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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A l c o h o l

a n d

D r u g

A b u s e

P r e v e n t i o n

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention

All News Services

Opioid Epidemic in Oregon at Fever Pitch

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

Arizona News Connection

AZ Lawmakers Legalize Needle-Exchange Programs to Fight HIV, Opioids

June 2021 - Health-care advocates say Arizona's new needle exchange law could not only save millions of dollars in health care but also slow the spread of HIV and opioid overdoses. The measure was passed by the Arizona Legislature and has been sent to Gov. Doug Ducey's desk. He is expected to sign the bill, which will for the first time in Arizona allow the exchange of used syringes for clean ones.

Big Sky Connection

Voters Legalize Medical Marijuana

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

California News Service

Governor Signs Bill to Train More Mental Health Providers

September 2020 - Governor Newsom signed SB 803, legislation to certify and train peer support specialists as providers for mental health and substance use disorder services. Advocates say it is an important step toward expanding and diversifying the behavioral health workforce. The new law also allows counties to offer Peer Support Services as a Medi-Cal benefit and access federal funds to help pay for them. Peers are professionals who use their personal experience with recovery from mental illness or substance use disorders with specialized training to help others on their journey toward recovery.

Governor Signs Bill Requiring Drug Companies to Collect Old Prescriptions and Needles

September 2018 - Governor Jerry Brown signed groundbreaking legislation by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), along with Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Adam Gray (D-Merced), to create the first statewide drug and medical needles take-back program funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Senate Bill 212 requires manufacturers of pharmaceutical drugs and medical needles to establish, implement and fund take-back programs for safe and secure collection and disposal of their products. This is the first statewide measure in the nation to include both prescription medications and medical needles.

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

Access to Opioid Reversal Medication Expanded

October 2018 - The opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone is now more widely available in Massachusetts, as a result of the second major legislative act. The new law requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to issue a statewide standing order allowing pharmacies to dispense naloxone without a prescription to any person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose, as well as their family members, friends, or others to assist them. The purchase is billable for insurance purposes, regardless of whether the transaction involves the person actually using the medication. Previously, pharmacies were required to have their own pharmacy-specific standing order to dispense naloxone or purchasers had to have a prescription. Also, people could be denied insurance coverage for the purchase of naloxone if they themselves were not the user of the medication.

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.

Illinois News Connection

Governor Pardons 11,000 Marijuana Convictions

December 2019 - Illinois' governor granted more than 11,000 pardons for low-level marijuana convictions, describing the step as a first wave of thousands of such expungements anticipated under the state's new marijuana legalization law. The law, which takes effect January 1, 2020, makes Illinois the 11th state to legalize marijuana for people 21 or older. Lawmakers said they hope to repair some of the damage caused by law enforcement’s efforts to combat sale and use of the drug, particularly in minority communities.

Kentucky News Connection

New KY Law Supports Kentuckians Fighting Addiction

April 2023 - Two pieces of legislation have become law that support ongoing efforts to help Kentuckians fighting addiction. The Treatment Access Program allows those without health insurance to enter residential treatment, and Recovery Ready Communities expands health care coverage and increasing treatment beds. The state has increased the number of treatment beds by 50%.

KY Greenlights Medical Cannabis

December 2022 - In an effort to reduce Kentuckians’ reliance on addictive opioids, Kentuckians with certain severe medical conditions will be able to possess and use small amounts of legally purchased medical cannabis. Governor’s Andy Beshear’s executive order begins January 1st 2023.

Keystone State News Connection

PA Extends Opioid Disaster Declaration

August 2021 - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed the 15th renewal of his January 2018 opioid disaster declaration to help the state fight the opioid and heroin epidemic. This opioid disaster declaration will last 21-days or until the General Assembly takes action to extend the declaration by Aug. 26.

Federal Court Green-lights Philly "Safe Consumption" Site

October 2019 - A federal court ruling in favor of a Philadelphia "safe consumption" site is being hailed as a major victory in the fight against the opioid overdose epidemic. There are currently dozens of safe consumption sites in several other countries, but none in the United States.

$15 Million in Housing Grants Awarded to Help Individuals Battling Opioid Use Disorder

March 2019 - The departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) and Human Services (DHS) have awarded $15 million in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants for a new program to provide case management and housing support services for Pennsylvanians with an opioid use disorder (OUD). The pilot programs will support innovative practices that increase access to support services for individuals with OUD, keep people engaged in treatment and recovery, and help prevent overdose-related deaths.

Governor Launches Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week

December 2018 - Governor Tom Wolf visited the Dauphin County State Health Center in Kline Plaza to launch Stop Overdoses in PA: Get Help Now Week and receive a free naloxone kit, which all Pennsylvanians can do on Dec.13 at one of 80 locations across the state. In addition to being able to get naloxone for free on Dec. 13, it is carried at most pharmacies across the state year-round. Naloxone is available to many with public and private insurance at pharmacies either for free or at a low cost. The state's physician general, now secretary of the Department of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, issued a standing order for naloxone so that any Pennsylvanian could obtain the medication. Since November 2014, more than 20,000 people have been revived with naloxone by police officers and EMS providers in Pennsylvania. And since 2016, nearly 3,000 people with OUD have been transferred into treatment via the state's warm handoff program.

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

Committee Passes Bill to Increase Number of Syringes People Can Get At Syringe Service Programs

February 2022 - The Maine House Health and Human Services Committee voted 8-3 to pass a bill to remove the cap on number of syringes at syringe service programs to the House floor.

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

Nevada Negotiates $45 Million Opioid Settlement

April 2021 - The consulting firm McKinsey and Company has agreed to pay the State of Nevada 45-million dollars for the company's role in the opioid crisis. McKinsey is accused of using deceptive marketing practices as it advised drug manufacturers on ways to get doctors to write more prescriptions for highly addictive pain medications like OxyContin.

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 Counties, Towns File New Lawsuits Against Pharmaceutical Companies, Doctors

September 2018 - New lawsuits filed by six New Hampshire counties and two towns are aimed at trying to recoup millions of dollars lost by local governments in the state's opioid crisis. Pharmaceutical companies, drug stores and doctors have been named in the lawsuits, in which plaintiffs outline a strategy that they said was used to not only downplay the destructive potential of opioids, but also to recruit and pay doctors to propagate the idea that opioids are a low-risk, highly effective way to manage pain. The lawsuits accused the companies of coining the term "pseudo-withdrawal symptoms" and recommending higher doses of opioids to alleviate discomfort.

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 Mexico News Connection

NM Joins Other States in Decriminalizing Fentanyl Testing Strips

March 2022 - Fentanyl test strips and other drug-testing devices to detect the deadly opiate have been legalized in New Mexico under the Harm Reduction Act. Overdose is the leading cause of death in New Mexicans ages 18 to 35.

New York News Connection

Nearly $1 Million Allocated to Expand Mobile Addiction Treatment Services

August 2020 - Five addiction treatment service providers across New York State will receive a total of $972,717 to enable them to purchase and operate mobile treatment vehicles. The goal of this initiative is to expand the availability and access to addiction treatment services in underserved regions of the state. Funding is being administered by the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports and was awarded through the federal State Opioid Response Grant.

NY Takes Action Against Opioid Manufacturer

June 2020 - The New York State Department of Financial Services has filed charges and initiated administrative proceedings against Endo International plc and its subsidiaries, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc. These charges are the second to be filed in DFS' ongoing investigation into the entities that created and perpetuated the opioid crisis. According to DFS' Statement of Charges, Endo has been a prolific manufacturer of opioids in the United States, manufacturing approximately 18.4 percent of the opioids that flooded New York from 2006 to 2014. Endo manufactured both its own branded opioids as well as generic opioids.

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

Fatal Drug Overdoses Decline in Ohio

August 2019 - Ohio could be turning the corner on the decade-old drug epidemic. New data reveals fatal drug overdoses decreased more than 22 percent in Ohio in 2018, the first drop since 2009. County coroners reported 3,764 accidental drug deaths in 2018, 1,090 fewer than the previous year's record high of 4,854, according to preliminary data on unintentional drug deaths reported to the Ohio Department of Health.

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.

Oregon News Service

Drug Treatment, Decriminalization Law Goes into Effect Next Month

January 2021 - During the November election, Oregon voters passed Measure 110, also called the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, which decriminalizes small amounts of illegal drugs for personal use. The new law takes effect Feb. 1. The purpose of the new law is to adopt a health-based approach to the state’s drug crisis by making treatment and recovery services available to anyone who needs and wants access to those services.

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

West Virginia News Service

MAT Act Passes

January 2023 - West Virginia groups are applauding the passage of the federal Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, which aims to increase access to proven treatments for those with opioid use disorder. The MAT Act removes bureaucratic barriers that have blocked healthcare providers from being able to prescribe buprenorphine. West Virginia in deaths due to drug injury.

WV Moves To Let Drug Felons Get SNAP

March 2019 - HB 2459 - just passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor - removes a prohibition on people convicted of drug crimes receiving SNAP food benefits. WVNS last covered the issue last November - "Lifetime SNAP Ban Makes Life Harder for Reformed Drug Felons."

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

New Law Bans Sale of Cosmetics Tested on Animals

January 2020 - The sale of cosmetic products that use ingredients tested on animals on or after Jan. 1. will be banned (SB 1249)

CA Law to Improve Conditions for Farm Animals Takes Effect

December 2019 - A new California law to improve living conditions for certain farm animals goes into effect - and it is expected to have ripple effects on the way animals are treated across the country. Proposition 12 increases the space a pig must have to 24 square feet by 2022.Starting Wednesday, veal calves must be given 43 square feet and hens must be given one square foot of space each. The law mandates a cage-free environment by the end of 2021 - and it affects other states because the measure bans the sale of animal products in California that don't meet these standards.

CA Lawmakers Move Multiple Animal-Welfare Bills Forward

April 2019 - A slew of animal protection bills have moved forward in the California Legislature including proposals to limit animal abuse, hunting, poisoning and trapping. Senate Bill 580 would force people convicted of such serious crimes as aggravated cruelty, bestiality and hoarding to undergo mental-health evaluation and get treatment if necessary. Assembly Bill 1788 would ban certain types of commercial rat poison that also harm wild animals that eat the carcasses. Other bills would ban trophy hunting of bobcats and commercial trapping of other animals for fur; forbid the use of certain endangered animals in circuses, and criminalize the sale of most fur products. Opponents of many of these bills say they represent government overreach.

Bill Introduced to Ban Animal Dissection in CA Schools

February 2019 - California could become the first state in the nation to ban the dissection of animals in K-12 schools, if a bill introduced in the state Legislature were to pass. Assembly Bill 1586, called the Replacing Animals in Science Education (or RAISE) Act would encourage schools to adopt newer teaching methods such as 3-D computer modelling programs to teach biology.

U.S. Supreme Court Allows CA Ban on Foie Gras to Stand

January 2019 - The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the latest challenge to California's ban on foie gras, a delicacy produced from the enlarged livers of ducks and geese that have been force-fed corn. The court declined to hear an appeal by producers of foie gras, including the Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d'Oies du Quebec, a Canadian nonprofit that represents duck and goose farmers. In doing so, the high court left intact a 2017 ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the law. Animal rights groups contend that the force-feeding process is painful, gruesome and inhumane. California enacted the law in 2004 but it did not go into effect until 2012. The Supreme Court in 2014 rejected an earlier appeal brought by producers and restaurants.

Voters Increase Requirements for Farm Animal Confinement

November 2018 - California voters approved a measure that will ban sales of meat and eggs from animals kept in enclosures that fall below a minimum number of square feet. Proposition 12, which was backed by the Humane Society, will apply to California and out-of-state producers alike. The measure also requires producers to keep egg-laying hens in "cage-free" housing by 2022.

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

Clark County Bans Sale of Cats, Dogs, Potbellied Pigs at Pet Stores

December 2022 - The Clark County Commission voted to ban the sale of dogs, cats, rabbits and potbellied pigs at pet stores. The ordinance — which gives affected businesses a year to transition to another business model — passed in a unanimous vote to fanfare from a packed room that saw more than two dozen people speak in support. Each illegal sale would incur a $500 minimum fine, according to the ordinance. Lawmakers said the ordinance aimed to regulate the sale of the popular pets, take on black market sales and help relieve packed animal shelters.

Governor Signs Bill Banning Sale of Cosmetics Tested On Animals

June 2019 - Nevada has officially become the second state in the U.S. to ban the sale of cosmetics (including most personal-care products) tested on animals, following California. Gov. Steve Sisolak approved The Nevada Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act (SB 197), which was introduced to state legislators in February by Sen. Melanie Scheible. Like the California act, it contains exemptions for products tested on animals to meet the regulatory requirements of federal, state, or foreign jurisdictions. Products tested on animals in countries like China are not subject to the ban and can still be sold in Nevada.

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

Washington Governor Looking For Changes In Wolf Management

October 2019 - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is asking state wildlife officials to "significantly reduce" the killing of wolves involved in livestock conflicts. Right now, the state can lethally remove wolves after they've repeatedly killed livestock. The department says this is an attempt to change pack behavior. They must confirm at least three wolf depredations from the pack on livestock within 30 days or four within 10 months.

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.

Wyoming News Service

BLM Backs Down on Pryor Mountain Law Suit

September 2018 - The Cloud Foundation won a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) removal of 17 young wild horses in the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Range. TCF is attempting to protect the small herd from irreversible genetic loss as a result of the planned removals.

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

Congress Approves $1 Billion Emergency Funds for LIHEAP

October 2022 - Congressional passage of a federal appropriations package containing $1 billion in emergency supplemental funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will provide an additional estimated funds to help ensure that people are able to safely heat their homes this winter.

Poverty rates drop sharply for children of color

October 2022 - The child tax cred­it expan­sion led to sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tions in child pover­ty rates for mul­ti­ple racial and eth­nic groups, with par­tic­u­lar­ly large drops for Black and Lati­no chil­dren. While this is mean­ing­ful progress, 2021 pover­ty rates remain dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly high for Black (8%), Lati­no (8%) and Amer­i­can Indi­an and Alas­ka Native chil­dren (7%), com­pared to white (3%) and Asian and Pacif­ic Islanders (6%) kids.

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

President Biden Signs Omnibus Bill With CA Priorities

December 2022 - President Biden signed the fiscal year 2023 omnibus federal funding bill, a bill that includes many programs that will specifically benefit California. It includes robust funding for several issues important to our state such as fighting wildfires, mitigating drought, ending homelessness, and combating climate change.

Small Businesses to Get Windfall from New Budget

July 2021 - The California Comeback Plan, via the state budget, invests an additional $1.5 billion for a total of $4 billion in direct grants to California’s small businesses – on top of $6.2 billion in tax relief – putting more money directly into the pockets of hundreds of thousands of small business owners and helping them re-hire workers displaced by the pandemic. The Plan also creates a $120 million California Competes Tax Credit grant program to incentivize businesses to relocate to the state.

Governor Newsom Signs Budget With Progressive Priorities

June 2019 - California will increase its spending on public education, expand healthcare services and stash away more money than ever for an economic downturn under the state budget signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom - a plan that was stalled for two weeks over how it would address the state's growing housing crisis. The $214.8-billion budget is the largest in state history. The majority of its provisions take effect in July, though some new services won't be funded until next January in an effort to lower the short-term cost.

Governor's Budget Aims to Lower Premiums, Expand Medi-Cal

January 2019 - The State of California would invest hundreds of millions of dollars to improve access to healthcare and health insurance under Governor Gavin Newsom's first budget. It includes 200-million dollars to allow undocumented low-income adults ages 18 to 26 to access Medi-Cal. Previously, only undocumented children have been included. Newsom's budget proposal would also reinstate the individual mandate that requires people to have health insurance. It uses the fees from the mandate to increase subsidies on Covered California plans for middle-income families, those with incomes between 250- and 600-percent of the federal poverty level.

Voters Save The Gas Tax

November 2018 - Voters rejected Proposition 6, arguably the most contested ballot measure. If passed it would have repealed the gas tax increase approved last year by Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers.

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.

Colorado News Connection

HB 1311 & HB 1312 Major Tax Overhaul Wins Final Legislative Approval

June 2021 - In a major tax overhaul, HB21-1311 and HB21-1312 expands tax credits for working families and small businesses, and close some wasteful tax loopholes.

New Law Closing Tax Loopholes for Wealthy Passes

June 2020 - HB20-1420 will close or means-test tax deductions that benefit wealthy individuals and businesses, generating an estimated $180 million in revenue for the state. The law also expands the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Commonwealth News Service

New Data Show That the Child Tax Credit Fueled a Substantial Reduction in Child Poverty

October 2022 - The nation’s child pover­ty rate dropped by half in 2021, from an esti­mat­ed 10% in 2020 to a his­toric low of 5%. This was pri­mar­i­ly thanks to the expand­ed child tax cred­it, accord­ing to the Sup­ple­men­tal Pover­ty Mea­sure (SPM).

Gov. Baker Signs Budget with $6.5 million for Community Action, New Focus on Poverty Reduction

July 2021 - Governor Charlie Baker signed the FY 22 budget, which contains $6.5 million for Community Action agencies to expand their reach; as well as a commission to address inequality, promote opportunity and end poverty.

Governor Charlie Baker Signs Student Opportunity Act

November 2019 - Governor Charlie Baker signed the Student Opportunity Act into law, adding $1.5 billion in annual education funding. PNS has been covering the Student Opportunity Act and past attempts to increase public education funding for years.

Proposed "Millionaire's Tax" Returns to Legislature

March 2019 - A so-called millionaire's tax that would help fund public education, and amend the state constitution, has been scheduled for a public hearing in April.

Connecticut News Service

CT Offers Property Tax Deferral During Covid-19

April 2020 - On April 1, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order No. 7S, which, among other things, provides property tax relief to certain taxpayers impacted by COVID-19. Under the "Deferment Program," from March 10, 2020 through July 1, 2020 each municipality will have the right to allow eligible taxpayers the ability to defer payments of tax on real property, personal property or motor vehicles, municipal water, sewer and electric charges, or assessments by ninety days from the original due date of the payments. Eligible taxpayers must attest that they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Landlords may be eligible for the program if they prove that the rented property will suffer significant income decline and that a commensurate forbearance was offered to their tenants.

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

General Assembly Passes Bill Appropriating $225M For Health Care Workforce

January 2022 - The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed House Bill 253, which appropriates $225 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to support the health care workforce in Pennsylvania.

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.

Minnesota News Connection

Gov. Walz Signs Plan for Bonus Checks for Frontline Workers

May 2022 - Governor Tim Walz signed a plan that allocates funding for hero checks. Bonus pay will be distributed to a wide range of frontline workers for their sacrifices during COVID. The plan covers a larger pool of workers that advocates had been pushing for.

Missouri News Service

Governor Vetoes Tax Credit Proposal Leaving Out One Third of Missourians

July 2022 - Advocacy organizations applaud Governor Mike Parson's veto of a tax credit they say would have left out about a third of the poorest Missourians.

Nevada News Service

Governor Signs Bill to Tax Mines, Fund Education

June 2021 - Governor Steve Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 495- sponsored by the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, with input from business, industry, educators, labor organizations, activists and advocates and more, creates a 1 percent levy on large silver and gold mines for public school funding. This funding will benefit every educator, every student, and every family in Nevada. Additionally, this bill dedicates $200 million in Nevada's federal funding for Nevada's K-12 public schools. Both of these investments will ensure Nevada can address learning loss and continue improving educational outcomes in the short and long term.

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

Report: Majority of NM Families to Benefit from State Tax Cut

October 2019 - The majority of New Mexico families with children are expected to benefit from a tax-code change when they file their next tax return. An independent analysis found that 70% of families with children will see lower taxes after the state Legislature passed a bill in April to lower taxes, legislation that later was signed by the governor.

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.

New York News Connection

Stronger NY Retirement Savings Program Becomes Law

October 2021 - New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation that will enhance the NY Secure Choice Savings program, allowing workers to save more retirement more easily.

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.

Washington News Service

WA Supreme Court Upholds Capital Gains Tax

March 2023 - Washington state Supreme Court ruled in an overwhelming 7-2 decision that the capital gains tax passed by the legislature in 2021 is constitutional – and that the critical funding it provides for early learning and schools is secure.

WA Legislature Says No to Private For Profit Prisons and Detention

March 2021 - HB 1090 to ban contracts with for-profit, private prisons and detention facilities, was passed by the WA Senate Chamber, 28-21. Its passage represents months of work by state legislators and years of organizing and advocacy in the community to pass legislation that would ban facilities which profit from mass incarceration and due to their profit motive, are marked by poor standards and health conditions for those incarcerated inside.

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


All News Services

Pres. Trump Reverses Course on Census Citizenship Question

July 2019 - Dropping a controversial plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked it, President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the Commerce Department to obtain citizenship data through means other than the US census. Trump repeatedly said in Rose Garden remarks that he's not backing away from attempting a count of US citizens, but acknowledged legal setbacks in inserting a citizenship question on the nationwide population survey.

Colorado News Connection

Census Outreach To Help Local Governments Becomes Law

May 2019 - HB 1239 creates the 2020 census outreach grant program to help local governments and other agencies including school districts and nonprofits to support the accurate counting of Colorado's population for the 2020 census.

New York News Connection

NY Allocates $60 Million to Support Counting Every New Yorker in the 2020 Census

November 2019 - New York State will spend as much as $60 million to make sure that every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census. The State will leverage resources across dozens of agencies, public authorities, CUNY and SUNY that regularly interact with millions of New Yorkers. Together, they will launch a wide-reaching campaign valued at up to $40 million from existing resources that will inform the public about the Census and support efforts to encourage residents to complete the questionnaire. Additionally, $20 million from the FY 2020 Budget is being made available to support targeted efforts in hard to reach communities.

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

Child Victims Act Signed into Law

February 2019 - The Child Victims Act ensures those who abuse children are held accountable criminally and civilly and that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have a path to justice. The new law Increases the amount of time during which perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable; allows victims of these crimes to commence a civil lawsuit at any time before they reach 55 years of age; provides victims whose claims have been time-barred a new opportunity for their day in court by opening a one-year window for them to commence their action; and eliminates the need to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor.

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

More Money to Combat Infant Mortality in Ohio

January 2019 - Governor Mike Dewine announced that he will include a significant amount of additional money in his upcoming state budget plan to expand home-visitation services for pregnant women and new moms. The plan is aimed at helping to reduce Ohio's high infant mortality rate.

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 v i c

E n g a g e m e n t

Civic Engagement

All News Services

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Revive North Carolina Voter-ID Law

May 2017 - The U.S. Supreme Court dealt an unexpected blow to the voter-identification movement, refusing to reinstate North Carolina ballot restrictions that a lower court said target blacks "with almost surgical precision." Turning away the appeal by state Republican leaders, the justices left intact a ruling that said the provisions were racially discriminatory in violation of federal voting-rights law. In addition to requiring people to show a photo ID, the North Carolina law reduced the number of early-voting days and eliminated same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting. The rebuff was a surprise because four conservative justices previously tried to revive the measure before the 2016 election. That effort failed because it was an emergency request that required five votes, but the court could have accepted the latest appeal with only four votes.

Hours before the Vote: Bay State Voters Rights Restored

November 2016 - On the Eve of Election 2106, a Massachusetts judge ordered the secretary of state allow three Bay Staters to cast provisional ballots. The judge ruled the state's 20-day voter cutoff law disenfranchised the voters. The court is expected to decide after the election whether to strike down the cut-off deadline.

Supreme Court Protects Right of Public Workers to Support Candidate of Their Choice

April 2016 - Just in time for the election season, The Supreme Court has strengthened the rights of the nation's 22 million public employees to protect them against being demoted or fired for supporting the wrong political candidate.

Supreme Court Rejects Radical Re-Write of Constitution in Evenwel Redistricting Case

April 2016 - The U.S. Supreme Court voted 8-0 in Evenwel v. Abbott to allow states to continue to count total population when drawing state legislative districts after each census.

Senate Hearing on Citizens United

May 2014 - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next month on a constitutional amendment in response to the Supreme Court's decisions regarding campaign finance and money in politics.

Young Voters Turn Out in Unexpectedly High Numbers

November 2012 - Nearly half of voters under age 30 cast a ballot and dispelled pundits expectation that the 2008 record turnout of young voters would return to lower levels.

Arizona News Connection

Arizona Rep. McSally Faces Voters In First Town Hall Since Nov. Election

February 2017 - Southern Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally held a public town hall after weeks of pressure from citizens groups. We reported on their efforts which included rallies and petitions.

Bill Criminalizing Protest is Dead

February 2017 - SB 1142, the bill that would have allowed protest organizers to be prosecuted for racketeering if a demonstration turned violent, is effectively dead. House Speaker J.D. Mesnard has confirmed that he does not plan to consider the bill, which means that it won't move forward in the legislature.

Redistricting Maps Upheld

April 2014 - A federal court panel has upheld legislative redistricting maps created by Arizona's voter-created Independent Redistricting Commission.

Monitor to Oversee Arpaio's Actions

September 2013 - A federal judge has ruled that a court-appointed monitor will oversee the day-to-day operations of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office.

Voters will Decide on "Voter Laws"

September 2013 - Opponents of a new state elections law they describe as "voter suppression" have succeeded in collecting enough signatures to submit the issue to voters next year.

Voter Law Upended

June 2013 - The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down part of Arizona's law requiring all would-be voters to prove they are citizens.

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.

Arizona Recognized for Providing Online Information on Government Spending

March 2012 - Arizona is one of seven states to receive a top grade for providing online information about government spending.

Proposed Public Campaign Finance System Ballot Measure Challenged

May 2011 - A proposed ballot measure to end Arizona's public campaign finance system is being challenged by a citizen's advocacy group.

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

Court Strikes Down Two Montana Laws That Restrict Native American Voting Rights

October 2022 - A Montana court has struck down as unconstitutional two state laws that hinder Native American participation in the state’s electoral process. One measure, HB 176, would have ended Election Day registration. The other, HB 530, aimed to prohibit paid third-party ballot assistance. Native American voters living on reservations disproportionately rely upon both Election Day registration and ballot assistance to cast votes in Montana.

MT Judge Rules 18-year-olds Must be Allowed to Access Their Ballots

July 2022 - Judge Moses of the Thirteenth Judicial District Court has ruled that House Bill 506, which restricts ballot access for voters who turn 18 in the month before Election Day, violates the Montana Constitution.

MT Court Blocks Provisions of New Voter Suppression Law

February 2022 - A Montana state court permanently blocked portions of a new election law for violating the Montana Constitution. The plaintiffs in Forward Montana v. Montana filed a lawsuit against two provisions of Senate Bill 319 that ban political committees from engaging in voter registration and education activities on public college campuses and require judges to recuse themselves from cases if a party or attorney before them donated to their campaign. The complaint alleges that this law violates the First Amendment and multiple provisions of the Montana Constitution, which require that a bill "shall contain only one subject" and prohibits drastic amendments during the legislative process that alter the original purpose of the bill.

Court Blocks Montana Law That Restricts Voting Rights of Native Americans

July 2020 - A Montana court has blocked a state law that severely restricts the right to vote for Native Americans. The Native American Rights Fund, American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of Montana successfully sought the preliminary injunction halting the so-called Montana Ballot Interference Prevention ACT (BIPA), which imposed severe restrictions on ballot collection efforts that are critical to Native American voters, particularly those living on rural reservations. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Crow Tribe, and Fort Belknap Indian Community, as well as Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote, Native American-led organizations focused on getting out the vote and increasing civic participation in the Native American community. In a state where the majority of individuals vote by mail, rural tribal communities work with get-out-the-vote organizers who collect and transport ballots to election offices that would otherwise be inaccessible. These ballot collection efforts are often the only way Native Americans living on rural reservations can access the vote. BIPA would have effectively ended this practice, disenfranchising Native American voters en masse.

Court Temporarily Blocks Montana Law That Restricts Native American Voting Rights

May 2020 - A Montana court has issued a temporary restraining order blocking a state law that severely restricts Native Americans’ right to vote. The action means the law is blocked pending the outcome of a hearing scheduled for May 29. The primary is June 2. The Native American Rights Fund, American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of Montana successfully sought the order halting the so-called Montana Ballot Interference Prevention ACT (BIPA), which imposed severe restrictions on ballot collection efforts that are critical to Native American voters, particularly those living on rural reservations. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Crow Tribe, and Fort Belknap Indian Community, as well as Western Native Voice and Montana Native Vote, Native American-led organizations focused on getting out the vote and increasing civic participation in the Native American community. In a state where the majority of individuals vote by mail, rural tribal communities work with get-out-the-vote organizers who collect and transport ballots to election offices that would otherwise be inaccessible. These ballot collection efforts are often the only way Native Americans living on rural reservations can access the vote. BIPA would effectively end this practice, disenfranchising Native American voters en masse.

Primaries Remain Open in Montana, For Now

March 2016 - The state Republican party is suing to have a closed primary.

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

Governor Signs Bill to Mail A Ballot to All Registered Voters

June 2020 - Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 860—authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman with Senator Tom Umberg as a joint author—which codifies that county elections officials must mail a ballot to every registered, active voter ahead of the November 3, 2020 General Election. Requires county elections officials to mail every active registered voter a ballot. Requires every county elections officials to adopt a vote-by-mail ballot tracking system. Californians can sign up for the Secretary of State’s "Where's My Ballot?" tool to receive automatic updates about the status of their vote-by-mail ballot by text (SMS), voice call, or email. Californians can sign-up at wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov

Supreme Court Leave CA Voting Rights In Place

May 2020 - The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to consider a challenge to the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). The High Court’s denial of certiorari brings an end to a federal lawsuit filed by the Project on Fair Representation, an organization led by right-wing financier Ed Blum, on behalf of a former mayor who alleged that the CVRA is unlawful and results in racial gerrymandering.

Senator Harris Introduces "VoteSafe" Act

April 2020 - Voting rights groups are praising the 'VoteSafe Act of 2020,' introduced in Congress on Thursday by California Senator Kamala Harris. The bill would set aside five-billion dollars to expand voting by mail and early voting ahead of the November presidential election.

CA Voter Registration Soars

November 2019 - Record numbers of Californians are now registered to vote - more than 20-point-3 million people - which is 3 million more than at this point in 2016 - according to the latest statistics from Secretary of State Alex Padilla. More than 80 percent of voters in the Golden State have registered - which is the highest percentage in 67 years.

CA Lawmakers Approve Election Day Voter Registration

September 2019 - California Legislature approves SB 72, to allow all eligible Californians to register to vote and cast a ballot at polling sites on Election Day. Championed by legislation by State Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana), SB 72 now heads to Governor Newsom. If signed by the governor, Election Day registration would be available at all polling sites in California in 2020, making California the 12th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow Election Day registration.

Court Rules CA Must Improve Voter Registration

April 2019 - On April 3, 2019, civil rights groups prevailed against Secretary of State Alex Padilla in their lawsuit to expand voter registration at agencies in the state that serve people on public assistance and individuals with disabilities. San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Ethan P. Schulman ruled Padilla must require voter registration at additional agencies and contractors serving Californians throughout the state. More than 1.8 million Californians will benefit from the ruling.

CA Governor Creates Committee To Ensure Everyone is Counted for 2020 Census

April 2018 - Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the creation of the California Complete Count Committee, a statewide panel of community members from many different ethnic groups and walks of life that will guide California's outreach for the 2020 federal census. "It is vitally important for California to do everything it can to ensure that every Californian is counted in the upcoming census," said Governor Brown. The move comes as the Trump administration is looking to add a question on citizenship to the census, something many groups fear would drive down participation.

Settlement in Kern County Gerrymandering Case

March 2018 - MALDEF and attorneys for Kern County, California announced an agreement today on a new Board of Supervisors districting plan that will respect Latinos' right to elect candidates of their choice. The settlement follows a February federal court ruling that a redistricting plan adopted in 2011 by the Board of Supervisors violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act. After negotiations at a settlement conference, plaintiffs and their attorneys from MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Kern County agreed on a new district map that will create a second Latino majority district in compliance with the February order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Drozd.

Court Side With Civil Libertarians on Redistricting in Kern County

February 2018 - A redistricting plan adopted in 2011 by the Kern County, California Board of Supervisors unlawfully denies Latinos the right to elect candidates of their choice, in violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a federal judge ruled in a landmark lawsuit filed by MALDEF. The order was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Drozd, who presided over an 11-day bench trial in December, holds that the current plan is unlawful, and orders that the litigation proceed to the remedial phase, where the court will hear the proposals of the parties and adopt new, lawful plans for election of Supervisors. Plaintiffs have requested that those plans be implemented in the 2018 elections.

