Policy Milestones

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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!

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

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A l c o h o l

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A b u s e

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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

Legislature Votes to Spend $6.6 Million More a Year to Help Uninsured in Opioid Struggle

April 2018 - Maine lawmakers have approved spending $6.6 million a year to combat the opioid crisis by helping uninsured Mainers obtain treatment. The Senate voted unanimously in favor of the legislation. The House had approved the bill the day before by voice vote. The bill still faces a significant hurdle - lawmakers have to appropriate money for it - but the overwhelming votes are a positive sign that i'?s been deemed a high priority, advocates said. It also is not clear whether Republican Gov. Paul LePage supports the bill or would veto it. LePage spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz said the governor does not comment on legislators' bills. The money would help pay for medication-assisted treatment ? such as methadone and Suboxone ? for the uninsured, who are the most likely to lack access to treatment. The bill is intended to help 400 to 500 people annually gain access to treatment during a time that the opioid crisis has left thousands battling addiction or dying from overdoses.

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

Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Bills

June 2017 - Governor Brian Sandoval signed three major pieces of marijuana legislation today. They include a bill to make sure marijuana products aren't too attractive to children (SB344) and a measure that aims to keep the medical marijuana program efficient and relevant in a world where all adults can buy pot (AB422). He also approved SB487, which imposes a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana and is expected to bring $64 million over the biennium into the state's "rainy day" reserve fund.

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 Hampshire News Connection

NH Releases New Plan to Fight Opioid Addiction

August 2018 - Governor Chris Sununu and Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers released details of a plan to combat substance abuse in New Hampshire. Health and wellness advocates say the plan is an important step in the right direction. The plan takes a holistic approach to addiction treatment and recovery, targeting areas where people have limited access to care by establishing regional hubs using funds from a potential $45 million federal grant. New Hampshire has the third-highest rate of opioid overdose deaths per capita in the nation but has lagged behind other states in providing addiction services. The new plan targets specific populations in need of support, including people in the criminal justice system and pregnant women.

Safe Station Program Has Helped More Than 1,100 People

November 2017 - The Safe Station program in Nashua, New Hampshire says it's helped more than 1,100 people as the drug recovery program marks its first year. Officials say there's been a 24 percent drop in opioid overdoses in the city from a year ago. The program has been set up at six fire stations.

New York News Connection

Legislation Expands Use of Rehabilitation and Diversion Services to Combat Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

August 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation (A.10403/S.8760) to help in the fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic by diverting substance-dependent individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system. These diversion models include law enforcement assisted diversion, known as LEAD, and other programs treating substance abuse and addiction. LEAD programs provide law enforcement officers and other criminal justice officials with the ability to divert people from the criminal justice system into substance use treatment, health or mental health services, housing assistance or other services. Specially-trained officers collaborate with prosecutors, defense attorneys, counselors, service providers, and other community leaders to avoid incarceration.

$10 Million Available to Expand Addiction Withdrawal and Stabilization Services in New York State

October 2017 - New York State is making up to $10 million in capital funding available to develop and support up to 75 new, community-based medically supervised withdrawal and stabilization beds throughout New York State. These detox programs provide around-the-clock care to people who are under the influence of alcohol, opioids, or other substances, or suffering from withdrawal, and help stabilize them and connect them to further treatment services.

Governor Cuomo Moves to Combat the Fentanyl Crisis in Western New York

September 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed the NYS Department of Financial Services to take immediate action to advise insurers against placing arbitrary limits on the number of naloxone doses covered by an insurance plan. As fentanyl can be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and it can take multiple doses of naloxone to reverse a fentanyl overdose, this new measure will ensure access to adequate doses of overdose reversal medication and save lives. The Governor also says he will advance legislation to add 11 fentanyl analogs to the state controlled substances schedule, giving law enforcement the ability to go after the dealers who manufacture and sell the drug.

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.

North Carolina News Service

More Grant $$ to Combat Opioid Crisis

June 2018 - Governor Cooper announced $1.5 million in grant awards to 12 community partners to implement projects that combat the opioid crisis by advancing the goals of the NC Opioid Action Plan. The one-time, state-funded grants of up to $150,000 from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services enable partner organizations to implement activities in their community which improve access to harm reduction, treatment and recovery supports.

Ohio News Connection

Ohio Lawmakers Boost Addiction Services Funding

October 2017 - Ohio's 2018-2019 budget includes measures to help curb the opioid epidemic. Lawmakers increased funding for the department of mental health and addiction services by 16.4 percent, compared to the previous two-year budget.

Ohio House Budget Funding to Fight Opiate Crisis

May 2017 - The House-passed version of the state budget includes nearly 170 million dollars for behavioral health-related services to address the growing needs around the state's opiate crisis and individuals living with mental illness. The funding is spread across four main areas: workforce, prevention, mental health, and treatment.

Tennessee News Service

Tennessee Tightens Restrictions on Certain Opioid Prescriptions

May 2018 - Tennessee passed one of the most comprehensive and restrictive laws around opioid prescriptions.The legislation (Senate Bill 2257/House Bill 1831) proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam in January became law and sets a high bar for patients to meet before doctors resort to prescription painkillers known to lead to addiction


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

Governor Signs Bill Restricting Trapping

June 2017 - Governor Brian Sandoval signed AB 364, which places limits on trapping of wild animals. It requires trappers to check their traps daily instead of every four days. The bill also would require traps to be registered by their owners and would have traps identified by flags. The bill allows tampering with traps if there is an imminent danger to a person or pet.

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

Federal Court Strikes Down Idaho's Ag-Gag Laws

January 2018 - A federal appeals court ruled Idaho's so-called "ag-gag laws" were unconstitutional. The ag-gag laws banned shooting secret videos of factory farms to expose animal abuse.

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 Billions in Trump Spending Cuts

July 2018 - The U.S. Senate rejected billions in spending cuts proposed by the Trump administration as two Republicans joined all Democrats in voting "no." The cuts in the rescissions package included $7 billion from the Children's Health Insurance Program.

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

Governor Wolf, Legislators Introduce New Bipartisan Severance Tax Legislation

April 2018 - Governor Tom Wolf was joined by a bipartisan coalition of legislative members to announce the introduction of legislation that will create a "reasonable, commonsense" severance tax in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 1000, and its companion House Bill 2253, will give Pennsylvania's citizens their fair share of revenues from the natural gas industry. Pennsylvania is the only gas-producing state in the nation without a severance tax. Other major gas producing states like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alaska are collecting billions from the oil and gas industries to help fix roads, build schools, and keep taxes low. The proposed severance tax would generate an estimated $248.7 million in the next fiscal year alone to address critical budget needs and would also keep the current impact fee in place, ensuring that this important revenue source for local municipalities stays intact.

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.

West Virginia News Service

Bad WV State Budget Decisions Avoided

March 2018 - Legislative sessions have not been good news for West Virginia progressive groups over the last two years, especially when it comes to budget issues. Coming into the session this year, law makers looked likely to push for another big tax cut for businesses. That foundered in large part on pay raise demands from public employees (especially teachers and school service personnel). The state's long-term budget imbalance, and a revenue short-fall due to past business tax cuts, has not been repaired, but the situation was not made any worse.

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

Arizona Makes Large Gains in Insured Children

September 2017 - 15-thousand kids in Arizona gained health insurance in 2016 - leaving 119-thousand still uninsured. That's an 11 percent drop from last year - the fourth largest drop in the nation, according to a new report. Researchers from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families say that the percentage of kids who now have health insurance in Arizona and in the U-S as a whole are at a historic high, and they largely credit the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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

More Kids Gaining Health Coverage Under ACA

September 2017 - The number of Colorado kids without health insurance hit an all-time low of four percent last year, according to new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The center found that between 2013 and 2016, an estimated 51,000 more Colorado kids gained coverage.

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

Foster Care Reform Signed into Law

May 2018 - Governor Bevin signed House Bill 1, legislation that sets forth a comprehensive plan to strengthen how the commonwealth supports children impacted by abuse or neglect and their families. The bill strengthens supports to help keep families together safely and, when that's not possible, addresses timelines for adoption cases so that children can more quickly move toward finding a permanent family.

New Law Could Reshape Landscape of Child Welfare

April 2018 - Kentucky's child-welfare system is set to get a major overhaul, which could be a game-changer for the more than eight thousand children in foster care. With the passage of House Bill 1 this session, new reforms will help strengthen how the commonwealth supports children impacted by abuse or neglect.

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.

Keystone State News Connection

Bill Supporting Kinship Care Would Benefit Kids

March 2018 - The General Assembly is considering a bill to help thousands of Pennsylvania grandparents who are raising their children's children. Fueled in part by the opioid epidemic, some 82,000 grandparents care for more than 89,000 grandchildren in the Keystone State. Foster parents receive support services from county Children and Youth Agencies, but those providing what's known as "kinship care" - outside the formal, foster-care system - have similar needs and often can't access those services. House Bill 2133 would help - by creating a kinship caregiver navigator program. Several states, including neighboring New York and New Jersey, have created similar kinship-care programs.

Maine News Service

Maine Holds Steady on Child Poverty Rate

October 2017 - A new report from Georgetown University finds fewer than five percent of children nationwide are uninsured - and Maine's rate remained basically unchanged. Advocates are optimistic Mainers will approve a ballot initiative on the November ballot to expand Medicaid coverage in the state under the A.C.A.

Nevada News Service

Nevada Makes Historic Progress in Insuring Children

September 2017 - Nevada has now hit a historic high for the percentage of children who have health insurance, according to a new report. Researchers from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found that about 4-thousand additional kids got insurance between 2015 and 2016 - an 8 percent improvement. And since 2013, 53-thousand kids have become insured, but that still leaves 46-thousand without insurance.

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

Ohio Shows Progress in Child Well-being

June 2017 - Ohio is making some progress when it comes to well-being for children, rising from 26 to 24th nationally in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2017 Kids Count Data Book. The state ranked in the middle of the pack on health, economic and education indicators.

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

Texas Legislature OKs Package of Bills to Improve Child Protective Services.

August 2017 - During the most recent session of the Texas Legislature, lawmakers approved several bills aimed at improving the state's foster care and child welfares services agencies. The bills reformed practices at the state's Child Protective Services Agency, which has had numerous high-profile problems in recent years.

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

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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

Civil Rights Groups Sue CA To Force Improvements to Medi-Cal

July 2017 - Advocates filed a class-action civil rights complaint against the state of California on Wednesday, alleging that low reimbursement rates have led to a shortage of doctors who take Medi-Cal, a problem that disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. Lawyers for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center filed the suit in Alameda County Superior Court.

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

Baker-Polito Administration Re-Establishes Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes

November 2017 - Governor Charlie Baker signed an Executive Order re-establishing the Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes. The Task Force will advise the Governor on issues relating to the prevalence, deterrence and prevention of hate crimes in the Commonwealth and the support of victims of hate crimes, as well as full and effective coordination among law enforcement agencies. The Task Force will encourage and assist agencies in safe reporting of hate crimes pursuant to the Hate Crime Reporting Act, as well as analyze and publicize hate crime reports pursuant to the Hate Crime Penalties Act. This group will also develop best practices related to technical assistance for school districts that may seek to incorporate hate crime education into their curricula.

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.

Indiana News Service

Classes Moved from Hall with KKK Mural

October 2017 - A student led petition drive is being called a success after officials at Indiana University Bloomington agreed to no longer hold classes in a hall with a mural depicting the KKK.

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

Governor Wolf Denies Latest Trump Administration Request for Pennsylvania Voter Information

July 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement denying a request by Kris Kobach, the Vice Chair of the Trump Administration's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for extensive voter registration records on Pennsylvania residents. Wolf expressed serious reservations about the real intentions of the committee and its possible use of voter information, considering the false statements this administration has made about voter integrity. He also voiced that concerns the commission intends to pursue restrictions on the rights of Pennsylvanians to vote.

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.

Maine News Service

Maine Secretary of State Doubles Down Against Trump Voter Fraud Commission

July 2017 - Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap again refused to comply with the request by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which is investigating possible voter fraud. Dunlap cited Maine law.

Michigan News Connection

Flint Residents Can Sue Over Water Crisis

February 2018 - The Michigan Court of Appeals says a lawsuit filed by Flint residents against the state of Michigan can proceed in the Court of Claims. The state had argued that residents failed to file their claim within six months of Flint's water being switched to Flint River water, but the Court of Appeals says it would be unreasonable to expect residents to know they were drinking lead contaminated water, especially since the state deliberately concealed the truth for months.

Minnesota News Connection

Twin Cities Electoral "First"

November 2017 - St. Paul elected its first African-American mayor, Melvin Carter III.

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 Hampshire News Connection

New Hampshire Department of Justice Gets New Civil Rights Unit

December 2017 - Governor Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald signed an executive order establishing the Governor's Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and the formation of a new Civil Rights Unit at the New Hampshire Department of Justice. Rogers Johnson, the State Coordinator of the New Hampshire NAACP, will chair the Council.

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

NY Assembly Passes Package of Voting Reforms

May 2017 - A package of nine bills to modernize and reform New York State's outdated election system passed in the Assembly, though it may not clear the Senate. The bill would allow early voting, expand access to absentee ballots, ease the process of transferring voter registration between districts in the state and reduce lines at polling stations.

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

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EPA Reverses Decision, Will Now Regulate Polluting Glider Trucks

July 2018 - The Environmental Protection Agency reversed course and announced it would enforce stricter pollution controls on freight trucks known as "gliders," which emit dozens of times more soot and contaminants compared to those with new diesel engines. In a three-page memo to his deputies, acting administrator Andrew Wheeler said he would withdraw the "no action assurance" the agency had given the manufacturers of glider trucks on the last day that his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, headed the EPA. That letter assured firms that they would not have to limit their annual production to 300 vehicles through the end of 2019. The EPA initially proposed a rule last November to repeal tighter emissions standards for glider trucks, which had been set to take effect in January. An Obama-era regulation aimed at controlling soot and other pollutants, as well as greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, the rule had the support of public-health advocates and some major trucking groups and engine manufacturers.

Fossil Fuels, Esp Natural Gas, Falls in 2017

March 2018 - Federal figures for last year show a continued decline in the use of coal nationally. The figures also show a surprising 7.7% decline in the use of natural gas as well. Observers point to increasing levels of energy efficiency, causing a decline over-all energy demand in spite of a growing economy.

Court Forces Feds To Implement Methane Gas Waste Rule

October 2017 - A federal judge ordered the Trump administration late Wednesday to implement an Obama-era rule that forces oil and gas companies to capture excess natural gas rather than burn it or vent it into the air. The Feds had been stalling key provisions of the Methane Waste Rule, but the judge said it was illegal because they tried to do it without taking public comment.

Senators Pass Amendment to Restore UN Climate Change Funding

September 2017 - In the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senators Chris Murphy and Tammy Baldwin passed an amendment to restore funding to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Trump Attempts to Roll Back Clean Air Protections Blocked by Court

September 2017 - A D.C. appeals court told the EPA agency it had to enforce the Obama-era methane rule and said delays were adding substantial levels of hazardous air pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde into the air of communities near wells.

Praise As EPA Goes Ahead With Ozone Rule

August 2017 - The EPA has resisted industry pressure to stop planned limits on ozone. Clean air advocates say going ahead with the regulations will save thousands of lives in Virginia and other states.

EPA Reverses Decision to Delay Smog Rule After Lawsuits

August 2017 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed a decision to delay an Obama-era rule requiring states to curb smog-causing emissions, one day after 15 states sued the agency over the move. The EPA announced the decision to go ahead with the so-called "2015 Ozone Designations" late on Wednesday, August 2 saying it showed the agency's commitment to working with states.

Growing US Climate Alliance Launches Climate Change Website

July 2017 - Momentum is growing in response to the Trump Administration's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, with more members and the launch of a new website. Launched by New York, California and Washington, today the members include Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia, representing more than 33 percent of the U.S. population and $7.16 trillion in GDP. The new website includes information about the composition of the Alliance, member commitments, and guiding principles, while providing updates on the progress members are making to meet or exceed the emission reductions targets of the Paris Agreement.

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

California Beats Self-Imposed Climate Change Goals

July 2018 - California has beaten its self-imposed goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, achieving a milestone in the state's fight against climate change. The California Air Resources Board announced Wednesday that total statewide carbon emissions fell to 429 million metric tons in 2016, a drop of 12 million tons from the year before. The decline means California met the Legislature's goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels, and did so a full four years before the target year of 2020. Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials said the results proved the state's portfolio of anti-carbon laws and regulations is succeeding - and showed California can fight climate change while still enjoying a significant economic boom. They pledged to continue to fight efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to roll back strict emission rules imposed by the Obama administration.

Chevron Fined For Air Quality Violations at Bay Area Refineries

April 2018 - The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Chevron USA Inc. agreed to pay $170,000 to settle air quality violations at its refinery in Richmond. The settlement covers 25 Notices of Violation issued for air quality violations at the Richmond Oil Refinery during 2014 and 2015. The violations addressed in this settlement included flaring events during which hydrogen sulfide limits were exceeded, failure to take samples during flaring events, a public nuisance violation for odors and failure to properly monitor for hydrocarbon leaks at cooling towers.

Experts Predicts CA Can Reach Net Zero Emissions by 2050

January 2018 - California could reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 - that's the prediction by a panel of clean-energy experts gathered in Sacramento. The panel is part of the "Right to Zero" campaign by the environmental legal nonprofit Earthjustice. Transit agencies up and down the state are committing to convert to zero-emissions buses. The ports of L.A. and Long Beach are committing to convert all of their port equipment and trucks with zero-emissions technology. The campaign is also supporting a bill that would commit the state to achieving clean energy generation by 2045, and a bill that bans the sale of fossil fuel-burning vehicles. They also are fighting three natural gas-fired power plants proposed for the Golden State, because natural gas, although cleaner than coal, is still a polluting fossil fuel and puts residents at risk with methane leaks.

Southern California Ports Adopt Clean Air Plan

November 2017 - The nation's largest port complex approved a plan to slash air pollution by encouraging the phase-out of diesel trucks in favor of natural gas and, ultimately, zero-emissions trucks and cargo-handling equipment over the next two decades. A move in the right direction, though natural gas is a fossil fuel implicated in climate change.

Cap and Trade Extended by Governor

July 2017 - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 398 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), which extends and improves the state's world-leading cap-and-trade program to ensure California continues to meet its ambitious climate change goals. The move was criticized by some progressive groups as not going far enough, while Republicans called it a gas tax in disguise.

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.

CPUC Sets New Rules for Natural Gas Leaks

June 2017 - After over two years of development, the California Public Utilities Commission adopted a series of new standards today that require natural gas utilities to implement 26 separate best practices to find, fix and prevent natural gas pipeline leaks and venting. The groundbreaking rule covering gas utilities is the most comprehensive in the nation and a companion to a March 2017 rule adopted by the California Air Resources Board that requires reduction of leaks from oil and gas extraction.

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

PUC Approves Energy Plan That Could Reduce Health Risks

August 2018 - Xcel plans to replace the lost capacity from the early retirement of Comanche power stations 1 and 2 in Pueblo with a mixture of renewable resources and natural gas.

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

State Directs $2.4 Billion to Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental Protection, and Community Investments

August 2018 - Governor Charlie Baker has signed bipartisan legislation to authorize over $2.4 billion in capital allocations for investments in safeguarding residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, protecting environmental resources, and improving recreational opportunities. H. 4835 authorizes $501 million to respond to and prepare for extreme weather, sea level rise, inland flooding and other climate impacts, $581 million to continue supporting communities around the Commonwealth and the environmental stewardship work they do and more than $474 million to support environmental programs at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies ranging from air and water quality monitoring to hazardous waste cleanup and the restoration of rivers, wetlands, streams, and lakes.

MA Joins Suit to Maintain Fuel-Efficiency Standard

August 2018 - Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says the Bay State will be joining 19 other states in suing the Trump Administration to stop EPA's plan to freeze the fuel-efficiency standard is bad for public health, the environment and consumers. The EPA wants to freeze the fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks for six years. It was set to increase to an average of 54 miles-to-the-gallon by 2025 but will remain at about 35, the standard set for 2020. The administration claims freezing the fuel standard will cut more than $2,000 off the price of new cars and result in fewer highway deaths, but opponents contest those findings.

State Senate Unanimously Passes "An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future"

June 2018 - The Massachusetts Senate voted to pass S.2545, An Act to promote a clean energy future, sponsored by Senators Marc Pacheco and Mike Barrett. This legislation represents a firm stand by the Senate to ensure a healthier, cleaner Commonwealth for future generations of Massachusetts residents. Most importantly, the policies enacted in this legislation will have measurable benefits in the health of the global environment. This legislation is a forward-looking plan that prepares Massachusetts for the inevitable obstacles that will come with climate change. The policies and programs will protect public health, increase the use of renewable energy, reduce greenhouse emissions, implement a price on carbon, and create jobs in the innovative green-energy economy.

Mass. Joins New Coalition to Fight Carbon Pollution

February 2018 - State lawmakers have launched a multistate coalition to collaborate on legislation to combat carbon pollution. The Carbon Costs Coalition includes legislators from nine states, including Massachusetts. It will help those legislators design strategies to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean, renewable energy alternatives. The coalition will help state legislators who are working on the issue to compare notes on each other's bills and compare how they're conducting outreach and building their coalitions so they can be stronger by having that multistate idea sharing. The Coalition also will supplement the carbon reduction goals of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a multistate compact that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector.

MA Joins in Effort to Extend Greenhouse Gas Iniative

August 2017 - A bipartisan coalition of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Governors committed to extending and strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The Governors agreed to extend the pollution cap to 2030, when it would decline 30% from 2020 levels.

Bay State's Largest Coal Fired Power Plant Shuts Down

June 2017 - The Brayton Point Power Station says it will cease operations this week. The plant has generated electricity since the 1960s and has been cited by federal regulators as one of the region's heaviest polluters.

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.

Connecticut News Service

Connecticut Wins Smog Lawsuit Against Trump Administration

June 2018 - The State of Connecticut and the State of New York have won their joint lawsuit in federal court against the Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its administrator, Scott Pruitt, over the agency's failure to adequately control ozone pollution from other states that negatively impacts air quality in the two downwind states. In the lawsuit, which Connecticut and New York filed in January, the states alleged that EPA failed to perform its mandatory duty to develop federal implementation plans that fully address requirements for upwind states under the Good Neighbor Provision of the federal Clean Air Act for the 2008 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

CT Hosts Regional Clean Transportation Listening Session

May 2018 - The second in a series of public listening sessions on the development of a regional clean transportation and climate initiative took place in Hartford. Policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders from seven Northeastern states and Washington, D.C., are seeking input on ways to modernize the transportation system and combat global climate change. Transportation is now the leading source of carbon emissions. Environmentalists point out that states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, including Connecticut, have cut emissions from power plants in half but emissions from transportation have remained constant or even grown a bit over the last few years. So in order to really address climate change, transportation needs to be dealt with. Organizers say the Hartford meeting is an opportunity to propose policies to reduce vehicle pollution while building a transportation system that serves all Connecticut residents.

Bill Seeks to Clamp Down on Methane Leaks

May 2018 - A recent survey of Hartford streets found many more leaks in gas lines than utilities acknowledge - but a bill now in the state Senate would cut the losses. Senate Bill 346, introduced by state Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Branford), would reduce the maximum allowable leakage rate for natural gas from 3 percent to 1 percent. Natural gas is 97 percent methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. It also contributes to smog that triggers asthma and other respiratory diseases. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority claims that it monitors and checks all leaks reported to it. But a two-month survey of Hartford streets using mobile leak detectors found six times the number of leaks reported in the city in an entire year, leaking over 300 metric tons of methane per year are wasted just in Hartford alone.

Legislators Launch Multistage Carbon Coalition

February 2018 - State lawmakers have launched a multistate coalition to collaborate on legislation to combat carbon pollution. The Carbon Costs Coalition includes legislators from nine states, including Connecticut. It will help those legislators design strategies to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean, renewable energy alternatives. The coalition will help state legislators who are working on the issue to compare notes on each other's bills and compare how they're conducting outreach and building their coalitions so they can be stronger by having that multistate idea sharing. In Connecticut legislation has been introduced to establish a tax on carbon-based fuels that would help spur investment in renewable energy programs. The Coalition also will supplement the carbon reduction goals of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a multistate compact that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector.

