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The new chief of the discredited watchdog agency that oversees Chicago's 12,000-strong police force on Monday announced a shakeup aimed at improving investigations into police shootings, allegations of misconduct and use of excessive force. Continue reading.

Source: Reuters

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Expensive Drugs in 2016 Crosshairs

Costly drugs are on all kinds of agendas in 2016. For several years, national and state legislators, insurers, insurance purchasers and consumer advocates have been noting and worrying about rising prices for prescription drugs. All that attention may turn into action this year. Continue reading.

Source: California Healthline

Hawaii has become the first state to raise the smoking age to 21.  The new law — which went into effect Jan. 1 — bans those under 21 from buying tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes. Continue reading.

Source: USA Today

With same-sex marriage now legal nationwide, lawmakers in numerous states are preparing for a new round of battles in 2016 over whether to grant discrimination protections to LGBT people or religious exemptions to nonprofits and businesses that object to gay marriage. Continue reading.

Source: U.S. News

With President Obama poised to act on his own authority to try to stem gun violence, his gun control allies are using big-money donors and shifting tactics to try to remake the political landscape in the national gun debate, challenging and sometimes even besting the powerful National Rifle Association in state-by-state battles. Continue reading.

Source: The New York Times


State senators jumped into California's homelessness crisis Monday, proposing $2 billion to build or rehabilitate permanent housing for mentally ill people living in the streets. Continue reading.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

If you're among the country's lowest earners, you may be ringing in the new year with a pay hike. Fourteen states will be raising their minimum wages with the arrival of 2016, according to an analysis of state laws by Yannet Lathrop of the National Employment Law Project. The raises will range from a nickel an hour in South Dakota to a full dollar in California and Massachusetts. Continue reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/minimum-wage-2016_5679d096e4b06fa6887f4276?ir=Politics&section=politics&ncid=newsltushpmg00000003
Earlier this month, African-American elected officials from across New Jersey came together for a historic meeting.  This summit was a first for New Jersey, and occurred as we mark the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – a historic moment in the political history of our country and the state – and as we reflect on the progress we have made over the last five decades. Continue reading: http://politickernj.com/2015/12/marking-50th-anniversary-of-voting-rights-act-black-elected-officials-forge-alliance/

A newly qualified November 2016 ballot measure would impose price controls on state drug purchases, potentially setting up an expensive battle with the pharmaceutical industry.  The California secretary of state's office announced Thursday evening that proponents of the California Drug Price Relief Act had turned in more than enough valid voter signatures to make next fall’s ballot, based on a random sample of the nearly 543,000 signatures proponents submitted this summer. Continue reading: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article50484140.html#storylink=cpy

A grand jury will not indict anyone in connection with the death of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in a Texas jail cell in July.  Five months after her death drew national protests, one of the special prosecutors for the case, Darrell Jordan, told The Washington Post that the grand jury decided not to indict anyone, including staff at the Waller County Jail where Bland was held, in connection with her death. Continue reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/21/grand-jury-will-not-indict-anyone-in-connect-with-sandra-bland-death/