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Oregon has become the first state to automatically register individuals to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles.  The DMV will take information from people and use it to register them to vote.
The state of Texas is suing the administration over paid leave benefits applied to same-sex couples, after a change to the Family and Medical Leave Act.  The change allows same-sex couples that are legally married to be eligible for leave, even if they live in a state that does not acknowledge same-sex marriages. 
Missouri Jay Nixon has thrown support to a work requirement for Medicaid recipients in an attempt to get the legislature to expand Medicaid.  Medicaid offices would direct those on Medicaid to career centers to find work.  Those who do not find jobs would have to deal with higher co-pays or higher monthly premiums.  Work requirements have been largely criticized by health advocates as being counter to the aim of Medicaid expansion.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Powdered Alcohol Wins U.S. Approval

Despite state concerns and bans, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, has approved the sale of powdered alcohol in the U.S.  Also known as palcohol, the product is regulated at the state level and has been the subject of controversy since 2014.  Several states are considering bans on the product voicing concerns that it has the potential for abuse by minors.
After a federal decree was lifted requiring the Michigan state police department diversify its force, the department is facing a decrease in minority and female applicants.
The state Supreme Court decision overturned a ruling from a circuit court judge that stated that the lethal injection law was unconstitutional and gave too much authority to the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Wisconsin became the 25th state to enact “right to work” legislation that allows workers to forgo participating in unions and paying union dues.  In a trend that is sweeping many states, the measure has been called an “anti-worker law”  and aimed at crushing unions.
One of the most embattled state health exchanges has finally been closed.  Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill that officially closed the exchange and moved it over to the state Department of Consumer and Business Services.  Lawmakers officially agreed to move to a federal exchange last April.  The state exchange was never able to register a single person for insurance because of problems on the website. 
Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, is urging the legislature to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour from $9 an hour. Increasing the minimum wage was a part of Governor Raimondo’s platform and pointed out that 8% of the Rhode Island population makes minimum wage.
New Hampshire became the most recent state to get approval from the federal government for their version of Medicaid expansion.  The plan will help about 35,000 people in N.H. pay for private plans available.