Connecticut Joins States Suing Trump Administration Over Smog

December 2017 - Fourteen states, including Connecticut, are now suing the Trump Administration over what they say is a failure to enforce smog standards. The lawsuit says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has missed an October 1 deadline to designate which areas of the country have unhealthy air. Those areas would be required to take steps to improve air quality. Poor air quality particularly affects the health of children, people with asthma and those who work outside. The lawsuit says smog can cause or aggravate diseases including heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema.

Keystone State News Connection

PA Joins Suit to Oppose Fuel-Efficiency Rollback

September 2018 - Pennsylvania will be joining 19 other states in suing to stop the plan. State leaders and health advocates say the EPA's plan to freeze the fuel efficiency standard is bad for public health, the environment and consumers. After months of wrangling, the EPA released its plan to freeze the fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks for six years. It was set to increase to an average of 54 mpg by 2025 but will remain at about 35, the standard set for 2020. The administration claims freezing the fuel standard will cut more than $2,000 off the price of new cars and result in fewer highway deaths, but opponents contest those findings. They say though more fuel-efficient cars may cost more, consumers would make it up through savings on gas by 2030.

DEP Releases New Natural Gas Permits to Reduce Air Pollution

June 2018 - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell 06/07/2018 announced the issuance of new general permits for unconventional natural gas wells and compression, processing, and transmission facilities that will reduce air pollution and establish a control threshold on methane emissions. The newly revised general permits, GP-5 and GP-5A, will be required for new compression, processing and transmission stations along pipelines, and new natural gas wells, respectively. In addition to the methane controls, the permits also set thresholds on other types of air pollution, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Operators will be required to meet federal new source standards and state Best Available Technology (BAT) included in the permit conditions for equipment and processes to control pollution emissions.

Volkswagen Settlement to Clean PA Air

May 2018 - Gov. Tom Wolf announced 5/10/2018 that $118 million, Pennsylvania's share of the multi-billion-dollar settlement with Volkswagen, will be used to help clean up the air in the Keystone State. Volkswagen had rigged computers in diesel-fueled cars to turn on emission controls during testing but scale them back during normal driving. The state will use some of the settlement money to fund replacements and upgrades of diesel engines in everything from school buses to tugboats. Some will help fund critical infrastructure for electric cars and trucks. The money will be distributed through eight grant and rebate programs over the next five years with a goal of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines by almost 28,000 tons.

Bill Would Keep Paris Climate Accord Goals for PA

January 2018 - Three state senators have introduced legislation to bring Pennsylvania into line with the carbon emission goals of the Paris Agreement. When President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the international climate accord he quipped that he represents "Pittsburgh, not Paris." In response, the legislators - led by Sen. Jay Costa of Pittsburgh - have introduced Senate Bill 15. According to Tom Schuster, senior campaign representative with the Sierra Club, the legislation, if passed, would commit Pennsylvania to achieve the goals that were laid out in the Paris climate agreement, reducing our climate-disrupting carbon pollution by 30 percent by 2025.

PA Township Takes On Climate Change

May 2017 - A local supervisor has introduced a resolution to make the Ferguson Township carbon neutral by 2050. The resolution is already serving as a model for other municipalities in the state which are proposing similar measures. The Ferguson resolution will be considered by the township's Board of Supervisors at its meeting in June.

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

Maine Joins Lawsuit to Block Fuel Efficiency Rollback

May 2018 - The Trump administration wants to roll back EPA fuel efficiency improvements but Maine is pushing back. Maine joined 16 other states in suing the administration Tuesday over its plans to scrap rules designed to make cars more efficient and less polluting. The lawsuit challenges the rollback of nationwide standards that called for new vehicles to average nearly 55 miles per gallon by 2025. Automakers have pressed the White House for weaker rules ? for every state in the country. California has long had a waiver to set its own, more-stringent tailpipe emissions standards. Maine and 11 other states have followed suit. Cars and trucks are the largest sources of both greenhouse-gas emissions and high ozone levels, so revoking California's right to tougher rules would stymie efforts to combat climate change and would make many Mainers very sick. The 17 states that are suing the administration represent about 43 percent of the new-vehicle market and 44 percent of the U.S. population.

Bill Reauthorizing RGGI Becomes Law

March 2018 - Maine is now committed to making even deeper cuts in carbon pollution from power plants. Legislation passed unanimously by the Maine Legislature went into effect reauthorizing the state's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) a multi-state compact that caps carbon emissions from the energy sector. Maine is the first RGGI state to officially usher in the strengthened program. RGGI caps carbon emissions and reduces that cap every year. Carbon credits are auctioned off to power companies and the proceeds are used support energy efficiency improvements. In the past five years, RGGI funds leveraged $88 million in private investment in Maine, yielding $277 million in energy savings for homes and businesses and produced at least $5.7 billion in health benefits throughout the region.

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

Nevada Universities Prepare to Divest from Fossil Fuel

June 2018 - Students from Nevada's state universities presented a petition with more than 1,000 to the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education asking the schools to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The Board of Regents directed financial advisors to look into the impact of divestment to consider at their next meeting in September.

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

State Legislators Collaborate to Reduce Carbon Pollution

February 2018 - State lawmakers have launched a multistate coalition to collaborate on legislation to combat carbon pollution. The Carbon Costs Coalition includes legislators from nine states, including New Hampshire. It will help those legislators design strategies to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean, renewable energy alternatives. The coalition will help state legislators who are working on the issue to compare notes on each other's bills and compare how they're conducting outreach and building their coalitions so they can be stronger by having that multistate idea sharing. In Connecticut legislation has been introduced to establish a tax on carbon-based fuels that would help spur investment in renewable energy programs. The Coalition also will supplement the carbon reduction goals of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a multistate compact that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector.

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

XTO Energy Declines Government's Permission to Relax Methane Emissions in Permian Basin

October 2017 - Oil and gas giant XTO has vowed to "be a good neighbor" and reduce methane emissions at its New Mexico Permian Basin drilling site without the federal government requiring it to. The U.S. Interior Department plans to delay an Obama administration directive requiring energy companies to reduce methane emissions at drilling sites on federal lands. XTO said it's already committed to reducing methane emissions at it's NM site.

NM Teams Compete to Bring Solar Power to Underserved Communities

May 2017 - Six teams in New Mexico are participating in the Solar in Your Community Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. They're coming up with business models that would enable lower-income neighborhoods and nonprofit groups to convert to renewable energy.

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

DEC to Issue Rules for Phasing Out Use of Hydrofluorocarbons in New York State

September 2018 - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will promulgate regulations to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a group of potent greenhouse gas pollutants used in a wide variety of applications. The regulations would adopt the 2015 and 2016 changes to the Significant New Alternatives Policy that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is abandoning under the Trump administration. The regulations would prohibit specific substances for use in new consumer products, new equipment and equipment that is retrofit after the compliance dates, including aerosol propellants, commercial and residential food refrigeration equipment, commercial air-conditioning equipment, light-duty vehicle air-conditioning and foam-blowing agents. The phase out, which would be implemented from 2020-2024, is expected to reduce HFC emissions by more than 20 percent of projected levels by 2030.

New York to Join Powering Past Coal Alliance

August 2018 - New York is joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, an international coalition of governments, businesses, and other organizations committed to leading the rest of the world in ending the use of traditional coal power. Launched by the UK and Canada on the margins of COP 23, the Alliance is a coalition of governments, businesses, and other organizations to lead the rest of the world in ending the use of traditional coal power. It is committed to taking action to accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of traditional power.

State Legislators Form Carbon Coalition

February 2018 - State lawmakers have launched a multistate coalition to collaborate on legislation to combat carbon pollution. The Carbon Costs Coalition includes legislators from nine states, including New York. It will help those legislators design strategies to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean, renewable energy alternatives. The coalition will allow state legislators who are working on the issue to be able to compare notes on each other's bills and compare how they're conducting outreach and building their coalitions so they can be stronger by having that multistate idea sharing. It would supplement the carbon reduction goals of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a multistate compact that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector.

NYC Suing Fossil Fuel Companies

January 2018 - New York City has filed a lawsuit against five major oil companies for damages the city blames on climate change. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the companies intentionally misled the public to protect their profits and now they need to shoulder the cost of making the city safer. Following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, the city is engaged in a $20 billion program to increase resiliency to rising sea levels, more powerful storms and rising temperatures. The lawsuit is the latest in a string of suits filed across the country over the industry's role in climate change. The state of New York is suing Exxon Mobil, maintaining the company deceived investors by withholding information about the impact of fossil fuels on climate change. Responding to the suit, a representative for Royal Dutch Shell told the Associated Press that climate change is a complex issue that should not be addressed by the courts.

NY Green Bank Expanding to Accelerate Growth of Sustainable Infrastructure Financing and Combat Climate Change

September 2017 - Governor Cuomo has announced an ambitious expansion of NY Green Bank. Building on the success of its $400 million in commitments across 21 projects and robust pipeline of deals, NY Green Bank is committed to work with the private sector to raise new funds, assist other states in the establishment of new Green Bank offices, and provide capacity to those new Green Banks for back-end services including due diligence, underwriting and general technical support. The expansion will also allow NY Green Bank to better leverage public dollars and grow its own project development scope to clean energy projects in other states across the country.

NY Allocates $2.2 Million for Municipalities for Investments in Zero-Emission Vehicles and Infrastructure

September 2017 - New York State is making $2.2 million from the Environmental Protection Fund available in rebates for municipalities to purchase or lease electric, (plug-in hybrid or battery) or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for municipal fleet use, and for installation of public charging or fuel cell refueling infrastructure. The State's zero-emission vehicle and infrastructure investments will advance the state?s clean transportation and climate change goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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

Hospital Sites to Reduce Diesel Emissions in Charlotte Area

January 2018 - Clean Air Carolina worked with hospital systems in the Charlotte area to agree to reduce diesel emissions on hospital construction sites. The move comes after the NGO was allowed to monitor emissions to determine the significant difference idling and higher emissions can make on air quality on a hospital's campus.

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

Idaho Approves Science Education Standards that Include Climate Change

February 2018 - The Idaho Senate overruled the House and approved science education standards that include mention of human-caused climate change. The approval ends a three-year battle to update statewide standards.

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

Utah Passes Landmark Climate Resolution

May 2018 - The climate change resolution is a dramatic turn for the Utah Legislature who, in 2010, passed a resolution implying that climate change science was a conspiracy and urging the Environmental Protection Agency to stop all carbon dioxide reduction policies. In contrast, the 2018 resolution acknowledges the existence of climate change, its causes, and calls for innovative solutions that compliment Utah's growing economy. This resolution is hailed as a groundbreaking first step in protecting the state?s economy and public health from climate change.

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

Northeastern Cap-and-Trade System Could Fund Storm Prep for VA Coast

September 2017 - The RGGI regional greenhouse gas initiative - a multi-state cap and trade system - could help fund badly needed storm and flooding remediation, mitigation and damage prevention on the vulnerable Virginia coast. Hampton Roads is one of the most vulnerable urban areas in the country, and does not have the billions of dollars it needs to deal with climate change impacts. The good news is that Virginia could get some of that funding by joining RGGI, while also cutting emissions.

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

New Methane Waste Proposal Welcomed by Industry, Conservationists

August 2018 - Wyoming wants to extend pollution and waste reduction efforts proven effective in the Upper Green River Basin to the rest of the state. A new proposal would limit toxic emissions and methane leaks at oil and gas facilities.

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.


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a n d

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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

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Dept. of Ed. to Stop Using Private Debt Collectors

May 2018 - The Department of Education filed a motion this week announcing a plan to phase out the use of private debt collectors contracted to pursue defaulted student loan borrowers, and instead rely on current loan servicers. Private debt collectors aggressively pursue defaulted student loan borrowers while profiting from taxpayer dollars.

Court Ruling Favors CFPB Over Trump

January 2018 - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regained a measure of independence when a U.S. appeals court said the president's power to remove the agency's head is limited to specific reasons such as neglect of duty or malfeasance in office. The Washington-based appeals court concluded Wednesday that Congress meant to protect the agency from the ebb and flow of politics. Giving the president more latitude to fire the director "would put the historically established independence of financial regulators and numerous other independent agencies at risk," U.S. Circuit Judge Nina Pillard wrote for the majority. The decision is certain to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues New Rules for Payday Lending

October 2017 - Consumer advocates are praising a new rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It requires payday lenders to start verifying a borrower's ability to repay the loan before rolling it over into a new loan. The rule aims to prevent a situation where desperate people borrow more money just to repay prior loans, and get hit with fees that often exceed the amount of the original loan.

CFPB Releases New Rule to Regulate Pay Day Lenders

October 2017 - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's finalized rules, the first nationwide regulation of the industry, which had largely been left to the states. Under the new rules, lenders will have to do a full-payment test before giving the loan, meaning the lender must determine whether the borrower can afford to repay the loan in full with interest within 30 days. Since payday lending customers are often in dire situations, this test will likely significantly curtail the industry.

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

New Law Will Protect AZ Consumers Against Identity Theft

August 2018 - A law taking effect August 3 will limit fees on credit reporting which had previously hindered consumers from being able to unfreeze accounts.

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

Expose Reveals Cell Phone Industry's Own Scientists Predicted Harm

April 2018 - An investigative report in The Nation lays out the history of industry-funded research into the question of whether radiation from cell phones is hazardous to human health. It shows that the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association's own scientists concluded in 1999 that a danger exists. The cover story interviewed many sources PNS has been talking with for years.

Bill Filed to Protect CA Renters

February 2018 - Following failure of a bill that would have expanded rent control, a trio of California lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at adding other protections for renters. Democratic Assemblymen David Chiu of San Francisco, Richard Bloom of Santa Monica and Rob Bonta of Alameda want to make it harder to evict tenants and extend timelines before evictions could occur.

Bill Introduced in State Assembly to Fight Predatory Lending

February 2018 - California Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) introduced AB 2500, the Safe Consumer Lending Act, a bill to protect California families from abusive high-cost installment loans. The legislation would extend California's current interest rate cap for consumer loans between $2.500 to $10,000. Under the proposed law, a $10,000 loan with a 12 month repayment plan would carry a maximum interest rate of 20%. Currently, California has no APR limit for installment loans of $2,500 to $10,000, which gives predatory lenders the opportunity to charge borrowers interest rates of 100% APR or more.

Consumers Win In Deal With CPUC

January 2018 - Consumers can finally say goodbye to paying for the San Onofre nuclear plant under the terms of a new agreement relieving customers of an additional $873 million in charges. The agreement adds to a previous settlement approved by the CPUC in 2014. The CPUC moved to reconsider the reasonableness of that agreement in light of evidence showing pervasive impermissible private contacts between SCE executives and former CPUC President Michael Peevey.

California Publishes Guidelines on Cell Phone Use

December 2017 - For those worried about exposure to non-ionizing radiation from cell phones, the State of California has issued guidelines to mitigate or reduce potential effects. While a definitive link is elusive, there is some evidence long-term heavy cell phone use can lead to brain tumors, reduced infertility or low sperm count, and other negative health impacts.

Governor Signs Bill on Transparency on Ingredients in Cleaning Products

October 2017 - Governor Brown signed into law yesterday the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017 (SB 258). The new law requires cleaning products - for the first time - to disclose the bulk of their ingredients, particularly chemicals of concern, on their labels and online. In a first for any product category, chemical ingredients in fragrances - previously a black box to consumers - will also have to be disclosed.

Governor Signs Bill to Increase Transparency in Drug Pricing

October 2017 - Working to increase transparency in prescription drug pricing, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed legislation - SB 17, requiring pharmaceutical companies to give notice before hiking prices. SB 17 requires drug manufacturers to provide a 60-day notice if prices are raised more than 16 percent in a two-year period. The bill applies to drugs that have a wholesale price of more than $40 for a 30-day supply. SB 17 also requires health plans and insurers to file annual reports outlining how drug costs impact health care premiums in California.

Bill to Make Doctors on Probation Inform Patients Passes State Senate

June 2017 - By a vote of 30-4, the California Senate passed SB 798, the Medical Board sunset review bill. The legislation includes a provision that requires doctors to notify their patients when they have been put on probation by the Medical Board for dangerous misconduct. SB 798 will now be taken up by the California Assembly. The bill must pass the state legislature this year in order to reauthorize the Medical Board of California.

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.

Commonwealth News Service

Student Loan Bill of Rights Passes Mass. Senate

April 2018 - A bill to protect student-loan borrowers from deceptive loan-servicing companies has cleared the state Senate. Almost two-thirds of undergraduate students in the Bay State finish college with an average of nearly $30,000 of student loan debt, a 75 percent increase since 2004. Some loan-serving companies charge excessive fees, misrepresent products and steer borrowers to more expensive options. But Senate Bill 2380 would hold them accountable. SB 2380 would also establish a Student Loan Ombudsman office to review practices, resolve disputes and educate borrowers and the bill would also protect parents who take out loans to help their children.

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

Lawmakers Reject Payday Lending Bill

February 2018 - A bill that would allow storefront lenders to charge annual interest rates of up to 222 percent by offering three- to 12-month loans of up to $1,500, was allowed to die quietly, by not being assigned to a committee in the state senate.

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.

State Senate Passes Bill to Limit Hospital Costs

June 2017 - The Nevada State Senate passed AB 183, to force hospitals to give lower Medicare rates to seniors who have been in an accident when someone else is at fault. The bill is now on the Governor's desk.

Governor Signs Bill on Fiduciary Duties

June 2017 - Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill today, SB 383, to establish a fiduciary rule for the financial industry. It requires financial planners to work for the best interest of the client at all times.

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 Mexico News Connection

NM Senate Panel Stalls PNM's Effort to Recoup Coal Plant Losses From Ratepayers

February 2018 - A New Mexico Senate committee dealt a blow to Public Service Company (PNM) of New Mexico by voting to stall a bill allowing the utility to sell bonds to pay for the early closing of a coal-burning power plant in northwestern New Mexico. Opponents led by New Energy Economy said it was a bailout for PNM and would weaken state regulator oversight of the utility.

New York News Connection

New York Joins 11 Other States in Letter Calling for Federal Protection of State Marijuana Laws

June 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Governors of Alaska, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington today issued a letter calling for passage of the STATES Act to protect against federal interference in state marijuana laws. As of today, 46 states permit the use of some form of medical marijuana and 8 states have made it legal for adult-use. These programs reflect the will of the people as expressed through ballot initiatives and legislative action. In 2014 the Department of Justice provided federal prosecutors guidance in the form of the "Cole Memo", which directed limited federal resources away from prosecuting marijuana operations operating in compliance with state law. The rescission of the Cole Memo earlier this year has complicated the marketplace for businesses that states now deem legal.

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

Bill to Transfer Utility Costs Fails

March 2018 - A plan that would have put consumers and small businesses on the hook for letting big electricity users cut discount deals with utilities died in the Senate. Credit is being given to well-planned citizen activism.

FirstEnergy Gives Up On Selling Pleasants Coal-Fired Power Plant To Consumer Supported Subsidiary

February 2018 - FirstEnergy had tried to shift coal-fired Pleasants to a subsidiary which falls under the utility regulation of the West Virginia Public Service Commission - where ratepayers would bear all the risk. There has been a pattern of power companies trying to shift coal-powered white elephants from de-regulated energy markets to markets like West Virginia where the companies have an assured profit. Consumer environmental advocates objected, and both the federal FERC and the WV PSC signaled some reservations. Given this and the public scrutiny, the power conglomerate dropped their plan.

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

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Criminal Justice

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Bill To Reform Bail Introduced in Congress

July 2017 - Today, U.S. Sens. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a bipartisan bail reform bill, "The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017" - to encourage states to reform or replace the practice of money bail, the requirement that individuals awaiting trial remain in jail unless they pay for their release. Across the country, state and local governments continue to have ineffective money bail systems that force individuals to pay amounts set arbitrarily, without consideration for the ability to pay, or an accurate assessment of the person's danger to the public or risk of not showing up to trial.

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 Signs Bill to Reform Cash Bail

August 2018 - Taking action to revamp California's bail system, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. 8/28/2018 signed Senate Bill 10, the California Money Bail Reform Act, which preserves the rights of the accused, while prioritizing public safety. The new law - which will take effect on October 1, 2019 - establishes a new system for determining a defendant's custody status while they await trial based on an assessment of risk to public safety and probability of missing a court date rather than their ability to pay cash bail.

California Attorney General Backs Changing Money Bail System

February 2018 - Judges must consider suspects' ability to pay when they set bail amounts, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra ruled, adding momentum to ongoing talks aimed at finding a better way to make sure suspects show up in court. Judges should only keep suspects in jail awaiting trial if they are dangerous or are likely to flee, Becerra said. He sided with a recent appeals court ruling that the state's bail system unconstitutionally discriminates against poor suspects who languish in jail. Bail is money or property that can be forfeited if suspects fail to appear for trial.

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.

Commonwealth News Service

MA Criminal Justice Bill Aims to Protect In-Person Jail Visits

March 2018 - Legislation introduced (S-2371) to prevent correctional institutions and jails from unreasonably limiting eligible inmates to fewer than two opportunities for in-person visits per week. The visitation provision is part of a much larger criminal justice reform bill. Proponents of the legislation say some sheriffs' departments around the country have eliminated in-person visiting in favor of video systems that can turn a profit. Private companies charge up to a $1.50 per minute for computer-based video visitation that often doesn't work well, making the experience frustrating and expensive, but in-person visits, especially with family and children, are an important part of the rehabilitation process.

Bill Seeks to Protect Marijuana Users in MA

January 2018 - A bill has been introduced in the legislature to keep those who follow the Bay State's law on marijuana use from being turned over to federal authorities. The bill, called "An Act relative to refusal of complicity", would prohibit local and state officials from using state resources to assist federal agents in the prosecution of individuals who are following the Commonwealth's marijuana laws, unless federal authorities have a warrant. The issue was drawn into the spotlight when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he is rescinding the Obama administration policy of not interfering in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana. The bill reinforces the state's Constitutional protections against states being compelled by the federal government to pass laws that are consistent with federal law or to enforce federal laws. It was inspired by the practice of sanctuary cities and states that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Other states, including California, have taken similar actions.

Connecticut News Service

Bill Promotes Fair Treatment for Incarcerated Women

March 2018 - A bill called An Act Concerning Fair Treatment of Incarcerated Women has been introduced in the General Assembly. This comes after an incarcerated woman gave birth without any medical assistance in January. Civil rights advocates have been pressing for legislation to ensure respect for incarcerated women's health, dignity and human rights. Senate Bill 13 would prohibit the shackling of women during childbirth, ensure services and support during and after pregnancy and delivery, and allow frequent visitation with children. And give incarcerated mothers and their children access to child-friendly visitation areas away from the noise and confrontations that can take place in adult visiting rooms.

Enfield Correctional Institution to Close as Result of Declining Crime Rate and Prison Population

November 2017 - As a result of the continuing decline in the state's crime rate and the resulting drop in the prison population, the Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) will be closing the Enfield Correctional Institution in early 2018. The closure of the building, which currently holds around 700 offenders who will be transferred to other facilities, will save the state approximately $6.5 million in annual operating costs. There are 14,103 inmates incarcerated within Connecticut's state prison system - 836 fewer than a year ago. The state's prison population reached an all-time high of 19,894 inmates in 2008.

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.

Jobs Training Center for Female Offenders Opens at York Correctional Institution

May 2017 - The Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) has opened an American Job Center at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, the state's only institution for female offenders. The job development program is only the second of its kind in Connecticut and aims to continue reducing New York's historically low crime rate by providing inmates who are nearing the end of their sentences with the tools needed to become productive members of society upon their release.

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

Kudos to Illinois For New Laws to Reduce Recidivism

August 2017 - The Pew Charitable Trust's Stateline reports gives praise to Illinois for laws recently enacted to reduce recidivism. Illinois' governor signed a law that helps former inmates reintegrate into society, and the state is being praised for being one of the first to enact a "ban the box" law that means former inmates won't be asked to reveal they were in in prison when they first fill out an application.

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

Dignity Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

March 2018 - Governor Bevin is expected to sign SB 133, which is called a victory for women behind bars. It would mandate basic health and hygiene services for women who are incarcerated, allow pregnant women access to substance abuse treatment, and prohibit the shackling of women in labor.

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

"Clean Slate" Bill Signed into Law

June 2018 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed HB1419, called the "Clean Slate Bill" into law. HB1419 provides those with low-level, non-violent criminal records a mechanism to have their record sealed from public view. Nearly 3 million Pennsylvanians of working age are estimated to have criminal records with many that are only minor. The legislation seals nonviolent misdemeanor convictions after an individual has remained crime-free for 10 years.

