experience and public input.

Sportsmen Propose Boulder-White Clouds National Monument

October 2013 - Proposals to protect the Boulder-White Clouds in Idaho have been in Congress for nearly a decade - and some sportsmen say they're tired of waiting.

Judge Rules Megaloads for Highway 12 Violate Federal Rules

February 2013 - A federal judge ruled that the U.S. Forest Services and Federal Highway Administration acted unlawfully in claiming they had no jurisdiction over the decision to use Highway 12 for megaloads related to tar sands oil projects, thus, violating the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act - since the Highway runs alongside a designated river.

Court Says 'Yes" to Idaho Roadless Rule

January 2013 - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Idaho Roadless Rule.

Court Says "Yes" to Idaho Roadless Rule

January 2013 - The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Idaho Roadless Rule], the first state-designed management guideline for back-country national forests.

November 2012 - Conservation is just as important as gun rights, according to a new poll of sportsmen by the National Wildlife Federation. Nearly half said those two priorities have equal weight in their minds. And given a choice between prioritizing oil and gas production or protecting public lands, 35 percent chose the fuel and 49 percent chose the public lands.

November 2012 - Wide open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities mean more jobs and fatter paychecks in Big Sky County. A new report, "West is Best," makes connections between protected federal lands and economic prosperity in Big Sky Country.

April 2012 - Support for many environmental causes seems to run strictly along political lines, although a group of Republicans is working to change that in Congress. The group , Republicans for Environmental Protection, has asked House Speaker John Boehner to help move a battery of bills focused on wilderness and conservation - including Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson's Central Idaho Economic and Development Recreation Act (CIEDRA).

July 2011 - Senators Michael Crapo and Jim Risch were been honored with Friend of the National Parks awards from the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) for their contribution to protecting and enhancing America's national parks. The award recognizes members with pro-park voting records during the 111th Congress.

Ohio News Connection

Public Parks Protected from Fracking

April 2015 - Lawmakers passed an amendment to protect Ohio state parks from fracking. Environmental groups are applauding the move.

Ohio Gets a New National Monument

March 2013 - President Obama designated the Wilberforce home of Colonel Charles Young was a national monument, becoming part of the National Park system.

Oregon News Service

Governor Brown Moves to Protect Oregon's First State Forest

May 2017 - Governor Kate Brown released a plan today to protect Elliott State Forest as public lands. The plan removes a section of the forest from its obligation to provide timber revenue for state schools, allowing the land to be preserved.

Judge Rules Goose Timber Sale is a No-Go

March 2013 - Conservation groups successfully challenged the U.S. Forest Service on the controversial Goose timber sale in U.S. District Court. The judge ruled that logging should not take place on the 2,100-acre area without a detailed analysis of potential environmental damage.

Wilderness Legislation Introduced

February 2013 - Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden introduced the Oregon Treasures Act of 2013. It's another attempt in Congress to designate new three wilderness areas - Cathedral Rock, Horse Heaven and the Devil's Staircase - plus secure an expansion of the Oregon Caves National Monument, and federal Wild and Scenic protections for portions of four rivers.

Forest Service Ordered to Up Management of Livestock Grazing

December 2012 - Protections against overgrazing on public land in eastern Oregon have been upheld by a federal judge after legal battles of almost ten years.

June 2012 - Four Northwest conservation groups have released a report showing that there's enough timber thinning and restoration work to be done in western Oregon forests to keep crews busy for 20 years, without the controversy that typically accompanies timber sales on public land. It says this approach would also mean 44 percent more federal timber volume to local mills, and 2,700 new jobs.

Lake County Hits Forest Restoration Jackpot

February 2012 - A big federal grant for accelerated forest restoration work was awarded in February to Lake County.

February 2012 - A study of the economic effects of national parks on local communities says Oregon's Crater Lake National Park, plus the series of national monuments and historic sites around the state, saw a total of more than 852,000 visitors in a single year (2010). They spent more than $55 million and supported about 860 jobs in those areas.

December 2011 - Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Rep. Peter DeFazio, have introduced companion bills in Congress to expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness Area by an additional 60,000 acres. The legislation includes protection for 143 miles of Rogue River tributaries that are important spawning grounds for green sturgeon and salmon.

November 2011 - Oregon's Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Jeff Merkley are among the 130 bipartisan cosponsors of the Roadless Area Conservation Act of 2011, introduced mid-November. It would codify the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, meaning fewer politically motivated policy changes guiding the use of Oregon's 2 million acres of public lands

May 2011 - May brought a reprieve for the McKenzie River watershed, a primary source of drinking water for the Eugene area. A federal judge ruled that the Trapper Timber Sale cannot take place on U.S. Forest Service land because of possible threats to endangered wildlife in the area. The sale has been the subject of controversy since it was first proposed in 1998. Conservation groups are pleased, because it involved 155 acres of timber that had not been logged before.

May 2011 - There are no less than five Oregon public lands bills in Congress, and they were the focus of a mid-May subcommittee hearing chaired by Sen. Ron Wyden. They include designating wilderness for the Devil's Staircase, Cathedral Rock, and Horse Heaven areas; a land transfer from the BLM to Deschutes County; and the Eastside Forest Restoration and Old Growth Protection Act, the historic agreement between tmber industry and conservation groups in eastern Oregon.

April 2011 - Members of Oregon's Congressional delegation have reintroduced legislation to protect several "natural treasures" on public lands. It would create a new Devil's Staircase Wilderness area, expand the Oregon Caves National Monument and add additional protections for the Chetco Wild and Scenic River.

Congress Looks at New Ways to Approach Wildfires

November -0001 - Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden are among a dozen from mostly Western states asking Congress to rethink the way the government funds wildfire suppression. The amount budgeted is now a 10-year average of wildfire costs – but the lawmakers point out that it hasn’t been sufficient in eight of the last 10 years. They want wildfires classified as natural disasters, and want at least some of the funding to focus on fire prevention.

Forest Plan for Conservation and Timber

November -0001 - In a contentious legislative session, one of the few bills to pass with bipartisan support was HB 2984, the Clackamas Forest Product Cooperative Project. It allows Clackamas County to develop a co-op plan for growing trees specifically for harvest on non-forest land – with the landowner and local government sharing the revenue. Backers pitched it as a way for nonprofits, school districts and private landowners to profit from unused spaces.

Public Outcry Stops Clear-Cut

November -0001 - The Bureau of Land Management’s Eugene office put plans on hold to clear-cut more than 250 acres of public land near Springfield, after receiving more than 700 public comments – most in opposition to the “Second Show” timber sale. Two conservation groups had challenged the sale in court, claiming that the agency had failed to analyze the environmental effects of the sale in conjunction with other logging and road-building in the area.

Tennessee News Service

Tennessee Land Offered Protection by Bill in Congress

March 2016 - The Tennessee Wilderness Act would protect land area in northeast Tennessee from development. It would maintain public access for non-mechanized recreation.

Cherokee Forest Plan Heads to Senate

April 2014 - It's taken four years, but legislation that would protect some 20,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest is now headed to the floor of the U.S. Senate.

TN Wilderness Act Introduced for the Third Time

July 2013 - The Tennessee Wilderness Act was reintroduced in Congress in July by the state's two US Senators. The legislation seeks to permanently protect 20,000 acres of the Cherokee National Forest and add the state's first new wilderness area in more than 25 years.

December 2010 - The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to limit logging in the Cherokee National Forest, which is located in eastern Tennessee, after conservation groups raised concerns. The agency had originally planned to log about 355 acres in the Big Creek watershed, northeast of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After a coalition of environmental organizations objected, the Forest Service agreed this week not to log on about 122 acres in the Laurel Mountain area.

Gateway Town Recognized for the Cherokee Forest

November -0001 - A special recognition arrived in August for a small community that is a gateway to the Cherokee National Forest. Tellico Plains was designated as a "Trail Town" by the Benton Mackaye Trail Association and the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition. The 'Trail Town designation comes with some free services, including the creation of a website that lists all the amenities hikers might need - from local attractions and lodging to restaurants and retail.

Utah News Connection

Public Lands Victory in Utah, But Issue Not Put to Rest

March 2017 - In the face of public pressure, Utah legislators have backed away from their threat to sue the federal government to force a transfer of federal lands to the state

Public Outcry Forces Chaffetz to Back Down on Public Lands Giveaway

February 2017 - After an outpouring of public concern and pressure, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah has said he will no longer advance his bill to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands.

New National Monuments in Utah

December 2016 - President Obama created new national monuments in a sacred tribal site in southeastern Utah and in a swath of Nevada desert, after years of political fights over the fate of the areas. The move includes the designation of 1.35 million acres to create the Bears Ears National Monument.

Public Lands Attract Retirees

March 2016 - Older Americans are three times more likely to retire in areas of Utah and other Western states that have protected public lands.

Tribes ask President for Bear's Ears National Monument

December 2015 - The multi-tribal coalition pushing the Bear's Ears conservation initiative has cut off discussions with Utah's congressional delegation after months of what it characterizes as inauthentic lip service to its interests, noncommittal assurances, refusal to engage its representatives and failures to meet deadlines.

Federal Land Protestor Sentenced to Jail

December 2015 - San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, 51, was given a 10-day jail sentence in December for organizing and leading an illegal ATV protest ride in the restricted Recapture Canyon near Blanding.

Sagebrush Landscape Plans Unveiled

May 2015 - The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service unveiled a set of plans to manage sagebrush landscapes in Utah and across the West.

Resolution Introduced for the Canyonlands

February 2013 - Sen. Jim Dabakis is the author of the latest attempt to secure greater protections for the Utah Canyonlands. He introduced a resolution that calls for public input and discussion about how the land should best be protected for recreational purposes, acknowledging the value of the outdoor recreation industry to the state.

Gov. Creates New Focus on Outdoor Recreation

January 2013 - Gov. Gary Herbert announced in January that he's creating an Office of Outdoor Recreation to encourage that segment of the Utah economy.