CA City Redistricts To Create More Representation for Low-income Residents

February 2018 - In a major victory for voting rights, the Oxnard City Council unanimously voted to approve a city council district map adding two new representatives for South Oxnard. After the city received a letter that it was in violation of the California Voting Rights Act, the council agreed to transition to district elections, giving neighborhoods the ability to elect their own representatives to City Hall. The civil rights group CAUSE worked to engage a diverse group of residents from throughout the city to develop a district map, which was chosen over dozens of other maps submitted. The new map ensures that four of Oxnard's six districts would represent the working-class immigrant communities that make up the majority of the city's population, particularly neighborhoods like South Oxnard and La Colonia.

Governor Signs Bill on Vote Disclosure

September 2016 - Governor Brown signed AB 1494 authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine and co-authored by State Senator Joel Anderson, which allows California voters to voluntarily disclose the contents of their vote in any manner they see fit.

Law Allowing 16 Year Olds to Preregister to Vote Takes Effect

September 2016 - A law to encourage young people to vote by allowing voter pre-registration beginning at age 16 has just taken effect.

Governor Signs Motor Voter Law

October 2015 - Eligible voters will be automatically registered when they obtain or renew their drivers' licenses.

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

Colorado Passes Landmark Police Reform Legislation

June 2020 - In part, SB20-217 bans the use of chokeholds and bars police from aiming tear gas or rubber bullets at protesters' heads, pelvises or backs. Police officers can be sued for misconduct by getting rid of the qualified immunity defense that generally protects government workers from lawsuits.

Redistricting Reform: CO Passes Amendments Y and Z

November 2018 - Colorado voters approved two constitutional amendments that will help prevent gerrymandering in districts.

Legislature Approves Open-records Modernization

May 2017 - An 18-month push to update Colorado's open-records law for the digital age culminated Wednesday in the final passage of a bill that clarifies the public's right to copies of electronic government records in useful file formats that permit analysis of information in those records. Senate Bill 17-040 heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk after passing the House on a 39-26 vote and then repassing the Senate unanimously, all on the last day of the 2017 legislative session.

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.

Commonwealth News Service

Governor Baker Signs VOTES Act Into Law

June 2022 - Governor Charlie Baker signed the VOTES Act into law. It makes mail-in voting and expanded early voting permanent and is considered the widest expansion of voting rights in years.

State Lawmakers Pass Police Reform Bill

December 2020 - MA state legislators passed S.2963, a police reform bill that would ban chokeholds and limit use of tear gas. It's now on Governor Charlie Baker's desk for review.

Mass. among first states extending vote-by-mail expansion to November

July 2020 - Massachusetts has dropped its excuse requirements for voting by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic — not only in this summer's primary but also in the general election. Legislation signed on Monday by Gov. Charlie Baker is significant because it makes Massachusetts among the first states to lock in the ability of all registered voters to cast ballots by mail for November.

New MA Open Meeting Law

September 2017 - Public officials will no longer be able to use a broken website as an excuse for not notifying the public about an upcoming meeting. That's just one of the safeguards under a new Open Meeting law that takes effect across Massachusetts in early October.

MA Black and Latino Caucus "Listens" to Set Agenda

March 2017 - In what is being called a first-of-its kind move in the state, members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus held listening sessions with hundreds of voters to determine legislative priorities. The caucus identified 19 bills that are currently pending that align with the feedback they got from community members.

Connecticut News Service

CT Voters Approve Early Voting Measure

December 2022 - 60 percent of Connecticut voters approved early voting. Civic group leaders are hopeful this will benefit people who aren't always able to vote on one day. A similar measure failed in 2014.

CT House Passes Constitutional Amendment to Allow Early Voting

April 2019 - Connecticut House of Representatives has passed a resolution to adopt an amendment to the state constitution to create a system of early voting and no-excuse absentee voting for elections in the state. The House approved the resolution by a three-fourths super-majority vote of 125-24. If the Senate also approves the resolution by a three-fourths vote, a question on whether to adopt the constitutional amendment will appear on the November 2020 statewide ballot for voters' approval.

Bill Would Restore Voting Rights to Parolees, Pre-Trial Detainees

March 2018 - A bill (HB 5418) to restore the vote to thousands of Connecticut residents is getting a hearing in the General Assembly. If passed the bill would give some 4,000 people who are in custody but have not been convicted of a crime access to ballots, and it would restore voting rights to another 3,000 who are on parole. The legislation would bring Connecticut's voting rights laws into line with every other state in New England. Ten other states and Washington, D.C. also allow people who are on parole to vote. Supporters of the bill say technically, people who have not been convicted of a crime but are held in pretrial detention do have the right to vote, but they need access to absentee ballots or other means to cast their votes.

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.

Florida News Connection

Judge will rule part of Florida felon voting law unconstitutional

May 2020 - A federal judge signaled that he would find part of a Florida law restricting the voting rights of former felons unconstitutional.

Florida Counties Must Provide Sample Ballots in Spanish

September 2018 - In a partial victory for Hispanic advocacy groups, a federal judge ruled that 32 Florida counties must at least provide sample ballots and signage in Spanish before the Nov. 6 statewide election.

Judge Says Voting Rights Process For Florida Felons Unconstitutional

February 2018 - A federal judge has declared unconstitutional Florida's procedure for restoring voting rights to felons who have served their time. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the disenfranchisement of felons who have served their time is "nonsensical" and a violation of the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Florida Voters Will Decide Ballot Measure to Restore Felon's Voting Rights

January 2018 - Florida's Voting Restoration Amendment on next November's ballot would restore rights to citizens convicted of most non-violent crimes who have completed their prison sentence, parole and probation. Florida currently has one of the strictest felon disenfranchisement laws in the country. Roughly 1.6 million Florida citizens -- about one in four African Americans -- are barred from casting a ballot.

Giant Steps in Avoiding Election Night Dramas

April 2013 - The Florida Legislature approved an election reform bill (HB 7013), which expands access to early voting by allowing more early voting days, gives supervisors more flexibility in choosing early voting locations, keeps legislatively-generated amendment summaries to 75 words or less, and restores the ability of Floridians to move within the state and still cast a regular ballot.

Greater Dakota News Service

SD's Petition Law Ruled Unconstitutional: Will Lawmakers Try Again?

January 2020 - A law passed by the SD legislature in 2019 to impose reporting requirements on people who circulate petitions was struck down as unconstitutional. A grassroots group, South Dakota Voice, filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the bill from taking effect. The law would have required people who circulate petitions to wear badges with ID numbers, and put personal information into a public directory.

Illinois News Connection

Automatic Voter Registration Goes into effect in Illinois

August 2017 - Legislation ensuring Illinoisans who are eligible to vote will be automatically registered when they conduct business at state facilities is now law in Illinois. Governor Rauner signed the bill on the 54th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

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.

Indiana News Service

Indiana Studies Redistricting Options

December 2015 - Momentum is building in Indiana to prevent political bias in the way legislative districts are drawn.

Kentucky News Connection

Governor Vetoes Senate Bill 2 (Voter ID Bill)

April 2020 - Governor Andy Beshear vetoed Senate Bill 2, which would have required Kentuckians to present a valid form of photo-identification at the polls.

Keystone State News Connection

PA State Senator to be Seated After Ballot-Counting Dispute

January 2021 - Jim Brewster will be sworn in as a state senator, ending a dispute over counting ballots in Allegheny County. The court ruled that the federal claims of Brewster's opponent, Nicole Ziccarelli, failed on their merits. Ziccarelli had claimed that counting those ballots in Allegheny County violated equal-protection rights, because similar ballots were not counted in neighboring Westmoreland County.

Pennsylvanians Urged to Hand-Deliver Mail Ballots Immediately

October 2020 - Counties will mail ballots to voters once the applications are verified. Voters who still have their mail ballot are strongly encouraged to immediately hand-deliver their voted ballot to their county election office or other officially designated site, including drop boxes. More than 3 million Pennsylvanians have applied to vote by mail, made possible by a new law signed last year creating the most sweeping election reforms in 80 years. The deadline to drop off their completed mail ballots is 8 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Pa. Supreme Court Decision is a Victory for Voters

September 2020 - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the state’s bipartisan voting reforms. Chief among them is the ability for every voter to cast a ballot by mail, for any reason or no reason at all. This ruling affirms that legislation and allows counties to implement processes that support the voting reforms. The ruling confirms that counties will be able to provide convenient secure options such as additional county election offices and drop boxes to increase accessibility for those who are voting by mail. It also means that ballots postmarked by election day and received by the Friday after the election will be counted.

Thousands of Pennsylvanians Recruited To Serve As Poll Workers For General Election

September 2020 - Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced that since the primary election on June 2, the Department of State has received approximately 35,000 applications from Pennsylvanians who want to serve as poll workers during the general election on November 3. In addition, the Secretary announced that for the first time, certain professional licensees will receive continuing education credits for serving as poll workers on election day. Many communities still need poll workers on election day. Typically, 40,000 to 45,000 poll workers are needed statewide for the general election.

Law Will Help Prepare for the General Election

June 2020 - Newly enacted House Bill 2502 requires the Department of State to publish a report on the June 2, 2020, primary election. The report will help identify any necessary changes to the Pennsylvania Election Code before the general election in November. That report will include a series of data points for each county relating to the reforms of Act 77 of 2019 and Act 12 of 2020, including the numbers of mail-in ballots that were applied for and received, the number of new voter registrations received, and what time each county began to pre-canvass and canvass absentee and mail-in ballots.

Mail Ballot Deadline in Six Counties Extended to June 9

June 2020 - Amid a surge in mail-in ballots, the COVID-19 public health emergency and civil disturbances in six counties the deadline for county election offices in Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to receive absentee or mail-in ballots by mail has been extended to 5 p.m. June 9, 2020. The ballot must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, June 2, 2020. The deadline to hand deliver absentee or mail-in ballots remains 8 p.m. June 2, 2020. Nearly 1.8 million Pennsylvania voters have applied for a mail ballot since the onset of COVID-19.

One Million Apply for Mail-in Primary Ballots

May 2020 - Nearly one million voters have applied for a mail-in ballot for the June 2 primary election. Mail-in ballots are new to Pennsylvania because of Act 77 of 2019, signed last year as part of the state’s most sweeping election law improvements in 80 years. The law created the option of mail-in ballots with no excuse needed, along with later deadlines for voter registration and for returning mail-in and absentee ballots.

Pennsylvania Launches Application for New Mail-In Voting Option

February 2020 - Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced today that Pennsylvania voters can apply online to vote by mail-in ballot for the April 28 primary. The deadline for county election offices to receive applications is 5 p.m. on April 21. Under Act 77, Pennsylvania voters now have several ways to vote if they choose not to go to the polls or are unable to get to the polls on election day: mail-in ballot or absentee ballot, both of which they can vote via the mail or in person at their county election office. Voters will receive a ballot in the mail to complete and return to their county election office by 8 p.m. on election day. The online application allows mail-in voters to request that their county election office add them to an annual mail-in voter ballot request list. Their ballot application will then be automatically mailed to them each year.

New Commission to Find Fair Redistricting Solutions

November 2018 - Taking action to build on the bipartisan support for making Pennsylvania's redistricting process more fair and nonpartisan, Governor Tom Wolf has signed an executive order establishing the bipartisan Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission and appointed David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the non-profit Committee of Seventy, as chairman. The order creates the commission that will review non-partisan redistricting processes in other states that reduce gerrymandering, provide opportunities for public comment at community meetings and online, and make recommendations to the governor and legislature for a non-partisan redistrict process in Pennsylvania.

PA Gerrymandering Ruling Called Major Victory

January 2018 - Election law advocates say the state Supreme Court's ruling declaring Pennsylvania's congressional map unconstitutional was the first of its kind in the nation. The court said the map created by Republicans in 2011 was drawn to discriminate against Democrats. With it, the GOP has consistently held 13 of the state's 18 congressional districts despite the fact that voters are pretty evenly divided between the parties. The ruling is the first time a court has relied on general provisions of a state constitution to strike down gerrymandered district lines. The General Assembly has until Feb. 9 to submit a new district plan to Gov. Tom Wolf. Republicans in the state Senate say they will request a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

20,000 New Voters Registered Online

October 2015 - In a little more than one month 20,000 Pennsylvania residents registered as new voters using the state's new online registration system.

Lottery Privatization Plan Criticized

December 2012 - A report from the Keystone Research Center took a close look at the idea of privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Maine News Service

Maine Senate Passes National Popular Vote Bill

May 2019 - The National Popular Vote bill (LD 816) has passed the Maine Senate. The measure would add Maine to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Compact will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes - 270 out of 538 - necessary to elect a president. When electors meet to cast their ballots for president and vice-president following an election, 270 or more electoral votes from all the compacting states would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most popular votes nationwide. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have already passed the National Popular Vote bill, giving the measure 189 electoral votes, just 81 short of 270.

Maine Budget Funds Clean Elections

August 2017 - Despite resistance by lawmakers, the final version of the state budget compromise included a 3 million dollar annual transfer, as well as the early transfer of 2019 funds to pay for protections mandated by Maine's Clean Elections Initiative.

Advocates Prevent Rollback of Ranked-Choice Voting

August 2017 - Local advocates were able to defeat a measure this legislative session (LD1625) that would have repealed the ranked-choice voting law. Lawmakers in both chambers could not come to agreements, so the repeal measure died for the session.

Voters Wishes Upheld on Ranked-Choice Voting

June 2017 - A voter-approved law making ranked-choice voting the rule for statewide elections will stay in effect until at least next year. That's because both houses failed in efforts to repeal the measure this session.

Additional Maine Casino Now Off the Ballot

April 2016 - A Superior Court judge has upheld Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's decision to reject a citizen petition that would have asked voters to allow a new casino in southern Maine.

Push to Legalize Pot in Maine Clears Hurdle

January 2016 - An effort to legalize recreational marijuana use in Maine gathered sufficient signatures to earn their proposal a spot on the state's ballot this November.

Maine Voters Support Clean Elections

November 2015 - Maine voters approved a trio of Amendments on Election Day that implement reforms to Maine's taxpayer-funded Clean Election system.

Award Recognizes Rare Bipartisanship

December 2012 - The industry-based education reform group Educate Maine gave its annual Weston L. Bonney Education Leadership Award to all the members - Republican and Democrat - of the joint Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Michigan News Connection

Democrats Flip Michigan Government

December 2022 - In the 2022 midterm elections, Michigan Democrats won all four statewide races Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General) and take control of both the state House and Senate.

Michigan Ordered to Change Gerrymandered Districts

April 2019 - A federal court has ordered Michigan to draw new legislative districts, ruling a gerrymandered plan enacted by the state's Republican controlled legislature in 2011 was a constitutional violation. The three-judge panel said the redistricting plan in 34 congressional and state legislative districts was designed to discriminate against Democratic voters.

US Supreme Court Rules Against Straight-ticket Voting

September 2016 - Gov. Snyder had passed a law banning straight-ticket voting in January of last year. In July it was blocked by a federal judge who said it put a burden on minority voters. The state fought the stay, until the Supreme Court finally ruled against them in September.

Michiganders Connected to Family and Friends

December 2015 - Civic health is a community's capacity to work together to solve problems - and the new 2015 Michigan Civic Health Index finds Michiganders are very much connected to family and friends, and volunteer their time.

Minnesota News Connection

MN Democrats Sweep Statewide Offices in Midterms; Take Full Control of Legislature

November 2022 - D-F-L Governor Tim Walz was re-elected, along with Democrats holding offices for Secretary of State and Attorney General. Policy analysts say this could remove gridlock over state investments from the budget surplus, while protecting voting and reproductive rights.

Voters Choose Several "Firsts"

November 2017 - The first African-American mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter III, and a transgender woman (Andrea Jenkins) and a transgender man (Phillipe Cunningham) were elected to the Minneapolis City Council.

Protests Allowed Without Permits

October 2013 - The Walker administration reached a deal with the ACLU regarding policies and permits for the noon-time Capitol "solidarity sing-along."

Online Voter Registration Debuts

October 2013 - Minnesota has launched a new online voter registration system, becoming the 15th state in the nation to do so.

Voter Photo ID Rejection

November 2012 - Minnesotans rejected the voter photo ID constitutional amendment, which would've required all voters to show a government issued photo ID to vote.

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.

Nevada News Service

Rulings Block Referendum Against Universal Mail-In Ballots

April 2022 - In separate rulings, Senior Judge Frances Doherty blocked the effort to file a referendum against AB321, the measure passed by lawmakers in 2021 to permanently implement universal mail-in ballot. In a separate case, Senior Judge William Maddox ruled that the voter ID initiative's description of effect — a 200-word summary — was argumentative and ordered a new description be written, effectively scrapping all signatures collected at this point.

Washoe County Rejects Changes to Voting

March 2022 - The Board of Commissioners shot down a resolution to overhaul Washoe County’s voting processes by a vote of 4 to 1. The plan was controversial for multiple reasons. It proposed 20 dramatic measures that would have returned the county to using paper ballots, hand-counting results, and adding a law enforcement presence at all voting sites.

Governor Signs Bill Making Vote-by-Mail Permanent

June 2021 - Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signs groundbreaking legislation to expand voting access in the State of Nevada. Assembly Bill 321 makes Nevada the sixth state to adopt a permanent vote-by mail-system. The bill requires all county and city clerks to send every active registered voter a mail ballot before a primary or general election.

Nevada Wins Voting Lawsuit Ahead of National Voter Registration Day

September 2020 - Today is National Voter Registration Day, a civic responsibility that will be easier for Nevadans this year after a federal judge dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit challenging Nevada's new vote-by-mail law. The judge said the president's re-election campaign failed to show how it could be harmed by the law.

Governor Signs Voting Rights Package

June 2019 - Civil-rights groups are cheering a big voting-rights package signed by Governor Steve Sisolak. A-B 345 would establish same-day voter registration - meaning people could register on election day. The bill also would allow election officials to establish certain "universal" polling locations, where anyone in the county or city can vote, even if it isn't their assigned polling place. It also would allow voters to register online, even on Election Day and during the early vote period.

Governor Signs Bill To Improve Public Records Access

June 2019 - Gov. Steve Sisolak signed public records access reform into law with changes designed to make it easier and cheaper for average citizens to view or obtain official documents from governments and public agencies and penalize those agencies when they don't comply. Senate Bill 287 officially takes effect Oct. 1

NV Assembly Votes to Restore Felons' Voting Rights

April 2019 - Nevada would become the 15th state to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences if Assembly Bill 431 gets the governor's signature. Currently in Nevada, voting rights can only be restored two years after a person's release, and only for people convicted of nonviolent crimes who petition the court where they were convicted.

State Assembly Passes National Popular Vote Bill

April 2019 - The State Assembly passed a bill that would make Nevada the 16th state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The proposal would require the state to pledge all of six of its Electoral College votes to the presidential candidate who wins a majority of the national popular vote. Barry Fadem, president of the nonprofit National Popular Vote, says if enough states sign on, it could go into effect for the 2024 presidential election.

Nevada Approves Motor Voter Measure

November 2018 - Nevadans approved a measure to make voter registration automatic when a person applies for an identification card or a driver's license. Under the ballot measure, the voter registration system at the state's Department of Motor Vehicles would require Nevada residents to check a box to decline voter registration instead of the former opt-in system. The measure would also allow a resident's voter registration information to be automatically updated if he or she is already registered to vote.

Nevadan Catherine Cortez Masto Takes Oath, Becomes First Latina U.S. Senator

January 2017 - The country's first Latina U-S Senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, was sworn into office on Tuesday representing the Silver State, a point of pride for Hispanic leaders in Nevada. The Democrat is the first female Hispanic senator ever, and one of only four Hispanics in the U-S Senate, including Republicans Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Dems Flip Both Chambers of State Legislature Blue

November 2016 - Progressive advocates are speaking out about the election results, saying the strength of Democratic candidates in the Silver State provides something of a silver lining after the historic loss by Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Both the Nevada State Assembly and Senate switched over to Democratic control, with Republicans losing ten seats in the Assembly. Republican Congressman Joe Heck lost his bid for the Senate to former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who now becomes the first Latina in the U-S Senate.Nevadans also elected the state's first Latino Congressman, Ruben Kihuen (KEE-when), who formerly served in the state Assembly and state Senate, and who started out as an aide to retiring Senator Harry Reid.

New Hampshire News Connection

Youth Voter Turnout Brings Progressive Wins in NH

December 2022 - Researchers say the 2022 election had the second highest voter turnout among voters under 30 in at least the past three decades. This year, turnout was significantly higher in some of the battleground states — including New Hampshire, where turnout was roughly 31% in those states. Historically, youth voter turnout has hovered around 20% during midterm elections.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Issued Cease and Desist Order for Mailers

October 2022 - John Formella, New Hampshire's Attorney General, has asked the New Hampshire Democratic party to cease and desist, regarding absentee ballot mailers being sent to NH voters. This action involved 39 towns and cities and affects 926 voters.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive Voting Law

July 2021 - The State Supreme Court strikes down a 2017 law passed in New Hampshire to require voters to provide additional proof of residency. Currently, voters have to sign an affidavit attesting to who they are and where they live if they don't have government-issued ID, and voting rights advocates said the bill would have caused an unnecessary burden, especially on low income people and college students.

Democrat Wins State House Seat in Trump District

September 2017 - Kari Lerner defeated Jim Headd in the state Representative special election in Rockingham by a 50%-48% vote margin. Rockingham 4 is the 4th-most Republican district in New Hampshire. President Donald Trump won the district by 20 points.

NH Tougher Voting Requirements Challenged

August 2017 - The state's tougher voter registration law which is set to take effect for the November elections has been challenged by both the League of Women Voters and ACLU. Both claim the law is overly complex and intended to dissuade people from registering the vote. Both plan to respond to the New Hampshire Attorney General who says the issues belong in federal, rather than state court.

NH is 34th State to Approve Electronic Poll Books

June 2017 - The New Hampshire Legislature passed Senate Bill 113 this month, with strong bipartisan support. SB 113 will authorize a trial of electronic poll book devices for voter registration and check-in at future municipal and statewide elections.

Granite State Notes Action in Congress on Dark Money

February 2017 - New Hampshire was on of the first of 18 states to call for Congress to reverse the tide of "dark money in politics." Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill (HJR 48) to amend the U.S. Constitution and overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

NH Calls for Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

May 2014 - New Hampshire became the 17th state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases.

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.

New York News Connection

Online Portal for Absentee Ballot Requests Open

September 2020 - New York has launched an absentee ballot portal where voters can directly request an absentee ballot for the upcoming November 3rd election. The portal, authorized by an Executive Order from Governor Andrew Cuomo, will allow any voter concerned about risk or exposure to COVID during the ongoing pandemic to request an absentee ballot. The Governor also issued an executive order requiring county boards of elections to take concrete steps to inform voters of upcoming deadlines, be prepared for upcoming elections and help ensure absentee ballots can be used in all elections.

Sweeping Election Reforms Go into Effect

August 2020 - Election reforms that will make it easier for New Yorkers to vote and be counted in November have been signed into law. The three-part package includes new measures allowing absentee ballot applications to be submitted to the Board of Elections immediately, expanding the necessary protections to allow a voter to get an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19 and ensuring all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by the Board of Elections without a postmark on the day after the Election will be counted. Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by November 10.

Legislature Passes Sweeping Electoral Reforms

January 2019 - The state Legislature passed a slate of electoral reform bills that would update New York's arcane voting laws and increase access to the polls on Election Day. The ambitious legislation, which included two bills requiring a constitutional amendment, moved hastily through committees and passed overwhelmingly in both houses on Monday afternoon. Early voting, which establishes a nine-day voting period outside of election day, will allow counties flexibility to offer hours that best meet the needs of its residents. The measure goes into effect immediately and will be available for the 2019 general election. Some form of early voting is available in 38 states and the District of Columbia, including Texas and Louisiana.

New York Counties Will Offer Early Voting in 12 Days Leading Up to Election Day

February 2018 - Funding voting reforms, including early voting across the state, is included in a 30-day budget amendment. This will provide approximately $7 million in the FY 2019 Executive Budget for New York counties to offer early voting in the 12 days leading up to Election Day. The legislation will require every county to offer residents access to at least one early voting poll site during the 12 days leading up to Election Day. Voters will have at least eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends to cast early ballots. Counties must have one early voting poll site for every 50,000 residents and the bipartisan County Boards of Elections will determine the specific location of early voting polling places, subject to standards of accessibility and convenience. Currently, New York is one of only 13 states where early voting is not available, and an excuse is required to request an absentee ballot.

Executive Order Directs Agencies to Offer Voter Registration

July 2017 - Governor Cuomo has signed Executive Order #169, which directs every state agency to make available voter registration forms and to offer assistance in filling them out. Under current state and federal law, forms are available at the Department of Motor Vehicles and certain social service agencies. This order expands the forms to agencies which interact with the public through professional licensing, recreational activities and other avenues. Additionally, all agencies are directed to mail or provide electronically voter registration forms to members of the public whose contact information they maintain.

Proposed Voting Reforms Could Improve NY Voter Turnout

February 2017 - New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has proposed a package of voting reforms in the Legislature (A05312) to increase voter registrations and encourage more New Yorkers to go to the polls.

Young Voters Turn Out in Record Numbers for NY Primary

April 2016 - A record number of younger voters cast ballots in the New York primary election, indicating heightened engagement of youth in the political process.

Victories for School Funding and Minimum Wage

March 2013 - State lawmakers enacted a 2013-14 budget that increases spending on education and raises the minimum wage.

North Carolina News Service

NC Court Strikes Down Gerrymandered Maps

February 2022 - North Carolina’s Supreme Court threw out the state’s congressional and legislative maps, calling the districts “unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt” and requiring lawmakers to draw new maps that avoid diluting Black representation.

Judge Rules North Carolina Absentee Voting Must Be Accessible for November Election

October 2020 - In September, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina granted a motion for preliminary injunction against the North Carolina State Board of Elections, ordering them to make their Absentee Voting Program accessible to voters with disabilities by the November election.

North Carolina's Gerrymandered Maps Ruled Unconstitutional by NC Court

September 2019 - Judges have struck down North Carolina's legislative districts as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. According to the ruling, lawmakers will have correct the maps.

Lawmakers Consider Bill That Would Require "Paid For" on Social Media Political Ads in NC

June 2018 - The disclosure would have to be in letters at least the same size as other text in the ad and would take effect January 1st - too late for the November midterms. The legislation has support from both parties.

Judges Order Lawmakers to Redraw Maps

January 2018 - A federal court ruled that Republicans in North Carolina unconstitutionally gerrymandered congressional districts in 2016 to ensure Republican "domination of the state's congressional delegation." The three-judge panel struck down the map and ordered the General Assembly to come up with a substitute by Jan. 24.

Federal Judges Order new North Carolina District Lines

August 2017 - Three federal judges on Monday ordered North Carolina's state legislature to draw new legislative district boundaries within a month, the latest ruling against boundaries drawn by Republicans that judges have found improper.

Supreme Court Rejects State Request to Review Case

June 2017 - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from state lawmakers to review a case that struck down the 2011 state legislative districts. The Supreme Court order, issued Monday morning, was critical of how the three-judge panel came to its decision to call for new maps and special elections.

Governor and AG Try to End Fight Against Ruling That Bars State's Voter ID Law

February 2017 - Gov. Roy Cooper and State Attorney General Josh Stein took steps this week to end a U.S. Supreme Court review of North Carolina's voter ID law, but some state lawmakers say they will push ahead with private counsel.

Governor Roy Cooper files to expand Medicaid

January 2017 - This move would make the state eligible for federal dollars and also relieve some of the burden on the system. Currently the state is down to one insurance provider for the marketplace - largely because of demand on system from people who would otherwise be covered by the expansion.

Governor Roy Cooper Takes Office

January 2017 - After four years of policies largely driven by Pat McCrory that threaten human rights, civil rights and the economic wellbeing of the state - Governor Roy Cooper is now in office and many believe he will repair some of the damage done in the last term.

Roy Cooper leads in Gov Race

December 2016 - With a more than 10k vote lead, it is expected that Cooper is Governor-elect of North Carolina. If that comes to pass, he is expected harmful policies such as HB2 and put in place people to defend the environment.

Voting Restrictions Overturned

August 2016 - Friday, three judges of the federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, struck down key parts of a North Carolina election law considered an example of voting suppression.

Progress in Election and Voting Lawsuits

July 2016 - The district lines drawn by state lawmakers restructuring the Wake County Board of Education and County Commission are declared unconstitutional.

SCOTUS Will Review Constitutionality of NC Redistricting Plan

June 2016 - Amid the flurry of decisions handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday came news that the court will consider whether North Carolina's 2011 congressional redistricting plan violated the Constitution by relying too heavily on race in drawing the new districts.

State Must Redraw Districts

March 2016 - The US Supreme Court denied the North Carolina's request to stay a ruling ordering the state to redraw Districts 1 and 12 - after a court ruled them unconstitutional.

Redistricting Plan Ordered Reviewed

November 2015 - The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a review of North Carolina's redistricting plan to draw by a Republican majority state assembly.

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.

Northern Rockies News Service

ID Supreme Court Strikes Down New Ballot Initiative Restrictions

September 2021 - The Idaho Supreme Court says Republican state lawmakers had no "compelling" interest to add significant restrictions to Idaho’s ballot initiative process. Earlier this year, Republican state lawmakers passed, and Gov. Brad Little signed into law, a bill making Idaho’s initiative process one of the most stringent in the nation. The law required campaigns to gather signatures equal to 6% of registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. They would’ve also needed to get a minimum of nearly 65,000 signatures statewide. Opponents, like Reclaim Idaho, the group behind the successful 2018 Medicaid expansion initiative, said the law makes it impossible to ever qualify an initiative or referendum for the ballot.

Governor Signs New Online Voter Registration

April 2016 - SB 1297, a bill launching an online voter registration system in Idaho was signed.

Idaho Secretary of State to Fix Billboard

February 2016 - At the request of the Idaho Democratic Party, the Idaho Secretary of State has agreed to fix 22 billboards that inaccurately advertise Idaho's presidential election process.

Democratic Party Changes Caucus Rules

February 2016 - With the Iowa caucuses fresh in people's minds - the Democratic Party is making some big changes in the Idaho presidential caucus.

Conservative Candidates Fail at Polls

November 2015 - In Coeur d'Alene, a slate of conservative candidates failed to gain traction in city races.

Ohio News Connection

Ohio Bill Allows More Time for Military Ballots

March 2022 - Gov. Mike DeWine signed SB11 which includes military and overseas voting provisions passed by the Ohio Legislature. Rather than having 45 days to send out ballots to military overseas, county boards of election can send the ballots 30 days ahead of the May 3 primary. Overseas voters have an additional 10 days to return their ballots beyond the currently allotted 10 days post-election.

Judge Rules Against Ohio Ballot Box Limit

October 2020 - A federal judge ruled that Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s order limiting ballot drop boxes to one per county is unconstitutional. Specifically, the court granted the League of Women Voters’s and other's motion to reconsider and a preliminary injunction. The decision comes as millions of voters are requesting absentee ballots to vote remotely this year due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Ohio Law Will Help Promote Women's Voting

April 2019 - Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 30, which creates the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission to honor the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage. Looking to raise awareness on the importance of making their voices heard at the ballot box, the commission will be led by the Ohio Secretary of State's office through the year 2020. It will hold events and educated the public about the importance of the 19th Amendment.

Ohio Voters Approve Congressional District Reform

May 2018 - State Issue 1, a constitutional amendment to reform the way congressional districts are drawn. The amendment will mandate bipartisan approval for ten-year congressional maps, institute strict anti-gerrymandering criteria if the parties couldn't agree, and require transparency and opportunities for input including public hearings and citizen map submissions.

Congressional Redistricting Goes on May Ballot

February 2018 - The Ohio General Assembly voted to place an issue on the May ballot reforming Ohio's congressional redistricting process to protect voters' interests. (Substitute Senate Joint Resolution 5)

Voter Registration Effort Exceeds Goal

November 2016 - The Ohio Organizing Collaborative exceeded its voter registration goal for 2016. By mid-October, the organization had registered 155,284 voters in Ohio. The OOC's program was the largest non-partisan voter registration drive in the country.

Online Voter Registration Now the Law in Ohio

June 2016 - Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently signed legislation allowing residents to register to vote online.

Court Rulings a Victory for Ohio Voting Rights

June 2016 - There have been recent defeats against Ohio's strict voting laws.

Absentee Ballots Supported

May 2016 - Voting rights groups commended the Ohio House of Representatives for appropriating $1.25 million in the newest version of the budget bill, passed in April, to support the statewide absentee ballot application mailing in 2016.

Online Voter Registration Becomes Law

April 2014 - Gov. Dayton signed into law a bill authorizing an online voter registration system.