Governor Wolf Leads Call-to-Action for Criminal Justice Reform

April 2018 - Governor Tom Wolf has joined Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, legislators, and advocacy groups in a call-to-action for criminal justice reforms that are long overdue and necessary to provide consistency and uniformity in the system. The governor outlined a package of eight reform initiatives, including: Justice Reinvestment Initiatives (JRI2), which seek to provide for fair sentencing, increase parole supervision and use of community-based programs, among other reforms. Bail and Pre-Trial Reforms to ensure that everyone has a right to a fair trial and that risk-assessment tools are consistent across the commonwealth. Post-Conviction Relief Act Expansion to reduce time sensitivity by increasing awareness of when rights expire so defendants can make an informed plea decision. Currently if a defendant pleads guilty, they are foreclosed from post-conviction relief; this needs to change so all defendants, regardless of plea, may attempt to prove their innocence. Review/Implement the Goals of the Sentencing Commission, which include adopting a standardized, single assessment tool model used from pre-trial until parole completion. Probation/Parole Revocation and Resentencing to create uniformity in probation revocation procedures and ensure a correlation between risk and probation lengths, resulting in better supervision. Comprehensive Clean Slate Legislation currently being considered in the General Assembly and the first step in establishing a much more comprehensive clean slate law in the commonwealth to provide an opportunity for persons convicted of greater offenses, including felony convictions, to reenter the community with success. Indigent Defense is a critical part of the system that can have a large impact on volume, cost, and human effects and is needed in Pennsylvania to ensure the independence and quality of counsel under the Sixth Amendment. Stepping Up Initiative, which was launched statewide in April 2017 and via summit in December 2017 along with a data-driven project by Dauphin County to examine its criminal justice system, with the goal of reducing the number of people who have serious mental illnesses in the county prison. The findings from that project will be made public at the end of this month and will be used to develop policy and programming recommendations.

PA Wins Federal Grant for Corrections and Parole Crisis Intervention Training

November 2017 - The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), in partnership with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, has been awarded a federal grant totaling almost $280,000 to implement crisis intervention training (CIT) for staff members in community corrections centers, mental health contracted providers and parole supervision. The funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Justice through the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, will allow more than 180 DOC and parole staff to work with county first-responders and mental health providers already trained in CIT. Of the more than 46,000 inmates currently in Pennsylvania state prisons, 31 percent have a mental health diagnosis, a figure that has increased significantly in the past decade.

Governor Wolf "Bans the Box" on State Employee Applications

May 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf announced the implementation of a Fair-Chance hiring policy for state agencies that will remove the criminal conviction question, otherwise known as "banning the box", from non-civil service employment applications for agencies under the governor's jurisdiction. The new policy will be effective July 1, 2017 for non-civil service applicants. The Office of Administration will provide guidance and training to agencies prior to the implementation of the policy, and anticipates that the policy will be applied to civil service applicants by December 2017.

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

Maine Senate Joins House in Passing Recreational Marijuana Bill by Beto-proof Majority

April 2018 - The Maine Senate passed the bill to launch the state's adult-use marijuana market, putting the legislation on the brink of heading to Gov. Paul LePage's desk with veto-proof margins from both chambers of the Legislature. The bill passed by a 24-10 margin one day after being approved 112-34 in the House, which killed a more liberal version of the bill last year by sustaining LePage's veto. The bill is likely to head to LePage after more legislative action Thursday. The votes, and their veto-proof margins, came as good news to groups that represent cannabis business interests, such as Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana, which lobbied Maine's lawmakers to pass a business-friendly bill. Last year, the group's board members said that a long delay from legalization to licensing would send potential investors packing.

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

New Hampshire Lawmakers Pass Death Penalty Repeal Bill, Facing Gubernatorial Veto

April 2018 - The New Hampshire House overwhelmingly approved a bill to repeal the state's death penalty, 223-116, sending the measure to the governor despite his vow to veto it. The legislation, Senate Bill 593, would strike the words "may be punished by death" from the state's capital punishment statute, replacing them with "shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life without the possibility for parole." New Hampshire is one of 31 states to have the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The measure passed the Senate, 14-10, in March, but faces a veto from Gov. Chris Sununu, who said earlier this year that it would send the state "in exactly the wrong direction" and go against the wishes of law enforcement and victims. This marked the second time in recent history that the Legislature has sent a bill repealing the policy to the governor's desk. In 2000, Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen vetoed a similar attempt, citing confidence that New Hampshire's system is limited and appropriate.

Bill to Repeal NH Death Penalty Has Bipartisan Support

March 2018 - Senate Bill 593 would change the penalty for capital murder in New Hampshire from death to life without the possibility of parole. Similar legislation passed the House in both 2014 and 2016, but failed to get through the Senate. This time 13 senators have signed on as sponsors. Supporters of the death penalty claim it's an effective deterrent and point out that it is rarely used in New Hampshire. There's only one prisoner on New Hampshire's death row, and he is the first since the 1930s. Proponents of the repeal maintain that decades of experience and analysis in other states show capital punishment has no place in any state. They point out that over 150 people have been exonerated from death row across the country.

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

NY to Issue New Rules for Solitary Confinement

October 2017 - The State Commission of Correction will issue new regulations to enhance the State's oversight of how solitary confinement is used in all local jails. The regulations and corresponding reporting guidelines will require jails to provide individuals in solitary confinement with at least four hours of time outside of their cell each day and report the following to the Commission: any decision that places an individual in solitary confinement for more than a month; if an individual younger than 18 is placed in restrictive housing; and if certain services are restricted or denied by the facility. The Commission will also be amending its administrative manual to solicit data and information from local jails on how vulnerable populations are housed and treated in those facilities, with the goal of advancing additional reforms.

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

End of Shackling of NC Prison Women During Birth

March 2018 - State officials to update their policy and end the shackling of imprisoned women as they give birth. The new North Carolina policy says restraints should not be used when women are in labor at the onset of contractions, during delivery, post-partum recuperation, during inductions, transportation for C-section and initial bonding with newborn. There is some discussion around use of the word 'active labor' and how that will be interpreted. Advocates will continue to work to ensure the strongest version of the policy moves forward and to push for training of staff, so that the policies are consistently enforced.

Ban Lifted on Book in NC Prison System

January 2018 - The North Carolina Department of Public Safety lifted a ban on a New York Times best seller "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness" just one day after the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said the ban was unconstitutional and asked for inmates to have access to the book.

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

Crime Victim's Rights Measure Passed in Ohio

November 2017 - Ohio voters passed Issue 1, known as Marsy's Law. The measure will change Ohio's constitution to include several rights for victims and their families. If these rights are violated, individuals could protest by filing a motion in court.

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

Report: Ore. Incarceration Projected to Drop by 11 Percent Over Next Decade

October 2017 - The Oregon Corrections Population forecasts the prison population will decrease by 11 percent through 2027, even as the state's population increases. The decrease will be do at least in part to the Safety and Savings Act (HB 3078), which decreased sentences for certain property and drug crimes.

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

WA Lawmakers Extend 'Ban the Box' to Private Employers

March 2018 - Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the Fair Chance Act (HB 1298), extending "ban the box" jobseeker protections to cover the state's public and private employers. More than one in five adults in Washington State, disproportionately people of color, have a conviction or arrest record that can show up on a routine criminal background check for employment. The Fair Chance Act will help ensure that these 1.2 million people are judged by their qualifications and work experience, and not reflexively rejected by employers at the start of the hiring process.

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

Second Chance For Employment Act

March 2017 - WV lawmakers have now given non-violent reformed offenders the chance of clearing their record. If a non-violent felon (mostly drug offenders) stays out of trouble for five years after release from state supervision, he or she now can petition to have their crime changed to a misdemeanor - much less likely to block them fom getting a job.

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

Wisconsin Assembly Votes To Close Troubled Youth Prison

February 2018 - The state's youngest offenders would be moved out of the troubled Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake facility within three years under a bill the assembly passed today. This is the first real bipartisan action to deal with the problematic state youth prisons, an issue PNS/WNC has consistently reported on.

Bipartisan Move Toward Prison Reform

December 2017 - Members of both political parties announced a bipartisan commission to reform the Wisconsin corrections system. The commission will make recommendations on how to best use the 1 billion dollars allocated for prison reform in the state's new biennial budget. The state's adult prison system is dramatically over-capacity and Wisconsin incarcerates more people by far than any neighboring state.

Youth Prison Policy Changes

November 2017 - The most aggressive inmates at Wisconsin's Youth Prison will be removed and sent elsewhere under a new state Corrections Department policy. WNC has run several stories about the deplorable conditions in the state's youth prison, and this new policy is designed to address some of those issues.

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

Ohio Requires Accessible Absentee Ballots for Blind

March 2018 - A new directive from the Secretary of State says blind voters in Ohio must be able to cast absentee ballots privately and independently. Under the directive, the state's local boards of elections must make remote ballot-marking systems available to voters who are blind or who have other disabilities in time for the November 2018 election. The systems will also benefit voters who have other disabilities that prevent them from visiting a polling place or marking a traditional ballot.

New Law will Raise the Voice of Ohioans with Disabilities

March 2018 - Governor Kasich signed Ohio Senate Bill 144, establishing the establishing the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Council. The move gives people with disabilities an increased voice at Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, the state agency that oversees vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities in Ohio. The new OOD Council will provide input, planning, and oversight regarding the agency's organizational effectiveness, vocational services, and client outcomes.

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

Bill to Ensure Sex Abuse Allegations Get Reported To Police Passes U.S. House

January 2018 - The House passed legislation drafted by Senator Dianne Feinstein to require amateur athletics governing bodies like USA Gymnastics and other amateur sports organizations to report sex-abuse allegations immediately to local or federal law enforcement, or a child-welfare agency designated by the Justice Department. The bill further authorizes the U.S. Center for Safe Sport to ensure that aspiring Olympic athletes can report allegations of abuse to an independent and non-conflicted entity for investigation and resolution, and to make sure that all national governing bodies follow the strictest standards for child abuse prevention, detection and investigation.

President Signs Law Cracking Down on Truckers Involved in Human Trafficking

January 2018 - Today President Trump Signed Senate Bill 1532, the "No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act," which requires the Department of Transportation to disqualify an individual who uses a commercial motor vehicle in committing a felony involving human trafficking from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life.

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

Bill to Fight Sexual Harassment Introduced in State Senate

March 2018 - Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has introduced wide-ranging legislation to close loopholes in law that discourage or prevent victims from speaking out, allow employers to avoid sexual harassment and discrimination laws, and leave employees vulnerable to sexual harassment at work. Senate Bill 1300 provides guidance to the courts on the "severe or pervasive" legal standard for sexual harassment litigation, so that it is fairly applied in court to protect victims. SB 1300 also prohibits non-disparagement clauses and "sneaky releases" that prevent victims from speaking out about abuse, strengthens sexual harassment training requirements, and holds employers accountable for preventing harassment in the workplace.

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.

Commonwealth News Service

Grants Awarded to Combat Violence Against Women

December 2017 - The Commonwealth awarded 37 grants totaling $2.7 million to community-based organizations, police departments, and state agencies to develop and strengthen law enforcement response, prosecution strategies, and victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women.

Connecticut News Service

Rape-Kit Reform Bill Clears CT Legislature

May 2018 - Legislation to improve the tracking of sexual-assault evidence kits is on its way to Gov. Danell Malloy's desk. After a 2015 survey found almost 1,200 untested kits at law enforcement agencies across Connecticut, the governor established a working group to coordinate their tracking and testing. Senate Bill 17, which was built on that work, passed both the House and Senate with unanimous votes. Tracking can be key to both the criminal investigation and the healing process for survivors. Passage of the bill puts the state on track to clearing its backlog of untested sexual assault kits and to quickly testing new kits as they come in. The bill will also give survivors the ability to check on the status of their kit to help counteract the loss of self-determination and control that is often at the core of experiencing sexual assault.

State Agencies to Conduct Review of Sexual Harassment Prevention Procedures

December 2017 - Governor Dannel Malloy directed Connecticut's policies and procedures on sexual harassment prevention to be reviewed within all executive branch state agencies. Based on the results, the Department of Administrative Services is required to deliver a report to the Governor no later than February 1, 2018, reviewing best practices to address and prevent harassment, and recommend additional measures to improve the state's existing policies and procedures.

Federal Grants to Assist CT Processing of Sexual Assault Kits

December 2017 - Connecticut has been awarded two competitive, federal grants worth $2.6 million that will assist the processing and testing of sexual assault evidence kits. A $1.85 million Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant will be used to test approximately 1,000 partially-tested kits that still require DNA testing. Further, this funding will support coordinated investigation and victim notification for cases that may be re-opened, training for law enforcement officers and states attorneys, as well as academic research at Central Connecticut State University to learn more about these cases and what can be done to improve investigation and prosecution. A $750,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice supports a new method of testing that searches for the presence or absence of male DNA. This new method will allow the state to increase capacity, efficiency, and quality of DNA screenings.

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

KY Voters Could Decide on Crime Victim's Rights

January 2018 - A constitutional crime victims' bill of rights amendment edged closer to this fall's statewide election ballot with final passage of a bill proposing the change. Senate Bill 3 widely known as Marsy's Law will place the proposed amendment before voters this November. Kentucky currently has crime victims' rights listed in statute, but not in the state's constitution.

New Legislation Makes KY Safer for Domestic Violence Survivors

October 2017 - Governor Matt Bevin signed HB 309, which added important leasing protections for survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and fixed Kentucky's outdated mandatory domestic violence reporting law.

New Leasing Protections for Domestic-Violence Survivors

August 2017 - Advocates for increasing protections for victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence say progress is being made in implementing a new law that, in part, helps victims get out of leases. Training and implementation has now moved to educating landlords on how to handle those situations.

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

Court Rules a Pencil is Not a Weapon

May 2017 - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of a girl who was expelled from school for possession of a "weapon" after she used a pencil to scratch a boy who had sexually assaulted her. The ruling means schools will need to adjust practices that have used a zero-tolerance policy on weapons in schools to expel students for an entire year for incidents involving objects that are not typically considered weapons.

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.

Maryland News Connection

Maryland Gov Expected to Sign Bill Ending Parental Rights for Rapists

February 2018 - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is expected to sign a bill that will allow impregnated rape victims to ask a judge to end the parental rights of their attackers. The measure, titled the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, unanimously passed both chambers of Maryland's legislature.

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.

New Mexico News Connection

NM Legislators Complete Sexual Harassment Training, Approve New Legislation

January 2018 - New Mexico legislators completed mandatory sexual harassment training at the State Capitol and overhauled policies against sexual misconduct and harassment. The issue came to the forefront as part of a national wave of claims against powerful people in politics, entertainment and business.

Albuquerque to Test Huge Rape Kit Backlog

October 2017 - Continued pressure from politicians and women activist groups combined with federal grant money may help Albuquerque turn the tide in New Mexico, the U.S. state with the highest number of untested rape kits per capita. Federal grant money will be used to eliminate the city's enormous backlog of untested kits.

New York News Connection

Gov. Cuomo Proposes Removing Firearms from Domestic Abusers

December 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo today unveiled the first proposal of the 2018 State of the State: remove all firearms from those who commit domestic violence crimes. Given the inextricable link between domestic violence and lethal gun violence, this legislation will require all domestic violence crime convictions, including misdemeanors, to result in the immediate removal of all fire arms and will add measures to keep firearms out of the hands of those who commit domestic violence with the goal of preventing additional tragedies. In 2016, firearms were used in 25 domestic homicides in New York.

Oregon News Service

Lawmakers Pass Law Implementing Tracking System for Sexual Assault Kits

April 2018 - Oregon lawmakers passed a bill that creates an electronic, statewide tracking system for rape kits. The system allows for survivors to track their kits anonymously.

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

New Texas Law Enables Comprehensive Rape Kit Reform

June 2017 - With the passage of a bill establishing a tracking system for evidence in sexual-assault cases, Texas has become the first state to implement comprehensive rape-kit reforms. There are an estimated 20,000 or more untested rape kits sitting in evidence lockers around the state, but new regulations are aimed at ensuring the backlog is identified and tested, and that new kits are processed without delay.

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

Families on Care 4 Kids Wait List Can Now Apply for Child Care Support

November 2017 - The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) has reopened the Care 4 Kids program and eligible families on the wait list can begin to enroll for the state's primary child care support. Funded with federal and state dollars and administered by OEC, Care 4 Kids helps low-income, working families afford safe, quality child care. In 2016, new federal requirements increased the costs of the program but did not increase funding necessary for their implementation. To remain fiscally sound, the program was closed to most new families by late 2016. Many other states were forced to make similar cutbacks. Families seeking this support were instead registered for the wait list so they would be able to apply once the program reopened. There are currently 5,769 families on the wait list in Connecticut.

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.

Keystone State News Connection

Grant Supports Early Learning Professionals

December 2017 - Early childhood education advocates' efforts are having results: Pennsylvania will award a $1.4 million grant to increase the quality of Pennsylvania's early childhood learning professional workforce. The competitive grant will support currently employed early childhood educators pursuing higher education. Drexel University, Carlow University, and Shippensburg University were successfully funded to build cross-systems partnership opportunities to identify and reduce barriers to access early childhood education degrees for currently employed early childhood educators.

New State Budget Increases Education Spending

July 2017 - The state budget that passed the General Assembly was allowed to go into law without Governor Tom Wolf's signature. The bipartisan spending plan adds $25 million for the state's Pre-K Counts program, and almost $5 million for Head Start. It also increases basic education funding by $100 million and $19 million for early intervention services. The budget also restores $20 million previously cut from child care, and funds a totally new program to help parents.

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

High-Need School Districts Get $15 Million for Expanded Pre-Kindergarten

September 2018 - $15 million in funding is now available to establish pre-kindergarten programs for three or four-year-old students across New York. A preference in funding will be provided to high-need school districts that do not currently have a State funded pre-kindergarten program. New York's commitment to pre-kindergarten is now over $800 million annually, serving 120,000 three and four-year-old students each year, and universal pre-kindergarten is free for families. This additional $15 million will ensure New York continues to support its youngest students by supporting the expansion of pre-kindergarten in school districts across New York, including those where there are currently no pre-kindergarten seats. In addition, preference will be given to districts that will be ensuring the inclusion of students with disabilities in integrated settings.

Pre-Kindergarten Expanding in 11 Districts

November 2017 - New York has awarded $5 million to 16 high-need school districts to increase access to quality pre-kindergarten for nearly 1,000 three and four-year-old students across New York. This funding aims to support the expansion of pre-kindergarten to high-need or underserved districts as part of the State's ongoing efforts to promote early education, and improve the academic future for all students. Funding was awarded to school districts based on the quality of the application and other factors, including district and student need, efforts to target the highest need students, and efforts to maximize total number of children served in pre-kindergarten programs.

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

Governor Cooper Directs DHHS to Create and Lead State Action Plan to Improve Early Childhood Outcomes

August 2018 - Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order directing North Carolina to create an Early Childhood Action Plan. The plan to be developed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will be devoted to the health, safety, and developmental and academic readiness of young children across the state.

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

Judge Rules DeVos Unlawfully Delayed Student Borrower Protections

September 2018 - A federal judge has ruled that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' delay of a key student borrower protection rule was improper and unlawful. U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss sided with consumer advocates, two former students seeking relief from their loans, and Democratic attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia, who challenged the Trump administration's postponement of Obama-era regulations-governing "borrower defense to repayment."

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

Judge Finds Ban on Mexican-American Studies Program Unconstitutional

August 2017 - A U.S. District Court judge ruled that an Arizona law passed to stop Mexican-American studies classes in Tucson schools was enacted for racial and political reasons and is therefore unconstitutional. The case stems from a long-ranging battle that started in 2010 when then-state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne objected to statements made by a speaker in a Tucson classroom.

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.

Colorado News Connection

New Law Addresses Rural Colorado's Teacher Shortage

May 2017 - House Bill 1003 requires the Department of Higher Education to work with the Colorado Department of Education, school districts and other education associations to identify root causes of the teacher shortage and recommend strategies to recruit and retain more teachers.

Commonwealth News Service

Education Options Land MA Top Spot in Best States Ranking

September 2017 - Education opportunities were a major factor earning the Bay State the number 1 ranking in the U.S. News and World Reports rating of best state to live in America. The state also came in near the top when for health care.

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

Connecticut College to Accept Puerto Rico 'Guest' Students

December 2017 - Connecticut College has established a guest student program for college students from Puerto Rico whose education was disrupted after Hurricane Maria hit the island in September. The New London private liberal arts college provide room, board and tuition for up to six students. Guest students will pay what they would have paid to attend UPR directly to UPR. Connecticut College will offer a streamlined application process to UPR juniors and seniors in good standing. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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

IL National Leader in College Completion

September 2018 - Illinois is now the national leader in bachelor's degree completion rates among community college students. According to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 53.8 percent of new Illinois community college students in 2010 who transferred to a four-year college completed a bachelor's degree within six years.

Deal Reached in School Funding Fight

August 2017 - Illinois lawmakers have agreed to a new school funding formula, designed to bolster the state's poorest districts without taking money away from the rest. 831 of the state's 852 school districts will see more state dollars than before.

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

Bill Introduced to Make College Free in PA

June 2018 - Pennsylvania is near the bottom in per capita funding for higher education, but a bill now in the General Assembly could change that. If passed, the bill, called "PA Promise", would eliminate college tuition and fees for recent high school graduates from families with incomes of $110,000 dollars a year or less. Right now, in more than half of Pennsylvania counties the share of adults with more than a high school diploma is lower than in any of the other forty-nine states. The bill would also pay room and board for students from families with incomes below $48,000 a year. The increase in state spending would raise Pennsylvania from 47th in the nation to 36th for per capita investment in higher education.

Court Ruling Advances School Funding Lawsuit

May 2018 - A panel of Commonwealth Court judges has moved a lawsuit challenging the level and distribution of state funding for public education in Pennsylvania step closer to trial. The panel overruled several preliminary objections to the lawsuit, including one that claimed the petitioners hadn't established that the current funding plan had caused the harm that is the basis for the suit. The court ordered further discovery on two remaining objections raised by opponents of the suit before it can proceed to trial. State legislative leaders maintain that education is not an important or fundamental right under the state's constitution.

More Reductions in Standardized Testing for Pennsylvania Students, Teachers

December 2017 - After reducing the number of test days by two days this school year, starting next school year, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) will be condensed from three weeks to two weeks and shifted to later in the school year, easing stress on students and giving them up to two additional weeks to learn before taking the assessment. The new schedule builds on changes taking effect this school year to remove two sections of the PSSA - one in math and one in English language arts - and reduce questions in the science assessment, which is enabling the Department of Education to condense and move the testing window to later in the year.

Court Rules PA Parents Can Challenge State Education Funding

October 2017 - Public school advocates have won a significant victory in their efforts to reform state spending on public education. In 2015, the Commonwealth Court dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of Pennsylvania parents, school districts and statewide organizations. That court relied on previous rulings that said education funding isn't subject to judicial review. But the state Supreme Court has ruled that the court has a duty to consider a lawsuit claiming the legislature is violating the education clause and the equal protection provisions of the state constitution. Gov. Tom Wolf also praised the ruling, saying it opens an opportunity to ensure that students in Pennsylvania have access to a fair education system, regardless of where in the state they live.

PA Supreme Court Rules Courts Can Hear Education Funding Lawsuit

September 2017 - The Pennsylvania Supreme court has ruled that the courts can hear a lawsuit filed on behalf of parents, educators and school districts charging the state with failing to meet requirements of the state constitution for equitable education funding. Lower courts had followed precedents which had found that education funding is under the jurisdiction of the executive and legislative branches of government. The Supreme Court?s decision allows the lawsuit, filed in 2015 to go to trial in the Commonwealth Court.

PA Education Department Receives $7.2 Million Grant to Assist Students with Behavioral Needs

September 2017 - The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) will receive $7.2 million for school districts to help with student behavioral health under the Middle School Success: The Path to Graduation (P2G) grant program. More than 24,000 Pennsylvania students are currently identified as having behavioral needs, which could lead to chronic absenteeism and inhibit post-graduate or career success. To better help students, school districts across the commonwealth will receive funds to aid in ongoing professional development to ensure that every student can succeed.

Governor Wolf Announces Reforms to Standardized Testing in Schools

August 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf announced that his administration will reduce the amount of time public school student spend taking standardized tests. Acknowledging that an over-emphasis on testing interferes with teaching and learning, the governor said the time spent on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests would be reduced by 20-percent for 3rd through 8th graders, and 25-percent for younger students.

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

Governor Snyder Wants to Increase Education Funding

February 2018 - For the first time in years, Governor Rick Snyder is recommending an increase in per-pupil funding for Michigan public schools. While the $233 increase he is recommending is far short of the more than $1000 analysts feel would be necessary to bring the state's struggling schools up to par, it's seen as a step in the right direction.