Legislation Would Help Fund Firefighting

November -0001 - Treating major wildfires in Utah and elsewhere as natural disasters and spending more money on improving forest health are goals of proposed federal legislation. The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015 would update how the federal government funds suppression efforts. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources is considering the legislation.

Public Lands Worth Big Bucks to Utah

November -0001 - A report from Headwaters Economics analyzed the employment picture in Grand County – which encompasses Moab, as well as Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. The research found that the booming tourism and recreation sectors have also driven job gains and earnings in other sectors. Job growth increased over 50 percent in healthcare, finance, and insurance, between 2001 and 2013. During the same period, per-capita income rose from about $28,000 to $40,000 a year.

Washington News Service

Expansion Proposed for Mount Si NRCA

November 2013 - The Department of Natural Resources is proposing expanding the Mount Si Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) by 161 acres.

New Forest on the Map

August 2013 - The Teanaway Community Forest is a reality. The state Board of Natural Resources unanimously approved acquiring 50,000 acres of forestland in Kittitas County for $97 million.

February 2012 - A study of the economic effects of national parks on local communities says the biggest impact in the nation is in Washington. The state's national parks, monuments and historic sites saw 7.3 million visitors in a single year (2010). They spent more than $264 million and supported about 3,900 jobs in those areas.

February 2012 - February began with an announcement of almost $1 million in federal funds for forest restoration work, granted to the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition. The grant is part of the group's multi-year plan for thinning trees and decommissioning old logging roads, and is expected to support more than 500 jobs in Ferry and Stephens counties.

February 2012 - February brought another victory for the national Roadless Area Conservation Rule, when an appeal by the State of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Associationi was turned down. The 10th Circuit Court decision affects more than two million acres of roadless national forestland in Washington.

April 2011 - Three state agencies in Washington have suggested a way to keep state lands open for recreation despite severe budget cutbacks. The Department of Natural Resources, Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, and State Parks and Recreation Dept. want to offer a $30 annual pass or $10 day-use pass, with money used to maintain recreation access. The same legislation allows any of the agencies to have law enforcement power on the others' lands, stretching public dollars further.

February 2011 - It's "try, try again" for more Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8th Dist.) have reintroduced their bill in Congress to expand the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and designate both the Pratt and Middle Fork Snoqualmie Rivers as Wild and Scenic. It passed in the House last year, but the session adjourned before further action was taken.

Outdoor Industry Needs Promotion

November -0001 - A Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation has announced a dozen recommendations to boost the state’s efforts to capitalize on outdoor resources. It suggests that the Washington Dept. of Commerce include an outdoor industry sector lead, just as it has for the aerospace and maritime industries, and says more state funding is needed to protect Washington’s recreation resources and promote the businesses that rely on them.

Wyoming News Service

Wyoming Taps Outdoor Recreation to Increase Revenues

November 2016 - Gov. Matt Mead's task force to promote outdoor recreation in Wyoming is taking shape. Some 20 applicants will be selected, and the group will have a year to deliver a report with suggestions to improve Wyoming's outdoor, recreation opportunities, marketing and business recruitment.

Study Shows Managing Federal Lands Would be Costly for Wyoming

October 2016 - A new report on the feasibility of transferring the management of some 25 million acres of federal lands to the state of Wyoming said the process would present major financial, administrative and legislative challenges. In 2015, the Wyoming Legislature passed a bill mandating the study, which was completed by Y-2 Consultants.

Sagebrush Landscape Plans Unveiled

May 2015 - The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service unveiled a set of plans to manage sagebrush landscapes in Utah and across the West.

Winter Travel Rules for Yellowstone Finalized - Tight Controls on Pollution

October 2013 - The National Park Service has finalized its winter travel plan for Yellowstone National Park, saying it's based on 15 years of research, experience and public input.

Jobs Boosted By Outdoor Recreational Opportunities

November 2012 - Wide open spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities mean more jobs and fatter paychecks in Big Sky County.

Prioritizing Oil and Gas Production vs. Protecting Public Lands

November 2012 - Conservation is just as important as gun rights, according to a new poll of sportsmen by the National Wildlife Federation.

New Roads Prohibited in Acres of Backcountry

October 2012 - Wyoming's challenge to the federal rule that prohibits new roadbuilding in millions of acres of backcountry in national forests has come to an end - at the U.S. Supreme Court.

BLM Improves Policies Toward Oil and Gas Leasing

July 2012 - A new report analyzes how the Bureau of Land Management's policies toward oil and gas leasing on public lands have changed since 2008.

September 2011 - An oil and gas company based in Oklahoma has submitted paperwork to withdraw its request for the Desolation Road drilling project in Adobe Town. The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance had filed a legal challenge on the project.

July 2011 - The Bureau of Land Management has reversed course on five oil and gas leases auctioned a year ago in the Red Desert's Adobe Town. The area is considered sensitive for environmental and cultural reasons. The Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Alliance for Historic Wyoming and Wyoming Outdoor Council have been following Red Desert drilling issues.

January 2011 - The Bridger-Teton National Forest released its final decision regarding the fate of 44,720 acres of contested oil and gas leases along the eastern front of the Range. Supporters of keeping development-free zones say the U.S. Forest Service has listened to the public - the citizens of Wyoming and of the nation - who said this place is too special to drill.

December 2010 - The Bureau of Land Management decided not to lease 200,720 acres of Wyoming public land for oil and gas drilling in response to protests. Many of the leases that will now be withheld are in key sage grouse habitat or crucial winter ranges for mule deer, antelope, and elk.

Lander Valley Management Plan Applauded

November -0001 - The Bureau of Land Management issued its new long-term land-use plan for the Lander Valley and Wind River Basin. The new land-use plan will guide management of 2.4 million acres of federal surface and 2.8 million acres of federal mineral estate for the next 15 to 20 years.The plan encompasses the Sweetwater Watershed — which contains some of the last intact sections of the Oregon, Mormon, and California National Historic Trails — as well as the Upper Wind River Valley, which is popular for recreation and is one of nation’s richest wildlife areas. Conservation groups say the plan is a good balance of preservation of current uses, history and culture, as well as future development.


R u r a l / F a r m i n g

Rural/Farming

All News Services

FDA Issues New Food Safety Rules

December 2015 - FDA issues new food safety rules, which for the first time include standards regarding the "growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables" meant for people to eat.

COOL Stands While Meatpackers Continue Fight

January 2014 - A Federal Appeals Court ruling denied a preliminary injunction against enforcing COOL and found that the meatpacking industry was unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims.

Big Sky Connection

"Big Thaw" For Popular Conservation Program in Montana

April 2013 - The big freeze on the Conservation Stewardship Program is thawing, thanks to a move by Congress to restore program funding. It's a popular program for active agricultural lands in Montana - covering more than 600,000 acres.

Changes in Animal ID Rule Welcomed

December 2012 - The U.S.D.A unveiled its final rule for the program, acknowledging concerns highlighted over the years by family operations and sustainable agriculture-focused groups.

April 2012 - The Labor Department is dropping plans to unnecessarily restrict young people from working on farms and ranches. In September, the Labor Department announced proposed restrictions that would limit the work teens could do on farms and ranches owned by anyone other than their parents - and although the agreed upon goal is safety - it caused problems for family operations.

January 2012 - The biggest obstacle for many beginning farmers and ranchers in Montana is buying land. A new program through the Farm Service Agency can make it easier by offering loan guarantees when retiring farmers agree to carry the sale contract for a beginner.

Kentucky News Connection

June 2011 - The White House announced the establishment of the first White House Rural Council. While rural communities face challenges, they also present economic potential. The council will coordinate programs across government to encourage public-private partnerships to promote further economic prosperity and quality of life in rural communities nationwide.

Texas News Service

The USDA Will Help Farmers and Ranchers Provide Food and Habitat for Monarch Butterflies.

November 2015 - The Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest four million dollars next year to help producers in the Midwest and southern Great Plains plant milkweed and nectar rich plants to attract these pollinators.

Washington News Service

WA Gets a Boost for Pesticide Safety

November 2015 - The Washington State Dept. of Agriculture got a $240,000 federal grant in November to expand its Farmworker Pesticide Education Program.

Grants Help Rural Communities

January 2010 - Seventeen rural counties and towns received news in June that they're getting grants of $18,000 to $24,000 for a variety of local improvement projects, from improving sewer systems and waste-water treatment to feasibility studies for youth and community centers.

Economic Recovery Assistance for Wildfire Communities

November -0001 - Following the massive Carlton Complex fire this summer, Gov. Jay Inslee has approved $150,000 in state aid to help Okanogan County and Methow Valley businesses with their economic recovery, and to remind people that there are tourist events and destinations untouched by the fire and waiting for them.

Wisconsin News Connection

Wisconsin Dairy Crisis Averted

May 2017 - Just before the May 1 deadline, several Wisconsin milk processors made agreements with 75 Wisconsin dairy farms to process their milk, totaling nearly a million pounds of milk per day. The dairy farmers were left in a lurch when a major Canadian processor told the farmers it would no longer take their milk after April 30. PNS/Wisconsin News Connection ran stories describing the problem. State and Federal authorities took action to find a solution, and just prior to the deadline all 75 farms affected were able to secure contracts for their milk production.

May 2011 - Sentiment appears to be growing in Wisconsin to save the "Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin" program. In May, the Wisconsin News Connection produced a story talking about efforts to eliminate the program. Under the governor's budget proposal, state support for the program would end. The report featured Dane County pork producer Bob Uphoff who said the program has been very successful in helping him get his products into local restaurants. The program provides grants to help connect Wisconsin farmers and producers with local markets such as grocery stores and restaurants. Supporters say the program keeps dollars in the local economy and helps create local jobs.