Dayton Welcomes Immigrants

September 2013 - As Congress continues to stall on immigration reform, one city in Ohio is plotting a new course for growth.

Voter Protection Act Introduced

January 2013 - Ohio Senator Nina Turner announced proposed legislation she's dubbed 'The Voter Protection Act."

Voter Protection Act Introduced

January 2013 - Ohio Senator Nina Turner announced proposed legislation she's dubbed "The Voter Protection Act."

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.

Two Towns Reject Corporate Personhood

October 2010 - Voters in two Ohio communities overwhelmingly supported ordinances on election day calling on Congress to enact a constitutional amendment ending corporate personhood. Mentor and Chagrin Falls join those in five other Ohio communities who previously passed similar initiatives declaring that corporate entities are not "persons" and that money is not equal to "free speech."

Oregon News Service

Democracy Gets Voter-Approved Overhaul in OR

November 2022 - Reforms to elections and democracy are coming to Oregon in a big way in the wake of the Midterm election. Portland voters have approved a major overhaul of the city government, and in the larger Multnomah County, the electorate approved of ranked choice voting for countywide offices.

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

TN General Assembly Greenlights Residency Requirements Legislation

April 2022 - A bill to place residency requirements on Tennessee congressional candidates has cleared its final hurdle in the General Assembly as both chambers agreed to allow the requirements to take effect immediately upon signing.  The bill requires eligible candidates to live in the state and district they seek to represent for at least three years prior to the election.

Tennessee Supreme Court Allows Mail Ballots for All Voters With Underlying Health Conditions and Their Caretakers

August 2020 - A Tennessee Supreme Court has said the state must permit every eligible voter with an underlying health condition that makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19 — and any voter who is a caretaker of such individuals — to vote by mail in all elections in 2020 due to COVID-19. Prior to this case, the state had refused to let anyone physically capable of traveling to the polls to vote by mail.

Court Rules Tennessee Must Allow Absentee Ballots For All Eligible Voters Due to COVID-19

June 2020 - A Tennessee court ruled the state must make absentee voting available to every eligible voter for all elections in 2020, including the August 6 primary and November 3 general election.

Governor Repeals Law That Penalized Voter Registration Drives

April 2020 - Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed election law changes. The new law eliminates stringent regulations and criminal penalties on voter registration groups.

Federal Court Blocks TN Law Restricting Voter Registration

October 2019 - A federal district court judge has temporarily blocked a Tennessee law that would make it more challenging for civic groups to organize voter registration drives. The law was slated to go into effect on October 1st.

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

U.S. AG Steps in on Texas Voting and Election Laws

July 2013 - Attorney General Eric Holder wants Texas to get permission from the federal government before it can make any additional changes to its voting and election laws.

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.

February 2012 - A panel of federal judges ruled that Texas primary elections will be held May 29th, after approving interim electoral maps that address minority concerns that legislative redistricting plans passed last summer did not adequately account for minority population growth during the last decade. While some Latino groups are not wholly satisfied with the compromise congressional and state house maps, most agree they are an improvement over the original legislative maps. Another federal court is still in the process of deciding whether the original maps are in violation of the US Voting Rights Act.

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).

Utah News Connection

Judge Dismisses Utah Republican Party Lawsuit

November 2015 - A federal judge Monday permanently barred the state from forcing political parties to hold open primary elections and dismissed all other claims in the Utah Republican Party's lawsuit.

Virginia News Connection

Gov. Northam Signs Voting Rights Act of Virginia

September 2021 - As some states are putting into place voting restrictions, Virginia is improving its access for all eligible voters. The bill prohibits any form of voter discrimination, and gives Virginians the power to sue over cases of voter suppression. Northam first approved the new legislation in March but signed in September.

Virginia Expands Voting Access Laws

July 2021 - Virginia expands absentee voting, allows voters to be eligible for voting in person or by mail up to 45 days before the election and will allow voters under a state of an emergency situation to vote by mail any time before 2pm on the Day before Election Day. The state also repealed its voter ID law, enacted 45 days of no-excuse absentee voting, made Election Day a state holiday and enacted automatic voter registration for anyone who receives a Virginia driver’s license.

VA Set to Make History with Repeal of Photo-ID Voting Law

May 2020 - Virginia looks to become the first state in the nation to get rid of a requirement that voters show photo identification in order to vote. Voting rights groups are supporting the bill that just passed in both Virginia House and Senate, saying the photo ID law discriminated against low-income and rural residents, as well as people of color. Gov. Northam signed bill in April.

Washington News Service

Voter-Approved Democracy Reforms Changing WA Elections

November 2022 - Democracy reforms got the seal of approval from many Washington state voters in the Midterm election. While some changes were big, others were subtle but could make a difference in election turnouts. In King County, voters approved a measure to move local elections from odd to even numbered years. An arguably bigger change is coming to elections in Seattle. Voters approved ranked choice voting in the city's primaries.

Yakima County Latino Leaders Achieve Historic Settlement with Board of Commissioners

August 2021 - Yakima County Board of Commissioners agreed to change the County’s current election system to no longer violate Latino voters’ rights. The Commission agreed to a court-ordered change under the Washington Voting Rights Act in response to a lawsuit brought by four Yakima County voters and OneAmerica. The settlement comes after years of Latino organizing for representation in the face of election systems that suppress Latino votes in Yakima County.

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

Protest or Riot? WI Bill Cracks Down on 'Unlawful' Assemblies

April 2022 - Governor Tony Evers has vetoed a bill to set new law-enforcement standards for "unlawful assemblies." Opponents argue the measure would have penalized peaceful protesters and assemblies. Republicans argued that it would have prevented property damage, such as that seen during protests in 2020, after the murder of George Floyd and shooting of Jacob Blake.

SCOTUS Overturns Wisconsin's Redistricting Plan

March 2022 - The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Governor Tony Evers' proposed legislative maps, ruling the maps failed to adequately take into account the Voting Rights Act. Advocates say the move will have long-lasting impacts for the state's communities of color, which they argue weren't adequately represented in the previous maps.

Wisconsin's Supreme Court Chooses Less Gerrymandered Voting Map

March 2022 - Wisconsin's Supreme Court selected a redistricting plan submitted by Democratic Governor Tony Evers, over a separate set of maps proposed by GOP lawmakers. While Evers' maps will still keep the GOP in control of the legislature, they do roll back some of the gerrymandering in Wisconsin's Republican-drawn 2011 maps, which the Poynter Institute says are some of the most gerrymandered voting lines in the country.

WI Partisan Election Probe Meets Bipartisan Pushback

March 2022 - A report on a partisan probe into Wisconsin's 2020 elections met with bipartisan pushback, as Republican and Democratic lawmakers both chimed in to debunk bogus theories enumerated in the interim report of lead investigator Michael Gableman.

Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes in Future WI Elections

January 2022 - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is allowing absentee ballot drop boxes for the spring primary election in February 2022. The state's high court still needs to weigh in on the legality of the drop boxes in future elections, including the spring general, but voting rights groups say the short-term decision will help avoid confusion for folks casting their ballots.

Gov. Evers Vetoes Voting Restrictions Measures

August 2021 - Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has vetoed six bills, backed by GOP lawmakers, that would have brought a number of changes to the state's election rules. Opponents said they would have made it harder for marginalized residents to vote.

Judge Blocks Laws Limiting Power of New WI Governor

March 2019 - A judge has given Democratic Gov. Tony Evers back his powers - at least for now - after striking down lame-duck laws passed by Republicans in what many viewed as an effort to restrict his control. Evers used his restored authority to pull the state out of a multi-state challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Democrat Elected In WI 10th Senate District

January 2018 - Democrat Patty Schachtner won in the special election for the 10th Senate district in far northwest Wisconsin. Trump carried the district by a huge margin a year ago and Republicans considered the seat imminently safe. The victory is being interpreted as a huge blow to the Walker administration and Trump.

Pocan Re-elected Despite Trump Wave in WI

November 2016 - Despite Wisconsin vote totals that gave Donald Trump a win in the state, and re-election for Ron Johnson over challenger Russ Feingold in the US Senate race, 2nd District voters sent long-time progressive Democrat Marc Pocan back to US Congress for still another term.

Public Records Board Rescinds Ruling

January 2016 - Driven by public outcry engendered by news stories about the topic, the state Public Records Board today rescinded a ruling saying text messages were "transitory communications" and as such not subject to Wisconsin's Open Records law.

Year-End Review of Good New Laws in WI

January 2016 - Although the Republican-controlled state legislature passed many new laws which allow more dark money in politics and rolled back state environmental protections, there were at least two positive policy developments which are due completely to huge public involvement, largely driven by news stories covering the issues.

Pushback on Republican WI Budget

October 2015 - There has been significant public outrage at the Republican-controlled legislature's budget cuts to deliver "lower taxes"- which the public now realizes is not happening.

Feingold Opens Lead Over Johnson

October 2015 - Democrat Russ Feingold opened a significant lead over Republican incumbent Ron Johnson (50 pts. to 36 pts.) in the just-released Marquette Law School Poll in the race for WI U.S. Senate.

Voter ID Law Struck Down

April 2014 - A federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin's voter Identification law, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

State Bar Supports Term Limits for Justices

October 2013 - The governing board of the State Bar Association of Wisconsin voted 47-4 to recommend that state Supreme Court justices be limited to a single 16-year term, as a way to curb the influence of big money on Supreme Court elections.

State Bar Supports Term Limits for Justices

September 2013 - The governing board of the State Bar Association of Wisconsin voted 47-4 to recommend that state Supreme Court justices be limited to a single 16-year term.

Protests Allowed Without Permits

September 2013 - The Walker administration reached a deal with the ACLU regarding policies and permits for the noon-time Capitol "solidarity sing-along".

Term Limits Proposed for Wisconsin Supreme Court

July 2013 - A committee of the State Bar of Wisconsin announced a proposal, which it hopes will be introduced in the state legislature this fall, which would limit Justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court to one 16-year term.

Referendum Proposed on "Citizens United"

July 2013 - Legislation introduced today in the form of an Assembly Joint Resolution would put a referendum question on the November 2014 ballot statewide giving Wisconsin voters an opportunity to have their voices heard on whether the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC should be overturned.

Online Voter Registration Proposed

June 2013 - A bipartisan election reform bill will include a provision that would allow online voter registration and other items which would make it even more easy to register and vote in Wisconsin. The measure would also mandate four hours of training in Wisconsin's ethics laws for all members of the state legislature.

Voter ID Rejection Fails Another Court Challenge

January 2013 - The state Supreme Court has again refused to review a ruling striking down Wisconsin's Voter ID law.

Governor Backs Away from Nixing Same-Day Registration

December 2012 - Governor Walker says he will not push to repeal same-day registration for Wisconsin voters, although he had said previously that he would sign such legislation.

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.

Wyoming News Service

Wyoming Democrats Debut Ranked-Choice Voting

April 2020 - Voters can choose up to five candidates in order of their preference, under the new system, and votes for candidates that don't get at least 15% would automatically go to the next one on a voter's list.

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All News Services

Prison Phone Industry Caps Exhorbitant Prison Phone Costs

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

Arizona News Connection

Maricopa County Complies with Racial Profiling Prevention Strategy

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

Prison Healthcare Lawsuit Settled

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

Warrants Needed for Cell Phone Searches

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

Medical Neglect Case Moves Forward

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

California News Service

Santa Barbara USD Removes Police from High School

October 2021 - The Santa Barbara Unified School Board voted unanimously to remove the School Resource Officer from San Marcos High School. The very presence of a School Resource Officer blurs the line between youth and criminal behavior, often resulting in arrests for non-criminal behaviors like tardiness or cursing. Research shows that Black and Brown students are disciplined at higher rates than their white peers. Santa Barbara Unified School Board intends to funnel funds previously used for the SRO into mental health services for our teens.

Governor Signs Police, Juvenile Justice Reform Bills

September 2020 - Governor Gavin Newsom signed a series of bills into law initiating critical criminal justice, juvenile justice and policing reforms in California. Delivering on his promise this summer to sign a bill ending the use of the carotid restraint, Governor Newsom signed AB 1196 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) which bans the practice statewide, and signed AB 1506 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) requiring the California Attorney General to conduct investigations into officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals that result in death. Other bills the Governor signed today that support youth include AB 901 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), which will end the practice of referring youth who are having problems at school to probation programs. Additionally, SB 203 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) requires that children under age 17 have an opportunity to consult with legal counsel before interrogation, and SB 1290 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) will cancel certain fees assessed on juvenile offenders and their families.

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.

Colorado News Connection

First Trial in Nation Wins Suit Against Cops Use of Force During George Floyd Protests

April 2022 - A Colorado jury awarded $14 million in damages to 12 plaintiffs after concluding Denver police officers violated our plaintiffs' constitutional rights during the 2020 George Floyd protests.

Early Childhood Discipline Bill Signed by Governor Polis

May 2019 - After many years on working on ending the school to prison pipeline, advocates are celebrating protection against harsh discipline for children of color. HB19-1194 will dramatically limit the removal of children in pre-K through second grade.

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

New Worker Protections Take Effect

July 2020 - Illinois workers will now be protected from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion and a range of other protected categories regardless of the size of their employer. Previously, provisions of the Illinois Human Rights Act only applied to employers with 15 or more workers. The law still allows places of worship to hire based on religion for jobs connected to worship activities.

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

African American Advanced Placement Courses Now Offered in U.S. High Schools

September 2022 - For the first time in academic history, high school students across the nation now have the option to take an African American Advanced Placement course. As part of the new pilot program introduced by the College Board, which developed the course curriculum with high school teachers at Howard University, 60 schools across the U.S. will offer the new Advanced Placement class as part of their fall curriculum. Additional schools are expected to be added during the pilot’s second year.

SCOTUS Rules in Favor of PA Cheerleader in Free Speech Case

July 2021 - The Supreme Court ruled that a Pennsylvania high school violated a student cheerleader's First Amendment rights when she was punished for using vulgar language that criticized the school on social media. The 8-1 opinion upheld lower court rulings against Mahanoy Area School District's decision to suspend the student related to two Snapchat posts she sent while off school grounds. The court said in its decision: “courts must be more skeptical of a school’s efforts to regulate off-campus speech, for doing so may mean the student cannot engage in that kind of speech at all.”

Court Rejects Marsy’s Law Ballot Question

January 2021 - Victim's rights advocates are disappointed with what civil rights advocates consider a "win" - a question on Pennsylvania's state ballot in 2019 proposing sweeping changes to the state constitution has been ruled unconstitutional itself by a Commonwealth Court. The proposed amendment, known as "Marsy's Law," has been promoted as strengthening victims' rights in criminal proceedings. It would implement complex changes to multiple articles in the constitution. Civil liberties advocates say the 3-2 ruling confirmed that the ballot question violated the constitutional requirement that voters must be able to consider changes to different sections of the constitution individually. Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar and intervenors representing the rights of victims in the case have 30 days to appeal the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Wolf Takes Action to Address Law Enforcement Reform and Accountability

June 2020 - After meeting with leaders in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Governor Tom Wolf announced several actions to improve law enforcement relations with the community and strengthen training and accountability. The governor outlined multiple actions directed at meaningful reforms, many based on the 21st Century Policing Task Force, created in 2015 under President Obama in response to the Ferguson, Mo., death of black teen Michael Brown that set off weeks of protests. Those include creation of a Deputy Inspector General within the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General, creation of a Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement Advisory Commission that reviews allegations of misconduct by law enforcement personnel, and supporting legislative reforms.

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.

Maryland News Connection

Office of Attorney General Receives Department of Justice Grant to Address Hate Crimes in Maryland

November 2021 - Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced that the Office of Attorney General (OAG) has been awarded a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant totaling $833,334. The grant, issued through DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will be used to fund a collaborative and comprehensive effort to address hate crimes statewide. Maryland has seen a significant increase in hate crimes and bias incidents over the past five years, particularly in conduct motivated by bias against a victim’s race/ethnicity/ancestry (R/E/A), religion, and sexual orientation. According to the “State of Maryland 2020 Hate Bias Report,” there were a total of 382 hate bias incidents reported by Maryland law enforcement agencies during the 2020 reporting period. Maryland experienced an average of 381 hate bias incidents each year from 2018 - 2020.

Talbot County Council Votes to Remove Last Confederate Monument in Maryland

September 2021 - Talbot County Council voted 3-2 to remove the Confederate monument from the courthouse lawn. The monument was the last remaining statue of a Confederate symbol in Maryland.

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

New Law Takes Aim at SLAPP Lawsuits

November 2020 - Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that protects citizens' rights to free speech and petition by deterring abusive "strategic lawsuits against public participation," known as SLAPPs. SLAPP lawsuits are frivolous litigation brought by affluent plaintiffs who have the ability to spend large sums of money by using expensive and time-consuming litigation to obstruct those exercising their right to free speech. The legislation amends the Civil Rights Law to require costs and attorney's fees to be recovered regarding these frivolous lawsuits, which will deter plaintiffs from bringing such lawsuits in the first place.

New Laws Promote Accountability and Transparency in Law Enforcement

June 2020 - Senate bill S.8493 has been signed into law. This new law requires all New York State Police patrol officers to use body-worn cameras. Cameras must be activated during all uses of force, all arrests and summonses, all interactions with individuals suspected of criminal activity and all searches of persons and property as well as several additional circumstances. The law also requires law enforcement to keep video records of all these interactions. Governor Andrew Cuomo also signed S.3595-C/A.10002 which establishes the independent Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigative Office within the Department of Law to review, study, audit and make recommendations to police agencies in the State with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of law enforcement, increasing public safety, protecting civil liberties and civil rights, ensuring compliance with constitutional protections and local, state and federal laws, and increasing the public's confidence in law enforcement. The Office will also handle misconduct complaints statewide about any local law enforcement agencies

New Law Affirms Right to Record Law Enforcement Activity

June 2020 - Senate Bill 3253-A has been signed into law. The 'New Yorker's Right to Monitor Act' affirms the right of an individual to record law enforcement activity and to maintain custody of that recording and any instruments used to make the recording. Inspired by the act will ensure protection for people who record misconduct by police. murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, act will ensure protection for people who record misconduct by police.

New York Opens Five New COVID-19 Testing Facilities in Minority Communities Downstate

April 2020 - Five new testing facilities are opening in downstate, primarily in minority communities. A drive-through mobile testing facility will open at the Sears Parking Lot at 2307 Beverly Road in Brooklyn on April 10, and a drive-through mobile testing facility in Queens on Monday April 6th. In addition, the state is opening three walk-in facilities at health care centers in the South Bronx; Jamaica, Queens; and in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The walk-in facilities will open next week and will be by appointment only. The state has opened nine testing facilities to date. The sites will prioritize tests for individuals that are among the highest risk population.

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

NC Court Blocks State Voter ID Law

October 2021 - An NC court has permanently blocked SB 824, a a voter identification law passed in 2018, citing discrimination against Black voters. The law required a photo ID to vote.

Provision of North Carolina Farm Act Ruled Unconstitutional

October 2021 - A federal court struck down part of a state law that would have stripped farmworkers and their union of their rights to bargain for voluntary union recognition in settling legal claims, rights enjoyed by every other private-sector worker in North Carolina.

Voting Rights Restored to 55,000 North Carolinians

September 2021 - North Carolina has automatically restored voting rights to people when they are released from prison, currently around 55,000 people. The Superior Court judicial panel acted before issuing a final trial ruling, expected sometime in the fall. Advocates say it represents the largest expansion of North Carolina voting rights since the 1960s.

Mecklenburg Co. Sheriff Announces End of 287(g) Program.

December 2018 - Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden announced that the county will terminate its 287(g) program. More than 15,000 Mecklenburg County people have been arrested under the 287(g) program. During the 2018 elections for sheriff in Mecklenburg and Wake County, the ACLU invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a nonpartisan campaign to educate voters about the candidates' positions on crucial civil rights issues, including the 287(g) program. Voters in both Mecklenburg and Wake County rejected these policies, electing candidates who vowed to end the program in their respective counties.

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

George Floyd Protestors' Cases Dropped

March 2021 - A Hamilton County Municipal Court ruled that when Cincinnati Police rounded up hundreds of peaceful protestors for speaking out against the murder of George Floyd, these protestors’ right to freedom of “speech was not chilled; it was frozen.” Judge Dwane Mallory dismissed 38 cases pending against peaceful protestors since May of 2020. In his decision, the Judge explained the emergency curfew order issued by Mayor John Cranley prevented all speech in Cincinnati when it took effect.

Charges Dropped Against Cincinnati BLM Protestors

November 2020 - Hamilton County Municipal Court dismissed charges against 37 people protesting the death of George Floyd between May 29 and June 1, 2020 in Cincinnati. Advocates say the dismissals mark a victory in the fight against arrests and prosecutions targeting and attempting to silence the movement for Black liberation. After Mayor John Cranley issued a curfew, the police rounded up hundreds of people and arrested and charged them en masse with Misconduct at Emergency. The City’s conduct prevented these protesters from exercising their fundamental rights under the First Amendment. More than 500 people were arrested and charged for allegedly violating Cranley’s curfew.

Ohio Fails to Pass Pastor Protection Act

December 2018 - Last minute attempts to push HB36 through the Ohio legislature in 2018 failed. The Pastor Protection Act would have have undermined civil-rights protections for LGBTQ individuals and others.

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.

Prairie News Service

ND Bill Increasing Funding for Civil Legal Assistance Gets Gov. Signature

April 2019 - A bill to open up access to legal aid for more residents of North Dakota has been signed by the governor. It increases the Civil Legal Assistance fund cap from $650,000 dollars to $750,000 per biennium. The organization Legal Services of North Dakota is the main source of civil legal aid for people who can't otherwise afford an attorney.

Tennessee News Service

TN Bill Bans Discrimination Against Natural Hairstyles

June 2022 - The CROWN Act, awaiting signature by Governor Bill Lee, prevents Tennessee employers from creating and adopting policies against certain natural hairstyles, including braids, locs, and twists. Any employee who is discriminated against for their natural hairstyle can file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. If signed into law, Tennessee will become the first state in the South to ban discrimination against natural hair.

TN House Passes Bill Requiring Black History for Middle Schoolers

April 2022 - HB 2106 requires the State Board of Education to study and implement a course of instruction for students in 5th through 8th grades to include curricula designed to educate students in Black history and culture. It also includes multicultural diversity in curricula for students in kindergarten through the 12th grade.

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

Texas University Changes Drug Discipline Policy Amid Suggestion of Racism

December 2022 - The Caldwell/Hays Examiner, a social justice publication, claimed credit for a change in the Texas State University System's rules regarding punishment for students suspended and expelled for marijuana infractions. Believing systemic racism was involved, the newspaper filed for information under the state's Public Information Act. Following the request, the Board of Regents eliminated the second offense of expulsion from the system's policy.

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.

Virginia News Connection

VA Supreme Court Rules Robert E. Lee Statue Can Be Removed

September 2021 - The Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the Commonwealth’s favor in Taylor v. Northam and Gregory v. Northam, affirming the Commonwealth’s authority to remove the Robert E. Lee Monument. The rulings clear the way for Virginia to remove the statue, the largest confederate monument in the South. 

VA Outlaws Facial Recognition Technology

July 2021 - Virginia local law enforcement agencies and campus police departments are prohibited from purchasing or using facial recognition technology unless it is expressly authorized by the state legislature.

Washington News Service

WA Judge Halts Release of State Employees' Private Information

December 2019 - The Superior Court of Washington for Thurston County issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday afternoon, halting the release of state employees’ names, birthdates, work locations, and work emails. AFSCME Council 28, along with other labor unions, pursued the order after members—many of whom are survivors of domestic abuse—voiced serious privacy concerns

Wisconsin News Connection

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

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

Federal Judges Order Redistricting In Wisconsin

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

Federal Court Strikes Down Republican Gerrymandering

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

"Solidarity Singers" Can Continue Performances

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

C l i m a t e

C h a n g e / A i r

Q u a l i t y

Climate Change/Air Quality

All News Services

Report: Half of Nation’s Coal Power Units to Retire by 2026

April 2023 - The U.S. is projected to retire half of its coal-fired power units by 2026, just 15 years after coal use for electricity reached its peak in 2011, according to a new report.

Senate Passes Bill on Hydrofluorocarbons

September 2022 - The U-S Senate ratified a global treaty to limit climate super-pollutants, in a vote with broad bipartisan support. The treaty — known as the Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol — forces countries to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons. The planet-warming gases, which frequently leak from air conditioners, are hundreds of thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in speeding up climate change.

Federal Court Reinstates Moratorium on Coal Leasing on Public Lands

August 2022 - The ruling reinstates a moratorium on federal coal leasing established under the Obama administration, a pause intended to give agencies time to investigate the cumulative impacts of coal mining.

Feds Withdraw Trump Rule Against State Vehicle Emissions Regs

April 2021 - The Biden administration announced it will withdraw a Trump administration rule that sought to bar states from setting vehicle emissions rules or set zero emission vehicle mandates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was proposing to revoking the September 2019 Trump rule. After formal publication, it will be open for public comment for 30 days and then revocation could be made final.

Congressional Resolution Aims to Reinstate Obama-Era Methane Rules

March 2021 - Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced companion C.R.A. resolutions to block an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule from September 2020. The resolution would restore the Obama administration's methane standards that the EPA reversed during the Trump administration.

PA Joins 6 States in Plan for CO2 Transportation Infrastructure

October 2020 - Pennsylvania is joining with six other states – Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming – in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) expressing a commitment to establish and implement a regional CO2 transport infrastructure plan by collaborating and leveraging resources across the participating states. The signatory states recognize that development of regional and national CO2 transport networks, together with proposed tax credits and other financial incentives for carbon capture from industrial facilities and power plants and from ambient air through direct air capture, can support long-term production and use of abundant and affordable natural resources, and create and preserve high-paying jobs in energy-producing, agricultural, and industrial states of the country, all while significantly reducing net carbon emissions.

Federal Court Rejects Trump Administration Cancellation of Methane Pollution Rule

July 2020 - A federal judge reinstated the Bureau of Land Management’s 2016 methane waste rule, aimed at protecting people and the climate from methane waste and pollution from oil and gas extraction on public lands. The ruling, requested by a coalition of environmental and public health groups including California-based Los Padres ForestWatch, is the third defeat for the Trump administration's efforts to suspend, delay or repeal the rule. The rule requires oil and gas companies operating on public lands to take reasonable measures to prevent the waste of publicly owned fossil gas. It will go back into effect in 90 days. Such measures significantly reduce pollution from methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and are an important step to address the climate crisis.

Court Vacates Trump BLM’s Rollback of Methane Waste Prevention Rule

July 2020 - The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the Trump administration’s reversal of the Methane Waste Prevention Rule was “wholly inadequate” and vacated the action.

Federal Judge Upholds 2015 EPA Smog Standards

August 2019 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued a ruling upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's revised air quality standards for ozone - more commonly known as smog - against challenges from corporate interests and other states. The standards, set in 2015, strengthened previous ozone standards that EPA had determined did not adequately protect human health or the environment. A coalition of seven states and state air agencies and the District of Columbia stepped up to defend the rule alongside the EPA in Murray Energy Corporation v. EPA.

U.S. House Passes "Climate Action Now" Act

May 2019 - The U.S. House of Representatives voted 230-190 to pass H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which would ensure that America honors its commitments made under the 2015 international Paris Climate Agreement. The Climate Action Now Act would require that the federal government develop a plan to meet the climate pollution reduction targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement and prohibit any federal funds from being used to advance the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Agreement. Despite President Trump's June 1, 2017 announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Agreement, Article 28 of the Paris Agreement states that the earliest possible effective withdrawal date by the U.S. cannot be before November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect in the U.S. and one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

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

EPA Approves California Rules Phasing Out Diesel Trucks

March 2023 - The Biden administration cleared the way for California's plan to phase out a wide range of diesel-powered trucks, part of the state's efforts to drastically cut planet-warming emissions and improve air quality in heavy-traffic areas like ports along the coast. The decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allows California — which has some of the nation's worst air pollution — to require truck manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission trucks over the next couple of decades. The rule applies to a wide range of trucks including box trucks, semitrailers and even large passenger pick-ups.

CA First State to Ban New Gas Heaters

September 2022 - A new proposal passed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) cements the state as the first to ban natural gas heaters and furnaces. The decision, which was passed unanimously, aims to phase out sales of the space heater and water heater appliances by 2030. The commitment is part of a broader range of environmental efforts passed by the board this week to meet the federal 70 parts per billion, 8-hour ozone standard over the next 15 years.

Governor Signs Legislation to Combat Extreme Heat

September 2022 - Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to help protect Californians from more frequent and severe heat waves driven by climate change. The bills create an advisory committee to inform a study on the effects of extreme heat, create the nation's first extreme heat advance warning and ranking system, and more.

Judge Blocks Feds from Approving Fracking off CA Coast

June 2022 - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Department of Interior from authorizing fracking on offshore platforms off the coast of California. In the decision, the Ninth Circuit found that Interior's flawed final environmental analysis - which found that fracking poses "no significant impact" - violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and Coastal Zone Management Act.

CA Sets Pollution Rules for Trucks

December 2021 - Lawmakers and clean air advocacy organizations celebrate the adoption of “Smog Check for Trucks” - a landmark clean air rules that will save thousands of California lives and avoid tens of billions of public health costs. The California Air Resources Board actions create a “smog check”-style program for heavy-duty trucks and also set zero-emission requirements for sales of new landscaping and other small off-road engines. “Smog Check for Trucks” is the single most health protective action the board has taken in over a dozen years.

Final Budget Addresses Climate Change

July 2021 - The California Comeback Plan, via the new budget, includes a $3.9 billion package to hit fast-forward on our zero-emissions vehicle goals, leading to cleaner air for future generations. In addition, the Administration continues work with the Legislature to allocate $3.7 billion over three years that will better prepare the state for extreme heat and sea level rise and address environmental justice priorities that support the low-income and disadvantaged communities bearing the brunt of climate change impacts.

G-M Abandons Trump Administration's Lawsuit on CA Vehicle Emissions Standards

November 2020 - General Motors abandoned President Trump's battle to nullify California's fuel economy rules meant to curb global warming, the strongest sign yet that corporate America is moving on from Mr. Trump and adapting to an incoming Democratic administration. The company also signaled that it was ready to work with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has promised swift action to reduce climate-warming emissions in the auto sector.

CA Air Resources Board Supports Limits on Gas

November 2020 - The California Air Resources Board just unanimously adopted a groundbreaking resolution committing to significant action to limit emissions from gas appliances in buildings. The newly adopted resolution includes very strong commitments to reduce pollution from gas appliances. The proposed resolution directs staff to work with other state agencies to update the building code "for stronger kitchen ventilation standards and electrification of appliances, including stoves, ovens, furnaces, and space and water heaters, in the 2022 code cycle for all new buildings in order to protect public health, improve indoor and outdoor air quality, reduce GHG emissions, and set California on track to achieve carbon neutrality." As Board Chair Mary Nichols indicated at the board meeting, this is the clearest commitment that CARB has made to-date to address the climate and health impacts from gas appliance emissions in the buildings sector. CARB is also explicitly calling on CEC to require all-electric construction in its current update to the 2022 building code. This public support from CARB could shift the conversation on these issues between the governor and other state leaders, and could help spur forward additional action.

CA Sets Rules for "Clean Trucks"

June 2020 - In a groundbreaking win, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously adopted the world’s first zero-emission commercial truck requirement, the Advanced Clean Trucks rule. The rule, which requires truck makers to sell an increasing number of clean, zero-emission trucks in California in place of dirty diesel and gasoline, will cut toxic fossil fuel emissions in polluted communities throughout the state. The final rule will dramatically shift California's medium- and heavy-duty truck market away from dirty fossil fuels to zero-emission technology. Beginning in 2024, manufacturers must increase their zero-emission truck sales to between 30-50% by 2030 and 40-75% by 2035.

CA Sues To Stop Feds From Gutting Clean Car Standards

May 2020 - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a multistate coalition, today filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's final rule rolling back the nation's Clean Car Standards. The Clean Car Standards require appropriate and feasible improvements in fuel economy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks. Since their introduction in 2010, these standards have saved consumers money, reduced harmful emissions, and helped protect the health of our communities. The Trump Administration's misguided Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) rule stops this progress in its tracks, hurting the economy and public health at a time when the country can least afford it. In the lawsuit, the coalition will argue that the final rule unlawfully violates the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.