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

Twin Cities Victory for School Funding

November 2017 - A school levy passed by a wide margin in . St. Paul, the state's second largest school district, passes school levy by a wide margin.

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

Voucher Bill Fails; Public School Advocates Rejoice

June 2017 - A bill to put $60 million towards education vouchers, called Education Savings Accounts, failed in the legislature due to steadfast opposition from Democrats. Lawmakers did pass SB555, adding a one-time, $20 million appropriation to the state's tax credit-funded Opportunity Scholarship program, designed to help more low- and middle-income students attend private schools on scholarship.

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

Court Requires Quick Turnaround for Equity in NM's Public Schools

July 2018 - New Mexico is required to create a plan for how to create more equitable funding for its public schools, after a judge ruled the state has been unconstitutionally depriving at-risk students of a quality education. Education advocates called it a win for New Mexico children, and say work needs to begin immediately on a plan to serve all the state's public-school children.

New Mexico to Adopt Next Generation Science Standards with State-Specific Additions

October 2017 - After public protest, the state Public Education Department said it would drop its own proposed science teaching standards and instead use the Next Generation Science Standards that nearly 20 other states have adopted. The department had proposed eliminating concepts such as evolution, the age of Earth and human causes of climate change from student textbooks.

NM Scores on PARCC Exams Rise

July 2017 - After three years, New Mexico students have slightly improved their performance on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam. The 2017 results, released 7/24/17, show 28.6 percent proficiency in English language arts and 19.7 percent in math. In 2015, the first year PARCC was administered in New Mexico, the numbers were 26.4 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively.

Return to the Roundhouse Bittersweet for NM Lawmakers

May 2017 - Gov. Susana Martinez funds higher education and state government, which ended the special session of the New Mexico Legislature after a standoff with lawmakers.

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.

Legislation Investing $25.8B in High-Quality Education Signed

May 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed new legislation that boosts education aid by $1.1 billion, including a $700 million increase in Foundation Aid. The investment builds on efforts to strengthening educational outcomes, including an increase in education aid of $6.2 billion, or 32 percent, over the last six years.

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

Idaho Approves Science Education Standards that Include Climate Change

February 2018 - The Idaho Senate overruled the House and approved science education standards that include mention of human-caused climate change. The approval ends a three-year battle to update statewide standards.

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

Tennessee Promise Scholarship Program is Seeing Success.

May 2018 - New data finds about a quarter of all 2015 Tennessee Promise students received a college degree after five semesters in the program, according to newly compiled data on the program. The 21.5 percent of students that graduated through five semesters, while still low, is a big jump over the previous year's community college graduation rate in 2014, when the program didn't exist, according to Tennessee Board of Regents numbers. The 2015 graduation numbers were almost seven points higher than the 2014 group.

Tuition Price Hikes Minimized for Next School Year

November 2017 - In light of rising public concern, Tennessee Higher Education Commission pitched modest tuition increases across the state for 2018-19. The total tuition rate hike proposed is between 0 and 3 percent, an amount officials said was driven by a desire to keep college prices more affordable.

Governor Asked to Consider Pay Raises for TN Teachers

November 2017 - The Tennessee Department of Education is asking the Governor to include teacher pay raises in his budget.

Tennessee's Free Community College Showing Hreat Results

September 2017 - Students using Tennessee's free community college scholarship are significantly more likely to succeed in college than their peers outside the program, according to new data. Proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam in 2014, the program was the first in the nation to offer almost every graduating high school senior in a state the chance to go to college tuition-free.

Governor Underscores Commitment to Education Funding and Graduation Rates

August 2017 - In several recent speeches, Governor Bill Haslam has underlined his commitment to increasing state graduation rates and pushing scholarship programs like Tennessee Promise to aid in college tuition.

Tennessee High School Students Improve in Every TNReady Test Subject

August 2017 - Tennessee's high school students improved in every subject area on the state's year-end standardized assessment.

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."

Utah News Connection

After-School Programs Help Kids Living in Poverty

May 2018 - After-school programs are boosting academic performance for Utah students living below the federal poverty level, according to a new study by the Utah Education Policy Center. After participating in music, sporting or other organized activities for one to three years, kids made significant gains in language arts, math and science scores.

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

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W i l d l i f e

Endangered Species & Wildlife

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US District Court Rules in Favor of Sage Grouse Protections

May 2018 - A U.S. District Court found in favor of environmental groups who said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly denied protections to the sage grouse. Next, a hearing will decide if the agency must reconsider protections for the bird.

Court Affirms Dams Can Release Water to Help Northwest Salmon

April 2018 - A federal appeals court ruled that dams in the Northwest can release more water over their spillways in order to help young salmon traveling to the ocean this spring. The appeals court judges agreed with a district court judge that salmon populations remain in a "precarious" state.

Some Signs Of A Bee Rebound

August 2017 - After years of alarming spread, Colony Collapse Disorder losses are down by a quarter from 2016. Some of this may be related to restrictions on pesticides that impact bees. But whatever the cause, the U.S. Dept of Agriculture reports some signs that bees are doing better.

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

Court Says US Fish and Wildlife Must do More for Endangered Wolves

April 2018 - A federal judge ruled U.S. Fish and Wildlife management guidelines put a too-low cap on population numbers for Mexican Gray Wolves and too severely restricted their habitat. The department must propose revisions to its management plan.

Arizona Turtle Gets Endangered Species Protection

September 2017 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces protections for Arizona's Sonoyta mud turtle, a Hawaiian bird known as the 'i'iwi and a Southeast fish called the pearl darter under the Endangered Species Act. Today's action came in response to two 2011 settlement agreements with the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians under which the Fish and Wildlife Service made protection decisions for hundreds of vulnerable species over the past six years. With these three newly designated species, 188 species have been protected as threatened or endangered under the agreement. Eleven additional species have been proposed for protection and await decisions expected by the end of the year.

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

Yellowstone Grizzlies: Court Blocks ID, WY Trophy Hunts

August 2018 - Just two days before the start of the season, a U.S. District Court judge granted wildlife advocates' motion for a temporary restraining order to block planned grizzly bear trophy hunts in Idaho and Wyoming for at least 14 days. This came after a hearing regarding a high-profile case over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' 2017 decision to strip grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of vital Endangered Species Act protections, and provides the court time to deliberate on the merits of the case.

Montana Only State Without Grizzly Hunting Plan in 2018

March 2018 - While Idaho and Wyoming pursue plans to allow grizzly bear hunting outside Yellowstone National Park, Montana wildlife officials say they don't regret deciding against holding a hunt this year. Montana made the decision not to allow hunting of grizzlies in February.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reconsidering Grizzly Bear Delisting

December 2017 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is opening up public comment on its decision to take Yellowstone-area grizzly bear off the Endangered Species List earlier this year. The reconsideration of grizzly bear status comes in the wake a federal court ruling that retained protections for wolves in the Great Lakes. The court found the agency needed to study how a species' loss of historical habitat affects its recovery.

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

California Protects Humboldt Martens as Endangered

August 2018 - In response to a petition from conservation groups, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 8/23/2018 to protect the Humboldt marten under the state Endangered Species Act. The Environmental Protection Information Center and Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for the secretive carnivore's protection in 2015. A relative of minks and otters that dwells in old-growth forests, fewer than 200 of the cat-like animals survive in California in Del Norte, Humboldt and Siskiyou counties. Humboldt martens have lost more than 95 percent of their historic habitat to logging.

Bill to Phase Out Driftnets Passes Key Committee

May 2018 - SB 1017, a bill that would transition California away from the use of large-scale driftnets successfully cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will potentially be up for a full Senate floor vote next week. SB 1017, authored by Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, would: Implement a driftnet permit buyback program; end the use of driftnets after the 2023 fishing season (new entrants into the swordfish fishery will be directed toward the use of lower impact fishing gears for a modernized fishery). This is the first time a bill of this type has passed out of the Appropriations Committee.

Court Rules in Favor of Bi-State Sage Grouse

May 2018 - A U.S. district court ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2015 wrongly denied Endangered Species Act protection for the bi-state sage grouse, which lives in parts of California and Nevada. The next step will be a court hearing to determine when the agency must reconsider federal protection for the bird, a genetically unique and isolated sage grouse species that inhabits the Mono Basin on the California-Nevada border and faces multiple threats to its survival.

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

Apple Lights Go Dim for the Birds

October 2017 - Chicago's new Apple store is dimming the lights due to bird deaths. Wildlife experts say bright lights confuse birds in flight, and they slam into the glass, often with fatal results. Complaints surfaced after residents started noticing dead birds around the new Apple store in Chicago and company officials have agreed to dim the lights.

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

Peregrine Falcons Making a Comeback

September 2017 - After decades of careful wildlife management, the fastest animal on earth has been brought back from the edge of extinction. Peregrine falcons are returning in strong numbers to their natural habitats in MIchigan's upper peninsula.

Protections for Gray Wolves Upheld

August 2017 - The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower-court ruling that in December 2014 restored Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. That means the status quo of the past three years, disallowing hunting of Great Lakes wolves, holds. Hunters in the Upper Peninsula have been trying to overturn this for years.

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.

Nevada News Service

Court Rules in Favor of Bi-State Sage Grouse

May 2018 - A U.S. district court ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2015 wrongly denied Endangered Species Act protection for the bi-state sage grouse, which lives in parts of California and Nevada. The next step will be a court hearing to determine when the agency must reconsider federal protection for the bird, a genetically unique and isolated sage grouse species that inhabits the Mono Basin on the California-Nevada border and faces multiple threats to its survival.

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 Rules Against Fed Agency's Method for Killing Predators in Idaho

July 2018 - A judge has ruled against a federal agency and how they kill predators like coyotes, in Idaho. A collection of environmental groups brought the suit against U.S. Wildlife Services. They said that the agency was killing thousands of animals a year in Idaho without adequately analyzing the environmental risks involved. The suit said the agency was killing wolves, coyotes, otters, birds and other animals, often in response to requests from the livestock industry. Wildlife Services used traps, snares, poison and also shot from an aircraft to kill the animals. The agency killed close to 4,000 coyotes in Idaho in 2016.

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

Oregon to Protect Marbled Murrelets as Endangered Species

February 2018 - The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to change the status of marbled murrelets from threatened to endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act. The marbled murrelet is a seabird that nests in old-growth and mature forests and forages at sea. Its population has declined dramatically over the decades because of extensive logging in Oregon's Coast Range. The commission's decision could have implications for forest protection on state and private timberlands.

Oregon Considers More Protections for Marbled Murrelet

October 2017 - The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering whether to list Marbled Murrelets as endangered under the state's endangered species act. The bird has been listed as threatened, but a new report finds the bird is still imperiled despite these protections.

Oregon Legislature Passes Dredge Reform to Protect Salmon

May 2017 - The Oregon Legislature passed a bill regulating suction dredge mining. The dredging method is used recreationally to pick up gold left over from old mining operations but also kills young fish and destroys fish eggs.

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

WA Convenes Orca Recovery Team to Save NW Killer Whales

May 2018 - Gov, Jay Inslee's Southern Resident Killer Whale Recovery Task Force met for the first time in May. The group will focus on salmon recovery, toxic pollutants in the ocean and noise disturbances threatening the whales. The Southern Resident orcas are the only population of killer whales on the Endangered Species list.

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.

Wisconsin News Connection

Bison Make Strong Comeback In Wisconsin

September 2017 - Hunted to near extinction in 1883, bison are once again flourishing in Wisconsin because of the efforts of conservationists. The state now estimates there are more than 7,000 bison in Wisconsin.

Federal Appeals Court Keeps Wisconsin Wolves On Endangered List

August 2017 - The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower-court ruling that in December 2014 restored Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. That means the status quo of the past three years, disallowing hunting of Great Lakes wolves, holds. Hunters in the Upper Peninsula have been trying to overturn this for years.

Wyoming News Service

Bison Gets a Boost Towards Endangered Species Act Protection

February 2018 - A federal judge ruled in early February that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally denied Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone bison population. The court sent the rule back to the Service to revise and use the science that supports providing protections for the dwindling bison herds.


E n e r g y

P o l i c y

Energy Policy

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Court Orders EPA to Strengthen Coal Ash Rules

August 2018 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision 8/21/2018 holding that the first-ever federal safeguards set by the Obama Administration for coal ash dumps do not sufficiently protect communities and the environment from pollution from that toxic waste. The court's decision today sided with public interest groups by concluding that the Obama-era rule failed to adequately protect against pollution from unlined and inadequately lined ash pits, many of which are already leaking dangerous pollution into rivers and streams. The Court ordered EPA to revise the rule to properly address the health and environmental threats from these dump sites. The Court also agreed with public interest groups that EPA did not go far enough in regulating coal ash dumps, holding that EPA improperly exempted coal ash ponds at closed coal-fired power plants from regulation. Rejecting industry challenges to the rule, the Court further held that EPA acted within its authority to regulate coal ash ponds no longer actively receiving waste and located at operating plants.

Federal Judge Orders Environmental Review of Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline

August 2018 - A federal judge mandated 8/15/2-18 that the U.S. State Department go back and conduct a more thorough Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL pipeline alternative route, which was approved by the Nebraska Public Service Commission in November 2017.

Judge Restores Penalties for Automakers that Violate Fuel Standards

April 2018 - The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club, and overturned a Department of Transportation attempt to indefinitely delay penalties on automakers for violating fuel standards. The Court's ruling restores the proper penalty, trued up to account for decades of inflation. The updated penalty impels automakers to clean up their fleets, rather than offering them a cheap license to burn more gas if they fail to keep pace with fuel economy targets. The fuel economy standards for model years 2012 to 2025 will reduce oil consumption by 3.1 million barrels of oil per day in 2030. This in turn reduces climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions, avoiding production of 570 million metric tons of carbon dioxide - the equivalent of taking 85 million cars off the roads, or 140 coal-fired power plants offline.

Zinke Says He May Back Off on Offshore Drilling

April 2018 - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke assured the House Appropriations Committee that he plans to scale back his plan to expand offshore leasing in nearly all federal waters, after massive local and state opposition. "States matter, local voices matter, you matter, and governors matter," Zinke said, during testimony before the committee on the Department of Interior's fiscal 2019 budget. Members of both parties on the committee had criticized Zinke for his draft plan, and nearly all coastal governors, Republicans and Democrats alike, oppose it.

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.

Methane Waste Rule Survives GOP Assault

May 2017 - The U.S. Senate failed on Wednesday to repeal a new rule that reduces waste of taxpayer-owned natural gas. The failed repeal of the BLM Methane Waste Prevention Rule marks the first victory over Trump's "anti-environment" agenda, and is a rare win against the American Petroleum Institute on one of its top priorities.

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

Tribes Sign Solar Agreement

January 2018 - The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and Salt River Project officials are scheduled to sign a long-term solar agreement for Kayenta II on Friday in Phoenix that will result in providing additional solar energy for residents of the Navajo Nation.The agreement also lays the foundation for future renewable energy development on the Navajo Nation.The announcement of Kayenta II, which will produce 27.3 megawatts, coincides with an agreement in which the parties commit to working together to pursue the development of additional renewable energy projects on the Navajo Nation, recognizing that the Kayenta Solar Projects are the platforms for such further ventures.The agreement targets the development of at least 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects over the next 5 to 10 years within the Navajo Nation to further support their goal of charting their own energy future.

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

Colstrip Gets $10 Million to Transition Away from Coal

December 2017 - In a major settlement, Washington state's Puget Sound Energy will provide $10 million dollars to Colstrip to help the community transition away from coal energy. Colstrip is home to coal-fired plants that are currently being phased out.

Initiative to Increase Renewable Energy in Montana Approved to Get Signatures

November 2017 - An initiative to increase the the amount of renewable energy utility companies in Montana use has been approved to start getting signatures in order to get on the 2018 ballot. The initiative would require public utility companies to gradually increase their use of renewable energy from the current level of 15 percent to 80 percent by 2050.

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

Governor Brown Signs Bills to Block Offshore Oil Drilling

September 2018 - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation - SB 834 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and AB 1775 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) - to block new federal offshore oil drilling along California's coast, and announced the state's opposition to the federal government's plan to expand oil drilling on public lands in California. SB 834 and AB 1775 block the Trump administration's plan to expand offshore oil drilling by prohibiting new leases for new construction of oil and gas-related infrastructure, such as pipelines, within state waters if the federal government authorizes any new offshore oil leases.

Oil Company Criminally Liable for 2015 Spill Near Santa Barbara

September 2018 - Plains All-American Pipeline was found guilty of several charges in connection with the 2015 rupture of its severely corroded coastal oil pipeline today after a four-month trial. The spill near Refugio State Beach leaked more than 120,000 gallons of oil, killed hundreds of birds and marine mammals and blackened Santa Barbara area beaches for miles. A jury found Houston-based Plains guilty of a felony for failing to properly maintain its pipeline, and several misdemeanors, including failing to timely call emergency response agencies. The spill shuttered seven offshore drilling platforms that were served by the pipeline, Line 901. Plains has applied to build a new pipeline in the same location. ExxonMobil is also seeking permits to transport oil by tanker trucks so it can restart its three offshore platforms.

Governor Signs Bill for 100% Clean Energy Goal

September 2018 - California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100 (SB100) into law, setting the fifth largest economy in the world on a path to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. SB100 builds on California's clean energy leadership by establishing bold new clean energy targets for the state. California is now the largest global economy to commit to 100 percent renewable energy.

Alisa Canyon Blowout Settlement Announced

August 2018 - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer (City Attorney), and the County of Los Angeles (County) announced a $119.5 million settlement with the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) over the unprecedented natural gas leak from a ruptured well at its Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in Porter Ranch, California.

LA Utility Invests $100 Million in Effiency

June 2018 - The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power - the nation's largest municipal utility - voted to invest $100 million over five years to improve energy efficiency in lower-income rental housing, ensuring those who most need electricity bill savings will see some relief. This is the largest single allocation of energy efficiency funding aimed at affordable apartments in California as well as the biggest nationally for one metropolitan region served by a municipal utility. LADWP also allocated $10 million for new shared solar facilities, further ensuring benefits from California's clean energy economy can reach all residents, including renters.

California Moves to Require Solar on Most New Homes

May 2018 - California became the first U.S. state to require solar panels on almost all new homes, sending the clearest signal yet that rooftop power is moving beyond a niche market and becoming the norm. Most new homes built after Jan. 1, 2020, will be required to include solar systems as part of energy-efficiency standards adopted by the California Energy Commission. While that's a boost for the solar industry, critics warned that it will also drive up the cost of buying a house by almost $10,000. Solar shares surged upon the decision, while homebuilders fell.

Conservation Groups Sue Over Oil Rig Planned in National Monument

April 2018 - Los Padres ForestWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity appealed the Trump administration's approval of a new oil well and pipeline in Carrizo Plain National Monument. It is the first well the Interior Department has approved in the monument since it was established in 2001. The appeals, filed with the Interior Board of Land Appeals in Virginia and the Bureau of Land Management's California director, show that the oil well and pipeline would harm threatened and endangered wildlife and mar scenic views. The fossil fuel development would violate several laws, including the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act, as well as the monument's resource-management plan.

Groups Sue to Keep Methane Waste Rule

December 2017 - Two new lawsuits have been filed in federal court to stop the Trump administration from deep-sixing rules meant to reduce pollution, fight climate change and preserve public resources. A dozen conservation groups and the state attorneys general of California and New Mexico have sued to reinstate the methane waste rule, which would force oil and gas companies to install equipment to capture excess methane gas at their wells instead of venting it or burning it off. The BLM suspended the rule until January 2019, arguing that it is too big a burden on industry.

Environmental Groups Settle Lawsuit Over Panoche Valley Solar Project

July 2017 - The Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Panoche Valley Solar LLC have entered into a settlement agreement concerning the size and location of a solar project currently under development in California's Panoche Valley. The agreement will help advance renewable energy in the state, create local jobs, and protect the environment. Once final, the settlement will permanently conserve more than 26,000 acres for wildlife habitat. Initially, 247 MW of solar generation was planned for development in the Panoche Valley, but now approximately 100 MW is instead proposed for development at a site in Imperial County, California.

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

Colorado Rising Submits Enough Signatures for Safer Setbacks Initiative to Qualify for November Ballot

August 2018 - Despite numerous hurdles, signatures have been submitted for 2,500-foot setbacks on fracking operations.

Governor Signs Executive Order on Orphaned Wells

July 2018 - Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order that aims to address safety concerns with more than 260 orphaned wells and 360 orphaned sites in Colorado. The executive order follows a review that the governor ordered in the aftermath of the Firestone house explosion in 2017 that killed Joey Irwin and Mark Martinez and injured Erin Martinez.

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

MA Moves Closer to Harvesting Offshore Wind Power

May 2018 - Vineyard Wind has been selected to construct the project that will generate 800 megawatts of electric power, enough for a half-million homes. The project will help the Commonwealth meet carbon emission reductions mandated by the state's Global Warming Solutions Act. In the last legislative session the State Legislature required the utilities to procure 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind by 2027 so this announcement puts the state halfway toward meeting that goal. The second solicitation for the next 800 megawatts of power is expected to be released by June 2019 but could happen sooner. Vineyard Wind estimates that the project will create about 3,600 local full-time-equivalent jobs and $3.7 billion in energy cost savings. Legislation pending during this legislative session could further expand procurement requirements for offshore wind.

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

CT Takes First Step Toward Offshore Wind

April 2018 - The bids are in on a request for proposals that will bring offshore wind energy to Connecticut. Clean-energy advocates say offshore wind is a critical technology that will mean hundreds of jobs as well as clean, renewable energy to the state. Environmentalists are calling the move an important first step, but note that bidders were only allowed to propose up to 3 percent of the state's total annual electricity usage, or about 250 megawatts of power. So to keep this growing in the future, the Legislature will need to take action to expand that authorization. With these proposals, Connecticut joins Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, which have committed to building thousands of megawatts of offshore wind-generating capacity.

Gov. Malloy Orders a Resource Assessment to be Conducted on the Economic Viability of the Millstone Nuclear Generating Facilities

July 2017 - Governor Dannel Malloy has signed an executive order directing the relevant state agencies to conduct a resource assessment to evaluate the current and projected economic viability for the continued operation of the Millstone nuclear generating facilities. The assessment is to help the state determine a path forward that best benefits the residents of Connecticut. Consumer advocates have been calling for Millstone to disclose its financial need for a state-funded subsidy by requiring the assessment include an examination of audited financial statements and other financial data when making its recommendations to the legislature for action in 2018.

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

Sunshine State Leads the Nation in Growth of Rooftop Solar

October 2017 - A new report from PV Magazine finds Florida now leads the nation in solar growth. The state saw a 110% increase in new residential solar permits over the previous year. Funded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Barancik Foundation, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and now several cities and counties, Florida homeowners and businesses are now able to take advantage of some of the lowest prices for solar in the nation using a grassroots program called Solar United Neighbors of Florida (formerly FL SUN). A state-wide partnership between the latter and the League of Women Voters is being given credit for the growth.

Duke Energy Goes Big on Solar, Drops Nuclear Charge for Customers

September 2017 - Duke Energy will build nine or more solar plants and delete a controversial nuclear charge from customer bills. With 1.8 million customers in 35 counties, Duke is the second-largest in the state; the utility, however, has lagged behind other major utilities in solar energy and had drawn criticism for a pair of nuclear disappointments. The Florida president of Duke Energy, Harry Sideris, said the proposed initiatives worth $6 billion were filed Tuesday morning with the Florida Public Service Commission after months of outreach.

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.

Greater Dakota News Service

Fed. Judge Orders Greater Oversight of DAPL

December 2017 - A judge has ordered greater oversight measures for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision comes in the wake of the Keystone Pipeline spill, which highlighted the risk pipelines pose to local communities.

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

New Legislation Supports Low-Cost, Clean Energy Technology in Pennsylvania

June 2018 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed Senate Bill 234, establishing Pennsylvania's Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, a financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to commercial or industrial properties. With this legislation will save small businesses money on their electricity and water bills, create new, good-paying clean energy jobs, and add new, clean energy sources to the state's energy mix.

Mariner East Pipelines Shut Down, Again

May 2018 - Citing sinkholes, contaminated water wells and alleged poor managerial judgement, an administrative law judge has suspended operations and construction of the Mariner East pipelines. In her ruling, Public Utility Commission Judge Elizabeth Barnes said Sunoco had put profit over best engineering practices. The emergency order suspended the flow of highly volatile liquid ethane through Mariner East 1, and construction on the Mariner East 2 pipelines. Operation and construction of the pipelines has been halted before, but then allowed to resume. Sunoco has said it will ask the Public Utility Commission to overturn Judge Barnes' decision.