December 2010 - For years the number of family farms has been declining in Wisconsin, but another statistic holds much more positive promise. The number of farms owned and operated by women is rising. In December the Wisconsin News Connection produced a story on a report released by the Department of Agriculture that documented the increase in farms owned and operated by women.


S a l m o n

R e c o v e r y

Salmon Recovery

All News Services

Bypassing Congress to achieve Klamath Basin dam removal plans

February 2016 - The U.S. Interior and Commerce Depts., plus the states of Oregon and California and the utility PacifiCorp have signed an agreement to move forward with removing four Klamath River dams.

California News Service

February 2011 - Salmon are returning to CA. For the first time in 3 years, there's been an increase in salmon in the Delta and there may actually be a full fishing season this year. While this is good news, conservationist point to the need to continue to fight for responsible water policies in California so that these fish will have sufficient reproductive success.

Water to be Released for Salmon

November -0001 - A judge ruled that water can be released into the Trinity River, to benefit the salmon run upstream in the Klamath River. Two central valley water districts were suing to block the water release.

Northern Rockies News Service

Endangered Salmon Project Takes New Approach

December 2012 - NOAA is trying a new approach to saving endangered Northwest salmon.

June 2011 - The world's largest organization of fisheries scientists announced it passed a resolution supporting removal of the four lower Snake River dams to facilitate recovery of wild salmon and steelhead in the Snake River basin. The resolution, passed by an 86.4 percent margin by the Western Division of American Fisheries Society, states: If society-at-large wishes to restore Snake River salmon, steelhead, Pacific lamprey and white sturgeon to sustainable, fishable levels, then a significant portion of the lower Snake River must be returned to a free-flowing condition by breaching the four lower Snake River dams.

March 2011 - The ride over the Columbia and Snake River dam system could be a little smoother this year for Idaho salmon. The federal agencies that operate the dams have decided to keep spill levels high this year, sending more water over the dams to better protect fish as they make their way to the ocean...and the decision was made without a court order. In past years, higher spill levels have been ordered by a judge.

Oregon News Service

Endangered Salmon Project Takes New Approach

December 2012 - NOAA is trying a new approach to saving endangered Northwest salmon.

September 2012 - Gov. John Kitzhaber favors getting the debate about how to save endangered salmon and steelhead species out of the courtroom - and into a more collaborative, roundtable discussion format. He shared his views in an editorial published in September in The Oregonian. It's an approach that Northwest conservation groups have been suggesting for years.

Spring Chinook Fishing Returns after 40 Years

January 2010 - In late June, the lower Grande Ronde River opened to fishing for spring chinook salmon for the first time in 40 years but only for a few days.

Washington News Service

Court Rules Washington State Must Pay to Repair Fish-Blocking Culverts

June 2016 - A federal appeals cour ruled in favor of 21 Native American tribes in Washington state that the state must repair damaged culverts. The tribes argued the culverts block salmon swimming upstream to spawning areas. The decision marks the first time in Washington the state will be responsible for maintaining fish habitats for Native American tribes, extending beyond a fishing rights ruling for tribes from the 1970s. The state is ordered to spend $2.4 billion over the next 15 years to repair culverts.

Endangered Salmon Project Takes New Approach

December 2012 - NOAA is trying a new approach to saving endangered Northwest salmon.

October 2011 - Demolition of the Condit Dam on the White Salmon River began in late October with a blast to drain its reservoir. It is the third dam removal project to begin in the state in the past two months, expected to eventually restore miles of salmon and steelhead habitat.

September 2011 - On the Olympic peninsula, the long - and long awaited - removal process began mid-September for the Glines Canyon and Elwha Dams, which have been in place since 1927 and 1913, respectively. When completed, it will return about 45 miles of the Elwha River and its tributaries to their free-flowing state and is expected to boost native salmon numbers substantially. It's the largest dam removal process in U.S. history and had first been proposed in the 1970s.


S e n i o r

I s s u e s

Senior Issues

All News Services

Medicare Cost Projects Decline

February 2013 - Projections for the cost of the Medicare program have fallen by a half-trillion dollars since the last estimate three years ago. The Congressional Budget Office now expects Medicare to spend $500 billion dollars less by 2020.

Arizona News Connection

Retirees Attracted to Federal Lands

January 2010 - Older Americans are three times more likely to retire in areas of Utah and other Western states that have protected public lands such as Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon.

Big Sky Connection

March 2011 - The Montana House of Representatives by a 59 - 31 vote amended HB 2 to restore current state funding of the Montana Veterans' Home and keep it open as a public institution. There was a proposal to cut funding and turn it over to a private company, which would have resulted in layoffs, and many say, a lower quality of care.

California News Service

Governor Sings California Survivors Bill of Rights

September 2016 - Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1150, the California Survivors Bill of Rights, to allow banks and mortgage companies to talk with widows or widower's who may not be named on the loan.

Colorado News Connection

December 2010 - The President signed a one-year law which would delay the Medicare physician payment cut by one year. Health care watchdogs have been concerned that those cuts will lead to physicians dropping senior patients.

Connecticut News Service

Malloy Shows Support for Home Care

February 2016 - Despite a looming budget deficit, Governor Dannel Malloy's administration has identified home care as a "core service" in Connecticut.

Malloy Calls Supporting Home Care a "Core Service"

February 2016 - Governor Dannel Malloy, in presenting has state budget, called programs that support home care for seniors, allowing them to remain in their homes rather than being confined to a nursing home, a "core service" in the state.

Proposed Changes to Elder and Disabled Care Funding

February 2011 - Changes proposed to funding for care for elders and the disabled would both increase the amount those populations have to pay in.

Illinois News Connection

IL AG Looks to Protect Seniors

January 2010 - Indiana's "chief lawyer" is looking for ways to better protect consumers from fraud.

Indiana News Service

Staying Home While Growing Older with a New Program

May 2014 - Four Area Agencies on Aging across Indiana have been selected to implement a new program aimed at helping older residents remain in their home as they age.

Kentucky News Connection

April 2011 - The General Assembly passed and Governor signed key pieces of legislation designed to protect vulnerable seniors from abuse and exploitation. House Bill 152 prevents people who abuse or neglect vulnerable or elderly adults from benefiting from their deaths and bars people convicted of felony abuse or exploitation from serving as that victim's guardian, executor or power of attorney.

Michigan News Connection

CARE Act Passage Hailed in MI

January 2016 - AARP Michigan is hailing the Michigan Senate for its recent unanimous passage of the CARE Act (Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable).

Minnesota News Connection

Medicare Cost Projections Fall

February 2013 - Projections for the cost of the Medicare program have fallen by a half-trillion dollars since the last estimate three years ago. The Congressional Budget Office now expects Medicare to spend $500 billion dollars less by 2020.

April 2012 - Intentional abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult can be charged as a felony in Minnesota, now that Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill passed with bipartisan support. Previously, such crimes often perpetrated against elderly victims were treated at most as gross misdemeanors with no prison time. AARP of Minnesota was among the groups pushing for passage.

Protection Against Unexpected Hospital Bills

November -0001 - medical bills. The legislation requires hospitals to inform patients of their status within 24 hours, since whether they're classified as "in-patient" or "under observation" has an impact on which services are covered by Medicare.

Nevada News Service

CARE Act Wins Legislative Approval

January 2010 - Nevada lawmakers are saying are saying yes to legislation that supporters say will dramatically improve the ability of caregivers to help those in their care.

Oregon News Service

Public Guardian for Long-Term Care

March 2014 - Oregon now has a statewide public guardian and conservator.

New Guardianship Program to Protect Seniors

January 2010 - Oregon's Public Guardianship program has launched and is looking for volunteers. In 2013, a state task force estimated between 1,500 and 3,000 Oregon adults would benefit from legal guardians to help protect them from abuse or neglect. The state has hired its first Public Guardian to administer the program.

Tennessee News Service

Change in Medicare Cost Projections

February 2013 - Projections for the cost of the Medicare program have fallen by a half-trillion dollars since the last estimate three years ago. The Congressional Budget Office now expects Medicare to spend $500 billion dollars less by 2020.

State Review of Aging Services

November -0001 - The office of Gov. Bill Haslam reports preparations are under way for a comprehensive review of aging services in state government. That was among the recommendations from the Governor's Task Force on Aging, which examined healthy aging, creating livable communities, and supporting family caregivers.

Utah News Connection

Survey Shows Support for Anti-Age Discrimination Law

April 2014 - A new AARP survey shows overwhelming support in Utah for bipartisan legislation in Congress that could help older workers prove age discrimination.

Retirees Attracted to Federal Lands

January 2010 - Older Americans are three times more likely to retire in areas of Utah and other Western states that have protected public lands such as Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon.

Washington News Service

New Website of Independent Living Resources for Older Washingtonians

November 2015 - A new website should come in handy for families who want to help older Washingtonians remain in their homes as they age.

Wyoming News Service

Wyoming Legislature Unanimously Supports Caregivers

April 2016 - The Designated Caregiver Act is a common sense solution to help those caring for their older loved ones so they can live independently.

Poll Shows Support for Anti-Discrimination When it Comes to Age

May 2014 - An AARP poll of Wyomingites finds that more than 80 percent think legislation is needed to protect people from age discrimination.

Adult Guardianship Law Helps Senior Caregivers

March 2013 - The Wyoming Legislature passed the Uniform Adult Guardianship Act. The new law will allow guardianship orders from other states to be recognized in Wyoming and vice versa, savings caregivers time and money.

March 2011 - A new option is now available to help Wyoming residents find the aid they need to meet the challenges sometimes posed by those growing older or coping with a disability. The new Wyoming Aging and Disability Resource Center (WyADRC) provides statewide services to residents over the age of 55 and adults living with a disability, as well as family members, caregivers and healthcare providers. AARP Wyoming had advocated for the resource.