CA and Automakers Sign Agreement To Lower Emissions

July 2019 - As the Trump administration prepares to roll back emission standards for light-duty cars and trucks, a consortium of automakers and California have agreed on a voluntary framework to reduce emissions that can serve as an alternative path forward for clean vehicle standards nationwide. Automakers who agreed to the framework are Ford, Honda, BMW of North America and Volkswagen Group of America.The framework supports continued annual reductions of vehicle greenhouse gas emissions through the 2026 model year, encourages innovation to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and provides industry the certainty needed to make investments and create jobs. This important commitment means that the auto companies party to the voluntary agreement will only sell cars in the United States that meet these standards.

Judge Rules Against Oil Drilling in Carrizo Plain National Monument

July 2019 - The California Bureau of Land Management has agreed with conservation groups that plans for a new oil well and pipeline in Carrizo Plain National Monument failed to comply with federal environmental laws. The decision said the local BLM office must consider potential harm to California condors, other imperiled wildlife and the climate. The decision sends the BLM's environmental review back to the agency's Bakersfield Field Office for a new analysis, including a consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

California Court Affirms Communities' Right to Fight Permits for Dirty Power Plants

April 2019 - A California state judge has affirmed the constitutional right of residents concerned about air and climate pollution to challenge power plant siting decisions in their local Superior Court. In 2013, Earthjustice, Communities for a Better Environment and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a 2001 law limiting judicial review of the California Energy Commission's power-plant approvals to the California Supreme Court. The 4-3-19 decision in Alameda County Superior Court sides with the groups, agreeing that Superior Courts have jurisdiction to hear appeals of the Energy Commission's licensing decisions.

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

Just Transition for Fossil Fuel Communities

June 2022 - This initial investment passed in HB22-1394 aims to develop quality jobs, new industries, and more sustainable tax revenues funding rural municipalities, police and fire departments, school districts, and other community needs in municipalities most effected by reductions in extraction industries.

Colorado Passes Measures to Improve Air Quality

May 2022 - Colorado lawmakers passed laws designed to improve air quality, including a $65 million earmark for electric school busses. Measures also call for decommissioning the oldest diesel vehicles operating in the state, and incentives to purchase electric bicycles.

Five Clean Energy Policies Become Law

June 2021 - Governor Jared Polis signed five landmark clean energy bills into law that will accelerate progress toward greenhouse gas reduction goals, work toward a regionally connected electricity grid, and set green building standards. The bills include SB21-072, SB21-264, HB21-1284, HB21-1238, and HB21-1286.

EPA Greenlights State Authority to Set Stricter Car Emission Standards

April 2021 - The EPA announced that the agency will restore states’ authority to set stricter emission standards on cars and SUVs. Governor Jared Polis said the move will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation sector, considered a main driver of climate change.

CO Air Commission Adopts Rule to Cut Methane from Oil and Gas Pneumatic Devices

February 2021 - The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) unanimously approved a landmark rule requiring oil and gas operators to install zero-bleed or zero-emission pneumatic devices for both new and existing operations.

Colorado Latinos Welcome Biden’s Climate Orders

January 2021 - President Joe Biden's sweeping executive orders include investments in communities affected by pollution and other measures aimed at building a net-zero-emission economy by 2050.

Colorado Forges Ahead on 'Just Transition' for Coal Workers, Communities

January 2021 - The Just Transition Action Plan calls for a coordinated national response as coal is replaced by cleaner renewable sources to generate electricity, and the plan's creators say Colorado's roadmap will be considered by the new Biden administration.

Colorado Ends Routine Oil and Gas Flaring

November 2020 - The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) adopted new rules to eliminate the practice of routine flaring at new and existing wells across the state. Routine flaring occurs when operators burn off natural gas produced from oil wells instead of capturing it and selling it or otherwise putting it to beneficial use.

Colorado Adopts New Zero-emission Vehicle Standard

August 2019 - The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission voted 8-1 to adopt a new standard for zero-emission vehicles in the state as Colorado pushes to try to improve poor ozone pollution conditions across the state. Colorado becomes the 10th state to adopt a ZEV standard.

Colorado Sets Climate Goals

April 2019 - The Colorado Legislature has passed the Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution, or House Bill 1261, and it now heads to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis for his anticipated signature. The bill calls for reducing greenhouse emissions by 90 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.

City of Denver Divests from Oil and Gas Companies

April 2019 - Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced that the City of Denver is divesting its $6bn General Funds' portfolio from fossil fuel investments. The city said it was able to move quickly through the process as fossil fuels were already a small percentage of the overall portfolio.

Polis Executive Order Supports Colorado?s Transition to Zero-Emission Vehicles

January 2019 - Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order outlining a suite of initiatives and strategies aimed at supporting a transition to zero emission vehicles

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.

PUC Approves Energy Plan That Could Reduce Health Risks

August 2018 - Colorado's Public Utilities Commission has signed off on Xcel Energy's Colorado Energy Plan. And according to new analysis by the Colorado Fiscal Institute, the plan should bring significant health benefits. The plan calls for shuttering two coal-fired power plants in Pueblo County a decade ahead of schedule, and replacing their capacity largely with wind and solar. Report author Abby Pizel, natural resource policy analyst with the institute, said the plan could reduce air pollutants by as much as 55 percent of current levels.

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

Mass Approves Another Fleet of EV Chargers

September 2018 - Massachusetts regulators have approved a three-year, $25 million package of electric vehicle infrastructure programs run by two local subsidiaries of National Grid. It's the second proposal from the state's major utilities to pass muster with regulators in less than a year, following a $45 million plan from Eversource Energy in December. Neither of the two investor-owned utilities proposed full ownership of the charger systems, obviating what has been a point of contention in other states where utilities have proposed similar installations. Massachusetts is aiming to get 300,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, and the number of EV chargers has been ticking steadily upward. As of a year ago, 1,158 Level 2 ports and 128 fast chargers were available, according to the DPU, compared to 963 Level 2 ports and 83 fast chargers in the prior year.

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

$6 Million in Volkswagen Settlement Funds Released to Support Clean Air Projects in Connecticut

November 2019 - The State of Connecticut is making available $6 million from the legal settlement in the Volkswagen (VW) Corporation emissions cheating scandal to fund 15 clean air projects in the state. Administered through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut is making these funds available for a variety of vehicle electrification and diesel mitigation projects. The projects are part of the second funding cycle under the distribution of the state's VW settlement funding.

Executive Order Strengthens Connecticut's Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change

September 2019 - Governor Ned Lamont today signs an executive order strengthening Connecticut's ongoing efforts to combat the effects of climate change and ensure that the state's communities are as resilient as possible to rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms. The order expands the responsibilities of the Governor's Council on Climate Change, increases membership of the council, and directs the DEEP to evaluate ways to transition to a 100 percent clean energy grid by 2040.

$12.2 Million in Volkswagen Settlement Funds to Support Clean Air Projects in Connecticut

November 2018 - The State of Connecticut is making available $12.2 million dollars from the legal settlement in the Volkswagen (VW) Corporation emissions cheating scandal to fund ten clean air projects in the state. Administered through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Connecticut is one of the first states in the nation to make these funds available for a variety of diesel mitigation projects. The ten announced projects are part of the first funding cycle under the distribution of the state's VW settlement funding. The ten projects that are being awarded money under the first funding cycle will mitigate 145 tons of excess NOx emissions over the lifetime of the projects at a cost of $84,234 per ton of NOx reduced. The projects will also reduce over 7,600 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from being released into the atmosphere. In addition to NOx and greenhouse gas, a total of 10.3 tons volatile organic compounds (VOC) and 6.6 tons of fine particulate matter, which contributes to asthma and other bronchial conditions, will be cost-effectively reduced from environmental justice communities and other areas of Connecticut that bear a disproportionate share of air pollution.

CT Governor Malloy Moves to Phase out Hydrofluorocarbons

September 2018 - Governor Dannel Malloy has directed the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to develop regulations that will phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of potent greenhouse gases known to contribute to climate change and are used in a variety of applications.

Malloy Joins Connecticut in Coalition Committed to Phasing out Coal Power in Favor of Clean Energy

September 2018 - Governor Dannel Malloy has committed the State of Connecticut to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance - a coalition of countries, regions, states, and businesses that are committed to phasing out traditional coal power and placing a moratorium on new traditional coal power stations. The alliance, which was co-founded by Canada and the United Kingdom in the fall of 2017, has over 50 members. Connecticut currently has only one coal fired plant in use, Bridgeport Harbor Station, which has already committed to cease burning coal by 2021.

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.

Illinois News Connection

IL Landmark Climate Bill Signed Into Law

September 2021 - Governor JB Pritzker signs a landmark climate and jobs bill, once the Illinois Legislature finally passed it after lengthy debate and special sessions.

Keystone State News Connection

Independent Regulatory Review Commission Approves Effort for PA to Join Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

September 2021 - Pennsylvania is one step closer to joining many other states in the Northeast that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI, a cap-and-trade program among 11 northeastern and mid-Atlantic states, aims to cut carbon emissions by charging power plants for each ton of pollution they emit. PA would be the first major fossil-fuel producing state to put a price on carbon dioxide. The Attorney General’s Office will give a final review to the regulation before publication. The Wolf Administration hopes to join the program in early 2022.

DEP Holds Virtual Hearings on Joining Climate Program

December 2020 - PA's Department of Environmental Protection is holding virtual public hearings on a draft rule to have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Since 2008, the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states in RGGI have cut carbon emissions from power plants by more than 40%. RGGI establishes a regional cap on carbon emissions that diminishes over time and sells emission allowances to the power industry through quarterly auctions. This gives the public a chance to weigh in on Pennsylvania's participation in a program that could reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution and grow clean-energy jobs.

Gov. Wolf Announces Plan to Address Flooding Caused by Climate Change

December 2020 - As communities across Pennsylvania increasingly experience flooding caused by intense, short-duration storms due to climate change, Governor Tom Wolf announced executive actions that will support communities that are impacted by flooding. The plan will address flood hazard mitigation by requiring the State Planning Board to develop a series of recommendations and best practices relative to land use, planning, zoning, and storm water management, with the emphasis on reducing the incidence of flash flooding in communities that impacts citizens and businesses. The State Planning Board will establish state goals and strategic investments to assist municipalities, which will then be incorporated by state agencies into their appropriate funding applications.

Gov. Wolf Vetoes Bill that Ignores Dangers of Climate Change

September 2020 - Governor Tom Wolf vetoed House Bill 2025, which would have prevented the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from taking any action to abate, control or limit carbon dioxide emissions in the commonwealth without the prior approval of the General Assembly. Carbon dioxide is a harmful greenhouse gas and a major contributor to climate change, and this bill would have put a halt to DEP efforts to mitigate the impact climate change has on lives and livelihoods in Pennsylvania, including rulemaking currently being developed to allow Pennsylvania to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI is an economically sound program that has a proven record of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in member states.

Millions of Dollars in Funding for Alternative Energy Projects

July 2020 - Projects approved through the Commonwealth Financing Authority will provide millions of dollars in funding to utilize, develop, and construct alternative energy projects. Eleven clean energy projects in seven counties were approved through the Alternative and Clean Energy Program (ACE), which helps fund activities to promote the utilization, development, and construction of alternative and clean energy projects, infrastructure associated with compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas fueling stations, plus energy efficiency and energy conservation projects in the state.

Wolf Reaffirms Commitment to Combat Climate Change, Provides Update on RGGI Process

June 2020 - Governor Tom Wolf reaffirmed his commitment to combat climate change by providing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with a six-week extension to develop a proposed rulemaking to allow Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Initially, the governor through executive action instructed DEP to develop a plan to present to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) by July 31, 2020. Under the amended executive order, the deadline has been extended to September 15, 2020. Pennsylvania exports nearly a third of the electricity it produces, and the cost of RGGI compliance for exported electricity will be paid by electric customers in the states where that electricity is ultimately used.

DEP to Unveil Draft Regulations to Cap CO2 Emissions Using RGGI Model

February 2020 - PA's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveils preliminary draft regulations to allow Pennsylvania to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The preliminary rulemaking language designes a carbon dioxide trading program in Pennsylvania using the RGGI Model Rule but also incorporating revisions and additions specific to Pennsylvania, to the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) at its bimonthly meeting in Harrisburg.

Green Government Initiatives Boost Energy Efficiency by 3 Percent in First Year

January 2020 - On the first anniversary of signing an executive order establishing the first statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution, Governor Tom Wolf announced a 3 percent reduction in state government electricity, natural gas and steam use for commonwealth facilities. That executive order also established the interagency GreenGov Council, which is analyzing state agency energy and sustainability strategies. The executive order, signed Jan. 8, 2019, set a goal of a 26 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050, from 2005 levels. A key contributor to the initial 3 percent reduction is investments through the state’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Act or GESA program, which allows public entities to fund energy efficiency projects with the savings from reduced energy costs. The GESA program expanded to 13 projects investing over $124 million in energy efficiency upgrades, saving $6.8 million each year.

Pennsylvania Moves Forward with Plan to Control Methane and Other Air Pollution

December 2019 - Pennsylvania took a step forward to reduce air pollution, including methane, from natural gas wells and pipelines with the approval of changes to the state’s air quality regulations. The marks another step in the commonwealth’s efforts to address global greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change. The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB), an independent board responsible for adopting environmental regulations, approved revisions to air quality regulations for existing oil and natural gas wells and pipelines. These regulations will reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from well sites, pipelines, and other infrastructure. The updated emissions controls for VOCs will also reduce methane emissions, as the same control practices that prevent VOCs from escaping from natural gas infrastructure also prevent methane from escaping as well. The new regulations are expected to reduce VOC emissions by more than 4,400 tons per year, and methane emissions by more than 75,000 tons per year.

Executive Order Takes on Climate Change, Carbon Emissions

October 2019 - With an executive order, Governor Tom Wolf instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based collaboration among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change while generating economic growth. Participating states have agreed, either through regulation or legislation, to implement RGGI through a regional cap-and-trade program involving CO2 emitting electric power plants. These states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) set a cap on total CO2 emissions from electric power generators in their states.

PA Joining Suit for Tough Auto-Emission Standards

September 2019 - Pennsylvania has joined more than 20 other states in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's revocation of California's right to set tougher auto-emission standards. California has been setting higher vehicle emissions standards since the 1970s. Thirteen other states, including Pennsylvania, follow California's lead. The American Lung Association gives a dozen counties in the Keystone State a failing grade for the number of high ozone days putting children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems at risk.

PA Legislators Call for Strong Methane Rules

September 2019 - State senators and representatives from both major parties joined environmental groups in Harrisburg urging Gov. Tom Wolf to move immediately on new rules to cut methane emissions in the Commonwealth. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, but the federal Environmental Protection Agency wants to roll back regulations on emissions from the oil and gas industry. The state Department of Environmental Protection has proposed new rules to cut emissions from existing oil and gas facilities. A recent analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund found that the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania is emitting 520,000 tons of methane every year. Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, accounts for 25% of current global warming.

Pennsylvania Releases State Climate Action Plan, Joins U.S. Climate Alliance

April 2019 - Governor Tom Wolf announced Pennsylvania's membership in the U.S. Climate Alliance (a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to helping each state achieve their greenhouse gas reduction goals) and released the state?s new climate action plan. With input from government leaders, businesses, and citizens, the plan describes over 100 actions - just 15 of those actions, such as increasing renewable energy, incentivising energy efficient buildings, and increasing the use of electric vehicles, would reduce emissions 21 percent by 2025. Any combination of the 85 additional actions would likely achieve even more emissions reductions.

PA Considering Carbon Cap and Trade

April 2019 - Pennsylvania could be carbon neutral by the middle of this century under a rulemaking plan now being considered by the state's Environmental Quality Board. The board has accepted a carbon cap-and-trade rulemaking petition for further study. If adopted, the rule would cap carbon and carbon-equivalent emissions for the state at 2016 levels, and lower that cap by 3 percent per year beginning in 2018. Sources of emissions would then purchase credits for each ton of greenhouse gas they discharge. The cap would apply to all sources of emissions including industry and transportation, and as the cap on emissions gets lower, the cost for carbon credits would increase by 10 percent a year. The Environmental Quality Board has the authority to regulate carbon emissions and the state's environmental rights amendment mandates that regulations be put in place.

First Statewide Goal Set to Reduce Carbon Pollution in Pennsylvania

January 2019 - In January 2019, Governor Wolf signed an executive order to set Pennsylvania?s first statewide climate goals, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050, compared with 2005 levels. The executive order also established the Green Government Council to ensure that state government offices lead by example to help achieve these goals.

PA Moves to Cut Emission of Smog-Forming VOCs

December 2018 - New rules to cut smog-forming emissions from thousands of oil and gas facilities across Pennsylvania have taken a step forward. The state's Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee met to review a draft proposal from the Department of Environmental Protection to reduce emissions of smog-forming volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Current rules only apply to new and modified facilities. The proposed rules will be opened for public comment early next year.

Pennsylvania Announces First Grants Funded by Volkswagen Settlement to Reduce Air Pollution

September 2018 - The first round of grants through the Driving PA Forward initiative have been announced. The grants are being funded by Pennsylvania?s share of the settlement with Volkswagen Group of America for cheating on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions tests. Six transportation projects designed to improve air quality in Pennsylvania are expected to permanently reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions statewide by 27 tons by accelerating the replacement of older, polluting diesel engines with cleaner technologies. Over 25 percent of NOx pollution in Pennsylvania comes from diesel engines in trucks, buses, forklifts, and other mobile sources. The emissions contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, which the EPA has shown can have negative health impacts, including asthma attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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 Climate Jobs Bill Passes Legislature

April 2022 - Both Houses of the Maine Legislature passed LD 1969, a bill to create high-quality clean energy jobs and advance equity in the renewable energy sector. Governor Janet Mills signature awaits.

Governor's Bill Moves Maine Toward 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

April 2019 - Maine is taking an ambitious turn to fight climate change with a new bill announced on April 30 by Gov. Janet Mills. The goals of LR 2478 are to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 45% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the governor's plan includes many aspects of a similar climate bill, LD 797, introduced earlier this year.

Governor's Bill Moves Maine Toward 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

April 2019 - Maine would take an ambitious turn to fight climate change with a new bill by Gov. Janet Mills. The goals of LR 2478 are to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 45% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The bill ultimately directs the state to get 100% of its electric power from renewable sources by 2050.

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

Minnesota Becomes a Clean Car State

September 2019 - Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday declared Minnesota a “Clean Car State” and directed a state agency to start writing rules that will promote the sale of electric vehicles and limit tailpipe emissions that cause climate change.

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

Feds Approve NV Electric Vehicle Plan

September 2022 - The Federal Highway Administration notified NDOT it has approved the Nevada Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan submitted on July 29, 2022. "The NEVI plan is the playbook for transforming the way Nevadans and travelers move across the state, and FHWA's approval gets us one step closer to achieving a clean energy future that will see more jobs, cleaner air, and an economy that works for all Nevadans," Governor Sisolak said.

Bill Introduced to Tighten Smog Check Rules

March 2021 - Assemblyman Howard Watts (D-Las Vegas) introduced Assembly Bill 349, which would reduce smog pollution by closing a loophole that allows "Classic Cars" to avoid regular smog checks. The bill would also update the smog check schedule for newer vehicles and increase the state's share of revenue from smog check fees, directing new funding towards county programs to improve air quality. These programs would be used to help low-income vehicle owners repair their older, more polluting vehicles or replace them with newer, cleaner vehicles.

Nevada Raises Renewable-Energy Goals to 50% by 2030

April 2019 - A longtime priority for Democrats came to fruition Earth Day as new Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law a bill that requires utilities to get 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030. Senate Bill 358 would raise what's called the Renewable Portfolio Standard or R-P-S from its current goal of 25 percent by 2025. Katie Robbins serves as campaign manager for Question Six, which proposed to enshrine the new goal in the state constitution, and passed last November with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Voters Pass Amendment To Require More Renewable Energy

November 2018 - Voters passed Question Six, a measure that seeks to more than double the amount of solar, wind and other types of renewable energy currently provided by the state's electric companies. It would require state electric producers to buy or generate 50 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2030. Now that it passed, the proposed state constitutional amendment will have to go back before voters in 2020.

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

New Mexico Latest State to Consider Adoption of Clean Car Rules

May 2022 - New Mexico's Environmental Improvement Board and the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board unanimously approved clean car stardards, modeled after California. The standards will require automakers to provide increasing percentages of electric and low-emission vehicles in New Mexico.

Environmentalists, Oil Producers Eye NM Land Commissioner Race

November 2018 - Newly elected New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard vowed to shift the office's focus to protecting the environment, even amid a recent boom in the oil and gas industry. Her Republican opponent was supported by the oil and gas industry.

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

Transmission Line Project to Aid Clean Power Distribution

February 2021 - The New York State Public Service Commission approved the New York Energy Solution Project - a 54.5-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line valued at an estimated $530 million - starting in Rensselaer County and extending to Dutchess County to speed the flow of clean, reliable energy to high-demand markets and consumers downstate. They are also expected to stimulate the local and regional economy by increasing employment and earnings in the construction industry.

$15 Million to Reduce Buildings’ Greenhouse Gas Emissions

February 2021 - New York is making up to $15 million available through a new program to pilot the use of community thermal systems to reduce buildings' greenhouse gas emissions. The heating and cooling of buildings is responsible for approximately 33 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in New York State.

NY Allocates $17 Million to Drive Clean Energy Actions and Combat Climate Change

January 2021 - New York now has $17 million under the state's Clean Energy Communities program to help drive stronger community leadership to reduce harmful carbon emissions, expand assistance for disadvantaged areas and foster further investments in the growing clean energy economy. The program's new Leadership Round increases the options a community can choose from to lower their carbon footprint, recognizes their leadership through a point rewards system, provides access to additional grant opportunities for actions taken and supports the state’s climate agenda, which includes a goal to direct 40 percent of the benefits from clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.

New Transmission Line Project Will Support Transition to Clean Energy

January 2021 - The New York State Public Service Commission has approved a 93-mile 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line starting in Oneida County and extending to Albany County to enable greater flow of clean energy as part of the 2021 State of the State. The nearly $854 million project, named the Marcy to New Scotland Upgrade Project, is designed to speed the flow of clean, reliable electricity to high-demand markets downstate. The initiative also increases transmission capacity to move power more efficiently in keeping with the goals of both the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act to lower carbon emissions and combat climate change. Additionally, the project is expected to simulate the local and regional economy by increasing employment and earnings in the construction industry.

Cuomo Commits to More Offshore Wind

January 2021 - Governor Andrew Cuomo used his third installment of the State of the State address to take on meeting the challenges of climate change. Calling green energy "a prime economic opportunity and a pressing moral imperative," Cuomo announced the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will contract for two new offshore wind projects generating 2,500 megawatts of clean electric power, the largest offshore wind project in the country. Environmentalists are calling the move a quantum leap forward toward meeting the goal of 9,000 megawatts by 2035 as mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act the governor signed in July 2019. The governor also announced contracts for 24 new solar projects that will generate a total of about 2,200 megawatts of power.

NY Pushing Ahead with Clean-Transportation Initiative

December 2020 - In a joint statement NY, ten other Eastern states and the District of Columbia have reaffirmed their commitment to launching the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCIP). The TCIP will require companies selling gasoline and oil to pay for the pollution they cause, and invest those funds in clean, accessible and equitable transportation infrastructure such as electric busses and charging stations for cars and trucks.

Largest Public Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Station in the Northeast Opens in NY

December 2020 - The largest publicly accessible fast-charging station for electric vehicles in the Northeast is now operational at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens. The EV charging hub will help decarbonize the transportation sector and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050, a target included in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and bring New York State another step closer to a clean energy economy.

Regulations to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Finalized

December 2020 - Regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide and implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act have been finalized. As the first regulatory requirement of the Climate Act, the adoption of these regulations marks a critical milestone in realizing New York's nation-leading clean energy and climate agenda. The regulations, which will be effective after publication in the State Register on December 30, establish reductions of statewide emissions of greenhouse gases of 40 percent by 2030, 85 percent by 2050, as well emissions associated with imported electricity and fossil fuels. The greenhouse gases covered by this regulation are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride. These emissions will be measured in carbon dioxide-equivalent units using a 20-year Global Warming Potential. The final regulation includes a table of all affected gases and their carbon dioxide equivalent value.

New Regulations Reduce RGGI Cap by 30 Percent

December 2020 - New regulations will strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known as "RGGI," the nation's first regional program to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. The regulations, which have been adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, advance New York's portion of the 30 percent regional cap reduction from 2021 to 2030, ensuring that regional emissions are 65 percent below the starting cap level by 2030, and will align New York's cap with the other participating RGGI states. In addition, New York is going beyond many of its RGGI partner states by adding smaller peaking units to the program, recognizing that most of these smaller sources are located in proximity to New York's Environmental Justice communities, communities of color and low-income communities that disproportionately bear an undue, unjust and historic burden of air pollution.

Climate Progress Program to Support Technologies That Lower Carbon Emissions

November 2020 - The New York Climate Progress Program is dedicating $10 million to bolster the state's clean energy economy, providing capital investments to support startups that create low-carbon goods and services, allowing them to continue to scale decarbonization products in market. It is open to early-stage startup firms focusing on climate technology that have raised less than $25 million in private capital, have less than $10 million in annual revenue, and have fewer than 50 employees--with at least one employee in New York State. This program supports the state’s nation-leading climate and clean energy agenda, including the mandate for an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

Settlement Funds to Expand Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations in New York

November 2020 - Eleven million dollars from the Volkswagen Settlement is now available to build out the state's network of fast charging stations to support wider adoption of electric vehicles. The Direct Current Fast Charger program will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to scale up electric vehicle infrastructure in areas of the state where access to fast charging stations is limited and will also prioritize improving the availability of charging infrastructure in disadvantaged communities. Increased use of clean transportation supports the state's goal for an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 under the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

PSC Approves Expanded Clean Energy Standard to Decarbonize to Combat Climate Change

October 2020 - The New York State Public Service Commission approved an expansion of the landmark Clean Energy Standard to refocus New York's existing regulatory and procurement structure on achieving the goals laid out in New York's nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA. The CLCPA established a 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 mandate, setting the State on an ambitious trajectory to a zero-emission power sector by 2040. The expanded Clean Energy Standard gives the state the authority to issue a Request for Proposals for the renewable power generation sources needed to implement this plan. The action implements the CLCPA requirements that the PSC establish a program to increase the use of renewable energy in the State from 50 percent to 70 percent by 2030 and increase the use of offshore wind from 2,400 MW by 2030 to 9,000 MW by 2035.

For Climate Week: $50 Million Empire Building Challenge to Combat Climate Change and Create Jobs

September 2020 - Climate Week in New York brings the launch of the Empire Building Challenge, a $50 million initiative proposed during the governor's 2020 State of the State address to transform existing multifamily and commercial high-rise buildings and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of these structures. The challenge will advance low-carbon retrofit approaches resulting in heating and cooling solutions that will increase the comfort, sustainability, and energy performance of the state's existing high-rise buildings, a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings currently account for 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion and electric generation. New York has mandated an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, placing the state on path to economy-wide carbon-neutrality.

Draft Regulations Could Accelerate Fight Against Climate Change

September 2020 - New proposed regulations would implement the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. The draft regulatory framework will dramatically speed up the siting and construction of major renewable energy projects to combat climate change and help jumpstart the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act and the resulting regulations will also accelerate progress toward New York state’s clean energy and climate goals - including the directive to obtain 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources - as mandated under the state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

NY Issues Record Breaking Solicitations for Renewable Energy

July 2020 - New York has announced the largest combined clean energy solicitations ever issued in the U.S., seeking up to 4,000 megawatts of renewable capacity to combat climate change. The state's second offshore wind solicitation seeks up to 2,500 megawatts of projects, the largest in the nation's history, in addition to last year's solicitation which resulted in nearly 1,700 megawatts awarded. The solicitation includes a multi-port strategy and requirement for offshore wind generators to partner with any of the 11 prequalified New York ports to stage, construct, manufacture key components, or coordinate operations and maintenance activities. This solicitation has the potential to bring New York State halfway toward its goal of 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 and meet New York’s climate and environment goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Funding for port investments will include $400 million in both public and private funding.

NY Launches Drive to Build Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

July 2020 - The New York State Public Service Commission has approved a "Make Ready" order to advance the state's commitment to accelerate its transition to cleaner mobility. The announcement support New York's plan to decarbonize the transportation sector and reduce overall statewide carbon emissions 85 percent by 2050, as well as the recent collaborative announcement by New York, 14 other states and Washington D.C. to ramp up the electrification of diesel buses and trucks by 2050.

NY Initiates "Make-Ready" Program for Electric Vehicles

January 2020 - New York State Department of Public Service issues a report recommending the establishment of a statewide utility-supported "Make-Ready" Program to promote responsible electric vehicle charging station deployment. In addition, the Governor announced that more than 20,000 rebates have been approved for New Yorkers to purchase electric cars under the Drive Clean Rebate initiative, which provides residents with a rebate of up to $2,000 for the purchase or lease of a new electric car from participating dealers.

New Regulations Will Improve Air Quality and Reduce Harmful Ozone

December 2019 - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted final regulations to improve air quality and protect public health with new, stringent requirements on peak-use power plants. The measure substantially reduces emissions from "peaking" power plants that operate on the hottest days with the most air pollution. These dirty, inefficient plants are also major sources of carbon pollution. Transitioning away from these peak-use power plants is an important component of achieving New York’s nation-leading Green New Deal. These regulations will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, and shift to 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. The regulation establishes lower thresholds for emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to harmful levels of ozone, or smog, on hot summer days. Dozens of simple cycle and regenerative combustion turbines at power plants across the state—many approaching 50 years old and operating infrequently—emit NOx at levels that are at least 30 times more than emissions from newer turbines. However, when the peak-use power plant turbines are operating, collectively they can account for more than a third of New York's daily power plant NOx emissions while producing less electricity for consumers than cleaner sources. In addition, these dirty power plants are often located in proximity to Environmental Justice areas and other communities historically overburdened by environmental pollution and under-served by clean energy solutions.

Draft Plan for Green Transportation Draws Praise

November 2019 - The draft of a policy proposal for a regional effort to switch to electric vehicles is getting strong support from clean-energy advocates. Building on the success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in reducing emissions from the electric power sector, 13 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states have now outlined their plans to reduce emissions from transportation - now the greatest source of greenhouse-gas emissions.

Bigger Tax Break for NYC Green Roofs

August 2019 - Some building owners in New York City now have added incentive to create a green space on their roof. A green-roof tax abatement has been available in the city for several years, but few owners have taken advantage of it. In an effort to change that, a new state law tripled the tax break from $5 to $15 per square foot in community districts where sewers overflow during rainstorms and that lack green spaces. It also extends the existing tax abatement through July 2024.

Governor Signs Nation's Largest Offshore Wind Agreement

July 2019 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, joined by former Vice President Al Gore, has signed the nation's largest offshore wind agreement and the single largest renewable energy procurement by any state in U.S. history - nearly 1,700 megawatts -with the selection of two offshore wind projects, that Cuomo says will create enough energy to power over 1 million homes, create more than 1,600 jobs, and result in $3.2 billion in economic activity. He also signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or CLCPA, which adopts the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the country. The announcement underscores New York's position as a global leader in climate and clean energy, and advances Governor Cuomo's nation-leading mandate of 9,000 megawatts by 2035. Additionally, the offshore wind announcement is expected to catalyze the first generation of major United States supply chain investments by the fast-growing offshore wind sector, positioning New York to be the hub of the nation's offshore wind industry.

Climate Plan Makes NY a Leader

June 2019 - New York is set to become a global leader in the efforts to fight climate change. With enactment of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the Empire State will be on track to set the most ambitious legislative mandate for carbon reductions in the world. The plan calls for getting 70% of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030, to get to 100% carbon free power by 2040, and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act adds New York to a growing list of states aiming for 100% renewable energy by the middle of the century.

Climate Bill Gains Support in Albany

June 2019 - A bill that would write New York State's ambitious clean energy and climate goals into law has gained critical support. The Climate and Community Protection Act has already passed the state Assembly several times. And now, with a Democratic majority in the state Senate, the bill has reached majority sponsorship in both houses. Passage of the bill would make New York a national leader in the efforts to slow global climate change. It would require the state to cut greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030, and 100% by 2050, and direct funds to environmentally vulnerable, low-income communities. The bill also has an environmental justice component which requires 40% of the public revenue allocated for achieving renewable-energy targets be invested in communities that have historically borne the heaviest burdens from pollution, and those that are at risk from the impacts of climate change.

NY to Close Coal-Fired Power Plants by 2020

May 2019 - The last of New York state's coal-fired power plants will be phased out by the end of next year. The Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted final regulations requiring all power plants to meet strict new CO2 emissions standards. The new standards will effectively end the burning of coal for power in the state, making New York the first state to regulate an end to that major source of greenhouse gas emissions. There are two coal-fired power plants still in operation in New York. They could stay open if they install expensive emissions-capture technology or switch to natural gas.