Electric-Vehicle Bill a Potential Win for PA

April 2018 - Pennsylvania is lagging behind some other states in creating the infrastructure to support electric vehicles, but a bill making its way through the General Assembly could help. Transportation is one of the main sources of carbon pollution. But without a reliable network of charging stations, consumers are reluctant to switch to clean electric vehicles. House Bill 1446 would establish a statewide goal for transportation electrification. The bill has passed the House Transportation Committee with strong support and is expected to reach the floor of the House for a vote in the coming weeks. The bill also would require the state's electric utilities and electric-vehicle charging service providers to create and implement a plan to meet the electrification goals.

Pennsylvania Revives Solar Initiatives to Boost Clean Energy Jobs

December 2017 - Pennsylvania's Solar Energy Program will make available $30 million in new grant funding to be used by eligible applicants to promote the installation of new solar projects. The funding will also aid in the manufacture or assembly of solar equipment in the commonwealth to further encourage the deployment and creation of solar jobs. Additionally, this month the governor signed legislation which will strengthen Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act by requiring that solar renewable energy credits used to demonstrate compliance with the Act must be generated at solar facilities delivering electricity to the grid in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York Approve Resolution to Permanently Ban Fracking in the Delaware River Basin

September 2017 - The Governors of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, comprising a majority of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), voted in favor of a resolution put forward by the commission to issue draft regulations to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Delaware River Basin. The DRBC vote was three to one with one abstention in passing the resolution for promulgating regulations that would prohibit any water project in the Delaware River Basin proposed for developing oil and gas resources by high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

Judge Orders Halt on All Mariner East 2 Drilling

July 2017 - The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board granted the petition of Clean Air Council, Mountain Watershed Association, Inc., and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network to halt all drilling operations associated with the construction of the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipelines. This ruling comes after last week's filing which disclosed 61 drilling fluid spills and water contamination in multiple Pennsylvania regions.

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

Obama Era SunShot Initiative a Success

September 2017 - The Energy Department's SunShot Initiative, started under President Obama, has reached its goal of reducing the price of utility-scale solar to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour three years ahead of schedule, prompting the Trump administration to set a new goal of 3 cents by 2030.

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

State Commerce Department Rules Against Proposed Pipeline

September 2017 - Minnesota Commerce Department submitted a formal opinion opposing Enbridge's proposed new pipeline across Minnesota. The state told a regulatory committee that it has no need for the project, and that the existing pipe should be shut.

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

Ballot Measure Filed on Renewable Energy

February 2018 - Nevadans for a Clean Energy Future filed paperwork with the Nevada Secretary of State to begin the process of signature gathering for a ballot measure to increase Nevada's use of renewable energy. This measure will require electric suppliers to provide at least 50 percent of their total electricity from renewable sources, like wind, solar, and geothermal by the year 2030. The ballot measure would change the current law, resulting in curbed energy costs, job creation, and a reduction in harmful pollution that threatens Nevada families' clean air and water.

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 Towns Join Push to 100-Percent Renewable Energy

January 2018 - The New Hampshire towns of Cornish and Plainfield will vote on going 100 percent renewable at town meetings coming up in March, and the movement is spreading. With the federal government now promoting fossil fuels, cities and towns in New Hampshire and across the nation are leading the way to boost renewable energy. Last May, Hanover, New Hampshire, became the first municipality in the country to commit by community vote to achieving 100 percent renewable energy. The town is investing $50,000 every year into energy efficiency improvements and is also looking at opportunities for more solar power in the region, potentially in partnership with Dartmouth College. Hanover plans to be fueling its heat and transportation with renewable power by 2050. Nationwide, about 50 municipalities are now committed to 100 percent renewable energy.

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 Invests$15 Million in SUNY Clean Energy Workforce Development & Training Programs

September 2018 - New York State has awarded nearly $6 million to SUNY campuses to train more workers in the clean energy sector. In addition, a request for proposals was made available to all SUNY campuses for grants totaling $9 million to provide apprenticeships, internships, and educational programs and support through industry partnerships across the state. These initiatives are part of Climate Jobs NY, a component of Clean Climate Careers initiative. As part of the $9 million RFP for additional grants, the SUNY university system will explore opportunities for partnerships with state and local agencies, including the Department of Labor, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Empire State Development, and Industrial Development Agencies. These partnerships will aim to meet existing and emerging critical workforce needs of New York's clean energy industry, drive regional economic development, and provide hands-on learning to students.

Assembly Passes Bill to Help Community Solar

July 2018 - New York's State Assembly has voted to restore net metering of community solar power. The bill would put the Public Service Commission's Value of Distributed Energy Resources, or VDER, plan on hold for three years. Net metering and VDER are methods of calculating compensation for smaller energy sources such as solar installations for the power they feed into the electric grid. Environmental advocates say restoring net metering will make solar power accessible to all New Yorkers, including almost half of state residents who rent their homes and can't install solar panels on their property. The PSC says VDER was established to fix a flaw in the net metering system and to support the state's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy. But advocates say, since the plan was rolled out last year, new solar installations have slowed significantly because VDER makes it difficult to calculate a long-term rate of return on the cost.

New Energy Efficiency Goals Draw High Praise

April 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new energy efficiency targets that environmental advocates say will fill in the missing piece in New York state's clean energy plan. The goal is to save energy equivalent to the amount used by 1.8 million homes by 2025. Achieving that goal will be key to meeting the state's climate goal of a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 12 years. To get there the state will be investing more than $36 million to train up-to 19,500 New Yorkers for new energy-efficiency jobs. Reynolds said those would be good-paying jobs for electricians, building retrofitters, energy auditors and more.

NY Takes Step Toward Renewable Energy Future

March 2018 - Called the largest state commitment to renewable energy in U.S. history, New York awarded almost $1.5 billion in contracts for 26 large-scale renewable energy projects across the state. When all are operational, they will generate more than 3.2 million megawatt-hours of clean, renewable energy a year. Governor Andrew Cuomo's office says the projects will power more than 430,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by 1.6 million metric tons. The total output will be more than twice the power the state set out to buy when it began the process.

NYS Wind Master Plan Draws Praise

January 2018 - New York state has released the first-in-the-nation Offshore Wind Master Plan. The plan starts the process of procuring at least 800 megawatts of offshore wind power over the next two years. The goal is to increase that to 2.4 gigawatts by 2030. With only one, small wind farm currently operating off Block Island, the U.S. is far behind some other nations in developing offshore wind. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) estimates that in 10 years, offshore wind will be a $6 billion industry, employing 5,000 people.

Governor Calls for Halt to Investments in Fossil Fuels

December 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for a plan to divest the New York State Common Retirement Fund from significant fossil fuel investments, and move to support the clean tech economy while assessing financial risks and protecting the Fund. The Common Fund is third largest in the nation, and manages over $200 Billion in retirement assets for more than one million New Yorkers.

Weatherization Measures Help Families Save an Average 20 Percent on Utility Bills

October 2017 - NYS has committed $59 million in funding through the Weatherization Assistance Program to help cut utility costs for approximately 9,200 income-eligible families and seniors across the state. Funds will be released to a statewide network of non-profit organizations to conduct energy-efficiency work including, but not limited to air sealing, insulation, upgrading heating systems, and diagnostic testing to identify hazards such as carbon monoxide and mold. Weatherization can save an average of 20 percent on utility bills. The Weatherization Assistance Program has invested more than $738 million since 2011 to make 118,600 homes safer, more resilient, and more affordable.

NY Green Bank to Raise at Least $1 Billion to Accelerate Clean Energy Solutions and Combat Climate Change

October 2017 - The NY Green Bank is seeking to raise at least an additional $1 billion in private sector funds to expand financing availability for clean energy projects. These additional funds to be raised from third-party investors will enable NY Green Bank to deliver greater environmental and cost benefits to New Yorkers and broaden the scope of investable projects beyond the boundaries of New York State.

DEC Denies Permits for CPV Power Plant Pipeline

August 2017 - The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation denied key permits Millennium Pipeline Co. is seeking for its planned 7.8-mile pipeline that would supply natural gas to the $900 million power plant being built in Wawayanda. In a decision filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DEC Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel Thomas Berkman wrote that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's environmental review of the $57.3 million project was "inadequate and deficient."

Upping the Ante for Reducing Greenhouse Gases

August 2017 - The nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is proposing lowering the cap on power plant emissions even further. Since it was created in 2005, the multi-state carbon cap-and-trade agreement, known as RGGI, has helped cut emissions from affected power plants in New York in half, and reduced coal-fired power generation statewide by 90-percent. Now RGGI wants to lower the cap an additional 30-percent by 2030. Over the next 13 years, the new cap reduction should bring total carbon emissions in the region down to 65 percent of 2009 levels.

850 Solar Projects Added in NY

August 2017 - 850 solar projects have been installed or are in development in communities across New York State through the second round of locally-organized "Solarize" campaigns. Launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo in December 2014, New York's Solarize program is an important component in supporting the State's Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of the electricity in New York to come from renewable sources by 2030.

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

Bill Signed Into Law That Boosts Solar

July 2017 - Governor Roy Cooper signed HB 589 into law, putting new regulations in motion aimed at reaching a statewide solar target of 6,800 megawatts by 2020 - more than double what it has now.

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

Solar Power Catching On in Idaho

January 2018 - A program called "Solarize the Valley" helped more than 100 Idaho families with the low-cost installation of solar rooftop panels. The number of solar customers has doubled in the last year, as more families look to alternative energy to power their homes.

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

A Step Forward for Solar in Ohio

February 2018 - The Ohio Power Siting Board approved the two largest solar arrays in the state. Hardin Solar Center in Hardin County would be 150 megawatts, and Hillcrest Solar Farm in Brown County would be 125 megawatts. The current largest project of 28.7 megawatts is in Bowling Green. The projects are happening now because of increased demand for buyers of renewable electricity and a drop in costs for the equipment.

A Boost for Ohio Weatherization Programs

September 2017 - Programs that help keep Ohioans warm and save energy costs are getting a boost. While federal rules allow up to 25 percent of Home Energy Assistance Program dollars be allocated to weatherization, Ohio only has been spending 15 percent. But lawmakers recently approved a legislative requirement in the biennium state budget that will now allow 20 percent to be spent. The increase will mean about seven million additional dollars annually for the Home Weatherization Program, which translates to about 700 more homes weatherized each year.

AEP to Refund Millions for Ohio Electric Customers

June 2017 - AEP Ohio will refund 84 million dollars to its electric customers to settle a lawsuit over rates. The company will provide credits on June bills that will average 60 dollars for households. The rate changes agreed to upon in the lawsuit are expected to save customers on average four dollars and twenty cents a month.

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

Ore. Supreme Court Declines Review of Portland Oil Terminal Ban

July 2018 - The Oregon Supreme Court declined to review Portland's City Council decision from 2016 to prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure such as oil and gas terminals within the city. Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Audubon Society of Portland, the Center for Sustainable Economy, and Columbia Riverkeeper intervened in the case and welcomed the news that Portland?s fossil fuel policy can move forward.

NW Utility Has No New Plans for Natural Gas Plants

May 2018 - PacifiCorp, a Portland, Oregon-based utility serving six Western states, said it has no plans to build new natural gas plants in the coming decades. Instead, the company is embarking on a wind binge, with plans to install enough turbines to power 400,000 homes by 2020.

Governor Brown Signs Executive Order on Electrifying Transportation in Oregon

November 2017 - Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order to help the state reach the goal of registering more than 50,000 electric vehicles. The order also helps the state reach its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

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.

Prairie News Service

Fed. Judge Orders Greater Oversight of DAPL

December 2017 - A judge has ordered greater oversight measures for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision comes in the wake of the Keystone Pipeline spill, which highlighted the risk pipelines pose to local communities.

Tennessee News Service

TVA Looks to Expand Solar

January 2018 - TVA is looking to construct a solar facility in the coverage area of Limestone, Alabama for completion in 2018. IIt hasn't been approved yet, but represents good movement in the utilities' participation in solar and clean energy.

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 Cities to Switch to Renewable Energy

November 2017 - As the Trump administration continues to roll back Obama-era policies designed to slow climate change, a new report from the Sierra Club shows how 50 cities across the U.S., including three in Utah, are taking steps to remove fossil fuels from their energy portfolios. Moab, Park City and Salt Lake City all have made official commitments to begin a glide path away from fossil fuels.

Proposed Settlement Provides Path for Sustainable Rooftop Solar

September 2017 - State and local government entities, Rocky Mountain Power, solar industry participants, and non-governmental interest groups have proposed a settlement of net metering and distributed generation matters. The agreement was filed with the Utah Public Service Commission

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

Council Advises Gov Inslee to Reject Vancouver Oil Terminal

December 2017 - The Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council voted to reject a large oil terminal in Vancouver. The terminal would have moved 360,000 barrels of oil from North Dakota and Montana to West Coast refineries and eventually overseas. Governor Jay Inslee has two months to decide whether to follow the council's recommendation.

Washington Dept. of Ecology Denies Largest Proposed Coal Terminal in Country Key Permit

October 2017 - A proposed coal terminal for Longview that would have shipped up to 44 million tons annually to Asian markets appears to have been given a final setback, when the Washington Department of Ecology denied the Millennium Bulk Terminal a key water-quality permit.

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

Energy-Efficiency Program Likely to Survive Regulatory Challenge

December 2017 - An energy efficiency program run by American Electric Power looks likely to continue in spite of challenges. The power company had been reluctant to back energy efficiency, but has changed its position, largely credited to the public making their support known.

WV Solar Ag CO-OP Helps Farmers Cut Their Power Bills

July 2017 - A non-profit is helping state farmers cut costs and supply a great deal of their own renewable energy in the process. Between the falling price of solar panels and good deals the non-profit can get, farmers and ranchers are seeing green from going green.

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

Funding to Fight Wildfires Gets Overhaul in 2018 Budget

April 2018 - Starting in 2020, funding for wildfires will be stabilized without further eroding the U.S. Forest Service and other agency budgets. More than $20 billion will be set aside over 10 years to allow the Forest Service and other federal agencies to end a practice of raiding non-fire-related accounts to pay for wildfire costs, which approached $3 billion last year alone.

More GOP Lawmakers Bucking Party Line on Climate Change

August 2017 - The House Climate Solutions Caucus, which is a bipartisan panel, has more than tripled in size since January, driven in part by Trump's decision in June to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.

EPA Reverses Decision to Delay Smog Rule After Lawsuits

August 2017 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reversed a decision to delay an Obama-era rule requiring states to curb smog-causing emissions, one day after 15 states sued the agency over the move. The EPA announced the decision to go ahead with the so-called "2015 Ozone Designations" late on Wednesday, August 2 saying it showed the agency's commitment to working with states.

Conservation Groups Glad Methane-Waste Rule is Safe, for Now

May 2017 - Three Republicans siding with Democrats in the U.S. Senate narrowly halted a bid to overturn the Bureau of Land Management's natural-gas waste rule.

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

US to Place 20-Year Ban on Mining Near Yellowstone National Park

September 2017 - The U.S. government plans to speed up the approval of a 20-year ban on gold mining claims on forested public lands in Montana, near Yellowstone National Park. The prohibition could even extend to other metals and minerals.

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

Judge Orders CA Ag Officials to Stop Using Pesticides

February 2018 - A judge has ordered California agricultural officials to stop spraying pesticides on public and private property to control insects that threaten the state's $45-billion agriculture industry. Farmers and other property owners will still be able to use chemical insecticides, and the state can continue to use non-chemical means of pest control. But it will have to suspend spraying pesticides on vegetation in parks, school properties and even homeowners' backyards. The challenge remains for the state Department of Food and Agriculture to control dozens of crop-damaging pests such as the Asian citrus psyllid, which carries bacteria that have decimated the citrus industry in Brazil and Florida.

Governor Signs Bill to Plug Old Oil Wells

October 2017 - Governor Brown has just signed a bill to monitor and cap California's old, abandoned and leaking oil wells. Senate Bill 44, the Coastal Oil Well Clean Up and Remediation Act, will require the California State Lands Commission to monitor and plug old "orphaned" oil wells in California waters when the original oil company that operated the well no longer exists and cannot be held responsible. It also directs up to $2 million dollars annually, derived from state mineral leases, to a fund set aside for the remediation of improperly abandoned legacy wells. With this fund, the Commission will begin to identify leaking, abandoned wells and prioritize capping the highest risk wells first.

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

Bay State Joins Suit to End Clean Water Rule Delay

February 2018 - Massachusetts and nine other states have joined environmental groups in a lawsuit to end delays in implementing the Clean Water Rule. The 2015 rule clarified which small streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has finalized an action to delay implementing the rule for two years while the agency moves to repeal or replace it. Critics of the rule say it only applies to "navigable waters," those large enough for boat traffic. But supporters of the rule say the water quality standards of the Clean Water Act cannot be met without reducing the pollution in some of the earlier headwater streams and these wetlands.

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

Lawsuit Seeks to End Delay in Clean Water Rule

February 2018 - Connecticut and nine other states have joined environmental groups in a lawsuit to end delays in implementing the Clean Water Rule. The 2015 rule clarified which small streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit came a week after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt finalized an action to delay implementing the rule for two years while the agency moves to repeal or replace it. Critics of the rule say it only applies to "navigable waters," those large enough for boat traffic. But defenders of the rule say the issue was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court 20 years ago.

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

Lake Michigan Shoreline Belongs to All Hoosiers

February 2018 - The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that Lake Michigan's shoreline is open to all, and adjacent property owners cannot exercise exclusive control of the beach between their homes and the water.

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

DEP to Reduce Power-Plant Water Pollution

January 2018 - The Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to a settlement to reduce toxic water pollution from 10 coal-fired power plants. In settling a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, the DEP has agreed to a schedule to update and draft new water permits for the plants, that have been operating with expired permits. Discharges from those power plants include pollutants like arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury that end up in rivers and streams. Federal law requires power plants to renew their permits every five 1-2 years. Under the settlement, the DEP plans to have permits for all 10 power plants finalized by March of next year.

DEP Suspends Mariner East 2 Pipeline Permit

January 2018 - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has suspended the Mariner East 2 pipeline permit, saying Sunoco needs to correct what the agency termed "egregious and willful violations," including unauthorized drilling and failure to notify the agency of discharges and spills. Environmental groups are calling on the state to cancel construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. A spokesperson for Sunoco said the company is committed to protecting the environment and is confident it will be authorized to resume work on the pipeline soon.

Permit for Coal Destructive Coal Mining Rejected

August 2017 - The Environmental Hearing Board has rejected a revised permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection in 2015 that would have allowed underground, longwall coal mining under a stream flowing into Ryseron Station State Park. The Board agreed with community groups that the state's Clean Streams Law and the state Constitution do not allow eh DEP to permit mining that is predicted to damage a stream so severely that the only way to repair the damage would be to construct a new stream in its place.

PA Landowners Gain Protections from Pipeline Spills

August 2017 - State officials approved a settlement that environmental groups reached with Sunoco and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection giving some Pennsylvania landowners now have stronger protections against spills and water contamination associated with construction of the Mariner East II pipeline. To date, pipeline construction has resulted in 90 spills of drilling fluid since April, and drilling operations have resulted in damage to water supplies in at least five locations. The Clean Air Council and other environmental groups are continuing to appeal permits issued for the pipeline by the Department of Environmental Protection.

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

Maine Awarded Nearly 2 Million for Environmental Clean-Up

June 2017 - The EPA awarded Maine $1.795 million in Brownfields Planning, Site Assessment and Clean-up Grants for FY2017. DEP Commissioner Paul Mercer said, "I am pleased the development of abandoned and unsafe property across the state puts these sites back on the property tax rolls with the use of brownfields funds."

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

Maryland and 8 Other States Working to Cut Carbon Emissions

September 2017 - Maryland and eight other states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are pledging to cut emissions from power plants by at least 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. That's slightly higher than the current agreement to reduce emissions by 2.5 percent annually.

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 Government Takes Steps to Go Green

December 2017 - Gov. Mark Dayton set goals of 30 percent less gasoline and diesel, 15 percent less water, and a 75 percent rate of recycling and composting. He ordered state agencies to plan to reach those goals in the next 15 years.

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

Application for Transmission Lines Denied

February 2018 - The application to construct Northern Pass, a major electric transmission line project, has been rejected. New Hampshire's seven-member Site Evaluation Committee voted unanimously to deny the application. The committee said the project developers had not shown that the proposed line wouldn't unduly interfere with the orderly development of the region - one of four standards any project must meet to win approval. According to Jack Savage, vice president for communication and outreach at the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, approval on other criteria was unlikely as well. A spokesperson for Northern Pass said the evaluation process did not comply with New Hampshire law, and did not reflect the evidence. Once the SEC issues its written decision, Northern Pass will have 30 days to ask the committee for a rehearing.

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

New Mexico Monuments Avoid Size Reduction by U.S. Interior

December 2017 - After a controversial review of federal lands, two targeted monuments in New Mexico: Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks were spared from downsizing by the U.S. Interior Department. The department has nonetheless recommended altering management plans of the monuments to protect grazing rights and the ability to combat drug traffickers.

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

NY Initiates Action Plans to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms

June 2018 - The State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health have released 12 action plans to address the causes of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in priority waterbodies across upstate New York. The action plans outline specific projects and programs to be implemented at priority lakes and also identify actions that can be taken at waterbodies statewide to reduce the threat of HABs. The plans are part of a $65 million, four-point initiative to aggressively combat HABs and protect drinking water quality and the upstate economy.

Cuomo Introduces Program Bill Banning Single-Use Plastic Bags in New York State

April 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced a program bill that would ban all single-use, plastic carryout bags at any point of sale in New York State. This action follows the release of the New York State Plastic Bags Task Force report in January, which outlined the environmental impact of plastic bags, single-use bag reduction measures, and proposed actions that the state could take to reduce pollution and protect New York's natural resources, including a ban on single-use plastic bags.

States, Conservation Groups Sue to Implement Clean Water Rule

February 2018 - New York and nine other states have joined with environmental groups in a lawsuit to end delays in implementing the Clean Water Rule. The 2015 rule clarified which small streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. The suit comes a week after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt finalized an action to delay implementing the rule for two years while the agency moves to repeal or replace it. Critics of the rule say it only applies to "navigable waters," those large enough for boat traffic. But supporters of the rule say the water quality standards of the Clean Water Act without reducing the pollution winding up in the actual navigable waterways. And the only way to do that is to reduce the amount that is winding up in some of these earlier headwater streams and these wetlands.

EPA Delays Decision on Hudson PCBs Cleanup

January 2018 - The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed a decision on whether General Electric has properly completed its cleanup of the Hudson River. The EPA sent a letter to GE saying the agency needs more time to complete its review. GE had asked the EPA for a "certificate of completion" a year ago, after finishing the removal of millions of cubic yards of sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which have been shown to cause cancer. The EPA has said the data shows no more dredging is needed. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say more dredging is needed.

New York Threatens Suit Over Hudson River Cleanup

December 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if they accept the Upper Hudson River dredging of polychlorinated biphenyls as complete. Under this plan, Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will sue the federal government to ensure the dredging is completed once and for all. New York is also prepared to withdraw from the 2002 Record of Decision which guided the cleanup and removal of millions of tons of PCB-contaminated sediment from the Upper Hudson River. The EPA's decision is expected to be announced later this month, and indications are they will deem the cleanup complete.

Wetland Restoration Project on the Upper Niagara River Completed

September 2017 - The completion of a $4.3 million wetland restoration project on Strawberry Island, located in the upper Niagara River near Buffalo, will rejuvenate the island's fish and wildlife preserve. The project focused on supporting the ecological restoration of the Niagara River to increase the sustainability of the environment, while promoting the region's growing tourism industry in Western New York. Marking the final phase of a $13 million regional environmental improvement initiative, the completed project supplements the state's investment in the Buffalo Billion II initiative.

NY, PA and DE Governors Approve Resolution to Permanently Ban Fracking in Delaware River Basin

September 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with the Governors of Delaware and Pennsylvania, comprising a majority of the Delaware River Basin Commission, voted in favor of a resolution put forward by the commission to issue draft regulations to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the Delaware River Basin. The DRBC vote was three to one with one abstention in passing the resolution for promulgating regulations that would prohibit any water project in the Delaware River Basin proposed for developing oil and gas resources by high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

NY Launches Methane Reduction Plan

May 2017 - Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the Methane Reduction Plan, 25 actions the state will take to reduce methane emissions from landfill, oil and gas infrastructure and agriculture. The plan will be implemented by the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Agriculture and Markets, Public Service, and the Energy Research and Development Authority, in conjunction with the Soil and Water Conservation Committee. The implementation of these actions is part of New York State's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, from 1990 levels.