S m o k i n g

P r e v e n t i o n

Smoking Prevention

All News Services

Smoking Prevention Policies

February 2015 - The CDC announced that the percentage of Americans exposed to secondhand smoke has fallen by more than half since 1999, demonstrating - they say - both the effectiveness of and continuing need for comprehensive smoke-free laws that apply to all workplaces and public places, including restaurants and bars. To date, 24 states, Washington, DC, and hundreds of cities have enacted such laws, protecting about half the U.S. population.

Arizona News Connection

Smoking with Kids in Car May be Banned

April 2015 - Tempe could become Arizona's first city to ban smoking with children in the car.

California News Service

CA Senate passes Several Anti-Smoking Laws

March 2016 - With final approval in the state Senate today, the California Legislature has taken historic action to combat tobacco use.

CA Legislature Votes to Raise Smoking Age, Clamp Down on E-Cigarettes

March 2016 - The California State Assembly took historic action to curb smoking in the Golden State.

Smoking Age Goes Up, E-Cigs Re-Classed

March 2016 - Lawmakers gave the first full-house approval to bills that would raise the state smoking age to 21.

Indiana News Service

March 2012 - Governor Daniels signed the state's first smoking ban - which exempts bars, casinos, and private clubs. It takes effect July 1st.

Kentucky News Connection

Governor's Commission Recommends Tobacco Tax Hike

December 2012 - The Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform issued a list of recommendations in mid-December after eight months of meetings and public hearings across the state.

June 2011 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Announced New Cigarette Warning Labels: Images of diseased lungs, a dead body, and rotting teeth among the new graphic images that will come with all packs.

December 2010 - Kenton County's Fiscal Court voted to pass an amended version of the proposed smoking ban shortly before Christmas. The court decided the county will uphold the ban in all establishments, except those where individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed or businesses that do not employ anyone under the age of 18.Campbell County's Fiscal Court voted to pass the ban mid-December. Kenton County is the second Northern Kentucky county to pass it. The ban goes into effect in April of 2011.

Keystone State News Connection

Pennsylvania Raises Tobacco Tax

July 2016 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill raising the tax on cigarettes by one dollar a pack. The bill also raises the tax on other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The tax increase is being praised as a significant step forward in efforts to discourage young people from taking up smoking.

Minnesota News Connection

Smoking Rate Declines Again

January 2010 - Findings from the latest Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey (MATS) show that Minnesota is continuing to make progress in reducing tobacco use. Minnesota's adult smoking rate has declined to 14.4 percent, the lowest rate ever recorded in the state and a significant decrease from 2010, the last time the rate was measured.

MN Retailers Keep Kids Away from Cigarettes

November -0001 - Minnesota retailers do better at thwarting teens' attempts to buy tobacco than retailers in any other state, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The ranking is earning praise, although anti-smoking advocates say it isn't as rosy as it seems.

MN Regulates E-Cigs

November -0001 - New legislation that took effect in July in Minnesota prohibits e-cigarette use in several public places, including government buildings, public schools, and most health care facilities. The law also requires retailers selling e-cigarettes to keep them behind the counter and to be licensed. Since 2011 child poisonings in Minnesota related to e-cigarettes have increased sharply.

Oregon News Service

November 2011 - The Oregon Tobacco Quit Line has added new online coaching services in addition to its current telephone support program to help tobacco users "quit for good." The percentage of adults in Oregon who still smoke has decreased to just over 17 percent - and state public health experts say almost 70 percent of them want to stop using tobacco products.

January 2011 - The Oregon Public Health Division says tobacco-related cancers and deaths decreased statewide between 2002 and 2007 - 2.7 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. And in the years between 1996 and 2009, the per-capita number of cigarette sales dropped by 48 percent in Oregon. They expect these trends to continue, at least in part because of the Smokefree Workplace Law that took effect in 2009.

December 2010 - R.J. Reynolds, the maker of dissolvable tobacco (often known as "tobacco candy") decided not to sell the product in Portland, one of three cities in which it was being test marketed.

Prairie News Service

November 2012 - In a landslide decision (66% - 33%), North Dakota voters chose to put a stronger smokefree state law in place.

September 2012 - Supporters of a measure to require workplaces, including bars and restaurants, be smoke free statewide had their petition certified by the Secretary of State. That means the question will be on the ballot next month and North Dakotans will decide whether to require workplaces statewide be smoke free.

Washington News Service

March 2011 - Efforts to discourage Washington kids from smoking have paid off, according to the Healthy Youth Survey taken by kids in more than 1,000 public schools. Since 2000, youth smoking rates have dropped by one-half. Fewer kids are drinking alcohol too, and thousands more say their parents have talked with them about the importance of not imbibing.

Wisconsin News Connection

FDA To Ban e-Cigarette Sales To Teens Under 18

May 2016 - The Food and Drug Administration's ban will also cover pipe and hookah tobacco.


S o c i a l

J u s t i c e

Social Justice

All News Services

The US Treasury Department is cracking down on corporate inversions.

April 2016 - In response to the proposed merger between pharmaceutical giants Allergan and Pfizer, the Treasury Department proposed new rules that would "wipe out" the massive tax benefits of the largest corporate inversion in our nation's history.

Prison Phone Calls

October 2015 - After a decade of organizing, this morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on rules to rein in the predatory prison phone industry.

FCC Regulates Prison Phone Call Rates

October 2015 - Nationally: After a decade of organizing, this morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 on rules to rein in the predatory prison phone industry.

Arizona News Connection

FBI Redefines Legal Definition of Rape

January 2012 - The Obama administration has announced that the FBI has redefined the definition of rape it uses in the Uniform Crime Report.

Remote Arizona Reservations Receiving High-Speed Internet Access

March 2011 - Four remote Arizona reservations will be getting cutting-edge Internet access, thanks to federal stimulus funds.

California News Service

First-ever Presidential Memorandum Calls for Hiring Diversity in Federal Agencies

January 2017 - In the Obama administration's last days, President Obama called for Department of the Interior, the Forest Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as other agencies, to be more inclusive in hiring practices and community outreach.

New Calif. Law Helps Protect Child Victims of Sex Trafficking

January 2017 - Starting this week, a new state law is in effect aimed at protecting minors who are part of the sex trade. Law enforcement officers can no longer arrest them for prostitution, which shifts the focus onto getting help for these juveniles instead of locking them up.

Low-wage Workers Win Minimum-Wage Increase in Calif.

January 2017 - Low-wage workers won a victory with California's minimum-wage increase, in effect starting this week. California's minimum wage is now $10.50 an hour, up from $10, and will ultimately rise to $15 an hour by 2022.

Dark Money Targeted in New Law

May 2014 - The California state legislature passed SB 27, a bill to make dark money nonprofits reveal their secret funders by becoming campaign committees when they spend over $50,000 on California campaigns.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado Senate Defeats 'Religious Exemption Bill in Disguise'

April 2017 - The Colorado State Senate voted down Senate Bill 283, a bill that would have allowed businesses to claim that any belief, including religious beliefs, gives them the right to refuse to follow non-discrimination laws they don't like.

Connecticut News Service

CT Task Force Recommends Greater Access to Legal Assistance

January 2017 - A state task force of judges, attorneys, law enforcement and educators have issued a report saying a person's access to an attorney in some civil court proceedings should be a right. A new report from the Task Force to Improve Access to Legal Counsel in Civil Matters found that many Connecticut residents can't afford a lawyer to help them protect their essential needs. The report recommends making access to legal counsel a statutory right for cases involving restraining orders, child custody and residential evictions.

Indiana News Service

Ballot Selfie's Given Okay by Federal Judge

November 2015 - A federal judged ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana's challenge of an Indiana law that would have made it illegal for a voter to take a "ballot" selfie at the polls or share it on social media.

Maine News Service

November 2012 - Voters legalized same sex marriage. ME was one of 4 states to support gay marriage on Election Day - MD, WA, MN

Maryland News Connection

November 2012 - Voters legalized same sex marriage. MD was one of 4 states to support gay marriage on Election Day - ME, WA, MN

Minnesota News Connection

MN Gov't. Eliminates Gender Wage Gap for Public Employees

March 2016 - For jobs of equal value, the gender wage gap in Minnesota's state and local governments has been eliminated, according to a new report from the state's Office on the Economic Status of Women.

November 2012 - Voters rejected a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Same-sex marriage remains illegal under state law. MN was one of three states to support gay rights on Election Day - WA, MD and ME legalized marriage for same-sex couples.

New Hampshire News Connection

December 2010 - The Local Community Radio Act was signed into law by the US Senate. The new law will enable non commercial entities such as churches and schools to establish low power FM radio stations across the Bay State and nationwide.

Ohio News Connection

Human Trafficking Law Makes Court Debut

December 2012 - Ohio's most recent human trafficking law has been used for the first time to prosecute a trafficker.

Virginia News Connection

June 2011 - The Commonwealth released a new broadband availability map this month as part of an effort to ensure all residents have access to affordable and reliable internet access. The map is a collaborative effort of the Center for Innovative Technology, The Virginia Information Technologies Agency's Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN), and Virginia Tech's eCorridors Program.

Washington News Service

November 2012 - Voters legalized same sex marriage. WA was one of 4 states to support gay marriage on Election Day - ME, MD, MN


S u s t a i n a b l e

A g r i c u l t u r e

Sustainable Agriculture

All News Services

Vermont's GMO Law Changes Labels Nationally

June 2016 - A first-of-its-kind law in Vermont takes effect July first, requiring all G-M-O foods to say so on the label. The groundbreaking law may only be in Vermont but it has already changed labels on food sold across the country.

Chickens Cleared Legally

April 2014 - Goshen officials reversed an earlier decision and will allow residents to raise chickens at their homes, which supporters say are an easy, fresh food source and promote sustainability.

Big Sky Connection

Tester Amendment Protects Small Farms and Processors

December 2010 - Montana Senator Jon Tester's amendment to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act passed both the U.S. House and Senate. Senator Tester's amendment protects small farms and small processors from expensive federal regulations. These regulations are unnecessary in light of existing local public health laws and the direct relationship of local farmers to local consumers.