NY to Make $280 Million Available for Energy Storage Projects to Combat Climate Change

May 2019 - New York is allocating $280 million to support energy storage projects that will accelerate growth within the industry and drive down energy storage deployment costs to build a sustainable and affordable market. This funding, announced during Earth Week, is part of a $400 million investment to achieve New York's energy storage deployment target of 3,000 megawatts by 2030, and supports the state's Green New Deal, a clean energy and jobs agenda that puts New York State on a path to a carbon-neutral economy.

NY Announces Third Solicitation for Large Scale Renewable Energy Projects to Accelerate the Development of Clean Energy and Combat Climate Change

April 2019 - New York state has launched the third annual solicitation for large-scale renewable energy projects under the state's Clean Energy Standard. The solicitation is expected to support approximately 1.5 million megawatt-hours of renewable electricity per year, enough to power over 200,000 homes, and will accelerate New York's transition to a clean energy economy. The solicitation is also expected to spur over one billion dollars in private investment, creating over 1,000 good-paying jobs for New Yorkers. The announcement advances progress toward New York's proposed nation-leading commitment to secure 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewable resources by 2030 under the state's Green New Deal.

Funding Available to Help Farmers Address the Impacts of Climate Change

March 2019 - $2.3 million in funding is available through round four of the Climate Resilient Farming grant program for farmers in New York State. The grants will help farms reduce their operational impact on the environment and better prepare for and recover after extreme weather events. Since the launch of the program in 2015, a total of $5.1 million has been provided to 40 projects across the state, helping 70 farms implement critical projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy savings, mitigate water and soil quality concerns and increase on-farm resiliency to climate change.

DEP Proposes New Regulations to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions

February 2019 - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released proposed regulations to improve air quality and protect public health with new, stringent requirements on peak-use power plants. The proposal will substantially reduce emissions from the "peaking" power plants operating on the hottest days with the most air pollution. In addition, they are often located in proximity to environmental justice areas.

Green New Deal Raises Bar for Clean Energy

January 2019 - In his State of the State and Budget address, the governor called for a commitment to move New York State to 70 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040, the most aggressive clean energy goal in the country. The accelerated pace of Cuomo's Green New Deal builds on progress that the state already is making toward a clean energy future. One key to meeting the new target will be increasing the state's procurement of offshore wind, raising the goal from 2,400 megawatts by 2030 to 9,000 by 2035. The governor also has doubled the target for distributed solar power to 6,000 megawatts by 2025 and more than doubled goals for large scale, land-based wind and solar resources. The plan also calls for deployment of 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030.

Green New Deal Raises Bar for Clean Energy

January 2019 - In his State of the State and Budget address, the governor called for a commitment to move New York State to 70 percent carbon free electricity by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040, the most aggressive clean energy goal in the country. The accelerated pace of Cuomo's Green New Deal builds on progress that the state already is making toward a clean energy future. One key to meeting the new target will be increasing the state's procurement of offshore wind, raising the goal from 2,400 megawatts by 2030 to 9,000 by 2035. The governor also has doubled the target for distributed solar power to 6,000 megawatts by 2025 and more than doubled goals for large scale, land based wind and solar resources. The plan also calls for deployment of 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030.

NYS Increasing Energy Efficiency and Energy Storage Targets to Combat Climate Change

December 2018 - New York State Public Service Commission has approved two initiatives to dramatically increase New York's energy efficiency and energy storage targets to combat climate change. The new energy efficiency target for investor-owned utilities will more than double utility energy efficiency progress by 2025, reducing the state's energy consumption by the equivalent of fueling and powering 1.8 million homes. The energy storage initiative sets New York on a trajectory to achieve 1,500 megawatts of storage by 2025, enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes, and up to 3,000 megawatts by 2030. First announced as part of the Governor's 2018 State of the State clean energy agenda, these energy efficiency and energy storage targets are vital to meeting New York's clean energy goals.

NY Launches Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation Rebate Initiative for Public and Private Locations

September 2018 - New York State is making $5 million available as part of the first rebate designed specifically for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at workplaces, office buildings, multi-family apartment buildings, and public locations such as theaters, malls, parks and retail locations. The installation of charging stations for public use supports the clean energy goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. The new Charge Ready NY initiative provides a $4,000 rebate per charging port for public or private employers, building owners, municipalities and non-profit organizations to install Level 2 charging stations at public or workplace parking lots or a multi-unit housing sites.

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.

DEC to Phase 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.

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.

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

OR Adopts New Rules to Reduce Polluting Emissions from Trucks

November 2021 - The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission has adopted the Advanced Clean Truck and Heavy-Duty Omnibus rules. Together, the rules will cut harmful nitrogen oxide and particulate matter pollution by requiring the production of more medium- and heavy-duty trucks powered by electricity and all new diesel-burning engines to meet stricter emission standards beginning in 2024.

OR Joins West Coast in Leading to 100% Clean Energy

July 2021 - Oregon Governor Kate Brown has signed a suite of climate and environmental protection bills into law. The centerpiece is House Bill 2021, which establishes a binding timeline for generating all of the state’s electricity (currently the second-largest source of Oregon’s climate pollution) from clean and renewable energy sources by the year 2040.

OR Lawmakers Set Ambitious Clean Energy Targets

June 2021 - With House Bill 2021, the Legislature set some of the nation's most ambitious targets for switching to 100% clean energy. Under the legislation, the state’s two largest power companies will have to eliminate their carbon emissions by 2040, with interim goals along the way. Just as important, advocates say, are provisions that grant impacted communities a say in how power companies switch to green sources of energy, and set strong labor standards for new renewable energy projects.

Portland Declares A Climate Emergency

July 2020 - The Portland City Council has voted to adopt a climate emergency declaration. Globally, thousands of jurisdictions have declared climate emergencies, acknowledging their cities are in the midst of an environmental crisis and often committing to a series of steps the government hopes will mitigate the catastrophic impacts. On Tuesday evening, Portland joined this list. The council unanimously passed a resolution declaring the city - along with the rest of the globe – was confronting a crisis.

In Spite of OR Legislature's Inaction, Gov. Brown Acts on Climate Change

March 2020 - Stymied at the Oregon Legislature, conservation groups are celebrating an extensive list of climate actions from Governor Kate Brown. Brown has announced an executive order that spans multiple business sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It includes expanding the Clean Fuels Program to lower pollution 25% by 2030, strengthening requirements for buildings to produce as much clean energy as they use by 2030, and an ultimate carbon-reduction goal of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

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

RGGI Keeps VA Emissions Down, Despite Growth of Data Centers

April 2023 - As Northern Virginia continues to develop more data centers, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has kept the state on track to meet climate goals. But, other challenges lie ahead as Governor Gleen Youngkin is still looking to withdraw Virginia from RGGI.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin Lacks Support in Removing VA from RGGI

March 2023 - Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin failedr to get the state out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Along with a bill to remove the state from RGGI failing in committee, there is a lack of support from residents. Since a public comment link opened on January 30th, most residents responded with overwhelmingly negative feedback. Those few comments that supported Youngkin mostly criticized the reliability of renewable energy sources.

Virginia to Become South's Clean Energy Leader

March 2020 - The passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act makes Virginia the first state in the South to take such decisive action to confront climate change. The bill (HB 1526), which requires a shift to 100% renewable energy in the next 25 years, is expected to be signed by Gov. Ralph Northam this week.

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

WA Takes Strongest Clean Commercial Building Action in the Nation

April 2022 - The Washington State Building Code Council voted to adopt a new statewide commercial and multifamily building energy code that will be the strongest, most climate-friendly in the country by driving the transition to clean electricity for space and water heating. Under Washington’s updated energy code that will take effect in July 2023, new commercial buildings – including multifamily residential buildings four stories and taller – will be built with high-efficiency electric heat pumps for water and space heating

WA Sets Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Goal fo 2050

March 2020 - Washington state lawmakers passed a measure setting new limits for 2050. The state aims to reach net-zero carbon emissions over the next three decades.

Puget Sound Proposes Aggressive Fuel Standard to Reduce Emissions

November 2019 - The Puget Sound region is striking out on its own with a bold proposal for a clean fuel standard. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency has drafted a rule that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 26-percent by 2030 in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Transportation accounts for more than 40-percent of the state's carbon emissions.

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

Groups See WV Solar Bill as a ‘Step Forward’

February 2020 - Environmental groups in West Virginia say they're seeing progress toward reducing fossil-fuel use in coal country with the passage of a Senate bill (SB 583) that lets power companies provide solar energy for the first time. Signed into law in April.

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

PacifiCorp Plans Coal Units' Retirement, Investments in WY Renewables

October 2019 - PacifiCorp's plan to retire coal-fired power plants is not as sweeping as first announced, or many hoped, but units at Naughton, Dave Johnston and Jim Bridger - the largest plant in the company's fleet - all will close earlier than once anticipated.

Wyoming Moves to Slash Oil and Gas Emissions

December 2018 - The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality finalized new standards to reduce harmful emissions from the state's new and modified oil and gas facilities. The move from the Mead Administration is an important step toward comprehensive statewide emissions reduction rules, and comes in the wake of federal attempts to weaken national pollution standards for new and modified wells.

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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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.

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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

Law Limiting Payday Loan Interest Rates Goes Into Effect

March 2019 - The measure limits the interest rate on short-term loans, commonly known as payday loans, to a yearly rate of 36 percent and eliminated all other finance charges and fees associated with payday lending.

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

Two Payday Lending Bills Introduced in NV

February 2019 - Nevada lawmakers are considering two bills to tighten the rules on payday lending in the state. The proposals come after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced plans to loosen restrictions on lenders and stop actively policing violations of the Military Lending Act, instead choosing to solely investigate complaints.

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."

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Criminal Justice

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AMA Stance on Excited Delirium

June 2021 - The American Medical Association adopted a policy this week opposing the diagnosis of "Excited Delirium." Skeptics of this condition say it is often used by law enforcement to justify excessive force.

Supreme Court Rules Local Government Excessive Fines Unconstitutional

February 2019 - The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that states cannot impose excessive fees, fines and forfeitures as criminal penalties. The decision, which united the court's conservatives and liberals, makes clear that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "excessive fines" applies to states and localities as well as the federal government.

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

Feds OK CA Plan to Pre-Enroll Incarcerated People in Medi-Cal

March 2023 - California will soon become the first state in the nation to offer health insurance to income-eligible individuals who are incarcerated – starting 90 days prior to their release. The feds just agreed to match funds spent on Medi-Cal or CHIP for people leaving jail, prison or juvenile correctional facilities.

Bills Filed to Shorten Criminal Sentences

February 2021 - Supporters of criminal-sentencing reform have filed nine proposals, all intended to make the system more just for people of all races. The bills would follow through on recommendations made in a new report from the California Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code. Natasha Minsker, a consultant to the committee, supports Senate Bill 483, which would shorten sentences for thousands of people sitting behind bars for so-called "zombie enhancements" – longer sentences for reasons that have been repealed by the Legislature.

Number of Juveniles in Detention Drops In March

April 2020 - A new survey of local secure youth detention centers shows their population dropped by almost one-quarter in March, as the COVID-19 crisis gripped the nation. The survey from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says the drop is as large as a recent seven-year period from 2010 to 2017 – mostly because fewer young people are being detained.

CA Senate Passes Bill To Train Police To Avoid Deadly Use Of Force

May 2019 - The California Senate approved legislation requiring officers across the nation's most populous state to be trained in ways to avoid using deadly force, one of two measures intended to deter shootings by police. Senators unanimously passed the proposal requiring that policies on deadly force be standardized statewide, sending it to the Assembly. It also requires officers to learn ways to de-escalate confrontations, alternatives to shooting suspects and how to interact with those with mental illness or addictions.

Judge Lets Law on Access to Police Records Stand

March 2019 - The California Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a new law implemented at the start of the year unsealing and allowing public and media access to certain types of records related to police conduct. The law is intended to end years of secrecy that have made it impossible for the public to find out when a police officer had been found to engage in misconduct on the job. The secrecy was so strong that even prosecutors and defense attorneys struggled to find out about any past behavior by an officer that might compromise a criminal case.

Governor Signs Criminal Justice Reform Package

September 2018 - Gov. Brown signed two research-based criminal justice reforms to improve rehabilitation and reduce the odds of re-offending. Senate Bill 1391 prohibits 14- and 15-year-olds from being tried as adults in criminal court and subsequently sent to adult prison. The bill reverses laws passed in the 1990s that allowed for sentencing the youngest teens to the adult criminal justice system. Senate Bill 1050 extends services and support for exonerated people released from prison after their wrongful convictions are overturned. Since 1989, there have been a total of 192 exonerations in California. SB 1050 guarantees access to Medi-Cal, CalFresh and work training programs to assist exonerees to transition back to society. Today Governor Brown also signed SB 439, which excludes children age 11 and younger from juvenile court jurisdiction to promote the rights, health and well-being of the child by curbing premature exposure to incarceration, and SB 1393, which return judicial discretion on sentencing related to five-year enhancements for serious felony convictions.

Governor Signs Bill to Give Judges Discretion in Sentencing

September 2018 - Gov. Brown signed another major reform rooted in evidence-based policy and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice. Senate Bill 1393, the Fair and Just Sentencing Reform Act, will eliminate automatic penalties that have contributed to the state's mass incarceration crisis and failed 'tough on crime' policies by returning discretion in sentencing of serious felonies to judges.

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 to Increase Behavioral Health Access and Divert Coloradans in Need Away from Criminal Justice System

May 2022 - SB22-196 implements recommendations from the Behavioral Health Transformational Task Force by investing nearly $62 million in early intervention and diversion efforts to get individuals with mental health conditions and substance use disorders into needed treatment rather than getting involved in the criminal justice system.

HB-1025 Clears Hurdle for Workers with Criminal History

April 2019 - After Sept. 1, Colorado companies with more than 10 employees are prohibited from asking about workers' criminal history.

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

Police Reform Bill Is Law After Months of Negotiations

January 2021 - Governor Charlie Baker signed a police reform bill into law, giving power to decertify officers to a civilian-led commission. It was the second version of the bill on his desk – he threatened to veto the first unless the General Court agreed to scale certain measures back.

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

Number of Youth in Detention Drops Dramatically During Pandemic

April 2020 - A new survey shows across the country, the population in juvenile detention centers dropped by 24-percent in March, during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Connecticut, the drop is even bigger. The judicial branch is reporting a 45-percent reduction – from 79 young people on March 1st in the state's two detention centers, down to 46.

Judge Frees Prisoner in ACLU Lawsuit

April 2020 - A judge on Monday ordered one of five state prison inmates named as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit by the ACLU of Connecticut seeking release because of the pandemic to be freed on a reduced bond. Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander agreed to reduce the bond on 26-year-old Tre McPherson from $5,100 to a promise to appear in court following a hearing on a motion filed by McPherson's lawyer, Daniel Lage. McPherson had not been able to post the bond following his arrest by Bridgeport police in February on charges of evading responsibility, operating without a license, reckless driving and failure to appear in court. In its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the ACLU stated that McPherson was being held in an open dormitory with 57 other men and had recently lost his sense of smell, and others in his dorm are reporting symptoms of illness.

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

Judge Rules Florida Can't Block Felons From Voting Due to Unpaid Fines

October 2019 - The right to vote for 1.4 million ex-felons in Florida got a boost when a federal judge ruled that the state can't prevent felons from voting, even if they can't afford to pay court-ordered fines and fees. The ruling applied to plaintiffs who sue but will force legislature to review the law.

Florida Votes to Restore Voting Rights People Who Complete Prison Terms

November 2018 - Voters approved Amendment 4, which says that most people convicted of felonies will automatically have their voting rights restored when they complete their sentences or go on probation. The amendment exempts those convicted of sex offenses and murder.

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

Gov. Signs Bill Granting Legal Privilege to Participants in Restorative Justice Practices

July 2021 - The Governor signed SB 64 into law, protecting what participants of restorative justice practices do and say from being used against them in court.

General Assembly Makes IL First State to Pass Bill Ending Cash Bail

January 2021 - The General Assembly passed a sweeping omnibus criminal justice bill during the lame-duck session, which includes the Pretrial Fairness Act, which would end cash bail, with judges allowed to detain people charged with certain crimes pretrial, such as domestic battery or murder.

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

Lifetime SNAP Ban Lifted for Some Felony Drug Convictions

January 2020 - Some Indiana residents previously convicted of drug crimes will be eligible for food stamps for the first time. Indiana was one of just four states in the U.S. to permanently ban people with drug convictions from receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A new law went into effect Jan. 1, 2020 that allows for people who have successfully completed their sentence or are currently in compliance with post-conviction monitoring such as probation, parole or community corrections to receive SNAP benefits. But if the person violates the terms of their release, SNAP eligibility is taken away.

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

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

Kentucky News Connection

Kentucky’s second-largest city bans ‘no-knock’ warrants

July 2021 - Kentucky's second-largest city has banned the use of “no-knock” warrants. Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton signed the ordinance into law in June, and it went into effect immediately.

KY Governor Signs Healthy Reentry Bill

April 2021 - Governor Andy Beshear signed HB 497 into law, a bill that would establish a certificate of employability program for eligible inmates in Kentucky prisons to encourage second-chance employment opportunities and reduced barriers to employment after leaving prison.

KY Restores Voting Rights to Former Felons

January 2020 - Andy Beshear, Kentucky’s new governor, recently signed an executive order restoring the vote to more than 140,000 of the estimated 240,000 Kentuckians who have completed felony sentences.

KY Voters Embrace Marsy's Law

November 2018 - Kentucky might become one of a handful of states to adopt a law intended to give crime victims the same rights as their accused perpetrators. Voters passed a measure known as "Marsy's Law," which would amend the state constitution to give crime victims legal protection equal to defendants in criminal cases. The fate of the vote still rests with the Kentucky Supreme Court who are reviewing a constitutional challenge to the proposal.

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

PA Probation Reform Moves to Senate Floor

December 2021 - Senate Bill 913 has advanced out of the Judiciary Committee on a unanimous vote. The proposal makes probation violation punishments uniform across the state and reconsiders incarceration as punishment for minor infractions. The measure will prevent residents from returning to jail over “technical violations” of probation. These infractions include things like crossing county lines for a legitimate reason or being unable to leave work to meet with a probation officer.

Clean Slate Expansion Signed into Law

October 2020 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 440 expanding on the state’s Clean Slate law by removing an obligation to pay any outstanding court-ordered financial obligations before eligible cases can be sealed. Any restitution owed for convictions committed is not waived. The bill also requires that when a person receives a pardon, that record is automatically sealed and if they receive a not-guilty verdict the record is expunged. Clean Slate also expanded the number of misdemeanor convictions that can be sealed after a petition is filed in court. Sealed records are not available to the public, helping people access employment, housing and education. To date, almost 35 million cases have been automatically sealed without the cost of filing petitions in court. That’s more than half of the charges in the court’s database.

Law Enforcement Reform Bills Become Law

July 2020 - Governor Tom Wolf signed House bills 1841 and 1910, which both passed unanimously in the House and Senate. House Bill 1841 requires a thorough background check for law enforcement applicants prior to being employed and requires a law enforcement agency to disclose employment information. The bill also establishes an electronic database housed and maintained by the Municipal Police Officers’ Training and Education Training Commission (MPOTEC) that contains separation records of law enforcement officers. House Bill 1910 requires mental health evaluations with a focus on PTSD of law enforcement officers as a condition of continued employment. It also requires training for police officers on trauma-informed care, use of deadly force, de-escalation and harm reduction techniques, community and cultural awareness, implicit bias, procedural justice and reconciliation techniques.

New Law Removes Barriers to Work for People with Criminal Convictions

July 2020 - Senate Bill 637, which removes outdated licensing barriers so skilled workers with criminal records can get a second chance and start good careers, has been signed into law. The reforms included removing outdated criminal record restrictions. One in five Pennsylvanians needs an occupational license from a board or commission to do their job, representing more than one million workers.

Pennsylvania Reduced Prison Population by Record-Setting 3,471 since March 1

June 2020 - Since March 1, the population of those in state correctional facilities has been reduced by 3,471 individuals, the largest multiple-month decrease ever experienced by the Department of Corrections and one that likely helped the department reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in facilities. The population reduction includes furloughing paroled individuals from centers to home plans; working with the parole board to maximize parole releases; reviewing parole detainers for those in county jails and state prisons; expediting the release process for anyone with a pending approved home plan; reviewing and releasing inmates who are beyond their minimum sentences; and implementing the temporary reprieve program that has allowed Gov. Wolf to issue reprieves to 159 inmates during the pandemic.

Department of Corrections to Establish Temporary Program to Reprieve Sentences of Incarceration

April 2020 - Department of Corrections officials will establish a temporary program to reprieve sentences of Incarceration to help aid the department in the transfer of qualifying individuals to community corrections facilities or home confinement amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The program only applies to state prison inmates who have been identified as being non-violent and who otherwise would be eligible for release within the next 9 months or who are considered at high risk for complications of coronavirus and are within 12 months of their release.

Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Introduced

October 2019 - Senate Bill 350, introduced by Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, and Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, would allow people to grow up to ten marijuana plants for personal use, get home deliveries from dispensaries, and help communities most affected by decades of prohibition reap the economic benefits of legalization. The bill includes and automatic expungement provision that would allow people with past marijuana-related convictions to apply to have those records permanently deleted.

Pennsylvania Can Lead Nation with Bipartisan Probation and Parole Reforms

April 2019 - Bipartisan legislators joined criminal justice reform advocates, including the REFORM Alliance, to announce an upcoming bill to overhaul probation and parole in the commonwealth. The proposed legislation aims to remove pitfalls that plague the parole and probation system and cause people who make nonviolent mistakes to be pulled back into the criminal justice system. The changes include preventing the court from sentencing a person to consecutive sentences of probation, preventing the court from extending probation or parole due solely to nonpayment of fines and costs and creating a system of incentives that reward good behavior. The bill would also remove testing positive for marijuana as well as leaving the jurisdiction of the court without the intent to permanently avoid supervision as parole and probation violations. Pennsylvania's bipartisan criminal justice reform efforts in recent years have led to consecutive years of lower prison populations, all while crime has also fallen.

Program to Help Pennsylvanians Navigate "Clean Slate" Law

January 2019 - Governor Tom Wolf was joined by representatives of Community Legal Services, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Center for American Progress, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, legislators, and various stakeholder and advocacy groups at the PA CareerLink Harrisburg Region to announce a program aimed at making it easier to navigate Pennsylvania's new Clean Slate law. Clean Slate was passed with a near unanimous vote (188-2) and signed into law by Gov. Wolf on June 28. The law expands criminal record sealing to include more types of offenses, including some first-degree misdemeanors, which can be sealed by filing petitions. The law also creates an automated computer process to seal arrests that did not result in convictions within 60 days, summary convictions after 10 years, and some second and third-degree misdemeanor convictions if there are no subsequent misdemeanor or felony convictions for a period of 10 years after the time of conviction. The automatic sealing provision will go into effect on June 28, 2019. Pennsylvania was the first state in the country to pass Clean Slate and remains the only state with this law, with other states interested in and focused on Pennsylvania's implementation.

Pennsylvania's Clean Slate Act Goes into Effect

December 2018 - Many Pennsylvanians with old criminal records are now eligible to have those records sealed. The first phase of the state's Clean Slate Act went into effect the day after Christmas. That means people convicted of second-degree simple assault and some first-degree misdemeanors, and who've had no other convictions for at least ten years, can apply to have their records sealed. That will bring welcome relief to thousands who may have been blocked from jobs, housing, even some loans, for a mistake made years ago. Sealed records will still be seen in federal background checks. The second phase of the law, automatically sealing some low-level criminal records, will begin on June 28.

"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 4th State to Ban Police Property Seizures Absent Criminal Charges

July 2021 - The Maine Legislature passed LD 1521 with bipartisan support to end civil asset forfeiture, meaning police can no longer seize cash or assets connected to a crime without filing criminal charges.

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.

Maryland News Connection

Compensation for Wrongfully Convicted People in Md.

July 2021 - Maryland's Walter Lomax Act is now effective. It improves Maryland's existing law on compensation for wrongfully convicted people. The new law designates Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) to oversee the process – rather than the state’s Board of Public Works (BPW) – and establishes a clear process and path to compensation for Marylanders who prove their innocence.

MD’s New 'Ban-the-Box' Law Extends Fair Chance at Jobs

February 2020 - Formerly incarcerated people in Maryland will no longer have to disclose criminal records to private employers. The state's new "ban-the-box" law gives folks who were in prison an equal chance for jobs without the stigma.

Michigan News Connection

Whitmer Extends Protections for Vulnerable Jail and Prison Populations

July 2020 - Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-146, which extends protections for vulnerable populations in Michigan’s county jails, local lockups and juvenile detention centers through Aug. 6, 2020. The order temporarily suspends transfers into and from Michigan Department of Corrections facilities unless jails adopt certain risk-reduction protocols. Many counties have already resumed transfers, subject to ongoing review. The order also allows local officials more flexibility in releasing vulnerable populations who do not pose a threat to public safety.

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

Missouri News Service

MO Funds 'Raise the Age' Law passed in 2018

July 2021 - Missouri lawmakers raised the age of criminal responsibility in 2018 to go into effect January 1, 2021 subject to funding. Until July 1st, only 5 counties were complying. With this new budget signed, there is dedicated funding and the law goes into full effect across all the state's counties.

Nevada News Service

Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Minor Traffic Violations

June 2021 - Governor Sisolak signed two pieces of legislation that will end Nevada’s widespread practice of issuing a bench warrant and suspending an individual's driver's license when they can't afford to pay fines and fees from a minor traffic ticket. AB 116 will decriminalize minor traffic violations — making them civil infractions and ending the widespread practice of issuing warrants for outstanding traffic debt. Nevada was one of only 13 U.S. states that still prosecutes minor traffic violations as criminal offenses, rather than as civil infractions.

NV Assembly Passes Bill to Abolish Death Penalty

April 2021 - The Nevada Assembly approved Assembly Bill 395, which would end the death penalty and change the sentences of those on death row to life without the possibility of parole. Now the measure heads to the state senate.

Bill Introduced to Abolish NV Death Penalty

March 2021 - A bill to abolish the death penalty in the state has been introduced in the Nevada legislature. Assembly Bill 395 is looking to remove text that allows those convicted of first degree murder to be punished by death. AB 395 also wants those who were sentenced to death to face a reduced sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Governor Signs Bill Ending Prison Gerrymandering

May 2019 - Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a bill into law ensuring that people in state prisons will be counted as residents of their home addresses when new legislative districts are drawn. The new law makes Nevada the sixth state to end the practice known as prison gerrymandering, after Washington passed its own law just last week.

Voting Rights Restored For Ex-Felons

May 2019 - Gov. Steve Sisolak signed AB431, which automatically restores voting rights to thousands of ex-felons who are released from prison and have been discharged from parole or probation. He said the bill will affect some 77,000 Nevadans who will immediately get their right to vote back because the bill is retroactive. He said Nevada currently has about the most restrictive laws when it comes to restoring voter rights to convicted people.

NV Assembly Votes to Restore Felons' Voting Rights

April 2019 - Nevada would become the 15th state to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences if Assembly Bill 431 gets the governor's signature. Currently in Nevada, voting rights can only be restored two years after a person's release, and only for people convicted of nonviolent crimes who petition the court where they were convicted.

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

Three Police Reform Bills Signed into Law

August 2021 - Advocates applaud progress: Governor Sununu signs three police reform bills aimed at increasing accountability and transparency: HB 530, HB 471 and SB 96.

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

Governor Cuomo Proposes to Legalize Adult-use Cannabis

January 2021 - As part of the 2021 State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to legalize and create a comprehensive system to oversee and regulate cannabis in New York. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.

Cuomo Proposes National Ban on Chokeholds

June 2020 - Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing a positive reform agenda amidst the ongoing protests across the state and nation in response to the killing of George Floyd. The reform agenda includes a national ban on excessive force and chokeholds by law enforcement officers; independent investigations of police abuse conducted by independent, outside agencies - not by local prosecutors; and disclosure of disciplinary records of police officers being investigated.

Marijuana Decriminalization Law Goes into Effect

August 2019 - Legislation providing individuals a path to have their records expunged has gone into effect. It applies to those who have been unjustly impacted based on their race or ethnicity, reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a fine, giving many New Yorkers the opportunity to live better and more productive, successful and healthier lives.

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

NC Governor Grants Clemency for 10 North Carolinians

December 2022 - Governor Roy Cooper commuted six people’s sentences in North Carolina prisons, and granted pardons of forgiveness for four others.

NC Governor Uses Clemency Power to End Life Sentences

April 2022 - Based on the recommendation of the North Carolina Juvenile Sentence Review Board, Gov. Roy Cooper has exercised clemency power to end the life sentences of three people convicted as children. Criminal justice advocates applaud the decision, as recent data show detention and incarceration continue to grow among North Carolina Black and Latinx youth

NC Ends Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners

November 2021 - North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 608, the Dignity for Women Who are Incarcerated bill requires prisons and jails to limit the use of shackling after the second trimester, during labor, and in the six weeks after delivery. 

N.C. Supreme Court Cites Racism in North Carolina's Death Penalty Process

October 2020 - Three death row prisoners were re-sentenced to life without parole after the N.C. Supreme Court ruled that they had been unconstitutionally returned to death row after receiving life sentences under the state’s Racial Justice Act.

NC Senate Passes Second Chance Act

July 2020 - In June the NC Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 562, also known as The Second Chance Act. North Carolinians will now be able to expunge certain criminal records that are often the cause of severe barriers to finding employment, housing, and other opportunities.

Judge Approves Agreement to Reform Bail Practices in Alamance County

June 2020 - Judge Approves Agreement to Reform Bail Practices in Alamance County: Starting July 1st, people arrested in Alamance County will no longer be jailed because they are too poor to pay bail, under an interim agreement approved in May by a federal court. This agreement will remain in place while the rest of the 2019 class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Civil Rights Corps proceeds.

NC Second Chance Act for Non-Violent Offenders

July 2019 - The North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 562, known as the "Second Chance Act," which allows for the expungement of nonviolent misdemeanor and low-level felony convictions.

More NC Jurors Reject the Death Penalty

December 2018 - For the second year, juries imposed no new death sentences in North Carolina in 2018. The Center for Death Penalty Litigation says this is related to a more informed jury pool.

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

Public Safety Bill Limiting Traffic Stops, Post-Prison Supervision Passes in Oregon Legislature

March 2022 - Oregon lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1510 to change how traffic stops are made in an effort to stop racial profiling. SB 1510 also removes barriers for people on post-prison supervision, and allocates public safety dollars for culturally specific and responsive services. Oregon state data shows that racial disparities have persisted in traffic stops as recently as 2021.

OR Lawmakers Pass Package of Police Reform Bills

June 2021 - Following more than 100 days of protests in response to the murder of George Floyd last summer, lawmakers like Rep. Janelle Bynum, D-Happy Valley, and other members of the BIPOC caucus were vocal coming into the session about their commitment to advancing reforms around policing and accountability. The work followed up on six new laws passed last June aimed at changing the way police do their jobs. Out of more than a dozen bills considered this session, one of the biggest efforts to come out of that policing package was HB 2929, requiring officers to report misconduct or intervene to stop it. Another bill, HB 2513, now requires officers to be trained in airway and circulatory anatomy and to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Still another will set up a statewide background check process that flags racist behavior and requires agencies to report evidence they find in their search of a candidate’s history and social media presence.

OR Legislature Passes Bill Eliminating Post-Prison Supervision Fees

June 2021 - SB 620 passed, making Oregon the second state in the nation (after California) to eliminate fees for post-prison supervision, probation, and parole. It will affect about 28,000 currently under supervision.

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

Shelby County, TN Reforms Bail System

September 2022 - Shelby County officials have created a new bail process that experts say will make the county’s system one of the fairest in the nation. The new system includes creation of a new bail hearing courtroom; examination of a person’s financial circumstances prior to any decision, and use of secured money only as a last resort. The new system is expected to go into effect by February 2023.

TN Man Removed from Death Row

December 2021 - Pervis Payne, who has an intellectual disability, was removed from Tennessee’s death row after three decades, after a new law allowed Payne to present evidence of his intellectual disability in court. Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich conceded that Mr. Payne is a person with an intellectual disability, and announced the state would stop pursuing the death penalty in his case. 

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 Ends Death Penalty

July 2021 - Executions in Virginia are outlawed, with the new law commencing July 1st. Only two men remain on death row; their sentences will be commuted to life in prison without parole.

