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Localities such as Wilson, North Carolina desire to fill the digital divide by providing their communities with broadband access.  Cities interested in bringing internet service where private companies cannot are looking towards municipal broadband, high speed broadband delivered via fiber optic networks, to accomplish that goal.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bail reform measure that would create an alternative pre-trial release which will prevent indigent defendants from being stuck in jail because they cannot afford bail.  The measure comes after a special session was convened for the legislature by Christie.  The measure still requires a vote by New Jersey residents in November.
The State Supreme Court in Wisconsin recently ruled that police could track suspects through their cellphones without a warrant.  The court noted the growing issue of privacy and technology but stated that same technology was imperative in solving crimes at a rapid speed.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia ruled that the state’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.  The ruling has a rippling effect in West Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, which are also a part of the Fourth Circuit.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, backed by Governor Paul LePage, are looking to require adults ages 18-49 to work in order to qualify for assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Residents would be required to work at least 20 hours a week or volunteer at a community agency for a certain number of hours.  In previous years, Maine was able to receive an exemption from the work requirement due to the high unemployment rate.  However, Maine’s unemployment rate has decreased from 9.7 percent in 2010 to 5.5 percent.
Governor Chris Christie called a special session for the New Jersey Legislature to vote on bail reform.  The bail reform measure includes provisions that would deny bail to those who were deemed a risk to public safety and would allow those not considered a safety risk to be released without posting bail.  A vote on the measure would allow the bill to be placed on the ballot for New Jersey residents to vote on in November.
Starting September 1st, people who apply for unemployment benefits will be required to post their resumes online to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training or will have their benefits cut off until they do so.  The new rule is aimed at getting more individuals to apply for jobs and increase their likelihoods of getting a job.
Ohio Democrats are calling for a moratorium on the death penalty after the most recent execution to be plagued with issues in the U.S.  Convicted killer Joseph Rudolph Wood was executed in Arizona last week and took over an hour to die after being administered the lethal injection cocktail.  It was also observed that Wood gasped and choked for air while he was dying.  Ohio Dems are looking at a moratorium on the death penalty as an opportunity to review the best ways to bring criminals to justice and decide the best punishment.
A Texas appeals court ruled 2-1 that the University of Texas at Austin can factor in race for students that do not qualify under the state’s Top Ten Percent law.  The court held that schools can use race as a part of their admissions process to achieve diversity where they otherwise might not be able to do so. 
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed into law a bill that would create a new form of identification for undocumented immigrants.  The ID, which has the holder’s picture and address, can be used for basic services such as checking out books and potentially opening savings accounts at participating banks.