California News Service

Organic Victory in the New Farm Bill

January 2014 - The new Farm Bill includes reinstating the National Organic Certification Cost Share program.

Connecticut News Service

NOFA Promoting Winter Crops

January 2011 - CT NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) received a $30,000 grant to promote winter crops in the state, which helps support both farmers and winter urban farmers' markets, which have begun spreading around the state.

Greater Dakota News Service

Organic Farmers Get New Conservation Tool from USDA

March 2016 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced plans to help cover the costs of setting up about 20,000 acres of new conservation buffers specifically for organic farms.

Illinois News Connection

Evanston Wants to Curtail Farm Antibiotic Use

January 2010 - The Evanston City Council passed a resolution to call for an end to the misuse of antibiotics in livestock on factory farms. The town joins Chicago and more than 20 other cities that have passed similar resolutions.

Minnesota News Connection

Cheerios is Going GMO-Free

January 2014 - General Mills has confirmed that Cheerios cereal is going non-GMO.

Turkey Company Limits Antibiotics

November -0001 - Cargill has announced that it will be making its signature turkey brand labels, Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms, free of growth-promoting antibiotics by Thanksgiving, with the rest of its flocks following by the end of 2015. This comes three years after a major outbreak linked to resistant salmonella in Cargill ground turkey that sickened hundreds of people across the country.

Ohio News Connection

November 2011 - The Ohio Department of Agriculture reached an agreement to withdraw a controversial dairy labeling rule. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association is among the groups applauding the department's commitment to end pursuit of regulations that restrict a consumers' right to know and a farmers' right to inform consumers about their production practices.

Oregon News Service

Task Force Studies GM Ag

April 2014 - A new task force kicked off in April to study genetically engineered agriculture.

GMO Ban Success in Jackson County

January 2010 - No genetically-modified crops can legally be planted in Jackson County after 2015. The county's Ordinance 635 goes into effect on June 5 after a court challenge to the GMO ban was unsuccessful in U.S. District Court.

Wisconsin News Connection

"Buy Local" Makes a Funding Comeback

May 2013 - The Joint Finance Committee put "Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin" grants back into the state budget on a 10-6 vote. The grants help local farmers connect with local markets, and had been the subject of intense campaigning (including PNS Supporters Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the MidWest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) to keep the grants, which had been targeted for removal as an austerity move.


T e e n

P r e g n a n c y

P r e v e n t i o n

Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Arizona News Connection

Long-Action Birth Control Effective for Teens

January 2010 - Young women in Arizona and elsewhere who use long-acting, reversible contraception also known as "LARC" have rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion that are much lower than the national rates for sexually active teens. That's the finding of a study, the "Contraceptive CHOICE Project," funded by the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. The five-year study involved 14-hundred girls ages 15 to 19, who had chosen to use an Intrauterine Device (I-U-D), contraceptive implant, or other form of birth control. Study participants experienced rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion that were all less than half the national rates.

Big Sky Connection

November 2011 - The percentage of Montana births to teens has dropped about a percentage point over a year. At the same time, more parents say they're having "the talk" with their children.

Indiana News Service

Teen Pregnancy Rates Drop

May 2014 - Teen pregnancy rates are at historic lows, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Minnesota News Connection

Teen Pregnancies and Births Drop

April 2014 - The rates of teen pregnancies and teen births in the state have fallen to historic lows, according to the 2014 Minnesota Adolescent Sexual Health Report.

April 2012 - The teenage birth rate in America dropped by nine percent from 2009 to 2010, hitting the lowest rate since record-keeping began in the 1940s. In Minnesota, the rate fell eight percent, to 23 teen births per 1,000 girls ages 15-19.

New Mexico News Connection

Birthrate for New Mexico Teens Drops 57 Percent

January 2016 - The birth rate among teenage girls dropped 57 percent in New Mexico from 2000 to 2014, according to the Population Institute.

Ohio News Connection

Ohio Celebrates Historic Drop in Teen Pregnancy and Birth Rates

June 2014 - Ohio celebrated a historic drop in teen pregnancy and birth rates, and advocates say better education significantly contributed to that drop.


T o x i c s

Toxics

All News Services

Hose Passes Overhaul of Toxic Substances Control Act

May 2016 - On May 24th, the House of Representatives passed a major overhaul of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.

Walmart Promises to Offer Safer Products

February 2014 - Walmart has unveiled its sustainable chemicals policy "Implementation Guide".

Blood Mercury Levels Drop in Women

November 2013 - A new EPA study shows that blood mercury levels in women of childbearing age dropped 34 percent between a survey done in 1999-2000 and follow up surveys conducted in 2001-2010.

Procter & Gamble to Phase Out Phthalates and Tricolosan

September 2013 - Proctor & Gamble announced it would remove phthalates and triclosan from all the products it sells.

Walmart Will Phase-in Safer Chemicals

September 2013 - Walmart will begin disclosing chemicals in many product categories while phasing out approximately ten chemicals from products they sell in favor of safer alternatives.

Big Sky Connection

Montana's Senators Back Toxic Control Update

April 2013 - Legislation to update the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act is now on the congressional docket, introduced by Montana's Senators Baucus and Tester, along with 25 other senators.

California News Service

August 2012 - Johnson & Johnson plans to remove trace amounts of potentially cancer-causing and other dangerous chemicals from nearly all its adult toiletries and cosmetic products worldwide within 3 1/2 years. The health care giant late last year pledged to remove "chemicals of concern" from its baby products sold around the world. That change came after a large coalition of health and environmental groups began pressing J&J more than three years ago to make its personal care products safer.

June 2012 - Governor Jerry Brown wants the state to reduce the amount of flame retardants in furniture because the chemicals can be toxic. Brown has issued a directive to state regulators to find a better way to meet fire safety standards. Flame retardants are found in everything from high chairs to couches. Brown says there's a growing body of evidence that suggests these chemicals harm human health and the environment.

Hair-Smoothing Treatment Makers Will Disclose Toxins

January 2012 - The maker of a popular hair-smoothing treatment has agreed to warn stylists and salon-goers that its products cause exposure to a cancer-causing chemical as part of a legal settlement announced by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Health advocates are calling on the FDA to remove keratin hair straighteners from the national market.

March 2011 - The cosmetics industry's safety review board has weighed in on the popular Brazilian Blowout. They've concluded that cosmetic products containing formaldehyde should not exceed 0.2% because of health and safety reasons. Some of the hair-straightening products far exceed those levels, with some containing nearly 12-percent formaldehyde.

New Limits on Pesticides

November -0001 - California farmers must restrict their use of a tear gas-like pesticide applied to strawberries and other crops under new rules designed to protect farmworkers and people who live, work and go to school near agricultural fields.

Greater Dakota News Service

Lumber Liquidators removes toxic flooring

December 2015 - Lumber Liquidators agreed to remove potentially toxic flooring merchandise from its store's shelves.

Minnesota News Connection

Pesticide Collections Keep Environment Clean

November -0001 - An effort by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has kept 58,000 pounds of unwanted and unused pesticides out of the environment. The department held free collections in 31 counties this summer to offer homeowners, farmers and businesses a way to safely discard old pesticides. Since it began in 1990, The Waste Pesticide Collection Program has collected over 5.5 million pounds of pesticides statewide.

Flame Retardant Law on the Books

November -0001 - Minnesota has adopted the toughest flame retardants law in the country. The legislation prohibits using four of the most toxic flame retardant chemicals found in upholstered furniture and children’s products manufactured after July 2018.

Anti-Bacterial Agent Banned

November -0001 - Minnesota is banning Triclosan from soaps and other consumer products used for physical hygiene. A recent University of Minnesota study found that triclosan can break down into harmful dioxins in lake sediment, where it's accumulating. Other studies have suggested it can disrupt hormone function. Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble are already phasing out triclosan, and other companies will likely follow suit by the time Minnesota's ban takes effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Northern Rockies News Service

Bill to Deregulate Suction Dredge Mining Stopped in Legislature

February 2016 - A bill to lift all state regulation on small scale suction dredge gold mining in Idaho died in the House Resources and Conservation Committee.

Washington News Service

WA "Better Brakes" Law Working Even Better Than Anticipated

December 2015 - Since 2010's state Better Brakes Law was passed, Washington has been working with vehicle brake manufacturers to minimize the use of copper and other toxic materials harmful to salmon and other sea life when brake dust migrates into waterways.

State Law Keeps BPA Out of Baby Bottles

March 2013 - Washington's 2010 ban on the use of the chemical BPA in baby bottles, children's "sippy cups" and sports bottles appears to be working. The Department of Ecology has been purchasing products (nearly all labeled "BPA-free") randomly in retail stores to test their BPA content. Only one was not in compliance with state law.

Safer Choice Award in Washington

November -0001 - The Ecology Department got an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June as a “Safer Choice Partner of the Year” for implementing the EPA’s Safer Choice Program. Through a partner organization, Northwest Green Chemistry, the state offers technical assistance to companies to find safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in their manufacturing processes.


U r b a n

P l a n n i n g / T r a n s p o r t a t i o n

Urban Planning/Transportation

Arizona News Connection

New System To Track Wrong Way Drivers To Be Tested In Phoenix

November 2015 - This week the Department of Transportation announced that's where they're going to test a new prototype system to track wrong-way drivers.

Bridges in Prime Shape

January 2010 - Arizona's bridges are among the best in the nation when it comes to condition. Doug Nintzel with the state Department of Transportation says a report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows that just over three-percent of Arizona's approximately eight-thousand bridges are structurally deficient. He says that's the fourth lowest rate in the nation

Connecticut News Service

Law Protects Non-Drivers

January 2010 - A new law aims to prevent the deaths and injuries of pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorized users on Connecticut's state roadways.

Illinois News Connection

Sprawl Report Finds Progress in Illinois

April 2014 - Several Illinois cities received high rankings in a new national report comparing sprawl vs. connectivity.