Virginia Enacts Freedom of Information Act Reform Bill

July 2021 - Criminal investigative files in cases that are no longer ongoing will be made publicly available, with limited exceptions. Bill was spurred on by families of the victims of the 2019 Virginia Beach mass shooting.

Virginia First Southern State to Legalize Marijuana

July 2021 - Adults in Virginia can now legally possess an ounce of marijuana without fear of criminal or civil penalties

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 County an 'Innovator' in Criminal-Justice Reform

July 2021 - As parts of the country rethink criminal justice, a small county in Washington state is providing a model on how to better serve communities. Pacific County, on Washington's southwest coast, is one of the Stepping Up Initiative's first "innovator counties." The aim of the initiative is to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jail.

Formerly Incarcerated People Regain Right to Vote in Washington

April 2021 - Formerly incarcerated people will immediately regain the right to vote after Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law this automatic right, marking passage for one of the first criminal justice reform bills this session. "The right to vote we know is a key component to a successful re-entry into society following incarceration," Inslee said as he signed House Bill 1078 on April 7.

WA Law Restores Right to Vote to People Released from Prison

April 2021 - Governor Jay Inslee signed a bipartisan bill to restore voting rights to citizens when they are released from prison. The bill is expected to return the right to vote to over 20,000 people in the state. It takes effect January 1, 2022.

Wash. Initiative on Police Use of Deadly Force Passes

November 2018 - A measure to strengthen accountability of police officers who use lethal force and require more mental-health crisis training was passed with large support from Washington state voters. Initiative 940, which earned nearly 60 percent approval, removes a barrier in state law that has made it nearly impossible to criminally charge police officers believed to have wrongfully used deadly force.

Washington Supreme Court Tosses Out State's Death Penalty

October 2018 - Washington state's Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty, as applied, violates its Constitution. The ruling makes Washington the latest state to do away with capital punishment. The court was unanimous in its order that the eight people currently on death row have their sentences converted to life in prison. Five justices said the "death penalty is invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner."

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

WV Bills Target Driver's License Suspensions, Prison Overcrowding

February 2020 - Reform advocates are urging West Virginia lawmakers to pass a bill that ends driver's license suspensions for unpaid court costs and fines, which disproportionately affect low-income and minority people. They're also pushing for a bill that would ease overcrowding in jails. Driver's license law signed in April.

West Virginia Lifts Ban On Reformed Drug Felons Getting SNAP Benefits

May 2019 - West Virginia had been one of only three states that retained a war-on-drugs-based lifetime ban on anyone convicted of a drug-related felony receiving SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) benefits. Addicts in recovery say this move should help them stay clean and out of trouble.

WV Helps Ease Restrictions For Reformed Criminals

March 2019 - Lawmakers have approved two measures to make it easier for former prisoners to reenter society and stay out of trouble. SB 152 will make it easier to expunge a criminal record and get work. HB 2083 makes it easier for people to obtain a state ID after being released from prison. WVNS has covered related issues, most recently in March ("In Tight Labor Market, Some Major Companies to Drop Criminal Check,") and last November ("Group Sees Strong Response to WV Second-Chance Law.")

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.

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Maryland News Connection

Maryland Repeals White Supremacist State Song

July 2021 - Maryland repealed its state song "Maryland, My Maryland" for its connection to the Confederacy.

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


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

Polis Signs Bill to Improve Higher Education For Students With A Disability

April 2022 - H-B 1255 would create an advisory committee to outline ways to improve outcomes for students with disabilities attending state institutions.

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 Hampshire News Connection

NH First State to Offer COVID Stipend to Long-term Care Workers

April 2020 - Gov. Chris Sununu announced on Apr. 14 that New Hampshire will pay an additional $300 a week to long-term care workers at Medicaid-funded facilities including nursing homes, day programs for people with disabilities, and other home-care services during the COVID-19 crisis. (We covered this as well.)

New York News Connection

New Law Prohibits Discrimination Against Persons with a Disability Who Have Support Animals

August 2020 - Senate Bill S6172 prohibiting housing providers from discriminating against a person who relies on an animal for assistance alleviating symptoms or the effects of a disability has been signed into law. The Division of Human Rights has found in appropriate circumstances it is reasonable to permit such an accommodation to a housing provider's "no pets" policy, where medical evidence or other professional evidence shows that the animal aids the person with the disability by alleviating the symptoms or effects of a disability. Housing providers must now provide a reasonable accommodation by permitting a support animal to live in a home that otherwise would have prohibited pets.

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.

Virginia News Connection

Virginia Human Rights Act Outlaws Discrimination against People with Disabilities

July 2021 - The bill also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for known physical and mental impairments to people with disabilities and keep employers from taking "adverse action" against employees requesting those accommodations.

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

Other-Abled Workers Fuel Vertical Farm in Jackson

December 2019 - An indoor vertical farm in Jackson that produces and sells roughly 100,000 pounds of fresh produce annually is powered by a workforce built on the concept of diversity. Nearly two-thirds of Vertical Harvest's workers face disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome or vision, speech and learning impairments.

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

Connecticut Achieves Milestone in Rape-Kit Testing Reform

October 2019 - Connecticut's reforms have significantly educed the state's backlog of untested rape kits and will ensure the prompt processing of kits going forward. In 2015 Connecticut had a backlog of more than 1,100 untested rape kits. By 2017, all untested rape kits in the state had been transferred for testing, and Connecticut now has electronic tracking of kits as well as policies to keep survivors informed of testing status. Now Connecticut is one of three states recognized in October for adopting six reforms recommended for ending the nationwide problem of rape kits that often go unprocessed for years. In 2016, the Joyful Heart Foundation launched a campaign to get all states to adopt its recommended reforms. With the addition of Connecticut, Oregon and Utah this year , the total number of states that have adopted all six rape-kit reforms now stands at 12.

Governor Lamont and Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Announce Updated Family Violence Policy for State Employees

March 2019 - Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz announced that the administration has updated the state's policy regarding leave rights available to state employees who are victims of family violence and the procedures relating to such leave. Announced on International Women's Day, the policy is being updated to better ensure that employees who are experiencing family violence receive appropriate support. State agencies are partnering with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) and the state's 18 designated domestic violence organizations to ensure that resources are available to employees.

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 to Begin Tracking Domestic Violence Homicides

May 2022 - In a win for advocates, Kentucky will now require the collection and analysis of data related to domestic violence in the commonwealth. Senate Bill 271, requires the Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center (CJSAC) to collect data on occurrences and fatalities related to dating and domestic violence.

KY Governor Extends Statute of Limitations for Victims of Child Abuse

April 2021 - Governor Andy Beshear has signed House Bill 472 into law, which extends the statute of limitations for misdemeanor sex offenses against children from five to 10 years, among other provisions.

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

Domestic Violence Bill Signed into Law

June 2020 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed Senate Bill 275 which allows previous convictions of strangulation to be considered in sentencings for subsequent cases and in child custody proceedings. A 2016 law made strangulation a criminal offense and this legislation integrates it with other offenses under state law.

First Law to Take Guns from Abusers Goes into Effect

April 2019 - Hailed as the first law in Pennsylvania to truly take guns away from the dangerous abusers who use them to kill, terrorize and control, Act 79 goes into effect. The act includes additional safeguards to help protect victims of domestic violence, including requiring abusers receiving orders issued after a contested hearing or conviction for misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence to turn in any guns to law enforcement agencies within 24 hours while the order is in effect; previously the abuser could relinquish a firearm to a family member or friend; allows for the time that an individual is incarcerated not to be counted for the 90 days of a temporary PFA (Protection From Abuse order); and requires the PFA to be served by official law enforcement unless the plaintiff chooses another authorized method.

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

NYS Using Funds to Improve Services for Domestic Violence Victims

February 2021 - $1.5 million in federal funding will be directed to state-licensed domestic violence service providers for mobile devices and improved Wi-Fi access. The improved technology will allow programs and shelters to better serve victims and survivors of domestic violence who are facing increased isolation and difficulty accessing services due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The state's COVID-19 Domestic Violence Task Force recommended that the state prioritize access to mobile advocacy, which is even more critical as the state and nation face a surge of the virus.

Proposal Would Require Abusers to Pay Damages

January 2021 - A comprehensive package of initiatives to combat domestic violence and gender-based violence has been introduced as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State. The package includes a proposal allowing courts to require abusers to pay for damages to the housing unit, moving expenses, and other housing costs related to domestic violence, as well as a proposal to require the Office of Court Administration report domestic violence felony statistics to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services monthly. It would also transform the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence into the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, tasked with addressing the intersection of the many forms of intimate partner violence, including domestic violence and sexual violence, in a survivor-centered and comprehensive manner.

Regional Domestic Violence Councils to Engage Local Stakeholders in Work to Modernize and Improve Services for Survivors

October 2020 - Domestic Violence Regional Councils have been created to address issues around domestic violence services and implement modern changes for improved survivor outcomes. Coordinated by the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the 10 Councils will provide valuable insight from a wide array of domestic violence stakeholders and experts who will help transform and modernize delivery of services for victims, survivors and their families. To mark October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, OPDV also unveiled its "Survivor Voices, Survivor Choices," public awareness campaign and an updated toolkit with graphics and other materials available for free to individuals and entities seeking to call attention to domestic violence.

NYS Launches Task Force to Find Solutions to Growing Domestic Violence Crisis

May 2020 - Following a spike in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and the New York State Council on Women and Girls announced the creation of a new task force to find innovative solutions to this crisis. The task force will identify solutions to help domestic violence survivors, with the specific goal of looking beyond the traditional ways that services have been provided in the past. The task force will make recommendations to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo by Thursday, May 28th.

New York State Launces Domestic Violence Text Program

April 2020 - In the face of a dangerous uptick of domestic violence incidents, New York state is modernizing its domestic violence hotline with a new text program and confidential online service to aid victims of abuse and provide ways to get help. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary social distancing guidelines, domestic violence victims are even more vulnerable and unsafe while isolated at home without being able to get away from their abuser and there has been a reported uptick in the number of domestic violence cases in the state. Calls to the state's domestic violence hotline are up 30 percent in April compared to last year and calls increased 18 percent from February to March 2020. State Police also report domestic violence incident calls were up 15 percent in March compared to last year.

State Police Will Respond to Domestic Violence Hotline During Pandemic

April 2020 - Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa announced that State Police will respond to all calls to New York's domestic violence hotline during the COVID-19 pandemic. DeRosa sought to assure women that they don't have to stay in abusive situations, that the state will help them relocate and find safe shelter. She urged those in danger of immediate harm to call 911 immediately. She noted that since the start of the pandemic there has been a reported uptick of reports by as much as 15 to 20 percent. She said that in every single case that is reported, the State Police will investigate fully.

Domestic Violence Survivors Have More Time to Sue for Injuries

September 2019 - Legislation to increase the statute of limitations for civil suits related to injury caused by domestic violence to two years has been signed into law. Under current law, civil suits for domestic violence must be initiated within one year after the incident and the law fails to take into consideration the highly emotional and extremely difficult factors involved in domestic violence situations that often prevent survivors from making the decision to initiate a civil suit. The new law recognizes the sensitive nature of domestic violence and affords victims two years to initiate a civil suit against their abuser. The bill takes effect immediately.

New Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

August 2019 - Three pieces of legislation expanding protections for victims of domestic violence have been signed into law. The measures broaden the definition of the crime of domestic violence to include forms of economic abuse such as identity theft, grand larceny and coercion (S.2625/ A.5608); give victims the choice to vote by mail-in ballot, even if they remain within the county where they are registered to vote (S.3232-A/A.219); and allow victims to report abuse to any law enforcement agency in New York State, regardless of where the violence originally took place (S.1243/A.4467A).

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.

North Carolina News Service

NC Closes Sexual Assault Legal Loophole

October 2019 - North Carolina legislators unanimously voted in late October to close a legal loophole that made it difficult to prosecute sexual assault cases. Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to sign the bill.

Ohio News Connection

OH Lawmakers Pass Erin’s Law

January 2023 - The Ohio legislature passed a bill tol require schools to provide age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education. Erin's Law requires schools to teach students in kindergarten through sixth grade one hour of developmentally appropriate instruction in child sex abuse prevention each school year. For seventh through 12th graders, schools must teach about dating and sexual violence prevention. 

Oregon News Service

Oregon Governor Signs Bill To Keep Guns From Stalkers, Abusers

August 2019 - Oregon will close a loophole in state law that allowed domestic abusers to illegally hold on to their firearms. Gov. Kate Brown signed a measure that threatens further penalties to domestic abusers who refuse to turn over their firearms following a court order. It strengthens a 2015 law meant to keep guns from those with convictions for domestic violence or stalking. Legislators had heard complaints that abusers were still holding onto their weapons by skipping court hearings.

Ore. Police Eliminates Sexual Assault Kit Backlog

October 2018 - Oregon State Police announced that its Forensic Services Division has finished processing the backlog of thousands of old "SAFE - kits" (Sexual Assault Evidence Kits) sent in by police agencies around the state. These kits are used to collect evidence from victims of sexual assault.

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.

Washington News Service

Bill Reforming Rape Kit Handling Passes WA Legislature

March 2020 - Local law enforcement will now be responsible for all evidence collected during a sexual assault exam, even when survivors are still deciding on whether to file a police report. Standards will be set in order to preserve that evidence for years. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines.

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

Child Care Providers Get $53 Million in Additional Support

July 2020 - Child care providers that have suffered during COVID-19 are receiving $53 million in additional financial support. The funding will help child care providers bridge the gap until their clientele returns. It will also help with any increased costs due to the pandemic like cleaning and sanitization, which will help keep the 386,000 children who attend our licensed child care facilities safe, as well as the workers who do so much to care for them.

$51 million in CARES Funding to Support PA Child Care Providers

May 2020 - $51 million of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding is being distributed to support child care providers around Pennsylvania. The funding will reach nearly 7,000 child care centers. Funds will be distributed to eligible, certified child care providers through regional Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs).

PA Investing $15 Million to Expand Access to High-Quality Affordable Child Care, Reduce Waiting Lists

December 2019 - Pennsylvania awards $15 million to expand access to high-quality, affordable child care to more than 900 infants and toddlers around Pennsylvania. The investment comes from the 2019-2020 budget, which included the $15 million investment in federal funds to expand access to high-quality care and reduce the subsidized child care waiting list.

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

COVID-relief package includes money for childcare

March 2021 - In the latest federal COVID relief package signed into law, Minnesota will receive more than 500-million dollars for childcare. Advocates say it's a huge win in helping families and providers still recovering from the pandemic.

Children's Advocates: COVID-19 will Widen Care Gap in MN

March 2020 - In response to advocate's calls, state leaders gave more flexibility to the state DHS to allow more child care help during the crisis.

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.

Nevada News Service

Child Care Grant Money Fuels Construction

October 2022 - Communities across Nevada will see an increase in availability of child care as construction and renovations begin for projects funded through Child Care Capital Expansion Grants. More than 2,000 new childcare seats will be created at 18 childcare centers through American Rescue Plan Act grant-funded projects intended to strengthen Nevada’s childcare industry and alleviate childcare cost concerns for families and childcare providers. The $30 million investment was announced by Governor Steve Sisolak in May.

New Mexico News Connection

NM Voters to Decide Major Funding Shift for Early Childhood Education

October 2022 - In Midterm voting, New Mexico voters approved using a portion of the state's Land Grant Permanent Fund to support early childhood care and education. Established in 1912, the fund is now valued at nearly $26 billion. It's financed by state oil-and-gas revenue and interest on the fund’s investments.

New York News Connection

Federal CARES Act Funds Support Childcare Health and Safety Protocols

June 2020 - $65 million in federal CARES Act funding is now available for child care providers statewide through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive program. The funding available includes: $20 million to assist childcare program with reopening and expansion of capacity, and $45 million in childcare Reopening and Expansion Incentive funds to pay for 50% of the cost of a newly opened classroom. The temporary funds will phase out over the second and third months as more parents bring their children back into childcare.

$15 Million Will Help Enroll Over 2,000 Children in High-Quality Pre-K Programs

December 2019 - Fifteen million dollars has been awarded to 26 school districts to increase access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for over 2,000 three and four year-old children across New York. This funding will also support the expansion of pre-k to high-need and underserved school districts as part of the state's ongoing effort to promote early education and improve academic outcomes for all students. Funding was awarded to school districts based on quality of applications and other factors such as district and student need, the state's effort to target the highest need students, and a focus on maximizing the total number of children served in pre-kindergarten programs. This additional $15 million in funding will ensure New York continues to support its youngest students by expanding pre-k into high-need districts, including those where there are currently no pre-k seats.

$15 Million Awarded to Support Pre-Kindergarten Programs Statewide

December 2018 - $15 million has been awarded to 32 high-need school districts to increase access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for over 2,000 three- and four-year-old children across New York. This funding will 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 maximize the total number of children served in pre-kindergarten programs. This additional $15 million will ensure New York continues to support its youngest students by supporting the expansion of pre-kindergarten into high-need districts, including those where there are currently no pre-kindergarten seats.

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

October 2018 - Recognizing the important of early childhood education, New York made available $15 million in new funding 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.

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.

Northern Rockies News Service

After Outcry from Child Care Providers, ID Lawmakers Approve Fed Relief Funding

May 2021 - Child care providers, parents and children filled Idaho’s Capitol Rotunda May 3, 2021 and sat in on the next day's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee meeting. Their presence was impossible to ignore, and the following day, lawmakers took favorable action on more than $100 million in COVID-19 relief funds that Idaho Gov. Brad Little recommended go toward support of the state’s hard-hit child care industry. That money comes out of the nearly $1.2 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money that Idaho received from the federal government after ARPA was signed in March.

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


All News Services

Biden Cancels $10,000 in Fed Student Loan Debt for Most Borrowers

August 2022 - President Joe Biden announced the government will forgive $10,000 in federal student debt for most borrowers, fulfilling a campaign pledge and delivering financial relief to millions of Americans. Debt forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients can be up to $20,000.

Pause on US student Loan Payments Extended Through May 1

December 2021 - The Biden administration has extended a student loan moratorium that allowed millions of Americans to put off debt payments during the pandemic. Under the action, payments on federal student loans will remain paused through May 1. Interest rates will remain at 0% during that period, and debt collection efforts will be suspended. Those measures have been in place since early in the pandemic, but were set to expire Jan. 31.

Court Reinstates Education Debt Rule in Defeat for DeVos

October 2018 - An Obama-era rule designed to help students cheated by for-profit colleges get relief on their education debt finally took effect after efforts by the Trump administration to block it. A federal judge ordered immediate implementation of the rule, delayed last year by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, while a challenge from the for-profit college industry proceeds. The Department of Education that it will not seek a new delay. Attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia successfully sued DeVos last year over her decision to block the rule, known as Borrower Defense to Repayment, from taking effect.

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

Gov. Bullock Signs Public School Funding Bill

March 2019 - Gov. Steve Bullock signed a $77 million funding package for Montana public schools into law this week. The public school funding bill outlines an inflationary increase over the next two years to the K-12 public school system, in which more than 12,000 educators serve more than 150,000 students.

MT Court Strikes Down Tax-Credit Program for Private Schools

December 2018 - The Montana Supreme Court struck down a state-run program that gives tax credits to people who donate to private-school scholarships, saying the program violates a constitutional ban against giving state aid to religious organizations. The justices ruled 5-2 that the program giving tax credits of up to $150 for donations to organizations that give scholarships to private-school students amounts to indirect aid to schools controlled by churches. There is a ban in the Montana Constitution on any direct or indirect state aid to such schools, regardless of how large or small the amount is, the opinion by Justice Laurie McKinnon said.

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

CA Budget A Windfall for Education

January 2022 - K through 12 and higher ed would get 102 billion dollars next fiscal year as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s new budget proposal, released Monday – the most in state history – thanks to a projected 45-billion-dollar surplus.

K-12 Gets Big Boost in New Budget

July 2021 - California "Comeback Plan" in state budget include record investment in public schools. Public schools in low-income neighborhoods will be able to provide smaller class sizes, before- and after-school instruction, sports and arts, personalized tutoring, nurses and counselors and free school nutrition – paired with new preventative behavioral health services for every kid in California.

State to Audit Online Calbright College

February 2020 - Education groups are praising a unanimous decision by a legislative committee Wednesday to audit the state’s first online community college, called Calbright College. Lawmakers expressed concern about transparency and duplication of current offerings. Jeff Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers, says the 140 million invested in Calbright would have been better spent bolstering online programs at existing community colleges.

CA Assembly Passes Child Savings Accounts

May 2019 - The California State Assembly has passed a ground breaking effort to reduce wealth inequality for all California children by a vote of 75-0. This effort complements Governor Newsom's effort to expand child savings accounts similar to the program he started in San Francisco as Mayor. AB 15 will create a statewide child savings account program by tasking the Scholar Share Investment Board to operate a master 529 account, owned by the state. Each child born in California will automatically be enrolled in the account at birth and receive an initial seed deposit of at least $25. Savings from the account could be used for a number of different higher educational purposes such as tuition at a college, university, trade school or graduate program; room and board; books; computers; and other related qualified expenses.

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

Polis Signs Community College Nursing Bachelor Degree Eligibility Bill

April 2022 - Community colleges may now offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing as a completion degree to students who have or are pursuing an associate degree in nursing. The bill permits community colleges to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing to students who have or are pursuing a practical nursing certificate.

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

Massachusetts Voters Approve Fair Share Amendment

December 2022 - Massachusetts voters approved Question 1 — commonly known as the Fair Share Amendment. The new constitutional amendment creates a 4 percent surcharge on income over $1 million, and the revenue will specifically fund education and transportation projects in the Bay State.

Massachusetts Senate Passes $1.5 billion Education Funding Bill

October 2019 - The Massachusetts Senate passed a major overhaul of the education funding formula, which would require the state to spend another $1.5 billion annually on public education by the time it is fully implemented. The bill, dubbed the Student Opportunity Act, is the most significant update to the funding formula since it was established in 1993. PNS has been covering this bill and similar efforts for the past several years.

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

Governor Orders School Employees Be Paid During Shutdown

April 2020 - For the duration of the coronavirus shutdown, school districts will continue to receive state funding and must continue to pay school staff they directly employ. Gov. Ned Lamont included the directives in his executive order. The order to keep school staff employed applies to not only teachers and school administrators, but secretaries and other active employees. It allows for contracts to be amended so that services can be sustained once school resumes.

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 Becomes First State to Require Unit on Asian American History in Schools

July 2021 - The governor signed a bill into law requiring Illinois schools to have a unit on Asian American history, the nation's first such law.

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.

Kentucky News Connection

Kentucky Judge Blocks Public Tax Credits for Private Schools

November 2021 - A Kentucky judge blocked part of a new state law that allows public tax credits to support private school tuition. The move halts state officials from implementing the so-called “educational opportunity accounts” under House Bill 563. The credits would have reduced taxes for people who donate money to support the private tuition grants.

Keystone State News Connection

Round-up: Gov. Wolf Solidifies Legacy with $3.7 Billion Increase for Education, Additional Support for Ensured Pennsylvania Success in Capstone Budget

August 2022 - Governor Tom Wolf solidified his commitment to education at all levels with a historic increase in funding of $1.8 billion and additional investments for safer communities and success for Pennsylvanians.

PA Budget Includes Largest Education Funding in State History

June 2021 - Gov. Wolf signs state budget with historic $416 million increase for public education. The budget makes crucial investments to support the needs of schools and students, including a $200 million increase in the Fair Funding Formula, $100 million to support underfunded school districts through the Level Up initiative, $50 million in special education funding, $30 million for early education, $20 million for Ready to Learn, $11 million for preschool Early Intervention and $5 million for community colleges.

Proposed Charter School Accountability Plan Would Protect Students and Taxpayers

February 2021 - Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a plan to hold charter schools and cyber charter schools accountable as enrollment has increased and taxpayer costs have swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, taxpayers spent $2.1 billion on charter schools, including more than $600 million on cyber schools. This year, the burden on taxpayers will increase by more than $400 million. Between 2013 and 2019, 44 cents of every $1 of new property taxes went to charter schools, according to the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. The governor’s plan would control rising costs, ensure all students are treated fairly, protect taxpayers and save school districts $229 million a year.

Budget Proposals Would Invest 1.5 Billion in Education

February 2021 - Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget plan would direct 1.5 billion dollars into Pennsylvania schools through the fair funding formula. The governor is proposing a more than $1.3 billion investment in basic education funding. This investment directs all existing state-level basic education funding through the Fair Funding Formula and includes an $1.15 billion adjustment so that no school district is negatively affected. An additional $200 million investment in basic education funding is proposed to allow all districts to continue to invest in student achievement. This investment enables all school districts to have the basic resources they need to provide a high-quality education for Pennsylvania students.

$2.2 Billion in COVID-19 Funds Help K-12 Schools Improve Services to Students

January 2021 - Pennsylvania is dedicating $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds to K-12 school districts and charter schools affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to support food programs, technological improvements and other education services. The extra funding will help schools meet the unique needs of educating students while keeping school buildings safe when students return to the classroom. The federal relief is provided by the bipartisan Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund passed by Congress in December. To promote equity, efficiency, transparency, and local flexibility, PDE will administer 100 percent of ESSER II funding through the Federal Title I, Part A formula which considers the number of low-income students served by school districts and charter schools. Each entity will receive an amount proportional to federal Title I, Part A funds received in the 2020 fiscal year under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Career and Technical Education Centers Get $10.5 Million Resume Operations

August 2020 - Career and Technical Education Centers (CTC) receives approximately $10.5 million to assist them in implementing public health and safety plans and help them to resume operations. CTC Equity grants provide funding to support effective continuity of education programs such as summer and other expanded programming, and industry credential assessments for students enrolled in CTCs negatively impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds.

State Budget Sustains Education Funding

May 2020 - Governor Tom Wolf has signed a state budget that will provide 12 months of sustained public education funding at 2019-20 levels. The $25.75 billion General Fund budget in HB 2387 includes an additional $2.6 billion in federal funding provided through the CARES Act. The budget sustains funding at current year levels for Pre-K Counts and Head Start, basic and special education in K-12 schools, and higher education. The budget also provides $300 million from the CARES Act to make up for a decline in gaming revenue that annually supports school property tax relief for homeowners.

Pennsylvania Department of Education Cancels Statewide Assessments

March 2020 - In response to teacher and parental concerns, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is cancelling all PSSA testing and Keystone exams for the 2019-20 school year as a result of COVID-19. This includes the Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA). Secretary Rivera said the department is monitoring emerging federal guidance, working with other states to advocate for flexibility, and will pursue appropriate waivers to the fullest extent allowable as soon as the USDE guidance is clarified.

100+ School Districts Call for Charter Reforms

March 2020 - Leaders of more than 100 school districts across Pennsylvania have called on the legislature to enact Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed Charter School Law reforms. These changes would allow school districts to reinvest an additional $280 million into their classrooms while ensuring charter schools are held accountable for the quality of education they provide. Taxpayers spent $1.8 billion on charter schools last year, including more than $500 million on cyber charter schools. A recent 2020 State of Education survey conducted by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) determined that more than 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s public school districts identified mandatory charter school tuition costs as one of their biggest sources of budget pressure.

Gov. Wolf Proposes Charter School Accountability Plan

November 2019 - Governor Tom Wolf is proposing a plan to improve the educational quality of charter schools and control rising costs. The governor told the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators that he estimates the three-part plan would will save nearly $280 million a year. Pennsylvania's charter school law s regarded as one of the worst in the nation. The governor's proposal would better align charter school funding to actual costs. The plan caps online cyber school tuition payments and applies the special education funding formula to charter schools, as it does for traditional public schools, as recommended by a bipartisan Special Education Funding Commission. The Wolf administration met with legislators, school districts, charter schools, and other stakeholders to develop the plan.

Gov. Wolf Proposes PA Charter-School Reforms

August 2019 - Governor Tom Wolf has announced his plans to improve the financial accountability and academic performance of charters. Many charter schools have failed to live up to their promise of improved services for students who may need more help to succeed. The governor is directing the Department of Education to develop regulations targeting academic accountability and enrollment, and says he'll propose funding-reform legislation in the fall. Gov. Wolf says over the past ten years, the student population of charter schools has increased by 95%, but the tax dollars spent on them have increased 135%. Past legislative attempts to fix the charter-school funding system haven't passed, and the governor's proposals are likely to face stiff opposition from the charter lobby.

New Law Minimizes Standardized Testing, Expands Options for Students to Prove Graduation Readiness

October 2018 - Act 158 provides students with more options to meet high school graduation requirements than a high stakes test. The new law is in line with recommendations from the Department of Education (PDE) and provides four additional options for students to demonstrate postsecondary readiness: Earn a satisfactory composite score on the Algebra I, Literature and Biology Keystone Exams. Earn a passing grade on the course associated with each Keystone Exam, and earn a specific score on certain exams, complete a pre-apprenticeship program, gain acceptance to an accredited 4-year nonprofit institution of higher education or meet other requirements. For Career and Technical Education (CTE) concentrators, earn a passing grade on the course associated with each Keystone Exam, and attain an industry-based certification, pass an industry-based assessment or meet other requirements. Earn a passing grade on the course associated with each Keystone Exam and demonstrate readiness for postsecondary engagement through three pieces of evidence aligned to student goals and career plan.

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

NV Supreme Court Keeps School Vouchers off the Ballot

September 2022 - The Nevada Supreme Court has affirmed a lower-court ruling that a statutory ballot initiative that aimed to create a voucher-style education program cannot move forward. The order, signed by all justices, appears to be the final chapter in this legal battle that started in late January. That’s when a political action committee called Education Freedom for Nevada filed both a statutory and a constitutional initiative with the secretary of state’s office.

Judge Rules Against School Voucher Initiative

April 2022 - A Carson City District Court judge ruled against a school voucher initiative to create "education freedom accounts" on Tuesday, declaring that it failed to accurately describe the initiative's possible effects and could create a massive, unfunded mandate. District Court Senior Judge Charles McGee described the initiative — sponsored by a political action committee called Education Freedom for Nevada — as a "shell game" in the ruling, saying it fails to describe the “enormous fiscal impact of the initiative on the budget of most, if not all, of the school districts in the State of Nevada."

Governor Signs Bill Taxing the Mining Industry to Fund Education

June 2021 - Governor Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 495 into law today, which creates a significant and meaningful investment in education funding generated from the mining industry. The legislation was made possible through a partnership of education leaders, business and industry, a bipartisan group of legislators, stakeholders and community members.

Governor Signs Bill To Allow Local Sales Taxes For Education

June 2019 - Governor Steve Sisolak has signe AB309, which authorizes counties to enact a sales tax increase to fund education programs aside from core K-12 instruction (including truancy reduction, preschool, teacher bonuses, and adult education), initiatives to reduce homelessness, and union-affiliated training programs for the hospitality industry. It also allows school districts flexibility to use certain restricted "categorical" grants from the state - largely directed to professional development programs ?-to support general operating expenses.

Governor Signs Bill To Extend Tax To Benefit Education and Eliminate Charter School Voucher Program

June 2019 - Governor Steve Sisolak has signed SB551, which extends the existing Modified Business Tax (MBT or payroll tax) rate permanently instead of letting it go down as scheduled. The bill was approved on party lines and could face a legal challenge because it was approved by a simple majority in the Senate; Republicans argue that it requires a two-thirds vote constitutionally required of tax increases. The bill dedicates most of the estimated $98 million in revenue to teacher raises, with other money going to school safety initiatives and the Opportunity Scholarship private school scholarship program. It also eliminates the Education Savings Account program, a voucher-style program that would have allowed public education funds to flow into accounts directed to private school tuition or other qualifying educational expenses. The program, created in 2015, has never disbursed funds but was still on the books.

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

NM's Boost in Early Education Funds Included in Federal Omnibus Bill

December 2022 - Within the appropriations bill, Congress okayed a constitutional amendment approved by New Mexico voters to tap more than $200 million a year for early childhood programs and K-12 schools from the state's Land Grand Permanent Fund. Congressional approval was needed based on statehood conditions dating back to 1912.

NM Governor's Race Puts Spotlight on Education

November 2018 - Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, who championed education and said she would not fight a lawsuit over the issue, defeated Republican Steve Pearce in the midterm election. In July, a judge found that New Mexico's education system violated the state constitution because it failed to provide students a sufficient public education.

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

$6.8 Million Award to Expand After-School Programs Statewide

November 2018 - Empire State After-School Program funding has been awarded to 15 high-need school districts and community-based organizations across the state. The $6.8 million will support the availability of 4,250 new slots to these programs, bringing the total number up to 89,000. This funding, in addition to the $2.4 million awarded to Long Island in September, brings the total expansion to $10 million. With last year's $35 million commitment, the total number of Empire State After-School awards now totals $45 million.

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

$50 Million Allocated to Expand Internet Access or Ohio students.

