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Florida lawmakers backing expansion of the state's Medicaid program plan to mount a new argument this legislative session: That voting against extending the program would deprive low-income U.S. citizens of access to insurance that's available to some legal immigrants.
Cities, counties, public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, state and local officials say. The cuts to public sector employment, which has failed to rebound since the recession, could serve as a powerful political weapon for Republican critics of the health care law, who claim that it is creating a drain on the economy.
A fierce battle is brewing over Detroit's bankruptcy restructuring blueprint, as the financial community decries the plan's treatment of bondholders, labor groups blast the plan as unfair to pensioners and Judge Steven Rhodes nonetheless exhorts all sides to negotiate in earnest. Rhodes proposed an aggressive time line for approval of the city's bankruptcy plan, potentially limiting the bickering and forcing all sides to consider concessions.
Mississippi's Board of Education approved new Common Core-aligned English and math courses Friday, but not before some board members objected, saying they believe teachers and students need another year to prepare.
n the news media and in popular culture, the notion persists that millennials — born after the overt racial debates and divisions that shaped their parents' lives — are growing up in a colorblind society in which interracial friendships and marriages are commonplace and racism is largely a relic. But interviews with dozens of students, professors and administrators at the University of Michigan and elsewhere indicate that the reality is far more complicated.
South Dakota's House of Representatives rejected Medicaid expansion Monday afternoon. The vote came as an amendment to an alternative health care bill. The amendment would have expanded Medicaid to South Dakotans earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, $15,521 for an individual or $31,721 for a family of four.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Voting rights for felons on the table

Kentucky could be heading for a historic change this year as it moves closer to abolishing its law banning felons from voting, thanks to a bipartisan effort in the state Capitol and a big assist from Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul. The state has long had among the most restrictive felon voting rules, thus disenfranchising a high percentage of its voting-age population.
Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for the repeal of state laws that restrict the voting rights of millions of former prison inmates. In a speech to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center, Holder said it is "time to fundamentally re-think laws that permanently disenfranchise people who are no longer under federal or state supervision.''
Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Governor Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week. Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.
The Obama administration announced Monday it would give medium-sized employers an extra year, until 2016, before they must offer health insurance to their full-time workers. Firms with at least 100 employees will have to start offering this coverage in 2015. By offering an unexpected grace period to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, administration officials are hoping to defuse another potential controversy involving the 2010 health-care law, which has become central to Republicans' campaign to make political gains in this year's midterm election.