Ruling Could Reduce Amtrak Delays

January 2010 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Department of Transportation, Environmental Law and Policy Center and others when it affirmed Amtrak's power to create on-time performance standards.

Ride-Share Laws Vetoed

November -0001 - Governor Quinn vetoed two bills that would have placed statewide regulations on the ride-share industry that competes with taxis. It would have allowed car insurers to deny coverage to ride-share drivers at the times when they were using their vehicles for ride-share work.

Investments in Safe Passage Program

November -0001 - The state is investing $10 million the Safe Passage Program for Chicago Public Schools. It will expand the program by increasing routes to 93 schools currently in the program and adding 27 new schools.

Indiana News Service

Indiana Roads Get High Marks

November 2015 - Pavement and bridges maintained by the Indiana Department of Transportation continue to improve, according to the latest results submitted to the Federal Highway Administration.

Michigan News Connection

January 2011 - Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood announced that Michigan and the City of Detroit is getting 25 million dollars for light rail development

Minnesota News Connection

December 2010 - The Robert Street Transit Corridor will receive a $1.18 million federal grant from the federal Department of Transportation. Funds will go to the Dakota County Railroad Authority to support the evaluation of transit alternatives between the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul and Rosemont.

Bike-Friendly Installations

January 2010 - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has installed 31 new bicycle tune-up stations in state parks and on state trails.

Railway Safety Legislation Becomes Law

November -0001 - Laws that improve the safety of Minnesotans who live and work near railways that carry crude oil and other hazardous materials went into effect in July. The new laws follow accidents involving crude oil in neighboring states and provinces. They include stricter oversight of railroad companies, require more railway inspections, and provide for better emergency response training and preparedness in communities across Minnesota.

Nevada News Service

More Nevadans Walking and Biking

June 2014 - A study from the Regional Transportation Commission shows that more people in Washoe County are choosing to walk or cycle instead of drive.

Electric Buses Hit the Streets

April 2014 - A few electric buses now being operated in Northern Nevada are expected to save millions of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs over the next several years.

Nevada Bridges are Srong

January 2010 - Nevada has fewer bridges in need of major repair or upgrading than any other state in the union, according to a new report.

New York News Connection

New Protections for Pedestrians and Cyclists

May 2014 - After more than four years of advocacy, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed SB-336, the vulnerable user bill, into law.

August 2011 - Governor Cuomo has signed a new "Complete Streets" measure into law that should eventually make it safer for pedestrians, bikers and moms with strollers to navigate New York streets. Locals say the new law is especially important on Long Island, where multi-lane highways were built with little thought to pedestrians.

Ohio News Connection

Cincinnati Streetcar Receives National Kudos

December 2012 - An Ohio projects is on a list of the 50 best transportation projects in the country.

Utah News Connection

Free Bicycle Program Sets Records

April 2014 - A nonprofit that offers bicycles to get around downtown Salt Lake City is among the nation's most successful bicycle share programs.

Utah Bridges in Good Shape

November -0001 - Utah has fewer bridges in need of major repair or upgrading than most other states in the union. John Gleason with the state Department of Transportation says a report from American Road and Transportation Builders Association shows that about three-percent of Utah's approximately three-thousand public bridges are structurally deficient. He says that's the fifth lowest rate in the nation. Gleason says all bridge structures in the state are inspected every two years, while bridges with more extensive deterioration are inspected more often.

Washington News Service

Ground Is Broken for Massive Transportation Infrastructure Package: Connecting Washington

November 2015 - It is the state's $16 billion investment in road and bridge repairs, reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, with another $15 billion to expand the Sound Transit light rail system.

Smart Growth Awards Announced

May 2014 - Sixteen cities, five counties, two ports and one school district received honors for smart growth planning in May.

Speed Limit Plan Halted

January 2010 - Gov. Jay Inslee said,?Not so fast" literally. He vetoed part of a bill to raise speed limits on portions of Interstate 90 and other state highways.


W a s t e

R e d u c t i o n / R e c y c l i n g

Waste Reduction/Recycling

Illinois News Connection

E-Waste Bill Becomes Law

November -0001 - Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed an electronics recycling bill to save underfunded electronic recycling programs in the state. The legislation requires manufacturers to increase the amount of items they have to pay to recycle by 10 million pounds. Rauner signed the bill because the previous legislation was outdated and made it unnecessarily difficult for local governments.

Oregon News Service

April 2011 - The state's biggest city has taken another step toward its ambitious goal of recycling 75 percent of its waste by 2015. In April, Portland unveiled Public Place Recycling, adding recycling containers next to downtown trashcans. The city estimates the effort could keep about one-third of the trash collected in the busy downtown area out of landfills

Texas News Service

June 2012 - After a year of pressure from Texas environmentalists, Walmart is showing signs that it may establish a recycling program for discarded electronics - according to activists who attended the company's annual shareholders' meeting. More than 100 faith leaders signed an "Open Letter to Walmart on Stewardship of Electronic Waste," published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to coincide with the meeting.

Washington News Service

Electronics Recycling Sets Record

October 2013 - This will be another record year for electronics recycling, as Washingtonians are turning in their old computers, monitors and televisions at a rate of nearly 6.7 pounds per person per year.


W a t e r

Water

Arizona News Connection

Controlled Floods Planned in Grand Canyon to Increase Fish Habitat

May 2012 - The Interior Department has given the go-ahead for a series of controlled floods in the Grand Canyon.

California News Service

Deal to Remove Dams Moves Forward

April 2016 - Endangered salmon blocked for nearly a century from hundreds of miles of the Klamath River in Oregon and California are expected to return as dam deal moves forward.

Conservation Groups Praise Drought Measures in President's Budget Proposal

February 2016 - California conservation groups are cheering President Obama's new budget proposal for fiscal year 2017 - because it fully funds important anti-drought measures.

Drought Legislation to Penalize Wasters

November -0001 - Governor Brown announced he will propose legislation in response to the drought to give local water agencies new powers to enforce water restrictions and penalize those who waste water. It will also take any monies from fines on water wasters and put the funds toward conservation programs.

Colorado News Connection

Water Bill Becomes Law

January 2010 - Gov. Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, signed a bill into law that will help protect Colorado's water.

Illinois News Connection

Money Headed to Great Lakes Projects

January 2014 - President Obama signed a spending bill that includes $300 million to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

New Water Safety Law

November -0001 - New legislation was signed in July aimed at improving safety on Illinois water-ways. The new boating laws will require boaters born after 1998 to pass a boating safety course and allows authorities to seize watercraft if the operator has been convicted multiple times in the past of driving under the influence.

Keystone State News Connection

Water Infrastructure Projects Getting $39 Million

April 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf announced the investment of $39 million for 12 drinking water, wastewater, storm water, and non-point source projects across nine counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST). The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards.

Maryland News Connection

An International Tribunal Examines Access to Water US Cities

October 2015 - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a hearing in Washington, DC on access to water in poor and minority communities in the United States.

More Living Shorelines Come to Chesapeake Bay

August 2012 - More than $800,000 in grants are being announced for Maryland and Virginia to create "living shorelines" in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. T

Michigan News Connection

Nestle Water Grab Halted

May 2017 - The Osceola County planning commission denied a permit application from Nestle which would have allowed the company to pump millions of gallons of freshwater from the area for just $200.

Settlement in Flint water crisis

April 2017 - Three years after the water in Flint first became contaminated, a federal judge approved a settlement in which the state will pay $87 million for the City of Flint to identify and replace at least 18,000 unsafe water lines by 2020.

Bills Introduced to Address Flint Water Crisis

March 2016 - State Representatives Phil Phelps and Sheldon Neeley introduced a package of four bills to address various concerns stemming from the Flint water crisis.

Minnesota News Connection

MN Gov. Hosts First Water Summit Talks

March 2016 - Gov. Mark Dayton hosted a weekend talk focused on the serious challenges facing the state's water supplies.

Money Headed to Great Lakes Projects

January 2014 - President Obama signed a spending bill that includes $300 million to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Buffer Plan to Keep Waterways Clean

January 2010 - The 2015 legislative session in Minnesota included approval of a Buffer Initiative to protect Minnesota's water resources from erosion and runoff pollution by establishing 110,000 acres of perennial vegetative cover adjacent to Minnesota's waters.

Closure for Carp Protection

January 2010 - A milestone was marked in June in protecting Minnesota's waterways from invasive Asian carp with the official closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock in Minneapolis.

Water Law Hits the Books

January 2010 - The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) was signed into law in June.

Trash Removal Program a Success

November -0001 - The Minnesota DNR Adopt-a-River program removed 12,780 pounds of trash from the Mississippi River on June 17 near the Wakota Bridge in Newport and South St. Paul. It was the biggest riverboat cleanup event in 12 years. The Adopt-a-River program is a statewide effort to maintain the quality of public waters and reduce health hazards.

Nevada News Service

Study Links Aquifer Draining to Increased Earthquake Risk

May 2014 - Research from the University of Nevada-Reno has linked water extraction in California's Central Valley to upward movement of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault.

Water Authority Receives Kudos

November -0001 - Colorado River Day held on Friday, July 25, in Nevada included recognizing the Southern Nevada Water Authority for being at the forefront of water conservation and reuse. Marco Rauda with the nonprofit group Nuestro Rio, which organized the event at Las Vegas City Hall says the Water Authority is among the top agencies in the nation for creative ways to save and reuse water. Rauda says the Water Authority has successfully convinced many Las Vegas residents to switch to a desert landscape, which is a big way to save water. The Water Authority reports that it captures and reuses more than 90 percent of all indoor water. The Colorado River has endured more than a decade of drought, leaving water levels at its two primary reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, at historic lows.

New Mexico News Connection

Legislation to Address Leaky Pipes

April 2014 - U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico is sponsoring several bills that could help New Mexico and all states conserve water.

