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An Arizona law which made smuggling undocumented immigrants a state crime, has been struck down by a federal judge on the grounds it preempted the federal government from taking their exclusive right to prosecute smuggling crimes.  The law had been often criticized by opponents because it was used to charge the smuggled immigrants with conspiracy to commit a crime in addition to charging the smugglers.
Following Tuesday’s election, Governor-Elect Asa Hutchinson said that he will be doing a deeper review of Arkansas’ private option before determining how the program will move on for the 2015 year.  The program, which was passed by the legislature in 2013 and 2014, will be examined to see if the funding pool will continue.
Several states are revamping their exchanges in anticipation of second open enrollment which begins this month.  States such as Maryland, have redesigned and purchased new insurance exchange programs to reduce technical issues.  Other states such as Nevada and Oregon have moved to a federal exchange after their state exchanges failed to perform.
A new policy in New York will reduce the number of marijuana-related arrests in the city.   Individuals carrying 25 grams or less of marijuana will face a summons and a fine instead of being arrested.  Marijuana remains illegal in New York but the policy aims to reduce the number of arrests related to marijuana possession by making it subject to civil punishment in lieu of criminal penalties.
The community of Ferguson is waiting in anticipation for the grand jury’s decision on whether or not they will indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.  The shooting has driven weeks of protests since the death of the young man at the hands of police.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments in the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama case regarding the state’s practice of packing black voters into majority-minority districts to keep the remaining districts filled with white voters most likely to vote Republican.  Legislators and democrats have challenged the district map on the ground it violates the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause.
Several Texas legislators have announced plans to introduce bills legalizing same-sex marriage for the upcoming legislative session.   Some of these bills include amendments to the state’s constitution and changes to state law to allow same-sex marriage.
Former state legislator, Annette Polly Williams, has passed away at age 77.  A huge advocate of “school choice” in Wisconsin, Williams was an active member of the Wisconsin legislature for three decades.  She was also an active member of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and was heralded by others for her relentless fight on education.
After instituting quarantine orders on health workers returning from West Africa, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the quarantines would not disrupt their livelihood.  Health workers who go to West Africa to treat Ebola patients would not have their pay cut or be demoted because they were serving.  Additionally, the state would make up any lost income to a health worker if they had to be quarantined once they returned to the United States.  The new guidelines come amidst concerns that quarantine orders might decrease the number of doctors, nurses, and other health workers from volunteering.
With the increased use of alternative energy sources, utilities are feeling the impact and are reaching out to states for help.  Solar energy policies, such as net metering, are shifting the burden of costs to those not engaging in their use, according to utilities.  Additionally, utilities are being pushed out of the market because of solar and other alternative energy sources.
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