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

NC Registers Opposition to Offshore Drilling

August 2017 - Governor Cooper and the Department of Environmental Quality submitted formal comments August 17th to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to convey North Carolina's opposition to oil and gas leasing for offshore drilling on North Carolina's coast.

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

Despite Trump's Pullout from Paris Agreement, Portland Asserts Commitment to Fighting Climate Change

December 2017 - Portland mayor Ted Wheeler signed a charter alongside 50 other cities committing to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. Earlier this year, President Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement, joining only two other countries in the world to reject the deal - Nicaragua and Syria.

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.

Prairie News Service

North Dakota Signs Agreement with 2 states, Canadian Province on Carbon Capture, Storage

December 2017 - North Dakota is collaborating with Montana, Wyoming and the province of Saskatchewan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The four will share knowledge, policy and regulatory expertise in carbon dioxide capture, transportation, storage and applications such as enhanced oil recovery.

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

Seattle Bans Plastic Straws

July 2018 - A ban on single-use plastic straws went into effect in Seattle on July 1st. The straws have been targeted because they're too small for recycling machines and usually end up in the ocean.

Gov. Jay Inslee Rejects Largest Oil Terminal Proposal in North America

February 2018 - Gov. Jay Inslee has delivered the final blow in the long battle over a proposed oil terminal in Vancouver. The governor agreed with the recommendation of the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), which voted unanimously at the end of last year to reject the project. If built, it would have been the largest oil-by-rail terminal on the continent. In his rejection letter, the governor said there were "potentially catastrophic risks to the public" in the event of an earthquake, and concerns about possible oil spills in the Columbia River. He also noted the risk of a potential fire or explosion at the facility.

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

Outdoor Recreation in WV: 90,000 Jobs, $9 Billion Economic Activity

August 2017 - A report from the outdoor recreation industry has found that WV's recreation economy is huge and growing. When the state is suffering from job loses in other sectors, recreation and tourism offers real improvement.

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

Wisconsin SUPCO Says No To Frac Sand Mine

June 2017 - The Wisconsin Supreme Court, on a 4-3 decision, has upheld a lower court's decision against allowing another frac sand mine to begin operations in Trempealeau County. WNC/PNS has run a number of stories exposing the environmental dangers of frac sand mining.

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

Governor Signs Bill to Help Disadvantaged Communities Access Funds For Clean Energy

September 2018 - California Gov. Jerry Brown signed first-of-its-kind legislation designed to level the playing field for disadvantaged communities seeking funding for climate change and clean energy projects funded either by California Climate Investments or other sources. Signed along with a group of other climate bills during the Global Climate Action Summit, SB 1072 was authored by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and cosponsored by The Greenlining Institute and the Trust for Public Land.

Bill to Help Disadvantaged Communities Go Green Passes State Assembly

August 2018 - By a bipartisan 48-9 vote, on 8/29/2018 the California Assembly passed legislation designed to level the playing field for disadvantaged communities seeking funding for climate change and clean energy projects funded either by cap-and-trade dollars or other sources. SB 1072 previously passed the Senate in slightly different form and faced no organized opposition. The measure helps develop technical assistance guidelines covering areas like greenhouse gas quantification and grant-writing. It also provides further assistance by establishing regional climate cooperatives -- local hubs staffed by local experts that will answer questions, convene stakeholders, foster partnerships and help to develop project ideas. Taken together, these programs will provide a crucial boost to rural towns, high-poverty areas and other communities for whom the grant process may be daunting. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

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.

New York News Connection

$1 Million Awarded for Jobs Training in Environmental Justice Communities

November 2017 - Green Jobs for Youth grants have been awarded to 10 organizations across the state to serve communities that face environmental justice and unemployment challenges. The funded training programs include entrepreneurship in urban agriculture, skills needed in green infrastructure, and solar installation trainings. The grants were administered by DEC with funds from New York's Environmental Protection Fund, which in 2017, includes a record $8 million for environmental justice programs and projects. The Department of Environmental Conservation also has released a request for applications for $1 million in new grant funding to support an initiative to promote environmental education through the development of Urban Environmental Education Centers.

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.

Keystone State News Connection

House Passes "Grandfamilies" Legislation, Senate Urged to Vote

April 2018 - The House has passed a package of legislative proposals pertaining to grandparents raising grandchildren, including House bills 2133 and 1539, and House Resolution 390. It's estimated that 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania with that number increasing due to the devastating opioid crisis across the commonwealth. HB2133 establishes a Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program within the Department of Human Services as a resource for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren but who are not involved with the formal child welfare system. The program creates an informational resource for grandparents using a website and a toll-free hotline to provide information on support and services available to them. HB 1539 provides a way for grandparents to obtain temporary guardianship while protecting both the parental rights of parents, including those suffering from opioid addiction, and the needs of the child to be with loving family members, rather than be placed in foster care or other arrangements. House Resolution 390 directs the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to study grandfamilies in Pennsylvania, with a focus on how the opioid crisis is impacting this growing trend.

Michigan News Connection

Lawmakers Work to Address "False Paternity"

June 2017 - Some Michigan lawmakers are working to develop a legislative package of bills to change kinks in the justice system that can result in the injustice of false paternity. Experts say false establishment of paternity not only destroys families and finances, it can also lead to incorrect medical advice for children.

New York News Connection

Regulations Adopted to Implement Paid Family Leave Program

July 2017 - New York State has adopted regulations implementing its landmark Paid Family Leave program. The regulations outline the responsibilities of employers and insurance carriers in implementing the most comprehensive paid family leave program in the nation. Starting January 1, 2018, Paid Family Leave will provide employees with wage replacement and job protection to help them bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is deployed abroad on active military service. Employees are also entitled to be reinstated to their job when their leave ends and to the continuation of their health insurance during their 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

U.S. Top Court Rejects Challenge to California Gun Waiting Period

February 2018 - In a blow to gun rights activists, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away a challenge to California's 10-day waiting period for firearms purchases that is intended to guard against impulsive violence and suicides. The court's action underscored its continued reluctance to step into the national debate over gun control roiled by a series of mass shootings including the most recent at a Florida school. One of the court's most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, dissented from the decision to reject the case and accused his colleagues of showing contempt toward constitutional protections for gun rights.

S.F. Sues Feds Over Faulty Gun Checks

December 2017 - The City of San Francisco has joined New York City and Philadelphia in a lawsuit to force the Defense Department to improve its system for reporting military service members with disqualifying convictions or dishonorable discharges to the FBI's firearms background-check system. The move comes after the revelation that the man who killed 26 people in a Texas church last month had been convicted of domestic violence while in the Air Force but since the DOD hadn't put that into the database, he was allowed to buy weapons.

CA Assembly Passes Bill Supporting Gun Violence Research

September 2017 - California State Assembly passed SB 536, a firearm violence research bill that will make information related to Gun Violence Restraining Orders available to researchers affiliated with the newly established University of California Firearm Violence Research Center or other nonprofit educational institutions or public agencies focused on the study and prevention of violence.

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

CT Senators Introduce Gun Legislation

July 2018 - U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act, legislation led by U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) that would strengthen accountability measures for gun dealers to ensure they are not engaging in illegal gun sales and to provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with clear enforcement mechanisms. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, just five percent of gun dealers supply 90 percent of crime guns used in the United States. While the majority of gun dealers follow the law, a small number of delinquent gun dealers are recklessly perpetuating the epidemic of gun violence in this country. This legislation would ensure that guns do not end up in the wrong hands by authorizing increased inspections of gun dealers to ensure compliance standards are met, increasing penalties for serious offenses, and strengthening the Department of Justice's authority and discretion in enforcing gun laws.

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.

Florida News Connection

Florida Legislature Passes Sweeping Gun Bill, Sends to Governor

March 2018 - The Florida Legislature passed its first gun restrictions in three decades. Senate Bill 7026 raises the legal age for buying rifles and imposes a three-day waiting period on all firearms sales, however a controversial provision also allows the arming of some public school personnel.

Keystone State News Connection

Governor Wolf Announces $5 Million in Safe Schools Grants

November 2017 - The state has awarded $5 million in Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grants to nearly 140 schools, police departments, and municipalities to support safer schools. The program will provide $1.4 million to 79 public school entities for programs that prevent and reduce violent incidents and to procure security/safety-related equipment. The safety equipment includes student, staff and visitor identification systems; metal detectors; protective lighting; surveillance equipment; special emergency communications equipment; electronic locksets; deadbolts and theft control devices; and training in the use of the security-related technology.

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.

Nevada News Service

Nevada Senator Introduces New Background Check Bill

October 2017 - Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has introduced the Background Check Expansion Act, which will expand the federal background check requirement to include the sale or transfer of all firearms by private sellers, with certain reasonable exceptions. Under current law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm.

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.

New York News Connection

NYS Passes Legislation to Remove Guns from Domestic Abusers

March 2018 - The legislation closes a loophole in state law in order to ensure domestic abusers are required to surrender all firearms, not just handguns. The policy is part of the Governor's 2018 Women's Agenda. Previously, New York law prohibited the possession of firearms for individuals convicted of a felony or for a limited number of misdemeanor "serious" offenses. However, this excluded many misdemeanor offenses which nobody could deny are in fact serious. To ensure no domestic abuser retains the ability to possess a firearm despite being convicted of a disturbing crime, the legislation rightly bolsters the list of "serious" crimes, which, upon conviction, require the loss of a gun license and the surrender of all firearms. The legislation will also ensure individuals wanted for a felony or other serious offense are not able to obtain or renew a firearm license. Previously, despite being subject to an arrest warrant, an individual could still legally obtain a firearm license, all while being sought by the police.

Ohio News Connection

Governor Aims to Strengthen Gun Background Checks

August 2018 - Governor John Kasich signed an executive order he said will help close gaps in gun purchase background checks. The executive order calls for a review of whether local officials are properly reporting names of individuals who should be barred from buying guns. The order doesn't punish offices that fail to meet the reporting requirement, but those offices and their reporting history will be listed on the Department of Public Safety website.

Governor Signs Executive Order on Gun Background Checks

April 2018 - Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order he said will help close gaps in gun purchase background checks. The executive order calls for a review of whether local officials are properly reporting names of individuals who should be barred from buying guns.

Oregon News Service

Oregon First State to Pass Gun Control legislation Since Parkland Shooting

February 2018 - Oregon lawmakers passed legislation banning people convicted of domestic violence against partners they're not married to from owning a gun. The measure closes the so-called "boyfriend loophole" in federal law and addresses domestic violence as a significant corollary in gun violence.

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

Senator Cosponsors Bipartisan Alzheimer's Bill

November 2017 - Bipartisan legislation to create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer's disease and preserve brain health was introduced by U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) Called the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act (S. 2076/H.R. 4256), it would create centers of excellence, and assist state and local governments in their efforts to promote awareness through education and dissemination of best practices. A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

House Votes for 2-Year Extension of Funds for CHIP, Community Health Centers

November 2017 - Today House lawmakers voted for legislation that extends funding to Community Health Centers and the Children's Health Insurance program (CHIP). The bill, which passed by a vote of 242-174, extends funding to health centers for two years, marking an important step forward toward resolution of the crisis facing millions of vulnerable patients due to the expiration of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) nearly a month ago.

Senator Cortez Masto Co-sponsors Medicaid For All Bill

October 2017 - U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) cosponsored a bicameral legislation led by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) to create a Medicaid-based public health care option on the insurance marketplace, which will provide Americans with a new high-quality, low-cost choice when purchasing health insurance.The State Public Option Act will allow states to create a Medicaid buy-in program for all their residents regardless of income, giving everyone the option to buy into a state-driven Medicaid health insurance plan.

Latest Obamacare Repeal and Replace Effort Stalls

September 2017 - U.S. Senate Republican leadership decided not to vote on the Graham-Cassidy replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ending the bill's chances of becoming law.

Anti-Food Labeling Efforts Defeated

August 2017 - The Federal Drug and Food Administration will not be changing the May 2018 deadline for supermarkets, convenience stores, pizza chains, and other retailers that sell restaurant-type foods to display calorie information on their menus. Due to industry pressure, the deadline had been pushed back several times. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also additional, practical guidance on the menu-labeling requirements would be available by the end of the year.

Help for Vets in Granite State, Elsewhere, Proposed

August 2017 - New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster authored a bill in the U.S. House to address a medical staff shortage for veterans. The bill would establish a pilot program that awards educational assistance to veterans with medical military training who will be placed as physician assistants in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Trumpcare Dies In The Senate

July 2017 - Despite the best efforts of Republican leadership, the push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has failed to get enough votes to move forward in the U.S. Senate. The last version of the legislation to be considered would have cost about 21 million Americans their health insurance coverage over ten years.

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

Court Awards Planned Parenthood Legal Fees From the State

August 2017 - Planned Parenthood Arizona (PPAZ) and other providers were awarded nearly $613,000 for legal fees and costs from a case stemming from Arizona's 2015 "abortion reversal" law. Before the law was repealed last legislative session to avoid a continuing court battle, state law forced doctors to tell patients they could reverse their abortion. Planned Parenthood Arizona and the ACLU sued the state of Arizona to protect doctors from being forced to commit malpractice.

McCain Votes "No" on Healthcare Repeal; Measure Dies

July 2017 - The Senate rejected legislation to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, with Arizona Senator John McCain casting a decisive "no." Senate Republicans had unveiled a "skinny repeal," a narrow measure to roll back parts of the Affordable Care Act. It would leave 15 million more Americans without insurance next year, the Congressional Budget Office said.

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

Report Shows Medicaid Expansion Helping Montana's Economy

May 2018 - The report finds that Medicaid expansion brings in a lot of money from outside the state and stimulates economic activity the tune of roughly 5,000 jobs and $270 million of personal income. It also finds Medicaid expansion saves the state money in a variety of ways.

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 Kills Lawsuit Against CA Drug Price Transparency Law

September 2018 - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block a California law requiring pharmaceutical companies to give advance notice before big price increases. U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr., ruled 9/6/2018y in Sacramento that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America failed to show that the court has jurisdiction to hear the case. He gave PhRMA 30 days to refile. The law requires 60 days' notice to raise national wholesale prices above a certain threshold. PhRMA says California's law illegally tries to dictate national health policy. The group also says the bill is unconstitutionally vague and violates the First Amendment by forcing drug companies to justify price increases.

Court Reinstates CA Aid-In-Dying Act, For Now

June 2018 - A California appeals court granted emergency motions by the two terminally ill adults and a physician for an "automatic stay" to immediately suspend a lower court's judgment invalidating the End of Life Option Act. The appeals court also granted a motion by Attorney General Xavier Becerra for a "discretionary stay" of the lower court ruling. The rulings reinstate the law, effective immediately. Similar to laws in Washington, D.C. and six states, the California law gives mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to request prescription medication they can decide to take to end unbearable suffering and die peacefully in their sleep.

Governor Vetoes 5G Cell Tower Expansion

October 2017 - Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB 649, a measure that would have gutted local control and put the interests of the wireless industry over those of California residents. A broad coalition of cities, counties, environmental, labor and consumer advocates opposed SB 649 by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego). The bill would have given wireless providers unfettered ability to install bulky cellular equipment on any street light or traffic signal as well as public libraries and other public buildings without permission from local governments, input from the public or fair compensation for city and county residents.

Governor Brown Signs Health Bills

October 2017 - Governor Jerry Brown has signed two important health consumer protection bills, AB 156 and SB 133, aimed at protecting California consumers from the Trump Administration's attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act, inject uncertainty into the individual market, disrupt people's health care and make it more difficult for people to sign up for coverage. The bills signed into law ensure patients don't have to disrupt their care, even when forced to switch plans, and that California consumers have a full 12 week open enrollment period to sign up for coverage.

Single Payer Passes State Senate

June 2017 - The California Senate passed the single-payer bill June 1 by a vote of 23-14 with three members not present. The bill now heads to the state assembly. If it passes there, it will move to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. However, several hurdles remain. It is not clear if Brown supports the effort, and the governor has questioned how the state would pay for it. A recent legislative analysis found the bill would cost the state $400 billion per year, more than double the current state budget of $125 billion. Lawmakers want to add a 15 percent payroll tax to pay for it and hope to get about $200 billion from existing federal, state and local funding, according to the legislative analysis.

State Senate Passes Bill to Ban Drug Company Gifts to Doctors

May 2017 - The California Senate passed a bill Thursday that would ban drug companies from giving gifts to doctors. Sen. Mike McGuire said his bill prohibiting perks such as airline tickets and lavish meals would lower drug costs in part because doctors who receive such gifts are more likely to prescribe expensive drugs. The Senate voted 23-13 to send the bill to the Assembly. Drug companies spend more than $1.4 billion a year on gifts to California doctors, said McGuire, a Democrat who represents a district west of Sacramento.

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

Joint Budget Committee approves Gov. Hickenlooper's request for Emergency CHP+ funding

December 2017 - The Joint Budget Committee approved Gov. John Hickenlooper's request for emergency funding to continue Colorado's Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program through Feb. 28, 2018. This supplemental funding provides additional time for Congress to authorize federal funding and prevents cancellation notices from being sent to Colorado CHP+ members.

Despite Uncertainties, Colorado Holding its Own on Health Coverage

October 2017 - In 2011, 16 percent of Colorado residents did not have health insurance, but by 2015 - after the rollout of the Affordable Care Act - that rate had dropped to just over 6 percent and is holding steady. That's according to the 2017 Colorado Health Access Survey.

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

Mass Medical Society Ends Opposition to Physician-Assisted Suicide

December 2017 - The Massachusetts Medical Society has voted to end its longstanding opposition to physician-assisted suicide and adopted a neutral stance on what it now calls "medical aid-in-dying." The society's governing body approved the changes in separate votes. Delegates voted 151 to 62 to retract the policy opposing physician-assisted suicide. The provision establishing a neutral position on medical aid-in-dying passed by a margin of 152 to 56 votes. In a separate vote, the society agreed on a definition for medical aid-in-dying that encompasses the possibility that Massachusetts physicians could one day be authorized to write prescriptions for lethal doses of medication to help the terminally ill die when they see fit.

Baker Signs Recreational Marijuana Law

July 2017 - Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law regulating recreational marijuana. Lawmakers amended the ballot measure passed by Bay State voter increasing the taxation of recreational marijuana 17 to 20 percent. The first Marijuana shops are expected open by July 2018.

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

New Haven Filling Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers, Distributors

November 2017 - The city of New Haven is filing a lawsuit against the nation's leading manufacturers and distributors of opioids. The suit seeks compensation for the costs incurred by the opioid crisis. This includes the burden placed upon police, social services, and first responders. Last year, 70 people died in New Haven from opioid related deaths, the second-highest total of any city in Connecticut. New Haven is suing Purdue Pharma, among other major opioid manufacturers, for ?deceptive marketing,? which the city is blaming in part for the burgeoning opioid crisis. Nine U.S. states: Alaska, New Jersey, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Washington, have also sued Purdue Pharma.

Cancer Prevention Advocates Laud State Budget

October 2017 - Passing both houses with veto-proof majorities, the state Legislature approved a $41.3 billion, two-year spending plan that maintains funding at current levels for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which helps medically underserved women get cancer screenings; preserves funding for one important anti-tobacco program. The budget passed both houses of the Legislature with veto-proof majorities. It also includes $18 million that makes every 11- and 12-year-old in the state eligible for the vaccine that protects against the human papillomaviruses.

Connecticut Joins Multi-state Lawsuit Defending Affordable Care Act

October 2017 - Connecticut joined with 17 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a lawsuit against the Trump Administration's decision to abruptly stop making healthcare cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidy payments required by the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) - a move that will put health coverage for more than six million Americans at risk while increasing costs. In addition to Connecticut, and led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, other states joining the lawsuit are Delaware, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

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

American Water Lays Out a Plan for Replacing Lead Pipes

February 2018 - The Indiana subsidiary of American Water Company has filed a plan with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to fully replace lead service lines in the communities it serves.

The Latest Kids Count Data Book Shows Improvements

February 2018 - A decrease in teen pregnancy and an increase in health coverage top the positive changes in Hoosier health measurements, according to The Kids Count Data Book released this month.

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

KY Makes Strides in Improving Health

December 2018 - An annual check-up shows the Commonwealth is making improvements in some areas of health, showing efforts across the board are working. Kentucky moved up three spots in this year's America's Health Rankings report, placing 42nd compared to 45th in 2016.

A Record Number of Comments Collected for Kentucky HEALTH Waiver

August 2018 - A record number of comments were collected for Kentucky HEALTH's third federal comment period. The comment period on the 1115 Medicaid Waiver comes on the heels of a recent federal court ruling that blocked the waiver in its entirety. Advocates say in nearly 12,000 written comments, Kentuckians overwhelmingly expressed opposition to the waiver's new requirements and penalties that would result in 100,000 people losing coverage.

KY Counties Noted as Bright Spots for Health

July 2018 - Nine Appalachian counties in Kentucky are highlighted as standing out in key measures of health, including health behaviors, health-care systems, environmental factors and screening measures. While each bright-spot county has a unique approach to local health challenges, the Foundation for a Health Kentucky says the common theme is improved community collaboration and resource sharing.

KY Medicaid Waiver Vacated

June 2018 - Sixteen low-income Kentuckians this year challenged federal approval of Governor Bevin's Medicaid waiver plan. Federal district Judge James Boasberg favored the plaintiffs, vacating the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary's approval of Kentucky's 1115 Waiver known as Kentucky HEALTH. The judge's ruling blocks implementation of the waiver in its current form which called for several new requirements for the program.

Repeal and Replace Stymied

July 2017 - Several grassroots and advocacy groups in Kentucky worked diligently to protect Medicaid expansion and other tenents of the Affordable Care Act. Collapse of repeated efforts in the U.S. Senate to repeal and replace the health care law was a victory, but as one person interviewed said, "We have just climbed the first big hill in a marathon."

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

Bill to Protect Children's Health Care Signed

December 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation to protect children's health care through state funding of the Children's Health Insurance Program, commonly known as CHIP. Federal funding accounts for 90 percent of the $450 million CHIP budget. Congress failed to reauthorize CHIP before the Sept. 30 deadline and has not yet addressed funding for the more than 9 million children nationally who benefit from it.

More Than 6,000 Patients Register for Medical Marijuana Program Since Launch Two Weeks Ago

November 2017 - More than 6,000 patients and more than 300 caregivers have registered for Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program since the Medical Marijuana Patient and Caregiver Registry launched November 1. The Medical Marijuana Program became effective on May 17, 2016, and is expected to be fully implemented by 2018. The program will offer medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a physician's care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law.

State Health Officials Call for Immediate Action to Fight Growing Opioid Crisis

November 2017 - In the wake of President Trump's decision to declare the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, Pennsylvania health officials responded urging the administration to provide additional resources to combat the disease. In August and October, Governor Tom Wolf had called on President Trump to act on recommendations from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, which included naming the epidemic a national emergency.

PA's First Medical Marijuana Grower/Processor to Begin Production

October 2017 - The Pennsylvania Department of Health has approved Cresco Yeltrah to begin growing and processing medical marijuana at its Jefferson County location, making it the first facility to be deemed fully operational in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program. Cresco Yeltrah will now be able to begin accepting seeds and clones to grow medical marijuana. The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016.

Governor Wolf Opposes Graham-Cassidy; Urges Bipartisan Stabilization Progress

October 2017 - Governor Tom Wolf joined a group of bipartisan governors on a letter to U.S. Senate leadership opposing the Graham-Cassidy amendment. The governors asked that the Senate reject the proposed amendment and focus on bipartisan efforts already underway to stabilize health insurance markets and address affordability for consumers.

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

Maine Voters Pass Medicaid Expansion

November 2017 - Maine voters approved a referendum to expand Medicaid for low-income adults. Question 2 passed by about 60 percent and brings the state in line with 31 others that have also expanded the program. About 80 thousand Maine residents will qualify.

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.

Maryland News Connection

Report: Renewable Energy Helps Avoid Thousands of Premature Deaths

August 2017 - A new analysis in Nature Energy finds fossil fuels not burnt because of wind and solar energy helped avoid between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths in the US between 2007 and 2015.

Michigan News Connection

MI Voters Will Vote on Approving Legal Cannabis

August 2018 - The Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the petition to add cannabis legalization to the November ballot. The proposal allows for possession, use, and home cultivation and will make Michigan the 10th state to legalize cannabis and the first state in the Midwest.

