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Ohio will be switching to a new drug to administer lethal injections, after an execution last year was reviewed after it resulted in a botched execution.  The new drug, thiopental sodium, had been previously used in the state from 1999 to 2011.
In a boon to Keystone XL pipeline supporters, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled to allow a route for the pipeline to cross the state, moving debate over TransCanada’s embroiled line to Congress.  Congressional Republicans have indicated a desire to approve the pipeline regardless of the President’s threats to veto.
The California legislature has a bevy of bills geared toward reducing violent interactions between police and citizens.  Some of the initiatives involve body cameras for police while on patrol, a centralized database with information on violent interactions involving police, and third party reviews of police shooting.  Many of these bills have been prompted by cases in the media involving unarmed victims and police.
Of the 18 million potentially Medicaid eligible, 2.5 million of them have substance use disorders.  Under the ACA, addiction and behavioral health servers are provided under all insurers.   States are looking for ways to address the needs of their newly eligible Medicaid population while meeting the needs of their current Medicaid recipients.
Beginning the this year, preschool children in city-licensed day care centers and preschools will be required to get a flu shot before they are allowed to attend.  New York joins Connecticut and New Jersey which have passed similar mandatory vaccination laws for school-aged children.
Several states are gearing up to pass taxes, also known as severance taxes, on gas and oil extraction.  Some governors have expressed the desire to use these taxes to fund infrastructure and education. According to drillers who oppose the taxes, an increase in taxes would harm the industry still working through the drop in oil and gas prices in 2014.
With the reintroduction of work requirements, states are looking to reduce the number of able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) on food stamps.  Work requirements will most likely come in the form of year-round access to food stamps where applicants are either working at least 20 hours per week or are participating in a federally-approved workfare program.  States with an elevated unemployment rate may be eligible to receive waivers on these rules.
After a ten-year absence, firearms are returning to the New Hampshire state house.   The House voted 228-149 to allow concealed weapons.  The new rules allow anyone legally permitted to carry a concealed weapon on the House floor and nearby rooms and guns must remain concealed.  Lawmakers remarked that the measure was to increase protection since New Hampshire is one of the few states that do not have metal detectors in the state house. 

In an effort to provide protections to pregnant workers, states are enacting bills that give additional protections to pregnant workers, which include more or longer bathroom breaks, rest periods, light duty, job transfer and other accommodations.  Several states have found bipartisan support in creating and passing legislation aimed at providing accommodation for pregnant workers.  Employee accommodations are currently before the U.S. Supreme Court in Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc.   The Court must consider whether employers are mandated to provide lighter duty to pregnant workers if they offer job modifications to other employers who are temporarily unable to do their jobs. 
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Detroit Emerges From Bankruptcy Today

The city of Detroit is officially exiting bankruptcy after spending a year under the control under Emergency Manager Kevin Orr.  The city was unable to pay its bills and provide basic services to its residents.