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Nebraska has become the first conservative state in 40 years to ban the death penalty.  In a 30-19 vote, the Senate voted to override the governor’s veto ending the death penalty, which had not been used in Nebraska since 1997.
The governor of Texas has signed a new law that would create a grant program for school districts that augment their pre-Kindergarten programs.  The measure is aimed at school districts that are dedicated to improving resources for students from low-income, non-English-speaking, and military families.
The Washington Post is in the process of compiling a database of officer-involved shootings for 2015.  Thus far, the Post has found that half of all deaths were white individuals.  However, when it came down to unarmed suspects, 2/3 of them were Black or Hispanic.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections will shut down a program that pays counties to use state inmates for services.  Another work program will be available for local government to use inmate labor but local government state the new work program will mean higher costs to them as well as increased burdens.
The Illinois legislature has approved a bill that prevents the automatic transfer of juvenile offenders to adult court.  Fifteen year olds will no longer be transferred to adult court no matter how serious the crime.  Sixteen and Seventeen year olds charged with serious offenses such as murder will be sent to adult court.  The measure now awaits the governor’s signature.
Reports from local law enforcement agencies found that African Americans were being stopped for traffic violations 75% more than white drivers in Missouri.  Law enforcement agencies are working to interpret the data to better inform on policing tactics.
The rise in African refugees entering the United States seeking safety and asylum has increased the Black population and has required states to respond to their needs.  States have been able to do so by partnering with the federal government.  With the federal government now pulling back on funds, states are left to provide services for the population, which can include translators, child care, and medical attention. 
Vermont has become one of the most recent states to allow Election Day voter registration.  The measure, which will go into effect in 2017, will allow individuals to register to vote at any polling place.
African Americans make up a large part of the public sector workforce.  One in five African Americans works for the government.  However, with a slow bounce back from the recession, those jobs are harder to find, taking the chance at economic mobility harder to attain.
Victims of police brutality and torture orchestrated by former police officer Jon Burge and his colleagues received a $5.5 million settlement from the city of Chicago.  Spanning two decades, Burge and police officers under his direction, brutalized African American suspects without punishment.  Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has stated providing reparations to the victims of this torture is a step towards healing.