Legal Marijuana Issue Makes MI Ballot

April 2018 - The Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the petition to add cannabis legalization to the November ballot. The proposal allows for possession, use, and home cultivation and if passed will make Michigan the 10th state to legalize cannabis and the first state in the Midwest.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Stay Open

November 2017 - After a huge outcry from patients, the state reversed its September decision which would have closed all dispensaries by Dec. 15th until all the licensing process was complete. They will now stay open during the process.

State Will Implement Stronger Concussion Training Law

November 2017 - Legislation headed to Governor Rick Snyder's desk would require coaches and others involved in youth sports to complete concussion awareness training at least once every three years.

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

House of Representative Passes Heller Bill to Re-up Veteran's Program.

July 2017 - The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed Senator Dean Heller's (R-NV) legislation, S.114, to ultimately approve the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act, which provides funding to sustain the Veterans Choice Program for another six months. The legislation provides $2.1 billion to the Veterans Choice Program, authorizes 28 major medical facility leases, and strengthens the VA's ability to recruit, train, and preserve the workforce that provides the care our veterans have earned and deserve.

Governor Offers Grant To Kickstart UNLV Medical School

June 2017 - Governor Brian Sandoval announced a deal to provide a $25 million dollar grant to fund the new UNLV Medical School building, after an anonymous donor gave a matching grant. The new medical school, once open will help alleviate a shortage of doctors in the state.

Drug Prices Transparency Bill Passes

June 2017 - A diabetes drug transparency bill was on its way to the desk of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for his signature after the Assembly introduced, heard and passed the legislation. The governor has said he would sign the measure if it gets to his desk. The hybrid bill, SB539, mandates transparency from both pharmaceutical companies and the middlemen in the drug pricing process known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who are responsible for negotiating between pharmacies and insurance companies. It also requires that health care nonprofits disclose any contributions they receive from the pharmaceutical industry, PBMs and insurers.

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

New Hampshire Gets Nearly $689K to Fight Opioid Epidemic

November 2017 - New Hampshire is getting nearly $689,000 in federal funds to combat the opioid, fentanyl, and heroin epidemic. The U.S. Department of Justice grant goes to the state's Department of Safety, Division through the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program. Col. Christopher Wagner, director of the New Hampshire State Police, said the money will provide much-needed relief in funding state and local law enforcement partnership initiatives, improve technology capabilities, and broaden statewide intelligence sharing among all branches of law enforcement.

Commission Recommends 5-Year Extension of Medicaid Expansion

November 2017 - A commission studying the future of New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program is recommending that it continue for five years, but move toward a managed care model in 2019. The committee of lawmakers, insurance officials and health care providers agreed to the recommendations, which will be used as the basis for legislation that will be taken up next year. The current expanded Medicaid program uses federal money to put about 43,000 low-income people on private insurance. The commission says switching to managed care would provide more straight-forward opportunities to address premium increases in the individual market and would provide consistent benefits for all Medicaid participants. The report also recommends higher reimbursement rates for those who provide mental health and substance use disorder services.

Charitable Foundation Funds Health Care Enrollment Marketing

November 2017 - A charitable organization is stepping in to promote the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire after the Trump administration cut funding for marketing and advertising. For the individual health insurance market in much of the country, the administration has slashed spending on advertising by 90 percent. The HNH Foundation responded by making an emergency grant this week of nearly $100,000. Board chairwoman Kathy Crompton said the foundation was worried that the cut in marketing funds combined with the shorter enrollment period would put people at risk of losing their coverage. The money is being given to the Granite State Progress Education Fund and the New Hampshire Health Care Coalition. The HNH Foundation's mission is to improve the health and wellness of New Hampshire residents, with a focus on vulnerable children.

Recreational Therapy to Be Provided to Veterans

November 2017 - Manchester VA Medical Center and a University of New Hampshire program have reached an agreement to provide recreational therapy treatment to veterans. The agreement will allow veterans with disabilities access to the Northeast Passage Program at UNH. The VA will pay for the veterans to receive the therapy. Northeast Passage, which offers programs such as cycling and water skiing, says its clients have experienced measurable improvements in functional fitness and chronic health condition management as well as healthier body weight, blood pressure and blood sugar. Clients also have experienced mental health gains.

New Hampshire Ranked #2 in Nation for Best States

August 2017 - U.S. News and World Report ranked the Granite State Second for best states in the nation. The state scored high marks when it comes to healthcare, education, and opportunity.

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

Package of Bills to Supports NY Veterans Becomes Law

November 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed five pieces of legislation to further support New York veterans by improving healthcare and services, as well as memorialize veterans throughout New York State in a number of different ways. Among the bills in the package is one that adds Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a qualifying condition in New York's medical marijuana program. It is estimated that approximately 19,000 patients with PTSD in New York could benefit from the use of medical marijuana. This includes military veterans, police officers and fire fighters, as well as survivors of domestic violence, rape, violent crime, and accidents. Virtually every state in the country with a medical marijuana program allows for treatment of PTSD. Other provisions in the package of bill provide combat veterans employed by the State with additional days of paid leave to obtain health services, counseling and access to other benefits, and another that waives the civil service examination fee for veterans who were honorably discharged.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Expanding Unlimited Sick Leave Benefit for New Yorkers Who Participated in 9/11 Response Efforts

September 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation to expand unlimited sick leave benefits for public sector officers and employees who developed a qualifying health condition as a result of their heroic response to 9/11 rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts at World Trade Center sites. Under the bill individuals would be eligible for unlimited paid leave at 100 percent of their regular salary dating back to the time of their diagnosis. Similar paid leave benefits are currently available for New York Police Department, New York Fire Department, New York City Corrections and New York City Sanitation for injuries and illnesses obtained in the line of duty.

NY Will Bring Lawsuit if Congressional Health Care Bill Becomes Law

July 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that, if the House or Senate health care bill is signed into law, New York State will bring a lawsuit challenging the bill's constitutionality. Cuomo and Schneiderman made the announcement at an event at Mount Sinai Hospital, encouraging members of New York's Congressional delegation to stand against the bill. Should it pass and be signed into law, New York will challenge the Republican health care bill in court on the basis of several constitutional defects, including the placement of unconstitutional conditions on federal dollars used for health care.

Governor Announces Actions to Protect Access to Affordable Health Care

June 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed the New York State Department of Financial Services to promulgate new emergency regulations mandating health insurance providers do not discriminate against New Yorkers with preexisting conditions or based on age or gender, in addition to safeguarding the 10 categories of protections guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. The measures will ensure that essential health services are protected and covered for all New Yorkers regardless of efforts at the federal level to strip millions of Americans of their healthcare.

Single Payer Health Care Bill Passes Assembly

May 2017 - A bill passed in the State Assembly would create a state-run single-payer health-care system. If it becomes law it would make New York the first state in the nation to give every resident health care.

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

State Releases 40,000 Doses of Naloxone

November 2017 - Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the state is distributing 40,000 doses of naloxone, a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. Opioid-related deaths increased by more than 30 percent in 2016 from the previous year. The state has seen a 1,000 percent increase in the number of opioid-related deaths since 1999, Cooper said.

NC Sues Feds Over Healthcare Payments

October 2017 - A new multi-state lawsuit has been announced to stop President Trump from halting key ObamaCare payments to insurers. The complaint will seek a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction requiring the cost-sharing reduction payments be made.

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

Ohio Insurance Rates Stabilize

December 2018 - More than 9 out of 10 Ohioans between 18 and 64 have health insurance and just over half get it from their employer, according to a new Ohio Health Issues Poll. It found that the rate of uninsured is stabilizing, and Ohio's health insurance rate is slightly better than the nation as a whole.

State Report Shows Benefits of Medicaid Expansion

August 2018 - A new assessment reveals many of the benefits of Ohio's 2014 expansion of the Medicaid program. According to the analysis from the Ohio Department of Medicaid, the program has reduced the uninsured rate, improved enrollees' health and enabled employment.

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

Oregon Legislators Approve Drug Pricing Transparency Bill

March 2018 - Oregon lawmakers approved a bill to make prescription drug costs more transparent. If a drug manufacturer increases prices more than 10 percent in one year, they must report to the state and provide a reason for the spike.

Measure to Continue Medicaid Funding in Oregon Passes

January 2018 - Measure 101 passed with overwhelming support - the measure ensures that state has enough to money to continue funding health insurance for low-income Oregonians.

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

TennCare Pauses New Payment Model That Some Say Will Negatively Impact Patient Care

June 2018 - The state will temporarily stop expanding its episodes of care payment model. TennCare reports that it will not design future episodes to concentrate on improving and maintaining episodes already in place. The episodes of care model describe a system by which doctors are paid for a specific health episode - for example, a birth - and they're paid and measured on how much they can cut costs during that particular episode. Physicians protested the model - saying it would negatively impact patient care and also create an unfair system of reimbursement for doctors.

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 Plan to Close Coverage Gap

June 2016 - Speaker Harwell introduced a new plan to close the coverage gap in Tennessee. No progress on the plan at this point, but in August the TN Comptroller launched an investigation into TennCare's handling of paperwork after numerous reports have surfaced claiming families are in limbo with unclear coverage status.

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.

Texas News Service

More Texans Have ACA Health Coverage in 2018

August 2018 - Despite confusion over recent congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, shorter enrollment periods and reduced advertising and outreach, the overall number of Texans with health coverage is on the rise, according to a new report by the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Feds Grant Texas $25 Billion Extension of Medicaid Waiver

February 2018 - Health care providers in Texas are getting a $25 billion shot in the arm with the five-year extension of a Medicaid program by the federal government. The plan, known as an 1115 Demonstration Waiver is considered a low-cost alternative to traditional Medicaid.

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

Virginia Governor Signs Budget, Medicaid Expansion

June 2018 - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a new state budget that expands Medicaid to as many as 400,000 low-income adults. The General Assembly voted to approve the budget with Medicaid expansion ending a long-running partisan stalemate over the issue, with several Republicans joining Democrats to support the measure. A tally from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows Virginia will become the 33rd state to approve Medicaid expansion.

Virginia House Decides in Favor of Medicaid Expansion

March 2018 - A major roadblock to Medicaid expansion has been removed in the Virginia House of Delegates, as the Republican-controlled chamber included the expansion in the state budget proposal. The budget represents a dramatic political turnaround by the House, and a show of bipartisanship between House Speaker Kirk Cox, a Republican from Colonial Heights, and newly inaugurated Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

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

Social Workers Demands for Licensing Rules Maintained

April 2018 - A proposal to loosen licensing rules for state employed social workers, opposed by West Virginia social workers, failed to gain passage. Credit is being given for the failure of several unpopular bills to a series of marches and demonstrations led by teachers and women.

Legislature Legalizes Medical Marijuana

March 2017 - In a surprise move, the GOP legislature passed (and the governor signed) a bill to allow for medical use of marijuana. The bill looked to be dead in the house until sponsors used a never- before-used legislative maneuver to force the speaker to let it come to the floor.

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

Gov. Walker Moves To Stabilize Health Insurance Markets In Wisconsin

January 2018 - In a surprising change of position, Governor Scott Walker announced a Health Care Stability Plan focused on stabilizing rising health care coverage premiums in Obamacare's individual market. The plan utilizes the 1332 Waiver process, also known as the State Innovation Waiver, under Obamacare to lower premiums for people in the individual market. Governor Walker also called on the Wisconsin State Senate to pass preexisting condition legislation agreed upon in the State Assembly and requested a permanent waiver to support SeniorCare, the state's prescription drug program for seniors age 65 or older.

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

NY Expands Access To Affordable Housing For New Yorkers Living With HIV/AIDS

March 2018 - New York State is expanding the HIV/AIDS Services Administration rental assistance program for New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Additionally, the Governor announced the nation's first state-level Hepatitis C comprehensive elimination strategy to end the Hepatitis C and HIV epidemics in New York State. The new effort aims to stop the Hepatitis C virus by increasing access to medications that can cure Hepatitis C and expanding programs to connect New Yorkers in high-risk communities with wrap-around Hepatitis C prevention, screenings and treatment services.

Tracking Progress on World AIDS Day

December 2017 - Since the pandemic peaked in 2005, AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by nearly half. More than 36 million people currently live with HIV worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Supportive Housing Project Completed in Albany

December 2017 - New York State has completed construction of a supportive housing development for chronically homeless individuals living with HIV and AIDS. The new 26,000-square-foot Albany Damien Center will provide 20 permanent supportive apartments - 18 studio apartments and two one-bedroom apartments - for 22 chronically homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. The $5.6 million project was supported in part by $4.3 million from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's Homeless Housing and Assistance Program and a $269,000 grant from the Dormitory Authority of New York.

New York Acts to Ensure Coverage of HIV-Prevention Medication

December 2017 - On World AIDS Day the New York State Department of Financial Service issued guidance to insurers to remove unacceptable barriers to coverage for PrEP and ensure that insurance coverage for PrEP is available to all New Yorkers. The guidelines make clear that insurance companies cannot discriminate against those requesting PrEP based on lifestyle or behavior. Health service providers generally prescribe PrEP, which has been shown to be highly effective in stopping HIV infection when taken as prescribed, for HIV-negative people who are at high risk for HIV.

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.

Utah News Connection

Utah Takes Steps to Prevent Suicides

August 2018 - Utah's suicide rate is among the highest in the nation, and has been on the rise since 1999. A new law ensures that crisis hotlines in the state are staffed 24-hours a day, or roll over to a hotline that is.


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 Bill To Help Spur Creation of More "Granny Flats"

October 2017 - Following up on a major reform bill from last year that streamlined the development of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 229, legislation by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to clarify that limits on sewer and water connection fees and charges apply to special districts and water corporations, as well as cities and counties. Wieckowski says, "SB 229 furthers the important work of SB 1069 by making clarifications to carry out the intent of last year's bill and encourage the development of these units free of excessive fees."

Governor Signs Affordable Housing Bill

September 2017 - Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 2, which creates a new, reliable source of funding for affordable homes through a $75 fee on the recording of certain types of real-estate documents, excluding sales of residential and commercial property. For transactions that involve the recording of multiple documents, the fee is capped at $225. It's estimated that the bill will generate roughly $250 million each year and create 57,000 jobs over five years.

Governor Brown Signs Affordable Housing Package

September 2017 - Gov. Jerry Brown has finalized lawmakers most robust response to California?s housing affordability problems in recent memory. The "15 good bills" Brown signed into law include a new fee on real estate transactions and a $4-billion bond on the 2018 ballot that together could raise close to $1 billion a year in the near term to help subsidize new homes for low-income residents.

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.

Colorado News Connection

Activists Advance Low-income Housing Strategy in Denver Suburb

September 2017 - After confronting the City Council in June, Westminster has added inspectors, recommended increases in rental and food-assistance budgets, and prioritized 25 percent of the new downtown development for affordable housing.

Commonwealth News Service

Governor Baker Launches "Housing Choice Initiative"

December 2017 - The Great Neighborhoods campaign, led by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA) and a statewide coalition of advocacy organizations, local leaders, business groups and residents, declared a significant victory with the announcement of Governor Baker's Housing Choice Initiative. The new program will incentivize cities and towns to improve their local zoning practices and build more housing in sensible locations like downtowns, town centers and redevelopment areas. It establishes a statewide goal of 135,000 new homes created by 2025. One of the campaign?s principal goals is to create more housing, especially for young people and seniors.

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

New Report Shows Record Drop in Homelessness

May 2017 - An annual census of homelessness in the state found that the point-in-time count of homeless individuals in Connecticut confirms that the state's recent efforts to reduce homelessness and increase access to housing are working. Conducted by the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, this year's census found that homelessness in in the state has decreased for a fourth consecutive year and is at its lowest level to date.

CT Dedicates $10.7 M to Support the Development of Affordable Housing in Six Connecticut Communities

May 2017 - Nearly $10.7 million in funding has been approved by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority Board of Directors to support the development of seven affordable housing projects in six Connecticut communities. Funding comes through federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) program, which is administered by CHFA.

$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

Homelessness Ended for 100 in Kentucky

November 2017 - The Coalition for the Homeless and other stakeholders surpassed a ambitious goal set on August 1st to end homelessness for 100 young adults. The 100-Day Challenge team says safe housing and support services have been provided for 112 young adults in Louisville since August 1st, more than a five hundred percent increase in the rate in which young adults are being housed in the community.

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

Homelessness on the Decline in Michigan

January 2018 - New data finds that homelessness in Michigan has dropped 2.9% since 2016 and 30% since 2010. Advocates say this is due in part to HUD's relatively recent strategy of working with local non-profits to identify folks in need of housing and getting them into housing quickly.

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

Oregon Lawmakers Pass Bill to Increase Funding for Affordable Housing Resources

March 2018 - Lawmakers increased what's known as the document-recording fee from $20 to $60. The money will be put to use in a variety of ways, including to preserve and develop affordable rental housing, programs to help the homeless and boost services for veterans.

Oregon Budget Adds $40 Million to Housing Aid

July 2017 - The Oregon budget passed this Legislative sessions adds $40 million dollars to two programs that are help Oregonians facing homelessness. The Emergency Housing Account and the State Homeless Assistance Program help low-income Oregonians with transitional housing and shelter to prevent homelessness, as well as services within those facilities.

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

WA Legislature Passes Major Wins in Fight Against Homelessness

April 2018 - This session, the Washington state Legislature was home to many victories for affordable housing and homelessness. One of the the biggest accomplishment is a bill banning landlords from turning away renters based on their source of income, specifically rental assistance through programs such as Section 8.

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.

Wyoming News Service

Town Council Approves Housing Mitigation Requirements

July 2018 - County commissioners and the town council cast final votes in favor of a proposal to encourage more residential development. Their decision on the future of commercial and affordable housing could determine how many people who work in the tourist town at the gateway to Grand Teton National Park get to live in town.


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

Charlottesville Folks See Outpouring of Support at Nearly 1,000 Events Nationally

September 2017 - After a march by white-supremacists led to violence, thousands of people across the country came out to demonstrate their solidarity with Charlottesville.

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.

Minnesota News Connection

Global Agribusiness Company Applies New Human Rights/Environmental Standard

January 2018 - Minnesota based-Cargill, one of the world's biggest private companies, cut ties with a Guatemalan palm-oil supplier whom environmental and human rights groups had accused of abuses.

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.

Tennessee News Service

Congress Approves Funding for TN Senator Cohen-sponsored Bill to help Identify Human Trafficking

February 2018 - The SOAR Act, passed in February, gives tools to health care professionals to be alert to possible instances of human trafficking when victims appear in clinics or doctors' offices for needed care. The bill includes four million dollars in funding.

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

Wash. First in Nation to Reduce Bias in Jury Selection

May 2018 - The Washington state Supreme Court has implemented a new rule that will keep "implicit, institutional, and unconscious" racial bias out of the jury selection process. It's the first rule of its kind in the nation.

Bill Reforming Police Use-of-Deadly-Force Laws Passes

March 2018 - An initiative originally proposed by De-Escalate Washington has passed the Washington state Legislature. The bill reforms the statute on use of deadly force by officers, which set a bar that critics say was impossible to meet. It will now be easier for officers who kill in the line of duty to be prosecuted, considered a win for communities of color.

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

Bill Passes Eliminating Fingerprint Requirements for Food Stamps

May 2017 - House Bill 2091, which waives the fingerprint requirement for food-stamp eligibility. The bill had faltered last week, when it was not included in the state budget, but was revived as supporters successfully argued it would save the state $3 million. "They've had six people caught in six years," said Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa. "It's a waste of money."

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

Colorado's Medical Deduction Helps Put Food on Table

December 2017 - One year after Colorado rolled out a new standard medical expense deduction, close to 9,000 seniors who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have been able to put more food on the table.

CO Expands SNAP exemptions

September 2017 - More Coloradans who are facing difficult life circumstances and financial challenges will be able to keep their food stamp benefits under a recent set of rule changes unanimously approved by Colorado's State Board of Human Services. Hunger Free Colorado and Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) have been coordinating with the state to adopt these new changes for more than a year.

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.

Florida News Connection

More Florida Children With Less Hunger This Summer

August 2017 - Florida has seen some gains in the number of low-income children who are able to access summer nutrition programs.

Illinois News Connection

Thousands of College Students Eligible for Food Stamps

February 2018 - New rules issued by the Illinois Department of Human Services allows full and part time college students to apply for SNAP benefits.

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.

Kentucky News Connection

Food Waste Bill Passed into Law

April 2018 - SJR 218 was passed unanimously by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Matt Bevin. It directs state agencies to conduct food waste analyses and identify ways to increase donations to food banks.

New Funding to Keep KY Kids Fed During Summer Months

February 2018 - In response to the great need, Anthem Medicaid is providing $25,000 in mini-grants through Kentucky Kids Eat to support mobile meal routes throughout Kentucky, ensuring kids stay healthy and fed throughout the summer months. Additional funding will be used to support enrichment at summer meal sites. Funding will be available to summer meal service sponsors, and up to 17 sponsors throughout the state will be awarded mini-grant funding.

Summer Meals Reaching More Kentucky Kids - Poverty Remains

June 2017 - New research from the Food Research and Action Center shows Kentucky is making progress in closing the summer meal gap. An annual report shows more than 32,000 Kentucky children received a summer meal during July 2016, a 13-percent increase compared to the year prior

Closing Meal Gap in Summer for Kentucky Children

June 2017 - New research from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows Kentucky is making progress in closing the summer meal gap. An annual report shows more than 32,000 Kentucky children received a summer meal during July 2016, a 13-percent increase compared to the year prior.

New Food-Waste Law Aims to Address Hunger in Kentucky

May 2017 - A new Kentucky law will help ensure still-fresh food is given to people who need it instead of ending up in a landfill. House Bill 237 establishes enhanced immunity from liability for donors of food to nonprofit organizations.

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

Boost for Efforts to End Child Hunger in NH

August 2017 - NH Hunger Solutions received a $5,000 grant from the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and Shaw's Markets. The grant will help propose ways to eradicate childhood hunger through the federal school breakfast program. The Food Research and Action Center currently ranks NH second to last in the nation for participation in the school breakfast program.

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

Initiative to Provide Access to Healthy Locally Grown Food for Low Income Students

August 2018 - The "No Student Goes Hungry" program addresses food insecurity by expanding access to free breakfast for students in poverty, increases access to farm-fresh foods and ensures that all students have access to school meals without fear of shame. The program supports high poverty areas around the state to make breakfast accessible for students after the school day has begun. The State is providing $7 million in funding to support equipment for high-poverty schools that offer breakfast after the bell, assisting schools in purchasing equipment such as refrigeration, coolers, vending machines, and breakfast kiosks to support the transition to breakfast after the bell. The program also includes $1.5 million to expand the successful Farm-to-School program.

NY Launches Statewide Effort to Deliver Millions of Meals to Older New Yorkers

March 2018 - New York State has launched a statewide effort to deliver high quality, nutritious meals to older resident as part of the national March for Meals campaign. New York is the nation's longstanding leader in providing the highest quality meals to older adults, delivering 23 million meals every year to older adults in communities across the state. In all, the state provides at least $53 million more for home delivered and community meals than any other state. New York also ranks first in the nation for the number of people receiving nutrition services and supports.

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.

West Virginia News Service

Farms to School Food Links Growing Like a Weed

September 2017 - 82% of WV school districts get some of their food from local farmers, and another nine percent say they plan to. The farm to school program improves children's nutrition by getting more fresh food to them, while at the same time putting more money into the local agricultural economy and also spreading the understanding of how food is raised. WV is one of the most active farm to school states.

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

Trump Signs Order to End Separations Condemned by Pediatricians

June 2018 - Following widespread outrage over the forced separation of children from their parents arrested on suspicion of entering the country illegally along the southern U.S. border, President Donald Trump on June 20th signed an executive order to end the practice.

Judge Issues Nationwide Injunction on Tying Local Police Funding to Immigration Enforcement

April 2018 - The Justice Department cannot require that local police departments help immigration agents in order to receive federal funding, a federal judge has ruled. The ruling is a significant victory for local governments that have opposed the Trump administration's stance on immigration and vowed to stay out of enforcement efforts. United States District Judge Manuel Real in Los Angeles issued a permanent, national injunction against the federal funding rules, giving the city an important win in a long-running legal battle with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the White House. A Justice Department spokesman, Devin M. O'Malley, suggested an appeal was likely.