September 2020 - The state of Ohio awarded 951 school districts with broadband education grants, which will establish new Wi-Fi hot spots and provide internet access in the homes of 121,000 students. Lt. Governor Jon Husted allocated $50 million of state funding through the federal CARES Act to reduce and eliminate obstacles that stand between Ohio students and quality internet access.

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

Judge Strikes Down Tennessee School Voucher Law

May 2020 - A Nashville judge struck down the state’s private school voucher law, known as the Education Savings Account (ESA) Pilot Program. The judge said the school voucher law violates the Home Rule provision of the Tennessee Constitution because it only applies to students in Davidson and Shelby counties.

TN Parents Sue State Over School Voucher Law

April 2020 - A group of parents, with ACLU support, is challenging the state over a school voucher law that would allow public school funds to be used to help Tennessee families send their kids to private schools.

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

Financial Aid Boost for Virginia Low-Income Undergraduates

July 2021 - Governor Ralph Northam says Virginia will use $111 million in American Rescue Plan funding to increase access to financial aid for low- and moderate-income undergraduate students. The proposal designates $100 million for public higher education institutions through the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia, and $11 million for private institutions eligible for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant program.

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.

West Virginia News Service

WV Voters Reject Amendments 2 and 4

December 2022 - West Virginia voters rejected two midterm election ballot measures that would have stripped tax-based funding from local municipalities in favor of corporations and would have increased state lawmakers' oversight of school curriculum.

Privatization of WV Public Education Defeated

March 2019 - Under threat of more strikes by teachers, the West Virginia lawmakers turned away a controversial attempt to privatize part of the state's public education system (SB 451) through charter schools and tax credits for private school tuition.

Two Years Free At WV Community and Technical Colleges

March 2019 - West Virginia lawmakers have voted to dramatically increase support for higher education by making up to two years of community and technical colleges free for qualified applicants (SB 1).

Teachers And Allies Beat Three Important GOP State Senators

November 2018 - In a very high turnout primary and general elections, teachers and their allies beat three GOP state senators important to attempts to block public employee pay raises. The Democrats also picked up five House of Delegates seats.

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.

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Endangered Species & Wildlife

All News Services

Federal Court Restores Critical Endangered Species Act Protections

July 2022 - A federal district court restored comprehensive Endangered Species Act regulatory protections to hundreds of species and the places they call home. Conservation groups challenged the Trump administration rules for undermining protections for imperiled species and habitat necessary for their survival.

Western Monarch Butterfly Makes A Rebound

December 2021 - The western monarch butterfly appears to be pulling back from the edge of extinction - with more than 100,000 counted so far in the 25th annual Western Monarch Thanksgiving Count. Emma Pelton with the Xerces Society says it’s unclear if the rebound is due to natural variability or something else, saying "They move and migrate over such large areas that it’s hard to know exactly what weather conditions or environmental factors affected things in any one spot. But we think this is a good example of resiliency."

Biden Administration Expands Critical Habitat for Endangered NW Orcas

July 2021 - The Biden-Harris Administration's final rule expands critical habitat for endangered Southern Resident orcas along the outer coast of Washington, Oregon and as far south as Point Sur, California. The newly designated critical habitat areas span 15,910 square miles of Pacific oceans waters off the U.S. West Coast and recognize the vital importance of this area to Southern Resident orcas. "This decision to expand critical habitat is a major step forward toward recovering these iconic orcas,” said Ben Enticknap, a senior scientist with Oceana. “The critical habitat designation will help ensure Southern Resident orcas have an ocean abundant with large salmon that is free from blinding ship noise and toxic chemicals. It’s a huge relief knowing we now have a strong commitment to protect the orcas’ ocean home."

Judge Restores Sage Grouse Protections

February 2021 - A federal judge overturned a Trump administration decision to strip protections from 10 million acres, mostly in Nevada and Idaho, to allow mining in vital habitat for greater sage grouse, the latest in a series of court victories for sage grouse conservation.

Arctic Refuge Development Delayed Under Administration Order

January 2021 - Biden administration orders temporary moratorium on oil and gas development in the refuge, heeding the call of hunters and anglers, outdoor businesses, others.

House Passes Package of Conservation, Access Bills

October 2020 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote today legislation, America’s Conservation Enhancement Act (ACE Act, S. 3051), which encompasses a range of programs beneficial to fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and public access in the United States. The legislative package passed the Senate, also by voice vote, in September.

Trump Administration Agrees To Study Ways to Protect Animals from Ship Strikes

April 2020 - The Trump administration has agreed to examine ways to better protect endangered whales and sea turtles from being struck by ships using California ports. Today’s decision by the U.S. Coast Guard to request consultation with wildlife officials was prompted by a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth notifying the administration that its shipping regulations violated the U.S. Endangered Species Act. That March 2 notice letter threatened a lawsuit if officials continue to ignore evidence that a growing number of whales are being harmed by ship strikes along California's coast. The Coast Guard is now asking the National Marine Fisheries Service to consult on new regulations that could include mandatory speed limits in shipping lanes.

Feds To Ban Mexican Seafood To Protect Porpoises

March 2020 - The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service announced today that it will ban imports of Mexican shrimp and other seafood caught in the habitat of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. The action is being taken under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which requires the U.S. government to prohibit the import of seafood caught using fishing gear that kills marine mammals in excess of United States standards. The import ban places enormous pressure on the Mexican government to stop the use of deadly gillnets that are entangling, drowning, and killing the vaquita porpoise, whose population has likely dwindled to just 10 remaining animals. The northern Gulf of California is one of Mexico's most valuable fishing regions. "This is exactly how the law protecting marine mammals is supposed to work: if Mexico's fisheries kill vaquita at a rate that violates U.S. standards, the U.S. must ban imports," said Zak Smith, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Mexico has no choice but to eliminate the destructive fishing taking place in the northern Gulf of California that is driving the vaquita to extinction. It's the only hope the vaquita has for survival, and it is required if Mexico wants to resume exporting these products to the United States."

Court Protects Nearly 1 Million Acres of Sage Grouse Habitat

February 2020 - A federal judge overturned a 2018 Trump administration policy to sharply curtail public participation in oil and gas leasing decisions on public lands and voided nearly 1 million acres leased under the policy in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Conservation Groups Sue to Force Federal Action on Endangered Species Listings

February 2020 - The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration today for failing to decide whether 241 plants and animals across the country — from the Midwest's golden-winged warbler to Venus flytraps in the Carolinas — should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The lawsuit, filed in district court in Washington, D.C., is one of the largest ever under the Act and seeks to undo years of illegal inaction by the Trump administration.

USFWS Reinstates Protections For Grizzly Bears Near Yellowstone

August 2019 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service has reinstated Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears living near Yellowstone National Park. In the lower 48 there are six isolated regions of grizzly habitat, but the biggest population of bears live in Wyoming. That's why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service removed protections for those roughly 700 bears last year. A judge ruled against that decision saying it was based on bad science and that the federal government has to look at the bear population in the lower 48 as a whole and not just consider isolated pockets.

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

Arizona's California Condor Population Continues to Grow

October 2018 - Four more captive-raised California condors were released in to the wild in northern Arizona in September. In the 1980s the birds were on the brink of extinction, but recovery efforts have helped populations rebound. At least 85 condors live along the Arizona-Utah border.

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

Heavy Wolf Kill Triggers New Limits Near Yellowstone

January 2022 - The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission votes to close wolf trapping and hunting in southwestern Montana if or when six more wolves are killed by hunters or trappers in the region. The Associated Press reported that 20 wolves that roamed out of Yellowstone National Park have been killed this season, the most in any single hunting season since wolf reintroduction in 1995. Park employees have since deemed one pack, the Phantom Lake Pack, "eliminated," which re-ignited wildlife advocates' frustration about the state's approach to wolf management and inspired a coalition of western environmental organizations to petition Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to issue emergency federal protections for wolves.

Judge Orders Feds to Revisit Yellowstone Buffalo Endangered Species Status

January 2022 - A federal judge told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revisit endangered species protections for Yellowstone National Park’s bison. The Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds Project groups have been fighting since 2014 to have Yellowstone’s bison declared endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

2020 Sees Record Number of Conflict Prevention Projects in Montana

February 2021 - This past year, an unlikely partnership greatly expanded the number of human-wildlife conflict reduction projects taking place across Montana. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (USDA WS)–Montana, Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Montana Livestock Loss Board helped implement 68 projects in the state, while also demonstrating a successful model for collaborative conflict reduction programs. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic imposing restrictions across the country, the projects completed through this partnership more than doubled over the prior year-end total.

Judge Returns Yellowstone Grizzlies to Endangered Species List

October 2018 - The U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service must return grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park to the Endangered Species List, a federal judge in Missoula has ordered. The Yellowstone-area grizzly was removed from federal protections under the Endangered Species Act last year. Grizzlies in the lower 48 have been listed as threatened since 1975.

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

Monarch Butterfly Recovery Underway

February 2023 - Volunteers counted more than 335-thousand Western monarch butterflies in the annual survey – a big improvement over the last few years, but still far short of historical numbers.

Feds Approve Removal of 4 Dams on Klamath River

November 2022 - In a milestone decision, federal regulators signed off on plans to demolish four aging dams along the Klamath River, paving the way for hundreds of miles of native fish habitat along the California-Oregon border to flow freely for the first time in more than a century. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's decision will see licenses of the four dams transferred from the PacifiCorp energy company — a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway — to the Klamath River Renewal Corp., a nonprofit entity created to oversee the dam removal, and to the states of California and Oregon.

California Assembly Passes Bill to Improve Wildlife Connectivity, Public Safety

May 2022 - The California Assembly passed the Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act, which would prioritize wildlife crossings and other infrastructure projects that improve wildlife connectivity and reduce wildlife-vehicle collision risk. The bill, which still needs California Senate approval, would require Caltrans to identify barriers to wildlife movement before planning and designing transportation projects. Caltrans would also need to consider and incorporate wildlife movement needs when building or improving roads and highways.

Judge Lets Wildlife Corridor Ordinance Stand

May 2022 - Animals such as the mountain lion, gray fox and California red-legged frog may now have a better shot at thriving in Southern California after a court victory left wildlife corridor protections in place. A judge recently finalized two decisions that upheld two Ventura County ordinances regulating land use, lighting, and fencing in areas considered vital to the animals' passage.

Monarch Butterfly Population Improves

November 2021 - The number of Monarch butterflies wintering along California's central coast is bouncing back after the population, whose presence is often a good indicator of ecosystem health, reached an all-time low last year. Experts pin their decline on climate change, habitat destruction and lack of food due to drought. An annual winter count last year by the Xerces Society recorded fewer than 2,000 butterflies, a massive decline from the tens of thousands tallied in recent years and the millions that clustered in trees from Northern California's Mendocino County to Baja California, Mexico in the south in the 1980s. Now, their roosting sites are concentrated mostly on California's central coast. This year's official count started Saturday and will last three weeks but already an unofficial count by researchers and volunteers shows there are over 50,000 monarchs at overwintering sites.

New State Budget Funds Transition Awat from Drift Gillnets

June 2021 - California Governor Newsom has signed the 2021-2022 budget, which includes $1.3 million for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to complete the state's transition away from deadly drift gillnets toward cleaner fishing gears to catch swordfish. Drift gillnets — which are a mile long, nearly invisible and set out overnight near the ocean’s surface to capture swordfish — are responsible for entangling, injuring, and killing hundreds of whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, sharks, and important non-targeted fish species.

CA to Remove Dams on the Klamath River

November 2020 - The states of California and Oregon are stepping in to revive a Klamath River dam-removal project that has been in the works for ten years. The states announced a deal with the hydroelectric dam operator, Pacific Corp., and the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation to remove the Iron Gate, Copco 1 and Copco 2 dams in California and the J.C. Boyle Dam in Oregon.

Governor Signs Bill to Ban Certain Rodenticides

September 2020 - Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1788 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) prohibiting the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides which are known to poison mountain lions and other wildlife. Recent studies have found that 96 percent of necropsied mountain lions and more than 80 percent of the raptors studied showed exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides, which can cause chronic growth and reproduction issues.

CA Proposes Rules To Protect Turtles From Fishing Gear

May 2020 - California state officials released a proposed rule today to reduce the number of endangered whales and sea turtles that get entangled in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) was prompted by steep annual increases in reported whale entanglements and a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity. RAMP was developed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and its California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, which was formed in 2015 to address entanglements that were killing and injuring endangered whales. The program assesses the likely presence of whales and sea turtles, among other factors, to determine if management measures, such as shortening the season or closing an area to crab gear, are needed to reduce the risk of entanglements.

California Moves to Protect Imperiled Mountain Lion Populations

April 2020 - In response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and the Mountain Lion Foundation, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 5-0 today to advance Southern California and Central Coast mountain lions to candidacy under the state's Endangered Species Act. The vote follows a February 2020 finding by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that increased protections may be warranted. The unanimous vote triggers a year-long review by the department to determine if these populations should be formally protected under the Act. The Act's protections apply during the candidacy period

California Court Approves Ban on Federal Wildlife Poisoning, Trapping

April 2020 - A federal animal-killing program must restrict its use of bird-killing poisons in Northern California and stop setting strangulation snares and other traps in places like the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The agreement, approved by a San Francisco federal court, also directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to analyze the environmental impacts of its killing of coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and other wildlife in California’s "Sacramento District." This 10-county region covers Colusa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

Conservation Group Sues Feds to Protect Whales from Ship Strikes

March 2020 - The Center for Biological Diversity starts legal proceedings with a letter to the Trump administration threatening a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Coast Guard if officials continue ignoring the requirements of the Endangered Species Act in agency consultations, studies and actions such as speed limits in shipping lanes or protecting critical habitat areas. Ship strikes are a leading cause of death and injuries to whales migrating along California's coast and are more lethal than previously understood. The Center is calling for the Fisheries Service to update biological surveys of endangered blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales and leatherback sea turtles and better protect them from harm.

Court Blocks Trump Administration Plans to Strip Sage-grouse Protections

October 2019 - A federal judge blocked Trump administration plans allowing expanded drilling, mining, livestock grazing and other destructive activities across 51 million acres of greater sage-grouse habitat in seven western states: Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, California and Oregon. Conservation groups requested the injunction in April, saying the plans approved by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt would gut protections for the birds' dwindling populations and destroy their habitat.

Safer Fishing Gear to Replace West Coast Drift Gillnets

September 2019 - Dolphins, whales, sharks and sea lions on the West Coast may be less likely to die in fishing nets now that authorities have approved a new type of fishing gear. The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to approve deep-set buoy gear, to replace the huge drift gillnets made of mesh that are used by commercial fishing operations to catch swordfish.

California Bans Fur Trapping

September 2019 - California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bill that makes it illegal to trap animals or sell their fur, making California the first state in the U.S. to impose a fur trapping ban. The Wildlife Protection Act of 2019 puts an end to a longstanding practice that was entwined with California's frontier roots but that has steadily declined in recent decades with the rise of conservationism.

Conservation Groups Sue To Protect Endangered Species in Northern California

July 2019 - Conservation groups are filing suit against the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service to force a long-delayed decision on whether to list the Siskiyou Mountain salamander as an endangered species. A coalition of environmental groups petitioned for protections early last year but the agency has missed multiple deadlines and has yet to make a finding.

Groups Ask State To Protect Mountain Lions

June 2019 - The Center for Biological Diversity and Mountain Lion Foundation formally petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission today to protect mountain lions under the California Endangered Species Act. The petition seeks protections for gravely imperiled cougar populations in Southern California and on the Central Coast, including the Eastern Peninsular Range, Santa Ana Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Monica Mountains, and north along the coast to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Some Southern California lion populations could disappear in little more than a decade, according to a March 2019 study. Researchers at UC Davis, UCLA, and with the National Park Service predicted that if inbreeding depression occurs, the Santa Ana population could go extinct within 12 years and the Santa Monica population within 15.

Recovery Plan Released For Endangered Frog

February 2019 - In response to legal action by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized a recovery plan for the endangered Southern California population of mountain yellow-legged frogs. The plan calls for a wide array of recovery actions and research efforts to deal with the multitude of threats to the survival of this highly endangered frog. Once the 1900s mountain yellow-legged frogs have disappeared from nearly all of their former range in Southern California. By the 1990s fewer than 100 were thought to remain in a handful of isolated headwater streams. Predation by introduced fish, primarily non-native rainbow trout, is one of the best-documented causes of the frogs' decline. Another primary threat is habitat damage from recreation and other factors.The recovery plan prioritizes the continuation of captive-breeding efforts and augmentation of existing populations, as well as reestablishing populations in areas historically occupied by the frogs.

Court: Gray Wolves Can Keep California Endangered Species Protection

January 2019 - A state court judge upheld protection for gray wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. The ruling rejected a challenge from the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the California Cattlemen's Association and California Farm Bureau Federation. Ranching groups had challenged gray wolves' endangered status based on the erroneous claim that the wolves in California are the wrong subspecies. They also wrongly argued that the listing was improperly based on a single wolf's presence, and that wolves can't be endangered in the state as there are plenty elsewhere in the world.

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.

Colorado News Connection

Polis Signs Safe Crossings For Colorado Wildlife And Motorists Act

June 2022 - Governor Jared Polis signed SB22-151 into law, in an effort to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. The measure creates a cash fund for use by the department of transportation for projects that provide safe road crossings for connectivity of wildlife and habitat.

Trump Administration Loses Attempt to Roll Back Sage-Grouse Habitat Protections

October 2019 - A federal judge blocked the Trump administration?s attempt to roll back sage-grouse habitat protections for special interests, which would have further opened the West to oil and gas leases

Connecticut News Service

Funding Awarded for Landowners Along Connecticut River To Help Protect Turtles

January 2022 - A team of agencies will work with landowners to improve the wood turtle habitat in the Connecticut River watershed. A grant was awarded to the Connecticut River Conservancy from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help protect wood and spotted turtles. The grant will fund landowner outreach by CRC and wood turtle site assessment by project partner, The Orianne Society.

Illinois News Connection

US Army Corp of Engineers Funds to Combat Invasive Carp

January 2022 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is putting nearly $226 million for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Project, aimed at keeping invasive carp out of the Great Lakes, in its Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act 2022 Construction Work Plan.

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.

Keystone State News Connection

Pennsylvania Declares Eastern Hellbender as Official State Amphibian

April 2019 - Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 9, designating the Eastern hellbender (a nocturnal salamander threatened by warmer waters and silted streambeds) as Pennsylvania's state amphibian. Sponsored by Senator Gene Yaw, the bill was championed through the legislative process by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Student Leadership Council who spearheaded efforts for two years to demonstrate the critical need to reduce pollution in Pennsylvania's rivers and streams.

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

Kirtland's Warbler Comes Off Endangered List

October 2019 - After an intensive, decades-long effort, Kirtland's Warbler is now an Endangered Species Act (ESA) success story. One of the first species added to the ESA, this range-restricted warbler nearly went extinct in the 1970s, when its population consisted of fewer than 200 males. Today, there are more than 2,300 breeding pairs.

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

Judge Reinstates Sage Grouse Protections

May 2022 - A federal judge has ruled the Trump administration acted illegally in 2020 when it withdrew an earlier proposal to list as threatened a hen-sized bird found only in the high desert along the California-Nevada line. She reinstated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s original 2013 listing proposal for the bi-state grouse and ordered the agency to issue a new final listing decision.

NV State Agencies to Prioritize Wildlife Migration Corridors

August 2021 - Sage grouse, pronghorn, mule deer and bighorn sheep are just a few of the species expected to benefit from a new executive order on wildlife migration corridors signed this week by Governor Steve Sisolak. The order instructs state agencies to collaborate to make sure animals migrating between their winter and summer range aren't held up by poorly placed roads and development.

Faced With Lawsuit, B-L-M Cancels Oil And Gas Leases In NV, CO

November 2019 - The Trump administration's relentless push to expand fossil fuel production on federal lands is hitting a new snag: its own refusal to consider the climate impacts of development. The federal Bureau of Land Management's Utah office in September voluntarily suspended 130 oil and gas leases in Nevada and Colorado after advocacy groups sued, arguing that BLM hadn't adequately assessed the greenhouse gas emissions associated with drilling and extraction on those leases as required by law. The move was unusual because BLM suspended the leases on its own, without waiting for a court to rule.

B-L-M Removes Land from Oil Lease Auction To Protect Sage Grouse

November 2019 - The Bureau of Land Management has pulled 332,247 acres in eastern Nevada from the November 12th lease auction in response to a court order blocking Trump administration plans that gutted protections for greater sage-grouse. Despite minimal industry interest in drilling, the Trump administration has fueled a speculative frenzy by leasing hundreds of thousands of acres of sensitive public in Nevada, including high-priority habitats for the imperiled sage-grouse. Federal oil and gas leases are frequently offered at a minimum bid of $2 an acre. Among the areas taken off the auction block are lands[1] at the head of the Ruby Valley and the neighboring Maverick Mountains, in the Egan Range and neighboring Steptoe Valley, in the headwaters of Spring Valley, and in Jakes Valley. These lands are the traditional homeland of the Shoshone and Paiute peoples.

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

Judge: Plan for Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Must Address Poaching

October 2021 - Conservation groups appalud a court ruling that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address poaching in its Mexican gray wolf recovery plan. The judge's ruling also said the plan must be released for public comment within six months, and must include site-specific management actions to reduce the number of wolves illegally killed.

Some Progress for Gray Wolves in Southwest

April 2019 - Mexican gray wolves are slowly returning to historic territories in the Southwest, but still being killed at rates that worry biologists tracking their recovery. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report shows a 12% increase in wolf numbers over the previous year.

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.

New York News Connection

Bill To Protect Menhaden And Improve Ocean Health Signed into Law

April 2019 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation (A2571 Englebright/S2317 Kaminsky) to protect menhaden, a fish whose population recovery has been instrumental in restoring striped bass, whales, dolphins, bluefish, coastal sharks, predatory fish, seals, and seabirds, among other species to New York's waters. The measure will strengthen conservation efforts to protect this vital bait fish by prohibiting the commercial use of an industrial net, known as purse seines, that can encircle an entire school of fish. The measure prohibits the taking of menhaden with the use of purse seines, fishing nets as large as six city blocks, held down by weights at the bottom and buoyed by floats at the top edge that draw closed around the fish. An important commercial baitfish, menhaden are also harvested for production of fish oil, fertilizer, and fishmeal. Prohibiting the use of purse seines in New York's waters supports our fishermen, who use more sustainable taking methods, and increases their ability to access menhaden, also known as bunker.

North Carolina News Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Red Wolf Transfer to Recovery Area in NC

January 2020 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that they will transfer three critically-endangered red wolves to the Red Wolf Recovery Area in eastern North Carolina. NCNS has done several stories on this issue, as only 11 known red wolves remain in the wild, primarily on eastern NC's Albemarle Peninsula.

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

Caribou To Get Federal Protection In Idaho And Washington

October 2019 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the designations of the southern mountain population of woodland caribou as endangered and confirmed 47 square miles in Idaho and Washington as critical habitat requiring special protection. The decision came after environmentalist groups sued to seek the critical habitat designation that requires federal agencies to consult with Fish and Wildlife before approving activities like logging or road building.

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

Federal Energy Agency Approves Plan to Remove Klamath River’s Dams

November 2022 - A nearly two-decade campaign to remove hydroelectric dams and restore threatened and endangered fish on the lower Klamath River has cleared its final hurdle. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the plan to remove four dams on the lower Klamath River, saying it was in the public interest. It will be the largest dam removal project in the world, according to the nonprofit American Rivers.

Major Hurdle Cleared in Plan to Demolish Klamath River Dams

February 2022 - Federal regulators issued a draft EIS saying there were significant benefits to a plan to demolish four massive dams on Northern California’s Klamath River to save imperiled migratory salmon, setting the stage for the largest dam demolition project in U.S. history. The issuing of a statement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission clears a major regulatory hurdle for the project and paves the way for public hearings on the document before a final draft is issued as soon as this summer.

Judge Restores Gray Wolf Protections, Reviving Federal Recovery Efforts

February 2022 - A federal court has restored Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf after they were eliminated by the Trump administration in 2020. The ruling orders the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to resume recovery efforts for the imperiled species. The decision re-designates the gray wolf as a species threatened with extinction in the lower 48 states with the exception of the Northern Rockies population, for which wolf protections were removed by Congress in 2011. The most recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its state partners show only an estimated 132 wolves in Washington state, 173 in Oregon (with only 19 outside of northeastern Oregon), and fewer than about 20 in California.

Marbled Murrelet Gets Endangered Status in Oregon

July 2021 - A seabird that depends on coastal old-growth forests has been designated for greater endangered-species protections in Oregon. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to reclassify the marbled murrelet’s status from threatened to endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act. The decision comes five years after a 2016 petition to “uplist” it from its 1995 classification as threatened.

Oregon Supreme Court Affirms Sale of Elliott State Forest Tract Is Illegal

December 2019 - The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the sale of 788 acres of forest from the Elliott State Forest was illegal. The ruling affirms an Oregon Court of Appeals' ruling from 2018, which found that selling the area known as East Hakki Ridge to a private timber company in 2014 violated state law. "The decision by the state to sell off portions off the Elliott State Forest and avoid its legal obligations to protect imperiled marbled murrelets and the forests on which they depend was fundamentally flawed from the start," said Bob Sallinger, conservation director at Portland Audubon. "Now more than ever, we need a strong forest plan for the Elliott that truly protects murrelets, spotted owls, coho salmon and other species that depend on our older forests."

Oregon Supreme Court Affirms Sale of Elliott State Forest Tract Is Illegal

November 2019 - The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the sale of 788 acres of forest from the Elliott State Forest was illegal. The ruling affirms an Oregon Court of Appeals' ruling from 2018, which found that selling the area known as East Hakki Ridge to a private timber company in 2014 violated state law. Cascadia Wildlands, Audubon Society of Portland and the Center for Biological Diversity brought the lawsuit under an Oregon law, which states that it is illegal to sell the Elliott State Forest. State officials defended their decision to dispose of the parcel in court by saying the Oregon State Land Board should not be required to follow the law.

New Fisher Agreements Boost Conservation On 2 Million Acres In Oregon

November 2019 - Federal wildlife officials have entered into agreements with five timber companies and the state of Oregon to protect the rare Pacific fisher on nearly 2 million acres of forestland in Oregon. Green Diamond, Weyerhaeuser, Roseburg, Lone Rock and Hancock have signed conservation agreements with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the past few months. Once widely found in the Pacific Northwest, their numbers crashed because of trapping, the use of rodenticides and destruction of their habitat through logging and other development that removed forestlands.

Safer Fishing Gear to Replace West Coast Drift Gillnets

September 2019 - Dolphins, whales, sharks and sea lions on the West Coast may be less likely to die in fishing nets now that authorities have approved a new type of fishing gear. The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to approve deep-set buoy gear, to replace the huge drift gillnets made of mesh that are used by commercial fishing operations to catch swordfish.

Oregon Considers Trapping Ban For Endangered Marten

January 2019 - The Humboldt marten is in line to get new protections in Oregon. State fish and wildlife officials have signed a court settlement that calls for new rule-making to ban trapping of this imperiled, mink-like mammal. The Humboldt marten's numbers have plummeted and it was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in the 1990s. Pesticides, trapping, logging and the effects of climate change have all been blamed. Four isolated populations remain in coastal forests of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

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

Utah Approves $1 Million for Wildlife Crossings

April 2022 - Utah has set aside $1 million from its share of the $350 million bipartisan infrastructure package to fund fences, underpasses and other measures near Interstates 80 and 84 to allow for safe wildlife migration. The areas are considered the most dangerous road crossings for wildlife in the state.

Conservationists Expand Utah Preserve to Save Mojave Desert Tortoise

February 2021 - A public-private partnership has obtained a parcel of Utah wilderness to protect the critical habitat of the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Washington County and the Utah Chapter of The Nature Conservancy joined forces to purchase 53 acres of private land to complete the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve near St. George. The reserve supports the largest population of Mohave tortoises in the U.S.

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

Ships Slow Down for Puget 'Quiet Sound' Program to Aid Orcas

December 2022 - Ships are getting on board with a program to make Puget Sound quieter for the region's endangered orca population. Sixty-one percent of vessels participated in a voluntary slowdown in the first four weeks, according to numbers released by Quiet Sound, the program of Washington Maritime Blue. Program Director Rachel Aronson said sound is an essential sense for orcas, but propeller noise interferes with that.

Judge Restores Gray Wolf Protections, Reviving Federal Recovery Efforts

February 2022 - A federal court has restored Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf after they were eliminated by the Trump administration in 2020. The ruling orders the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to resume recovery efforts for the imperiled species. The decision re-designates the gray wolf as a species threatened with extinction in the lower 48 states with the exception of the Northern Rockies population, for which wolf protections were removed by Congress in 2011. The most recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its state partners show only an estimated 132 wolves in Washington state, 173 in Oregon (with only 19 outside of northeastern Oregon), and fewer than about 20 in California.

WA Bid for Coal Export Terminal Ends

June 2021 - The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the final appeal to Millennium Bulk Terminals’ proposal to obtain a water quality permit, shutting down the projected coal export terminal project for good. Up to 16 coal trains a day were expected to pass between the Powder River Basin and Longview, Washington, bringing pollution from diesel exhaust and coal dust and affecting how fast emergency responders in rail communities throughout the High Plains and Pacific Northwest could react. For over a decade, the coal industry has attempted to build coal export terminals throughout the Pacific Northwest that would ship western coal to Asian markets.

Safer Fishing Gear to Replace West Coast Drift Gillnets

September 2019 - Dolphins, whales, sharks and sea lions on the West Coast may be less likely to die in fishing nets now that authorities have approved a new type of fishing gear. The Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to approve deep-set buoy gear, to replace the huge drift gillnets made of mesh that are used by commercial fishing.

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

Federal judge restores endangered species protections to nation's grey wolves

February 2022 - A federal judge has restored endangered species protections to gray wolves across much of the Lower 48, including Wisconsin.

Judge Blocks WI Wolf Hunt

October 2021 - A circuit court in Wisconsin essentially ruled the state can't carry out its fall wolf hunt because of issues with the DNR's management plan. The move brings temporary relief to wildlife protection groups.

Wisconsin DNR lowers kill quota for fall wolf hunt

October 2021 - Wisconsin's Dept. of Natural Resources defies agency board in setting a lower quota for upcoming fall hunt. Conservation groups said the natural board's recommendation was alarmingly high.

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

Wyoming, USDA Agree on Partnership to Conserve Wildlife Habitat

October 2022 - Gov. Mark Gordon has signed onto law a new pilot program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which aims to support Wyoming farmers and ranchers whose operations provide wildlife habitat as elk, mule deer, pronghorn and other big game travel between winter and summer ranges.

Teton County Strengthens Wildlife Protections

April 2022 - Teton County passed updates to the Wildlife Feeding provision of the Land Development Regulations, prohibiting residents from allowing wildlife to access attractants on their property.

Judge restores gray wolf protections, reviving federal recovery efforts

February 2022 - A federal court has restored Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf after they were eliminated by the Trump administration in 2020. The ruling orders the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to resume recovery efforts for the imperiled species.

Federal Court Rules Against Elk Feedgrounds

September 2021 - A federal court agreed with conservationists and ordered that winter feeding of elk on the Bridger-Teton National Forest requires additional environmental review. The court ruled that two feedgrounds were not properly permitted, in part because the U.S. Forest Service had not evaluated the potential for disease transmission when large numbers of animals congregate in close quarters.

New Maps Document Big-Game Migration Corridors Across Western U.S.

November 2020 - Wildlife managers across the West have a new tool when it comes to protecting iconic big game. A new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides detailed maps of GPS-tracked migration routes for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bison.

Wildlife Managers Have New Tools to Contain Chronic Wasting Disease

July 2020 - Wildlife managers in Wyoming are moving forward to combat chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and moose herds, after the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved a new statewide management plan.

Nearly 1 Million Acres of Sage Grouse Habitat Protected

February 2020 - A federal judge overturned a 2018 Trump administration policy to sharply curtail public participation in oil and gas leasing decisions on public lands and voided nearly 1 million acres leased under the policy in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming The court's order overturning the BLM's policy applies to all 67 million acres of designated sage-grouse habitat in eleven western states and invalidates the lease transactions that occurred under the defective management scheme.

Governor's Trailblazing Migration Order to Hinge on Local Control

February 2020 - Wildlife in Wyoming should find some relief traveling to winter and summer ranges after Gov. Mark Gordon signed an executive order establishing how migration corridors are managed, starting with key routes in southwestern Wyoming, and how other routes should be designated in the future.