Water Conservation is a Win for Santa Fe

November -0001 - The city of Santa Fe's two decades of water-conservation practices and policies seem to be paying off. Caryn Grosse, a water-conservation specialist with the city of Santa Fe, says water customers' average daily water use is at 95 gallons per person per day. She says it reflects a major conservation victory, because it marks the first time the number has dipped below the century mark. Grosse says based on the city's internal tracking, Santa Fe has the lowest residential water use in the Southwest, and adds that it has dropped by more than 45 percent since 1995. Grosse says achieving conservation goals has resulted from public education and outreach, a desire among residents to conserve, and various rebate programs for efficient appliances. She says more efficient toilets alone save a lot of water.

New York News Connection

NYS Invests $2.5B in Clean Water Infrastructure and Water Quality Protection

April 2017 - The Clean Water Infrastructure Act, a $2.5 billion investment in drinking water infrastructure, clean water infrastructure and water quality protection across New York, has been signed into law. The funds will help local governments pay for local infrastructure construction projects, address water emergencies, and investigate and mitigate emerging contaminants to ensure access to clean, drinkable water.

State Allocates $60M to Upgrade Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

March 2017 - The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors approved nearly $60 million in grants and interest-free and low-cost loans to support vital drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across New York State. The funding will provide assistance for 12 drinking water projects and five wastewater projects in Upstate New York, including over $25 million in grants that were awarded last summer in the second round of funding made available through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act.

Public Service Commission Turns Down Proposed Desalinization Plant

December 2015 - The New York Public Service Commission terminated a proposed plan by a private water company to build a desalination plant in Rockland County.

Public Service Commission Finalizes Denial of Desalination Plant

December 2015 - The Public Service Commission finalized its denial of a private corporation to build a water desalination plant in Rockland County to process Hudson River water for use by county residents.

New Effort to Prevent Red Tides

May 2014 - Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a new effort aimed at dealing with water quality issues that can lead to toxic red tides.

EPA Questions State on Water Loan

January 2010 - The regional head of the EPA is questioning why the state didn't do more to engage federal regulators before authorizing a controversial $255.7 million loan from a clean-water fund for the Tappan Zee Bridge project.

North Carolina News Service

NC Challenges Alcoa Yadkin River Claims

August 2013 - The State of North Carolina initiated action against Alcoa to challenge the company's assertion they have rights to the Yadkin River.

Northern Rockies News Service

Judge Puts CuMo Mine Project Near Boise On Hold

July 2016 - A federal judge has put the CuMo Mine project at the headwaters of the Boise River on hold, for a second time. The District Court judge ruled that the U-S Forest Service acted arbitrarily when it issued permits for a Canadian company to explore for molybdenum (moh-LIB-de-num), used as an alloy to make steel stronger. Several groups, including the Idaho Conservation League and Idaho Rivers United, had sued, concerned about potential damage to the watershed that provides 20 percent of Boise's drinking water.

Bear River Dam Proposal Officially Dead

June 2016 - A nearly 14-year battle to stop plans for a hydroelectric dam on the Bear River near Preston is over after a federal decision on the project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied the application by the Twin Lakes Canal Company to build a ten-megawatt dam in an area popular with anglers and paddlers.

Ohio News Connection

Lead Contamination Notification Bill Becomes Law

June 2016 - Governor John Kasich signed HB 512, which institutes new timelines for public notice when dangerous lead levels are identified in public drinking water. It was offered after such issues came to light in Sebring in northeastern Ohio.

Safe Drinking Water Measure Progresses

February 2015 - The House of Representatives passed the Drinking Water Protection Act (H.R. 212) pushing federal agencies to provide clear protocols and oversight in the event of a large-scale algal bloom.

Contaminated Sediment Dumping Halted

April 2014 - In what's being hailed as a victory for clean water, the Ohio EPA denied a request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps) to dispose of contaminated sediments dredged from the Cuyahoga River.

Money Headed to Great Lakes Projects

January 2014 - President Obama signed a spending bill that includes $300 million to fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Funding Proposed for Great Lakes Programs

August 2013 - The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is supporting a U.S. Senate funding bill released this month that restores funding to Great Lakes programs to pre-sequestration levels.

Oregon News Service

Suction Dredge Mining Limited

August 2013 - A series of steps to curb the amount of suction dredge gold mining in Oregon rivers became law in August. The maximum number of suction dredge mining permits available will be limited starting in 2014.

Funding Proposed to Clean up the Columbia

January 2010 - Saying it has become dangerously polluted, theDemocratic members of Congress jointly introduced the Columbia River Basin Restoration Act on May 20.

New Water Initiative for Oregon

November -0001 - Gov. John Kitzhaber announced a new water initiative for the state in August, to determine ways to make better use of water in the seasons when it is plentiful (spring and winter) and make it last longer the rest of the year. Two task forces are tackling topics like water storage and water conservation projects, and how to fund them. They’ll make recommendations later this year.

Prairie News Service

Feds Consider ND Dam Project Affecting Pallid Sturgeon

March 2016 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation are combing through public comments about a dam project along the Yellowstone River.

Virginia News Connection

Money and Planning Assistance to Keep Livestock Out of Rivers and Streams

December 2012 - A new water quality initiative was introduced in Virginia, which would provide financial and technical assistance to farmers to implement stream exclusion and pastureland conservation practices.

June 2012 - Conservationists say it's a step in the right direction for the Chesapeake Bay. A new regional effort packaged in the Senate version of the 2012 Farm Bill consolidates the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program with similar conservation programs into a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The conservation effort has the support of Senators Webb & Warner.

Washington News Service

Pollution Under Control in Samish Bay

November -0001 - Partners in the Clean Samish Initiative (CSI) got an official pat on the back from Gov. Inslee in October. The multi-agency group was formed after pollution – largely from agricultural runoff – compromised the Samish Bay watershed’s shellfish industry in 2008, jeopardizing about 2,700 jobs. Today, runoff pollution levels are about five times lower than in 2008, and the region is working to reopen the shellfish-growing areas that were downgraded back then.

Braking for Better Water Quality

November -0001 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers of vehicle brake systems signed an agreement in January based on safety guidelines that began in Washington in 2010 as the “Better Brakes Law.” The state law – and now, the new federal memo of understanding – both limit the amount of copper and other toxic metals used in brake pads. In urban areas, about half the copper that ends up in waterways is shed by vehicle brakes.

Water Pollution Plan Unveiled

November -0001 - The Washington Department of Ecology unveiled a plan to reduce pollution and also lower water temperatures in some of the Yakima River tributaries. Warmer water causes big problems for important Northwest fish species: bull trout, salmon and steelhead. Ecology is asking for public comment on the plan through the fall.

Wisconsin News Connection

Bill To Privatize Wisconsin Water Systems Scrapped

February 2016 - A bill which would allow private corporations to purchase municipal water systems in Wisconsin was scrapped because of massive public outcry.

Wyoming News Service

Commission Spares Aquifer in Setback for Oil and Gas Project

March 2016 - State regulators added another roadblock for the proposed Moneta Divide drilling project on Tuesday.


W e l f a r e

R e f o r m

Welfare Reform

Greater Dakota News Service

SD Lawmakers "Just Say No" to Welfare Drug Testing Bill

February 2016 - A bill that would have required drug testing for adult welfare applicants under age 65 was rejected by a South Dakota house committee.

Minnesota News Connection

MN Families Receive a Small Boost

May 2017 - The Health and Human Services Conference Committee bill draft includes a $13 per month increase in cash assistance for families participating in the state Family Investment Program.


W o m e n ' s

I s s u e s

Women's Issues

All News Services

Bill Filed To Increase Hiring of Women in Foreign Military and Police Training Programs

September 2016 - U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), both senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the Enhancing Military and Police Operations through Women's Engagement and Recruitment Act (EMPOWER) of 2016, which would require the State Department to increase the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in its foreign military and police training programs.

ACLU Hails Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion

June 2016 - Pro-choice groups are celebrating after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of a Texas law regulating abortion clinics. In a 5-to-3 decision, the court ruled that the regulations in House Bill 2, passed in 2013, placed an "undue burden" on women seeking care at abortion clinics.

F.D.A. Eases Requirements on Abortion Pill Label

March 2016 - The Federal Food and Drug Administration has changed the labeling requirements for mifepristone, a medication that induces abortion.

Abortion Ban Overturned

April 2014 - A federal judge in April overturned a North Dakota law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Five New Femals in Senate

November 2012 - Five new women were elected to the Senate bringing the total of women in the chamber to 20.

Arizona News Connection

State Restrictions on Medications that can End a Pregnancy Blocked

April 2014 - A federal appeals court has blocked new state restrictions on the use of medications that can end a pregnancy.

Medicaid Funding Stays at Clinics

August 2013 - An Arizona law stripping Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics that perform abortions has been struck down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The law would have stopped reimbursements for contraceptives, cancer screenings, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and annual women's exams.

Abortion Law Struck Down

May 2013 - A U.S. Appeals Court struck down an Arizona law banning abortions after 20 weeks. It's an issue expected to be challenged, with state leaders vowing an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Medicaid Funding Restrictions Overturned

February 2013 - A federal judge has ruled that a 2012 Arizona law restricting funding to abortion providers is unconstitutional.

Study Finds Free Birth Control Dramatically Lowers Rates of Pregnancy

October 2012 - A large study has concluded that free birth control leads to dramatically lower rates of abortion and teen pregnancy.

FBI Redefines Legal Definition of Rape

January 2012 - The Obama administration has announced that the FBI has redefined the definition of rape it uses in the Uniform Crime Report.

California News Service

Birth Control Pill To Be Prescribed in CA Pharmacies

April 2016 - Women in California no longer need their ob-gyn to prescribe the pill, the patch or other popular forms of birth control.