Possible Trump DACA Deal

September 2017 - In a surprise to many President, Donald Trump announced that he had reached a possible deal with Congressional Democrats to forestall the deportation of the "dreamers" - undocumented people brought to the country as children. The deal has not been entirely fleshed out, but if as described it would represent a significant shift by an anti-immigration president in favor of a popular group of immigrants.

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

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Revive Driver's License Ban for DACA Recipients

March 2018 - The United States Supreme Court decided today to let stand a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that barred Arizona from denying driver's licenses to people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. A coalition of civil rights organizations challenged the state after then-Gov. Jan Brewer signed an executive order in 2012 mandating that DACA recipients be denied driver's licenses.

Federal Lawsuit Over Arpaio Workplace Raids Settled

January 2018 - The parties in a federal lawsuit challenging former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's workplace raids have reached an agreement to end the case. The final settlement provides, among other things, that previous rulings by U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell finding the practices of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County Attorney's Office unconstitutional will not be appealed. In addition, the county agreed to pay plaintiffs $995,157.46 in attorneys' fees and costs. The settlement brings to a close a three-year legal battle to put an end to the workplace raids that tore apart countless families in Maricopa County. In total, the Sheriff's Office conducted a total of over 80 workplace operations, leading to the arrest of at least 806 employees. Under the settlement, Judge Campbell's orders will remain in effect. Those include a March 2017 order enjoining the MCSO, now under the leadership of Sheriff Paul Penzone, from relying on information or documents submitted to an employer solely as part of the federal I-9 employment verification process and declaring it unconstitutional for any defendant, including MCAO, to use such information or documents in any investigation or prosecution for a violation of Arizona's identity theft or forgery law. In addition, the MCSO unit that had led the workplace raids was disbanded shortly after the lawsuit was filed in 2014, and remains disbanded today.

Civil Rights Group Sues Motel 6 for Discrimination

January 2018 - Motel 6 violated the civil rights of Latino immigrants and other guests by alerting federal authorities that they had rented rooms at two Phoenix locations, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the name of eight plaintiffs affected by the motel practice. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona by MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), says the hotel's practice of voluntarily giving Latino guests' personal information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents without a warrant violates federal and state civil rights laws barring discrimination based on national origin, and protections against unreasonable searches. The lawsuit also alleges that the motel violated state consumer fraud protections.

Former Sheriff Arpaio Convicted Of Contempt of Court

July 2017 - Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio found guity of criminal contempt of court. In a verdict filed Monday morning, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton said evidence demonstrated Arpaio's "flagrant disregard" for another federal judge's order that halted his signature immigration round-ups. The sentencing phase will begin Oct. 5. Arpaio, 85, faces up to six months in confinement, a sentence equivalent to that of a misdemeanor.

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 Supreme Court Rules for Immigrant Children in Visa Fight

August 2018 - 8/16/2018 made it easier for some immigrant children who are abused or abandoned by a parent to seek a U.S. visa to avoid deportation. It was not immediately clear how many children the ruling would affect. State judges cannot require that children drag an absentee parent living abroad into court in their visa application process, the justices said in a unanimous decision. Immigration rights advocates had warned that such a requirement would make it nearly impossible for the children to fight deportation. That's because courts in California cannot establish authority over a foreign citizen and the parent may want nothing to do with a child claiming abuse, and would refuse to participate in a court proceeding in the U.S., immigration groups said in court documents.

CA Sues Trump Administration Over Plans for Border Wall

September 2017 - The state of California filed a lawsuit in a federal district court challenging the Trump administration's plans to build a wall along the state's border with Mexico. The 53-page complaint was filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a former member of Congress, and the California Coastal Commission, which is a state agency that oversees the use of certain public lands, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

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

Immigrants Win on Drivers License Process

May 2018 - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill that aims to improve the state's long-embattled driver's license program for people living in the U.S. without documentation. Senate Bill 108 streamlines the renewal process and identification requirements for immigrants who have or are seeking driver's licenses. The measure marks lawmakers' first successful attempt to improve the program since it was created by the Colorado General Assembly in 2013, after years of persistent conservative pushback.

Immigrants Can Qualify for In-State Tuition

May 2018 - Refugees and Special Immigration Visa recipients will soon be eligible for in-state tuition at Colorado colleges. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill allowing easier access to higher education. The bill will waive the traditional one-year residency requirement for college students and will lower higher education costs.

Bill to Improve SB251 Licenses Passes Both Houses

April 2018 - The Colorado House of Representatives passed the Eligibility Colorado Road and Community Safety Act (SB-18-108) in a vote of 38-24, clearing the road for the bill to park on Governor John Hickenlooper's desk for signage and paving the way for a healthier and safer Colorado for all residents and business owners. SB18-108 will allow people to renew their SB251 driver license online or by mail and permit those who have valid social security numbers to access the program.

Groups Reignite 24HR Hotline to Support Immigrants

February 2018 - A coalition of labor, faith, and grassroots organizers is renewing efforts to assist immigrants targeted for deportation. The Colorado Rapid Response Network provides legal assistance, know-your-rights training, and a 24-hour hotline to mobilize protection and document raids conducted by ICE.

Immigrants' Rights Supporters Celebrate Denver Win

August 2017 - The Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act prohibits city employees from asking residents about their immigration status or handing that information over to ICE.

Feds Grant Jeanette Vizguerra, Arturo Hernandez Garcia Stays of Deportation

May 2017 - Jeanette Vizguerra, the mother of four who took sanctuary in a Denver church in February to avoid immigration authorities, will now be able to walk free after Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Thursday granted her a stay of deportation until 2019. Vizguerra and Arturo Hernandez Garcia, the man who had previously sought sanctuary in a Denver church and was recently arrested by ICE agents, had gotten a nearly 2-year deportation stay.

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

CT to Offer Financial Aid to "Dreamers"

April 2018 - "Dreamers" will soon be able to receive institutional financial aid to attend Connecticut's public colleges and universities. 13 Republicans joined 78 Democrats in the state House of Representatives to give final passage to the bill that will let undocumented immigrants who arrived as children to apply for the assistance. The bill doesn't include access to federal Pell grants or state taxpayer-funded scholarships. But supporters of the measure say it will have a very big impact for students who previously were not eligible for any kind of aid. Governor Dannel Malloy has said he will sign the bill into law.

Gov. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Wyman Sign onto Coalition of Leaders to Stand with Dreamers Against Deportation

September 2017 - Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman have joined a coalition of leaders of governors, mayors, city and state elected officials, law enforcement professionals, faith and civic leaders from across the country in a "We Are With Dreamers" statement, which calls on President Trump to preserve the successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and for Congress to pass a standalone version of the bipartisan Dream Act. To date, over 1,860 leaders have signed onto the statement.

Connecticut Joins Multistate Lawsuit Challenging President Trump on DACA

September 2017 - Connecticut has joined with a coalition of 14 other states and the District of Columbia in suing President Donald Trump and his administration, seeking to invalidate his memorandum that ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and to enjoin federal agencies from using information gathered through DACA in immigration enforcement efforts.

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

Illinois' Governor Signs Law Limiting police on Immigration

August 2017 - Illinois will limit how local and state police can cooperate with federal immigration authorities under a plan signed into law Monday by the state's Republican Govenror Bruce Rauner

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

Governor Wolf, First Lady, Commissions Pen Joint Letter to Congress in Support of DREAMers

September 2017 - In response to President Trump's recission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Governor Tom Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf and the Governor's Advisory Commissions have sent a joint letter to members of Congress from Pennsylvania in support of young undocumented Americans who entered the country as minors and obtained protection from deportation under the program. The letter was co-signed by the Governor's Advisory Commissions on African American, Asian Pacific American, and Latino Affairs, and the Pennsylvania Commission for Women.

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

NV Supreme Court Rejects Anti-Sanctuary City Ballot Initiative

May 2018 - Conservative groups tried to get a measure put on Nevada ballots that would have blocked cities from establishing "sanctuary" policies to protect undocumented immigrants. The state supreme court found that the proposed measure was misleading.

Civil Rights Groups Applaud Setback for NV Anti-Sanctuary City Initiative

January 2018 - Civil rights groups are celebrating a decision by a Carson City judge to toss out a petition for a ballot initiative to stop sanctuary cities in Nevada. There are no self-described sanctuary cities in the state, but the ballot initiative would have banned cities or counties from passing laws that might inhibit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

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 Mexico News Connection

Bernalillo County Refuses to Rescind Immigrant-Friendly Status

August 2017 - Commissioners in New Mexico's most populous Bernalillo County rejected a proposed rollback to an earlier resolution that declared Albuquerque an immigrant-friendly community. In the 4-1 vote the majority overruled a proposal by Republican commissioner Wayne Johnson to bring the county in alignment with the federal government's current policy on detaining people who are in the country illegally.

New York News Connection

NY Sues Trump Administration Over Funds for Sanctuary Jurisdictions

July 2018 - Attorneys general from New York and five other states filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from putting anti-immigrant conditions on federal funds that states and localities use for law enforcement. The complaint argues the Justice Department doesn't have the authority to impose new conditions that adversely affect the ability of police departments to do their jobs. New York State attorney general Barbara Underwood said the White House is waging a political attack on New Yorkers at the expense of public safety.

New York to File Multi-Agency Lawsuit Charging the Trump Administration with Violating Rights of Children and Families

July 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York State intends to file a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump Administration on the grounds that the federal government is violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of immigrant children and their parents who have been separated at the border. More than 70 children are staying in federal shelters in New York State and that number is expected to increase as other facilities are identified. New York plans to sue the federal government for: violating the Constitutional Rights of children and families, violating the terms of the Flores Settlement that set national standards regarding the detention, release, and treatment of all children in immigration detention, and callous policies based on the outrageous government conduct doctrine as outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

New Legislation Increases Protections for Immigrant Children in New York

June 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation to increase protections for immigrant children who have been separated from their families as a result of the Trump Administration's inhumane "zero tolerance" policy. The legislation will provide parents who have been detained in New York, or are facing deportation from the state, an opportunity to appoint someone of their choosing to step into their shoes and provide emergency care for their child.

Governor Cuomo Issues Cease and Desist Letter to ICE

April 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a cease and desist letter to ICE to demand the immediate stop of their reckless and unconstitutional enforcement actions or he will commence legal action. In the letter, the Governor condemns the agency's irresponsible patterns of conduct that target immigrants and jeopardize public safety. In addition, the Governor signed an executive order to modify executive order #170 to prohibit ICE arrests in state facilities without a warrant. The executive order prohibits state agencies and officers from inquiring about individual's immigration status unless required by law or necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service or disclosing information to federal immigration authorities for the purpose of civil enforcement, and also prohibits law enforcement officers from inquiring about immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity.

The Liberty Defense Project and Catholic Charities Partner to Grow Network of Volunteer Attorneys and Law Students

April 2018 - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a new pro bono program as part of the Liberty Defense Project that engages volunteer attorneys to expand resources and services available for immigrants in New York. The Liberty Defense Project and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York have partnered to expand the current initiative and grow a network of attorneys and law students that will provide legal aid to immigrants across the state. The program will also include training for volunteer attorneys and advocates to prepare them for immigration casework. The Liberty Defense Project, created by Governor Cuomo last year in response to hostile federal policies, is the nation's first state-led project to assist immigrants - regardless of status - in obtaining access to legal services. This latest program will expand upon the services and resources already available through the initiative.

A.G. Schneiderman Files Suit To Block Trump Administration From Demanding Citizenship Info In 2020 Census

April 2018 - New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, a coalition of 18 Attorneys General and six cities and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from demanding citizenship information in the 2020 decennial Census. Schneiderman says demanding citizenship information on the Census would depress turnout in states with large immigrant populations, directly threatening those states' fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College, as well as billions of dollars in critical federal funds for education, infrastructure, Medicaid, and more.

Governor Cuomo Grants Clemency to Some Immigrants with Prior Convictions

December 2017 - In the face of the federal government's increased targeting of immigrants, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued pardons to various individuals facing the threat of deportation and other immigration-related challenges as a result of previous convictions. The pardons were granted to reward demonstrated success in their rehabilitative efforts and to remove the barriers that their criminal records present to their immigration status.

Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order Prohibiting State Agencies from Inquiring About Immigration Status

September 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order that prohibits state agencies and officers from inquiring about or disclosing an individual's immigration status unless required by law or necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service. Law enforcement officers will also be prohibited from inquiring about immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity. This prohibition against inquiring into status includes, but is not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.

Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman Announce that New York will Sue if President Trump Ends Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy

September 2017 - Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a statement informing President Trump that if he moves forward with plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, New York State will sue to protect the 'dreamers' and the state's sovereign interest in the fair and equal application of the law.

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.

North Carolina News Service

Tobacco Workers Gain Some Protection From International Effort

September 2017 - The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers? Associations, or IUF, passed a resolution in Geneva, Switzerland, to guarantee farmworkers the right to work together to negotiate the conditions of their labor without fear of retaliation. Catherine Crowe is with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, the farmworker union representing workers in North Carolina.

State AG joins lawsuit against Trump over DACA

September 2017 - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's plans to rescind the executive order that protected young immigrants from deportation even if they did not have documentation authorizing them to live in the United States.

Oregon News Service

Oregon Sues Trump Administration Over Repeal of DACA Program

September 2017 - Oregon joined 14 other states in suing the Trump administration for its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. About 11,000 Oregonians are included in the program.

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

In-state Tuition Bill for Immigrants Passes

March 2018 - The House Education Administration and Planning Sub-Committee voted to advance HB2429, a bill to grant in-state tuition to all students who spend at least three years in a Tennessee high school, regardless of their immigration status. Currently, undocumented students must pay more than three times as much as their classmates to attend a public college or university, no matter how long they've lived in Tennessee.

Metro Council Tries to Advance Nashville Together Ordinance To Keep City Agencies Out of Mass Deportations

June 2017 - The Nashville Metro Council voted to pass BL-739 on second reading. BL-739 would prohibit city agencies from assisting in the enforcement of federal immigration enforcement, including honoring voluntary requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to detain immigrants in our jails. The law failed on the third reading. The second Nashville Together ordinance, BL-743, which would terminate the contract that Davidson County Sheriff's Office relies on to use the Nashville jail as a regional immigrant detention center, was delayed until August 1st by a voice in last night's budget committee and today's public safety committee.

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

Washington State Files Suit Against Private Prison Co. That Owns NW Detention Center

October 2017 - Washington state's Attorney General has announced a lawsuit against GEO Group, the prison company that owns the Northwest Detention Center. The lawsuit will challenge the detention center's extremely low wages, which have led to hunger strikes among detainees.

ICE Begins Releasing Detained Cuban Asylum-Seekers on Hunger Strike

September 2017 - Five Cuban asylum-seekers detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma were released on August 30. They had been on a hunger strike to oppose their detainment.

Washington State Sues Trump Administration Over Repeal of DACA Program

September 2017 - Washington joined 14 other states in suing the Trump administration for its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. About 20,000 Washingtonians are included in the program.

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

Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate to Protect Farmworkers

June 2018 - A group of Senate Democrats introduced a bill to strengthen critical protections for farm workers as they face long hours and exposure to heat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 100 farm workers suffer injury each day and face the risk of missing work. Average farm workers are paid a salary at or near the federal poverty line with most not getting paid any overtime pay at all. The Fairness for Farm Workers Act amends the FLSA to grant overtime protections to farm workers who work more than 40 hours a week, and eliminates most remaining exemptions to the minimum wage for farm workers. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) will introduce companion legislation in the House later today.

Trump Admin Retreats On Tip Taking Plan

March 2018 - The Trump Administration had proposed a change under which restaurant owners would have been able to take the tips of their waitstaff, under the guise of dividing the tips equitably between all employees. But after intense public opposition arose, the White House backed down.

WV Teachers Strike Ends In Victory

March 2018 - After closing classrooms for nearly two weeks, West Virginia teachers won a 5% raise and a process to address health insurance costs. The defeat of conservative opponents - notably a GOP controlled Senate led by a probable candidate for governor - marks a clear victory for state unions and public employees. With teachers unions in other states considering their own work actions, the strike has been an unusual win for unions nationally and could inspire numerous imitations.

USDA Denies Poultry Industry's Request to Speed Up Lines

January 2018 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a petition by the National Chicken Council to remove the line speed limit on work at some slaughterhouses, a move that food safety advocates are calling a victory for workers and consumers.

U.S.D.A. Rejects Move to Speed Up Chicken Processing Production Lines

January 2018 - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rejected the National Chicken Council's petition for exemptions from rules stating that line speeds in poultry plants should not go beyond the already-fast rate of 140 birds per minute. Line speed regulations protect working people from employers who want to increase profits at the expense of workers' health and safety. The poultry industry's own data show that their workers are injured at twice the rate of the national average, and increasing line speeds would only make things worse.

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 Teachers Head Back to School With Bigger Paychecks

August 2018 - After a teacher walkout last spring and last-minute action by the state legislature, the state's educators are set to see a 20 percent raise over three years. As the 2018 school year begins, teachers are bringing home slightly higher paychecks than last year, though many say there's still more work to be done for the state's education budget.

Minimum Wage Rises Again

January 2018 - Millions of Arizonans are getting a bump in pay starting today - when the minimum wage goes up from 10 dollars to 10.50 an hour. Beginning 2016, the minimum wage jumped from 8.05 to 10 dollars in the wake of the passage of Proposition 206.

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.

Arkansas News Service

Census Bureau Reports Drop in Arkansas Poverty Rate, Increase in Median Income.

September 2017 - 2016 Census Bureau numbers show Arkansas' poverty rate of 17.2 percent moved the state from 47th in the nation to 44th. The state's median household income of $44,334 moved one spot -- from 50th to 49th nationally.

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 Supreme Court Rules Employers Must Pay for Off The Clock Tasks

July 2018 - California's Supreme Court ruled that employers must pay workers for the time they spend completing off-the-clock tasks, such as locking up after work. The decision, issued this week, marks a win for labor advocates who say requiring hourly workers to spend minutes doing unpaid tasks amounts to wage theft. Business groups say the ruling will embolden frivolous lawsuits and cost companies money. A federal law, called the Fair Labor Standards Act, generally allows companies to avoid compensating employees for time spent on duties the law describes as trivial or too difficult to track. In its majority opinion, the California Supreme Court said the federal rule does not apply in the state when it comes to certain off-the-clock tasks performed by employees.

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

Colorado House of Representatives Passes FAMLI Act

April 2018 - The FAMLI Act would guarantee all Colorado workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for themselves and their families in a way that is friendly and supportive of business both large and small. The bill still has to clear the Senate.

Lowest-Paid Coloradans Edge Closer to Living Wage

February 2018 - Colorado's lowest-paid workers got a raise this week as the minimum wage increased by 90 cents to $10.20 an hour. But, for workers in many parts of the state, that still isn't enough to be financially self-sufficient.

Colorado Poverty Below National Average

September 2017 - The percentage of people living below the federal poverty level in Colorado continues to be below the national average, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. And, the state's child poverty rate dropped to just over 13 percent in 2016, down from nearly 15 percent the previous year, the lowest it's been since 2003.

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

Signatures Could Put Paid Leave, $15 Wage on Ballot

December 2017 - Community organizers say they have twice the number of signatures they need to put paid family leave and a $15 minimum wage on next year's state ballot. A grassroots effort gathered almost 275,000 signatures from 346 of the 351 towns and cities in Massachusetts. If the state Legislature doesn't act on the issues by the end of June, the coalition will need to collect about 11,000 more signatures to secure their place on the ballot in November.

Census Indicates Drop in MA Child Poverty Rate

September 2017 - The latest U.S. Census numbers show a drop in the Massachusetts child poverty rate. Since 2014, the child rate has dropped from 14.9 percent to 13.3 percent. A new study shows recent increases in the state minimum wage are cited as a major factor driving the improvement.

Bay State Tops in Nation for Job Growth

September 2017 - The Massachusett's labor force has grown faster than any other state in 2017, according to Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's annual State of Working Massachusetts report. While the workforce is up by more than 3 percent the report says wages remain flat.

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

Appropriations Committee Approves Minimum Wage Bill

April 2018 - The General Assembly's Appropriations Committee voted 27-24 to advance legislation that will raise the minimum wage in Connecticut. House Bill 5388, An Act Concerning a Fair Minimum Wage, raises the minimum wage in the state to no less than twelve dollars per hour effective January 1, 2019, thirteen dollars and fifty cents per hour in 2020, and no less than fifteen dollars per hour in 2021. Then, beginning in 2022, the minimum wage will be increased each year by and amount equal to the percentage increase in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers in the northeast urban area of New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-CT-PA . The new minimum fair wage will be effective on the following January first.

Connecticut Labor Department Recovers $8.9 Million in Owed Wages for Workers

September 2017 - The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) has recovered a record $8.9 million in unpaid wages for Connecticut workers during the fiscal year that ended June 30. This represents an increase of $1.8 million from the previous year. A total of $8,907,321.37 was returned to workers, which includes nearly $2.4 million recovered by wage enforcement staff responding to complaints that owed wages had not been paid and more than $1.9 million provided to employees that did not receive the required minimum wage or overtime.

CT Retirement Security Program Board Holds First Meeting

August 2017 - The authority that will be overseeing Connecticut's new Retirement Security Program has its first meeting on August 17th. The 15-member board will guide the launch of the retirement savings program signed into law in 2016. The Retirement Security Program requires businesses with five or more employees and no pension or 401(k) plan to participate in the payroll deduction savings plan. Employers cannot match employee contributions, and workers can opt out. The plan, which should begin operation in 2018, will help some 600,000 people in the state save for retirement.

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.

Florida News Connection

Walt Disney World Workers Land Deal for $15 Minimum Wage

August 2018 - Disney reached a deal with unions that would hike the minimum wage for Walt Disney World Resort workers to $15 an hour by 2021, signaling an end to contract negotiations that have dragged on for nearly a year.

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

Lawmakers Approve $15 Minimum Wage

May 2017 - The Illinois House has approved a proposal to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. Governor Rauner's signature is the next step.

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

Gov. Tom Wolf Wants to Make More Workers Eligible for OT Pay

January 2018 - Pennsylvania workers on salary who make $23,600 a year or more can be required to work well over 40 hours a week without getting any overtime pay. The governor wants to raise that in three stages, reaching a limit of almost $48,000 a year by 2022. Opponents of the governor's plan say it would force business owners to make more salaried employees into hourly workers, and limit the hours they work, rather than increase their paychecks, but polls show raising the level of overtime pay enjoys broad, bipartisan support.

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

Maine House Blocks Effort to Roll Back Minimum Wage

March 2018 - Maine's House of Representatives defeated an effort to stop voter-approved increases in the state's minimum wage. In a largely party-line vote, the House said "no" to LD 1757, a bill that would have stopped increases due in 2019 and 2020, delayed cost of living increases, and lowered wages for younger workers. The measure was introduced by Gov. Paul LePage, who said raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour will result in job losses and fewer opportunities for younger workers. But opponents of the bill contend that raising wages for the lowest-paid workers helps the entire state economy. LD 1757 now goes to the state Senate, where the Republican majority is expected to approve the measure but the House vote likely means the end of the effort for this year.

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.

Maryland News Connection

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Takes Effect in Maryland

February 2018 - The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act went into effect today requiring employers with 15 employees or more to provide an hour of paid leave for every 30 hours eligible employees worked; smaller employers must provide unpaid leave at the same rate. Employers, including nonprofits, local governments and other agencies as well as for-profit businesses are affected,

Michigan News Connection

Michigan Seeing Gains Against Poverty; Credit Given to Expanded Medicaid

October 2017 - According to the latest census data, median household income in Michigan rose 8% in 2016. Also, the rates of poverty and people without health insurance continued to drop, much of which is attributed to Michigan's expanded Medicaid program.

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

Minimum Wage Progress in Minneapolis and Beyond

January 2018 - Companies with more than 100 employees start paying a minimum $10 an hour Jan. 1, 2018. Companies with fewer employees have until July 1. The minimum wage steps up every six months.

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.

Missouri News Service

Union-led Victory for Workers

August 2018 - Democrats may have scored their most definitive win of Donald Trump's presidency this election as unions routed Republicans in a Missouri ballot measure battle that showed unexpected strength from organized labor. Unions crushed the state's so-called right-to-work law, overwhelming conservative opponents by a 2-to-1 margin after running a deep-pocketed campaign. The outcome signals that unions still have paths to victory in red-leaning states and provides labor a new playbook for fighting the policies of Republican-controlled state governments.

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

Census Shows Drop in NH Child Poverty Rate

September 2017 - New Census data shows a nearly three percent drop in the child poverty rate. Still, an estimated 94,289 Granite Staters live in poverty, and the high cost of housing adds is a major factor driving residents into poverty

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).