Hunters Hail Gordon's Move to Protect Game Migration Corridors

December 2019 - Hunting groups are praising Gov. Mark Gordon for his work to protect the state's iconic migration corridors for mule deer and pronghorn antelope. The governor released a draft executive order to key stakeholders in December.

Wildlife Crossings Over Finish Line

November 2019 - Nearly eight in ten Teton County voters approved a measure to build new wildlife crossings at top priority locations from the Teton County Wildlife Crossings Masterplan.

Pollinator Pit Stop "Hero Habitat" Garden Launches in Cheyenne

May 2019 - Wyoming's first public Habitat Hero Demonstration Garden, a converted stretch of lawn in front of the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities building, has officially launched. Organizers hope the blossoming flowers, strawberries and drought-resistant plants and grasses will spark a movement to conserve water and turn more lawns into rest stops for birds, bees and butterflies.

Wyoming Elk Returning to Healthier Winter Range

October 2018 - A U.S. district court revoked a long-term deal for a state-run feeding ground east of Jackson Hole. The move should help protect elk, as well as livestock and hunting traditions, because feed lots can act as hotspots for the spread of chronic wasting disease.

Wolves Helping Aspen Return to Northern Yellowstone

September 2018 - Aspen trees are on the rebound in and around Yellowstone National Park, and a new report says predators deserve the credit. The trees were in decline for decades largely because concentrated elk populations were eating new tree shoots, and since wolves were reintroduced, elk numbers have decreased and most of the herd's winter range is now outside the park.

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.

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New Climate Bill to Tackle Texas Methane Emissions

August 2022 - The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 signed by President Joe Biden will help make a significant cut in U.S. emissions by levying a fee on oil and gas producers with wells that emit methane above a certain threshold.

Keystone Pipeline Canceled After Biden Blocked Permit

June 2021 - he sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline said Wednesday it is pulling the plug on the contentious project after Canadian officials failed to persuade President Joe Biden to reverse his cancellation of its permit on the day he took office. Calgary-based TC Energy said it would work with government agencies “to ensure a safe termination of and exit from” the partially built line, which was to transport crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska.

Major Blow to Keystone XL Pipeline as Judge Revokes Key Permit

May 2020 - The controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has been dealt a major setback, after a judge revoked a key permit issued by the US army corps of engineers without properly assessing the impact on endangered species. In a legal challenge brought by a coalition of environmental groups, a federal judge in Montana ordered the army corps to suspend all filling and dredging activities until it conducts formal consultations compliant with the Endangered Species Act. The ruling revokes the water-crossing permit needed to complete construction of the pipeline, and is expected to cause major delays to the divisive project. Keystone XL is a 1,179-mile pipeline which would transport around 830,000 barrels of oil a day from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska, eventually heading to refineries on the Gulf coast.

Judge Voids Oil Leases in Sage Grouse Territory

February 2020 - A federal judge today rejected a Trump administration policy to sharply curtail public participation in oil and gas leasing decisions on public lands and voided nearly 1 million acres leased under the policy. The ruling applies to lease sales in greater sage-grouse habitat across 67 million acres in 11 Western states. U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush vacated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah and Wyoming because the Bureau of Land Management failed to allow public participation required by law. Future leases in greater sage-grouse habitat must allow a 30-day public comment and administrative protest period.

Federal Judge Blocks Keystone Pipeline

November 2018 - In Montana, United States District Court Judge Brian Morris blocked construction of the controversial pipeline, saying that the administration failed to present a ?reasoned explanation? for the move and ?simply discarded? the effect the project would have on climate change. The pipeline would carry 800,000 barrels a day of petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast.

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

Large MT Coal-Burning Facility Shutting Down Two of Four Units

January 2020 - One of the largest coal-fired power plants in the western United States is inching toward an eventual shutdown amid crippling competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy sources. The Associated Press reports the Colstrip Steam Electric Station in Colstrip, MT, will close two of its four units by the beginning of this week, or as soon as they run out of coal. The plant has been unable to compete with other cheaper forms of energy and operating costs have risen due to mandates for stricter pollution controls.

Colstrip Units to Shut Down at End of 2019

June 2019 - Two aging Montana coal plants, part-owned by Puget Sound Energy, will cease operations by the end of 2019, more than two years before the previously announced phaseout date. The plants, Colstrip 1 and 2, were built in the mid-1970's and cannot compete with natural gas and renewable energy.

'Save Colstrip' Plan Falls Through on Last Day of Montana Legislature

April 2019 - Lawmakers ended the 87-day session 4-25-2019 by voting against amendments drawn up to commit customers of NorthWestern Energy to covering debts associated with the utility's potential purchase of Colstrip Power Plant generation and transmission lines. The proposal was billed as a way to keep Colstrip Power Plant operating as the coal-fired generator's other utility owners left; the proposal failed to pass both chambers of the Legislature.

Colstrip Bailout Bill Dies in Montana

April 2019 - Montana lawmakers failed to pass legislation that would have enabled NorthWestern Corp. to pass on $75 million in costs to customers associated with acquiring an additional 150-MW share in the beleaguered Colstrip power plant without oversight from the state Public Service Commission. The bill, proposed by Republican Sen. Tom Richmond, died in the House on a 60-37 vote April 16, and lawmakers failed to revive it before the session ended April 26. The failure of the bill, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in this year's legislative session, could seal the fate of the troubled coal plant as states in the region attempt to move away from coal-fired generation.

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

California Submits Application to U.S. Department of Energy for Federal Funding to Become a National Hydrogen Hub

April 2023 - The Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) has submitted an application to the United States Department of Energy, as part of the Biden Administration's Hydrogen Earth Shot Challenge. ARCHES is the official applicant and organizer for California's proposal to bring a statewide Department of Energy H2 hub to the Golden State. ARCHES, announced as the organizer for California's DOE application last year, is a statewide public-private partnership designed to accelerate H2's contribution to decarbonizing the state's economy and will build on California's long-standing H2 and renewable energy leadership.

Governor Signs Bill to Fight Gas Price Gouging

March 2023 - Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation to implement the strongest state-level oversight and accountability measures on Big Oil in the nation, bringing transparency to California’s oil and gas industry.

State Senate Approves Gas Price Gouging Bill

March 2023 - California lawmakers voted to advance a bill that would penalize oil companies for "price gouging" — a first-of-its-kind legislation pushed forward in recent months by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The bill would authorize the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to set a maximum gross gasoline refining margin — and then establish a penalty for any California-based refineries that exceed that margin.

Fed to Offer First Offshore Lease Sale in CA

October 2022 - The Department of the Interior today announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold an offshore wind energy lease sale on Dec. 6, 2022, for areas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off central and northern California. This will be the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on America’s west coast and the first-ever U.S. sale to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development.

State Proposes Setbacks for Oil and Gas Drilling

October 2021 - The Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division has released a proposed regulation that would prohibit new wells and facilities within a 3,200-foot exclusion area - or setback - from homes, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other sensitive locations. It would also require pollution controls for existing wells and facilities within the same 3,200-foot setback area.

Feds, State Agree to Allow More Offshore Windmills in CA

May 2021 - Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl, and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an agreement to advance areas for offshore wind off the northern and central coasts of California. This significant milestone is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to create thousands of jobs through the deployment of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030.

Bill Filed to Ban Fracking in CA

February 2021 - Groups that fight climate change are applauding a bill to halt new permits for fracking starting next year – and ban it altogether as of 2027. Senate Bill 467 also would apply to several other extraction methods that advocates say are harmful to human health and the environment.

CA Appeals Ruling In Suit Over Fed Rollback of Fracking Rules

June 2020 - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a notice of appeal in a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to repeal regulations governing hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of oil and gas wells drilled on federal and Native American tribal lands. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) 2015 Fracking Rule addressed growing concerns about fracking's impact on public health and the environment. In the filing, Attorney General Becerra argues that the Trump Administration's repeal of the 2015 Fracking Rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

CA Mandates Efficient Pool Pump Motors

April 2020 - The California Energy Commission has decided to adopt updated state standards for motors in pool pumps to require energy efficient models. The standards will ensure that every replacement swimming pool pump motor sold in California as of July 2021 is an efficient one, whether it’s for the pool in someone’s backyard, school or university, hotel, or town pool. The state is home to almost one-fifth of the pools in the United States.

Court Rules Against Kern County Oil Ordinance

February 2020 - In a monumental victory for both public advocacy groups and local farmers, a California court ruled that a Kern County oil and gas ordinance paid for and drafted by the oil industry violated the state's foundational environmental law. California's Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled that a key county analysis failed to disclose the full extent of drilling's environmental harm, in violation of state law. Kern County used the flawed study to pass an industry-friendly oil and gas ordinance in 2015 and has issued more than a thousand permits a year since it passed. The court ordered that the environmental impact report and the ordinance be set aside until the county can demonstrate it complies with the law. Kern County must stop issuing permits under the ordinance within 30 days. The ruling means environmental review of new drilling proposals in Kern County will revert back to state authorities.

LA to Retire Three Gas-Fired Power Plants, Go Renewable

February 2019 - California took a huge step toward the goal of running entirely on renewable energy, as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced that it's retiring three natural gas power plants. The L-A D-W-P, which is the largest municipal utility in the nation, says it will close the Haynes, Harbor and Scattergood gas-fired plants near the L-A International Airport.

Puente Power Plant Proposal Officially Dead

December 2018 - NRG withdrew its application to the California Energy Commission for approval of the Puente Power Plant, which had been proposed for construction on the Oxnard coast. On October 5, 2017, the Energy Commission Committee issued a Statement recommending denial of the project due to its significant environmental impacts and violations of local and state laws and regulations. The Statement supported the community's preference for clean energy sources and recommended an expedited study to analyze the feasibility of such alternatives.

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

New Law to Invest $15 Million to Help Fossil Fuel Communities Transition to Renewable Energy

June 2021 - Governor Polis signed a Colorado Comeback bill to support communities transitioning away from fossil fuels. HB21-1290, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, will invest $15 million to help communities shift away from fossil fuels to more renewable sources of energy.

Governor Signs Trio of Climate Action & Clean Energy Stimulus Bills

June 2021 - Governor Polis signed into law three bills that are a part of Colorado’s recovery package, all targeting investments in the clean energy sector and energy efficiency projects: HB21-1253, SB21-230, and 231.

Broomfield City Council Imposing Moratorium on New Energy Development

May 2019 - Broomfield City Council approved a six-month moratorium on new natural gas and oil development in the city, becoming the seventh Colorado community to impose a ban since the introduction of Senate Bill 181 in March. The moratorium passed unanimously on second reading, halting the municipal approval process for energy development until December.

Bill Passes to Prioritize Health and Safety in Oil and Gas

April 2019 - Senate Bill 181 changes the mission of the state regulatory body for the oil and gas. Among other restrictions on the energy sector, it allows local governments to regulate development.

Coloradans Reject Oil and Gas-backed Amendment

November 2018 - Amendment 74 would have put local governments at risk of lawsuits if any action caused any party to lose value on their property. The move, backed by oil and gas interests, was widely seen as a counter-threat to Proposition 112 which sought to keep oil and gas operations 2500 feet away from homes and schools.

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

Families Get State Help with Home Heating Costs

November 2022 - With prices rising on utilities nationwide, Connecticut will be receiving $86.4 million dollars to fun the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to aid families with paying for home heating costs this winter. The funding will also be utilized for families to make home repairs that will lower energy bill costs.

Connecticut Authorizes Development of Offshore Wind Power

June 2019 - The legislation was approved last month in the House of Representatives, given final legislative approval on in the State Senate, and transmitted to the governor for signature. It authorizes the state to purchase up to 2,000 MW (or equivalent to 30 percent of state load) - the largest authorization by load of any state in the region.

State Agencies Ordered to Reduce Energy Consumption and Environmental Impacts

April 2019 - Governor Ned Lamont signed an executive order that directs executive branch state office buildings and vehicle fleets to become greener and more energy efficient through an expanded "Lead By Example" sustainability initiative aimed at reducing the state's carbon footprint as well as the cost of government operations. This includes meeting the state's overall statutory goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent reduction from 2001 levels by 2030 and reducing waste disposal and water consumption by 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, by 2030 from a defined baseline of 2020.

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

IL Senate Passes Clean Energy Bill

August 2021 - The Illinois Senate passed a clean energy bill in a special session. A sticking point was the timeline for closing coal-fired power plants, which this bill does by 2045. It's now up to the state House of Representatives.

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 Net Metering Preserved for Customers of KU/LG&E

November 2021 - Kentucky’s Public Service Commission has rejected a proposal by two utilities that would have drastically reduced the value of solar energy for customers. Instead, the commission chose new rates that will only slightly reduce the value of solar for certain customers.

KY Says Solar Customers Should Keep Benefits

June 2021 - The Kentucky Public Service Commission says energy credits for customers with rooftop solar will continue, instead of being devalued by Kentucky Power. The move is a signal the state believes solar is a benefit not only to solar users but also to utility companies as well. The agency found the value to be in excess of $0.09 per kWh, rather than only $0.035 per kWh, as the utility argued.

PSC Limits Utility Rate Increase, Protects rooftop Solar

February 2021 - The Kentucky Public Service Commission voted to keep enact net-metering for rooftop solar customers and denied Kentucky Power's plan to spend tens of millions of dollars on new meters and charge customers additional fees to pay for those upgrades.

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

Clean and Renewable Energy Gets $12 Million in State Funding

March 2019 - Eleven projects that will assist in the development of clean and renewable energy projects across Pennsylvania have been approved through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). The projects were approved through the Alternative and Clean Energy Program (ACE) during a CFA board meeting. The projects, totaling just over $12 million, are located in Allegheny, Chester, Columbia, Crawford, Lancaster, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, and Philadelphia counties. These projects will support the construction of extremely energy-efficient school buildings; support the installation of efficient and modern power systems like biomass and combined heat and power; and assist with the costs of purchasing and installing biogas purification systems and compressed natural gas fueling stations.

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

State Government Increases Targets For Renewable Energy

January 2019 - New governor Janet Mills says her administration would reach a goal of producing 50 percent of electricity from renewables - up from a current standard of 40 percent, which is a smaller step toward a larger goal that she set during the campaign of having Maine reach 100 percent renewables by 2050, according to The Free Press.

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

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Added

August 2021 - Governor Larry Hogan today announced that $3.7 million in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is being awarded to 37 sites using funds from Maryland’s settlement with Volkswagen (VW) for air pollution violations.

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.

Michigan News Connection

Whitmer Takes Action to Shut Down Line 5

November 2020 - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that she is ordering Line 5, a major oil pipeline that runs through the Great Lakes, to be shut down by May. The governor cited multiple instances of Enbridge violating the 1953 easement between the company and the state. Environmental justice activists who have fought for decades to shut down Line 5.

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

Nevada Senate Passes Clean Energy Bill

May 2021 - The Nevada State Senate voted to pass Senate Bill (SB) 448, a comprehensive clean energy bill that would spur job development and advance the state's emission reduction goals laid out by the Nevada Climate Initiative. The bill addresses Nevada's transmission network, transportation electrification, and energy efficiency programs for low-income Nevadans and has also garnered support from labor unions and clean energy advocates.

NV Energy Reduces Energy Costs by $93 million in 2021

January 2021 - NV Energy announced a reduction in electricity rates for Nevada customers by $93 million in 2021. For individual customers the money saved depends on use, but is expected to be an average of $5/month.

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

Feud Over NM Coal-Plant Closure Could Cost Customers

June 2022 - The Public Regulation Commission unanimously voted that PNM violated the ETA. PNM is the largest energy provider in New Mexico. The Commission agreed with environmental and consumer groups and blocked PNM’s plan to keep charging customers for San Juan Generating Station expenses long after the plant is closed.

NM's Public Regulation Commission Rushes to Approve Solar Project

November 2018 - Considered a win for consumers, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission voted to kill an El Paso Electric proposal to build a community solar project in Dona Ana County. The PRC voted 3-2 to approve a motion from Santa Fe-based renewable energy advocacy group New Energy Economy, an intervener in the case, to reject the proposal. New Energy Economy successfully argued that the original proposal showed favoritism to the utility company over independent solar contractors, giving it an automatic advantage and denying customers the lowest price for solar energy.

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

New Community Solar and Storage Program Will Create 1,250 Clean Energy Jobs

February 2021 - Accelerated plans will help local governments and state agencies build at least 40 distributed solar systems that will generate renewable energy. These projects are expected to stimulate more than $135 million in direct, private investments toward their development, construction, and operation, and create more than 1,250 short-term and long-term jobs.

Public Service Commission Approve Major Clean Energy Transmission Line Project

February 2021 - The New York State Public Service Commission approved the New York Energy Solution Project and the Empire State Line to help relieve congestion and maximize the flow of renewable resources in Western New York. These were the final major approvals required to begin construction on the 250 miles of the green energy transmission superhighway this year.

New Competitive Program Will Retain New York's Existing Renewable Energy Resources

January 2021 - A new large-scale renewable energy procurement program, known as Competitive Tier 2, will retain New York's existing renewable energy resources, promote lower statewide carbon emissions, and help support the state's economic recovery by increasing in-state competition and reducing energy costs. The program continues progress under the State's recently expanded Clean Energy Standard and advances the goal to obtain 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030 as mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the new Competitive Tier 2 renewable energy program will ensure the state's existing baseline renewable energy generation is retained through three annual solicitations, in parallel with NYSERDA's other solicitations for new large-scale land-based and offshore wind projects.

First Community Solar Plus Energy Storage Project Completed in New York

September 2020 - The first project in New York pairing a community solar project with energy storage has been completed. The milestone project will reduce the energy costs for approximately 150 households in Westchester County and New York City as well as provide power to 12 Tesla electric vehicle supercharging stations. The completion supports the state’s goals to install 6,000 megawatts of solar by 2025 and 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030, as called for in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

NY Budget Bill Advances Clean Energy

April 2020 - The budget passed by the Legislature includes reforms needed to ensure the state can reach its clean energy goals. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed into law last year, requires the state to achieve 70% renewable energy by 2030 but more than 60 renewable energy projects that already have contracts and could start construction are being delayed by the permitting and review process. This budget bill streamlines that, improves the process and will expedite building of wind and solar projects. It also maintains New York's strong environmental and public participation standards and adds deadlines to the permitting process for transmission development by requiring a decision within 12 months on permits for building or improving transmission infrastructure.

NY Awards for Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects

March 2020 - New awards will advance 21 large-scale solar, wind, and energy storage projects across upstate New York, totaling 1,278 megawatts of new renewable capacity. The awards, totaling $1 billion in State investment, include projects that offered bids 23 percent lower than the bids received three years ago, representing considerable value for New Yorkers and highlighting the continuing significant cost declines of renewable energy. They are expected to generate over 2.5 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually enough to power over 350,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by more than 1.3 million metric tons annually. The projects will spur over $2.5 billion in direct, private investments toward their development, construction and operation and create over 2,000 short-term and long-term jobs.

30-Day Budget Amendment Will Accelerate Renewable Energy Projects

February 2020 - A 30-day budget amendment has been introduced in the state legislature to dramatically speed up the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects, combat climate change and grow the state's green economy. If adopted, the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act will create a new Office of Renewable Energy Permitting to improve and streamline the process for environmentally responsible and cost-effective siting of large-scale renewable energy projects across New York while delivering significant benefits to local communities.

Legislation to Make the Fracking Ban Permanent Included in FY 2021 Executive Budget

January 2020 - A bill included in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s FY 2021 Executive Budget would make New York's fracking ban permanent. The measure would restrict the Department of Environmental Conservation from approving permits that would authorize an applicant to drill, deepen, plug back or convert wells that use high-volume hydraulic fracturing as a means to complete or recomplete a well, protecting the health of New Yorkers and ensuring permanently that our environment is not harmed by this practice. High-volume hydraulic fracturing utilizes a well stimulation technique that greatly increased the ability to extract natural gas from very tight rock. High-volume hydraulic fracturing, which is often used in conjunction with horizontal drilling, raises significant, adverse impacts. In 2014, a review by the NYS Department of Health found significant uncertainties about health, including increased water and air pollution, and the adequacy of mitigation measures to protect public health. Given the red flags raised by existing research and absent conclusive studies that disprove health concerns, DOH recommended that the activity should not proceed in New York State. The Department of Environmental Conservation officially prohibited the practice in 2015, concluding a comprehensive seven-year review process that examined potential environmental and health impacts associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing. New York's was the first ban by a state with significant natural gas resources.

NY Dedicating $1.5 Billion in Funding for Energy Efficiency Improvements at Government Facilities Across New York

December 2019 - New York State strengthens its commitment to improving energy efficiency at state and local government buildings. The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees has approved $1.5 billion in additional program funding over the next seven years as part of the Governor's BuildSmartNY program. Today's announcement supports the targets in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the most aggressive climate and clean energy law in the nation, through improved energy efficiency in government buildings that will reduce electricity demand by three percent annually, the equivalent of 1.8 million New York households, by 2025.

Contracts for Nearly 1,700 Megawatts of Wind Offshore Wind Power Finalized

October 2019 - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has finalized contracts with Equinor Wind US LLC for its 816 megawatt Empire Wind Project and Sunrise Wind LLC for its 880 megawatt Sunrise Wind Project to deliver clean, affordable renewable energy to New Yorkers. As the largest procurement for offshore wind in the nation's history, this announcement advances New York's nation-leading Green New Deal goal to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 and position the state as the regional hub of this rapidly growing industry in the United States.

NYS Investing in Energy Storage on Long Island

July 2019 - New York State is dedicating $55 million for energy storage including commercial and residential storage projects on Long Island. This program will be launched with an initial rollout of nearly $15 million in incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Energy storage projects supported by this Long Island initiative will advance progress toward achieving New York's target of 3,000 megawatts of energy storage deployed by 2030 - the equivalent to powering 40 percent of New York's homes. The announcement supports a Green New Deal - a nation-leading clean energy jobs agenda putting New York on a path to carbon neutrality.

Offshore Drilling Ban in New York Waters Signed into Law

April 2019 - Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to ban offshore drilling in New York State waters (S.2316 (Kaminsky)/A.2572 (Englebright). The legislation will bar the state from granting permits for drilling, or oil or gas exploration in offshore areas controlled by the State. It will also protect New York's waters and coasts by making it more difficult for oil and gas drilling to occur close to coastal New York, even in waters controlled by the federal government. In addition, the legislation prohibits the leasing of State-owned underwater coastal land that would authorize or facilitate the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas. The bill is a direct response to the Trump administration proposal to open U.S. coastal areas to drilling.

New Program To Spur Innovations In Energy Storage And Electric Vehicle Technology

April 2019 - An innovative partnership between the New York University Tandon School of Engineering Urban Future Lab and the New York Power Authority will recruit and support startup businesses pursuing electric vehicle and energy storage technologies. The partnership will help advance Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal, a nation-leading clean energy and jobs agenda that will aggressively put New York State on a path to economy-wide carbon neutrality. The joint program, called the NYPA Innovation Challenge, will support advanced pilot programs demonstrating new technology and business models in New York State. As the power grid inevitably transforms and begins to work with more distributed energy resources (DERs) and grid edge solutions, NYPA will be seeking additional public and private partners with expertise in innovation, energy efficiency and clean energy generation.

NY Seeking Bids for Offshore Wind Power

November 2018 - New York has issued a comprehensive solicitation seeking 800 megawatts or more of new offshore wind projects for New York. This highly anticipated first offering, issued by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority kicks-off competition for New York State's first large-scale offshore wind development contracts, an initial step toward its goal of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030 to combat climate change.

$40 Million to Support Solar Powered Storage Projects

October 2018 - $40 million will be made available to support solar projects that integrate energy storage, accelerating progress toward New York's energy storage target of 1,500-megawatts by 2025. These projects will build toward New York's goal of getting 50 percent of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 to combat climate change and build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system.

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

NC Commission Votes to Cap Carbon Emissions

August 2021 - The NC Environmental Management Commission votes to approve a plan to cut carbon emissions from North Carolina’s power sector. The move puts the state on a path to joining the the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

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

Avista Announces Settlement in ID Rate Case

October 2019 - Avista Utilities, which serves 133,000 customers in Idaho, has reached a settlement with stakeholders in a rate case that could reduce electric service rates for Idaho customers. The Idaho Conservation League was involved in the rate case negotiations, and voiced support for the settlement. As part of the settlement, Avista is funding a new $1.6 million program for energy savings projects in North Idaho.

Idaho Power Commits To Completely Clean Energy Sources By 2045

April 2019 - Idaho Power pledges to provide customers 100 percent clean energy by the year 2045. The company that serves over half-a-million customers calls the effort "Clean Today, Cleaner Tomorrow." Nearly 50 percent of the electricity the company currently generates comes from hydro power, and about a fifth comes from coal.

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

Ohio Reverses Parts of Nuclear Bailout Bill

April 2021 - Governor Mike DeWine sighed House bill 128, which reverses some of the provisions of the state's controversial nuclear bailout law (HB 6). HB 128 repeals nuclear subsidies and requires a mechanism to refund money to ratepayers approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio; repeals significantly excessive earnings test (SEET) provisions that benefited FirstEnergy; and repeals the decoupling measure that allowed FirstEnergy to collect hundreds of millions of dollars from Ohio's electric consumers.

Ohio Supreme Court Overturns FirstEnergy Bailout

June 2019 - The Ohio Supreme Court overturned the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's approval of a FirstEnergy bailout that left customers footing a nearly $600 million bill. The bailout misleadingly named the Distribution Modernization Rider has cost customers up to $204 million annually since it was approved in 2017 and, as the Supreme Court ruled, provided no guarantees the funds would go to grid modernization nor that there were proper customer safeguards in place.

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

Permanent Offshore Oil Drilling Ban OK'd By Oregon Lawmakers

March 2019 - Oregon state lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a permanent offshore oil drilling ban as the Trump administration forges ahead with a plan that could open up the Pacific coast for petroleum exploration and extraction. The House voted 47-8 to prohibit drilling and exploration in the state?s marine waters, extending a temporary 10-year ban that was set to expire next year. The measure already passed the Senate and will be sent next to Gov. Kate Brown. Brown, a Democrat, has previously spoken out against offshore oil drilling and has pushed for strong climate protections in the state.

Portland Clean Energy Initiative Passes

November 2018 - The Portland Clean Energy Initiative was passed by voters. Now large retailers operating in Portland help pay for an additional investment of roughly $30 million per year in revenue in cleaner energy projects and job training.

Oregon Gov. to Sign Executive Order Banning Offshore Drilling

October 2018 - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she will sign an executive order banning offshore drilling because she's tired of waiting for the federal government to come to their senses and realize this is a terrible mistake."

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

Funding Will Replace Virginia Diesel School Buses with Electric and Propane Ones

September 2021 - Governor Ralph Northam announced more than $10.5 million in funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust, administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, to replace 83 diesel school buses with electric and propane buses in 19 school districts across Commonwealth. The grant that provides the money for this initiative came from a Trust funded by the Volkswagen settlement that is working to reduce emissions and support environmental programs.

Offshore Wind Development Agreement Reached

August 2021 - Governor Northam announces that the Port of Virginia has reached an agreement to lease a portion of the Portsmouth Marine Terminal to Dominion Energy—dramatically accelerating the largest commercial clean energy offshore wind development in the United States and creating a place in Virginia for a new American industry to emerge.

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

Gov. Inslee Urges Federal Regulators to Reject GTN Pipeline Expansion

March 2023 - Gov. Jay Inslee has sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission urging members to reject a proposed expansion of the Gas Transmission Northwest (GTN) Xpress pipeline, saying it does not serve a public need, would harm consumers and sharply conflicts with the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to clean energy.

WA County First in Nation to Ban Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

July 2021 - Whatcom county in Washington state has become the first such jurisdiction in the US to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure, following a lengthy battle over the impact of oil refineries on the local community. Whatcom county’s council unanimously passed a measure that bans the construction of new refineries, coal-fired power plants and other fossil fuel-related infrastructure. The ordinance also places new restrictions on existing fossil fuel facilities, such as a requirement that any extra planet-heating gases emitted from any expansion be offset.

Developers End Pursuit of World's Largest Methanol Refinery Planned for Washington

June 2021 - In a stunning climate victory, Northwest Innovation Works, which backs a controversial fossil fuel processing and export proposal in Kalama, Washington, officially abandoned its fracked gas refinery and pipeline proposal, terminating the company’s lease with the Port of Kalama. The decision comes after years of local and regional activism to stop the massive fracked gas refinery, resulting in a series of legal defeats for the project. In January Washington state denied a key permit, citing the refinery's significant climate and shoreline impacts. That decision followed state and federal court rejections of other permits for failing to fully analyze the project’s harm to climate, water quality and the public interest. This would have been the world’s largest methanol refinery. "After many years of fighting dirty coal, oil and fracked gas, we are looking forward to a clean energy future in Washington," said Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director with Columbia Riverkeeper.

Puget Sound Energy Withdraws Proposed Coal Plant Sale

October 2020 - Puget Sound Energy (PSE) announced they will no longer pursue a plan to sell their stake in Colstrip Unit 4 and transmission capacity to Montana’s NorthWestern Energy and Talen Montana, following near-unanimous opposition to the deal. This decision leaves the future of the plant in doubt and speaks to the need for the plant’s owners to negotiate an orderly retirement and transition plan for workers and the local community.

Gov. Inslee Signs 'Strongest' Clean-Energy Bill in Nation

June 2019 - Governor Jay Inslee has signed one of the most comprehensive clean energy bills in the country. Washington state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 5116, committing the state to a carbon-free electricity grid by 2045, and the bill lays out, step by step, how it will get there. By 2025, the Evergreen State will completely phase out coal, which currently supplies about 14 percent of its electricity.

Washington State Ferries Reveals Plan for Younger, Greener Fleet

January 2019 - Washington State Ferries has come up with a plan to replace more than half of its fleet with new, electric-powered ferries. The nation's largest ferry system would become younger and greener, but not much bigger under a strategic plan just delivered to the Washington Legislature. The blueprint for the next two decades envisions buying 16 new ferries to update the aging fleet and to have more vessels in reserve. The proposal could also help quiet the sound for orcas, which biologists say is crucial for their survival.

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

Coal Backed Group Loses Fight To Block Gas Plant

November 2018 - A so-called "citizens" group - backed by a huge coal baron - had been attempting to block the construction of a gas-fired power plant, but finally lost in court. WVNS was the first general media outlet to cover the link between the coal boss and the group.

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.

Wisconsin News Connection

Public Weighs In on Reroute of Controversial Line 5 Project

March 2022 - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has, once again, extended the public input period for the controversial Line 5 project. Line 5's Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the focus of the comment period, has come under fire from critics for numerous alleged shortcomings.

Wyoming News Service

Wyoming to Receive $25 Million for Orphan Wells Under Infrastructure Bill

October 2022 - President Joe Biden's bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is expected to bring more than 300 jobs to Wyoming to clean up and plug so-called orphaned oil and gas wells on public lands.

Gov. Gordon Tackles Electric Vehicle Grid for Mountain States

February 2020 - Wyoming and other western mountain states are pressing ahead with a joint effort to deploy electric vehicle charging stations along interstate corridors and state highways. Gov. Mark Gordon recently signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the infrastructure project, joining governors from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

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


All News Services

Biden Administration to Restore Climate Criteria to Landmark Environmental Law

October 2021 - The Biden administration announced it will restore climate change protections to the nation’s bedrock environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act, which former President Donald J. Trump had weakened in an effort to speed the approval of projects like mines, pipelines, dams and highways. The proposed changes would require the federal government to evaluate the climate change impacts of major new projects as part of the permitting process. They come as Congress is weighing a plan to spend trillions of dollars on infrastructure improvements across the United States.

Chlorpyrifos Manufacturer Will Stop Making the Controversial Pesticide

February 2020 - The main manufacturer of a pesticide used for decades on a wide array of crops, including strawberries, corn and citrus, said Thursday it will stop making the product, which some scientists have said is linked to neurological problems in children. Corteva Agriscience, the nation’s largest producer of chlorpyrifos, said the decision was driven by financial considerations, not safety concerns. "It’s a tough decision for us to make, but we don’t feel like it’s viable going forward," Susanne Wasson, Corteva’s president of crop protection, said in an interview. "It was a business decision." The announcement came the same day that California, a leading agricultural state, made it illegal to sell chlorphyrifos. It is one of a growing number of states that have moved to block the pesticide from the market.

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

CA Sues EPA Over Environmental Impact Rules

August 2020 - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, leading a coalition of 23 attorneys general, today filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s unlawful final rule curtailing requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that federal agencies review and assess the impact of their actions on the environment. The final rule also limits public participation in the review process, robbing vulnerable communities of the opportunity to make their voices heard on actions that