Colorado News Connection

Colorado Passes Law Protecting Pregnant Women Workers

June 2016 - The Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act requires employers to provide physical accommodations for pregnant working women, so they can continue to work and care for their families.

Commonwealth News Service

Commonwealth Lawmakers Turn-Back Restrictions on Reproductive Health

March 2016 - Massachusetts lawmakers said "no" to a half dozen measures that would have increased restrictions on women's access to reproductive health.

Connecticut News Service

Connecticut Unsatisfactory in Women's Health Survey

December 2010 - A comprehensive survey of women's health for 2010 gives Connecticut an overall grade of unsatisfactory, including in some key areas of reproductive health.

Illinois News Connection

House Committee Advances Bill to Protect Reproductive Health Care

February 2017 - A measure removing a dangerous "trigger" provision in the Illinois abortion law and eliminating discriminatory provisions from Illinois law that deny insurance coverage of abortion to women who depend on Medicaid and State Employee Health Insurance cleared the Illinois House of Representatives Human Services Committee by a vote of 7 to 5.

Illinois Doing (Somthing) Right by Women's Reproductive Rights

February 2016 - The Population Institute's scorecard by state on reproductive rights gave Illinois a B minus for taking the positive step of expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Maine News Service

June 2011 - Pro-choice advocates in Maine won a lengthy battle against legislators who crafted stricter abortion bills. The House ultimately voted against measures that would have changed parental notification laws and also would require a woman who wants to get an abortion to wait 24 hours and read state issued materials.

Minnesota News Connection

Minnesota Doing Right (Better!) by Women's Health

February 2016 - The Population Institute's scorecard by state on reproductive rights gave Illinois a B minus for taking the positive step of expanding the state's Medicaid family-planning program under the Affordable Care Act.

Missouri News Service

August 2011 - As a result of the Affordable and Preventive Care Act, the Obama administration decided to eliminate co-pays for birth control and other preventive medicines for women. This is a victory for all women especially for those who face financial barriers. Reproductive health advocates and faith-based groups say it makes good economic sense and helps keep some women out of poverty.

New Hampshire News Connection

Granite State Gains on International Women's Day

March 2016 - Granite State advocates recognized both Governor Maggie Hassan and state lawmakers for landmark legislation this session on women's issues.

Ohio News Connection

Anti-Discrimination Measure for Pregnant Ohio Workers

February 2016 - Some Ohio lawmakers want to provide extra support to pregnant women in the workplace.

Oregon News Service

Oregon Legislature Passes Reproductive Health Bill

July 2017 - Oregon lawmakers passed the Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Act, requiring insurers to cover abortions. The bill also covers other reproductive services at no cost to the patient regardless of income, citizenship status or gender identity.

Prairie News Service

Supreme Court Rejects ND's Abortion Law

February 2016 - The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request to review North Dakota's six-week abortion ban after a lower court found it unconstitutional.

Texas News Service

TX Anti-abortion Law Struck Down

October 2013 - A judge struck down the proposed new Texas law that would have required abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Women's Health Victories Noted at Capitol

May 2013 - Lawmakers restored funding for primary health care and family planning for low-income women, and legislation that would have undermined responsible sex education in public schools across Texas failed to pass.

October 2012 - Texas low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood got some temporary good news in October. Governor Perry had promised to remove the group from the 40-million-dollar-a-year Texas Women's Health Program by November 1st because of a 2011 Texas law prohibiting state funds from going to organizations with connections to abortion providers. The federal government responded by announcing it would withdraw its 90% funding of the program because the Texas exclusion violated federal rules. Reports have indicated that the state's chosen replacement providers are not yet capable of serving the 50,000 Texas patients who currently rely on Planned Parenthood clinics. A Texas judge ruled in October that Planned Parenthood must be allowed to remain in the program as long as the state continues to accept the federal aid, which will remain available through at least the end of the year.

May 2012 - Tens of thousands of mostly low-income Texas women will continue to be able to access contraceptive, preventative, and other healthcare services through the Texas Women's Health program - at least for the time being. A federal appeals court in May temporarily blocked the state from withholding funds to clinics that promote or provide abortions - namely 49 Planned Parenthood and affiliate health centers. Oral arguments in the case have been scheduled for October 19, however, another appeals court will hear state arguments against the injunction on June 7. Texas risks losing federal aid for the program if it excludes Planned Parenthood - which the Obama administration considers to be a qualified provider.

February 2012 - The Obama administration has indicated it will not accept a new Texas law that excludes Planned Parenthood from participating in the Texas Women's Health Program. Planned Parenthood had been providing about 40 percent of WHP services, which offer low-income Texas women access to family planning and other forms of healthcare. At issue is the Texas claim that it has the right to exclude providers from accessing Medicaid funds when those providers also offer services not covered by Medicaid, such as abortion. While Texas officials insist the law will be applied as written in March, administration officials say they will give the state about a month to reverse course before withholding federal dollars.

West Virginia News Service

Anti-Abortion Bill Vetoed

March 2014 - The governor vetoed an anti-abortion bill that would have outlawed pregnancy termination after 20 weeks.

Anti-abortion Doc Under Investigation

December 2013 - After a long and careful investigation WVNS ran two stories challenging a charge by a state OB-GYN opposed to abortion that pregnancies terminated in West Virginia were sending women to the emergency room "at least weekly."

Wisconsin News Connection

Anti-abortion Bills Dropped

November 2013 - Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach promised "all-out-hell" if Republicans pushed two anti-abortion bills through at the end of the legislative session.

Judge Strikes Down Law Related to Pregnancy-ending Meds

June 2013 - Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will resume offering medications to end pregnancies at all three clinics in the state. A Dane County judge issued an injunction against a Republican-backed new law that required doctors to make three separate consultations with a woman before giving the medication, and to be present when it was taken.


Y o u t h

I s s u e s

Youth Issues

Indiana News Service

Plan Rewards Young, Safe Drivers

January 2010 - A new Indiana law offers incentives to young drivers to stay safe. The law, which went into effect July 1, allows teens who take driver's education classes to get their license when they are 16 years, 3 months old. Previously, they had to wait until they turned 16 years, 6 months. A 2011 report said that the country could save 2,000 lives a year if all 50 states instituted comprehensive programs of phased-in driving privileges for teens.

Kentucky News Connection

October 2011 - A Lexington lawmaker has pre-filed legislation for the 2012 General Assembly that aims to reduce the number of incarcerations of young people who skip school, habitually run away or misbehave but don't commit criminal acts. The legislation from state Rep. Kelly Flood, a Democrat, deals with status offenses, generally defined as misconduct that would not be illegal if committed by an adult. In 2010, there were 1,541 bookings of youth in Kentucky into juvenile detention facilities for status offenses, accounting for 18.5 percent of all young people who were incarcerated, according to officials at Kentucky Youth Advocates.

Maine News Service

Juvy Lock-up Rate Declines

February 2013 - A new report finds the youth incarceration rate has dropped by 41 percent over the past 15 years, and local advocates say Maine is following that trend without any increase in crime. In fact, they say local juvenile arrests dropped by half over the same time period.

Michigan News Connection

Foster Care Identity Theft Bill Moves Forward

November 2015 - House Bill 4022 passed the House Committee on Families, Children and Seniors.

Minnesota News Connection

Juvenile Offender Lock-up Rate Declines

February 2013 - A new "KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot" from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows a major drop in the rate of juvenile offenders in Minnesota who are in detention facilities. In the past 12 years the rate of youth confinement in the state has fallen by 39 percent.

Nevada News Service

Fewer Young Nevadans Locked Up

February 2013 - Local advocates say Nevada is locking up fewer young people, which follows a national trend in an Annie E. Casey report that revealed a 41 percent drop in the nationwide youth incarceration rate.

New York News Connection

May 2012 - The suspension of a Long Island high school student for creating an anti-bullying video and Facebook page featuring a fictitious suicide was lifted after her story garnered worldwide attention. Anti-bullying leaders said 15-year-old Jessica Barba should have gotten extra credit, not punishment, for calling attention to the sometimes fatal consequences of bullying.

Ohio News Connection

Foster Care Age Bill Advances

December 2015 - A bill passed out of an Ohio House committee in November that would raise the maximum age for foster children to receive foster benefits from 18 to 21.

Tennessee News Service

Tennessee Sees Biggest Drop in Youth Incarceration

February 2013 - A new "KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot" from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows a major drop in the rate of juvenile offenders in Tennessee who are confined in correctional institutions. The figure has fallen 66% over the past 12 years, the largest decline in the nation.

Tennessee Sees Biggest Drop in Youth Incarceration

February 2013 - A new KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows a major drop in the rate of juvenile offenders in Tennessee who are confined in correctional institutions. The figure has fallen 66% over the past 12 years, the largest decline in the nation.

Texas News Service

July 2011 - After gaining nationwide notoriety in 2007 for widespread allegations of abuse and neglect, Texas' juvenile justice system implemented a series of reforms, culminating with the closing of four Texas Youth Commission lockups in July. Earlier in the year state lawmakers passed legislation merging the commission with the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission into a new, single department, marking the beginning of a new emphasis on community-based rehabilitation rather than punishment as the primary method of dealing with youth offenders.

June 2011 - The Legislature added funding to community-based juvenile justice programs, which is expected to reduce state reliance on remote lockups as all state juvenile justice agencies are merged into a single entity.

Juvenile Justice Reforms Become Law

January 2010 - SB 1630 cleared house (later signed into law), a significant step towards addressing the unfinished business of Texas juvenile justice reform.

Washington News Service

Number of Youth in Juvenile Detention Drops

February 2013 - The number of young people in juvenile detention was down 45 percent in Washington between 1997 and 2010. A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says the state did even better than the national average drop of 40 percent in youth incarceration rates.

September 2012 - The Washington Department of Social and Health Services is receiving $1 million a year for the next three years to enhance substance abuse treatment and recovery services for kids ages 12 to 18. It will allow programs to expand in ten communities around the state.