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State lawmakers have come together to form a new organization focused on gun control sparked by Congress’ lack of action.  The American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention, founded by New York Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, will be put their efforts toward state-level involvement on gun control such as interstate gun trafficking and background checks.
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, banned hydraulic fracking in the state despite the anticipated boon it would bring to the state’s depressed areas along the Pennsylvania border.  Cuomo cited the health risks associated with fracking in addition to a lack of enthusiastic support for fracking on its own merits.
Governor Bill Haslam has expanded Medicaid in Tennessee under an alternative program after receiving a waiver from the administration.  The alternative program will provide coverage to an additional 200,000 low-income residents.  It would cover single people with an income of $16,000 and a family of four whose income is $32,000.
Los Angeles will be outfitting 7,000 body cameras for their police departments by expanding a privately-funded pilot program.  The funding for the 2015 initiative will be included in the Mayor’s budget request which will later be approved by the City Council. 
A U.S. judge in South Carolina has posthumously thrown out the conviction of George Stinney, a 14 year old teen who was the youngest person executed in the United States.  What was called fundamental, constitutional violations of due process, Stinney was charged with the deaths of two young girls in 1944.  The judge said of Stinney’s case it was a great injustice in having his constitutional rights violated. 
According to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center found that the United States has had the lowest number of executions since 1994.  There were only 35 executions this year, with the rate of people being sentenced to death also at its lowest in 40 years.
Protests and demonstrations through the streets occurred as a Staten Island jury chose not to indict a New York City police officer for the death of husband and father Eric Garner after Garner died of a heart attack caused by a chokehold.  The incident received wide media attention after the entire police interaction was recorded by a civilian and posted online.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014

17 States Suing on Immigration

Texas Attorney General Greg Abott filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.  Specifically, the suit alleges that the President violated his constitutional duty to enforce laws and illegally placed burdens on states.  It also alleges the federal government failed to follow requirements in issuing new rules. 
Researchers are working on creating a breath test to detect THC in a driver’s blood to be used by police officers, much like a breathalyzer.
The New Jersey Senate passed a bill to extend early voting to 15 days before the general election at designated polling places.  New Jersey’s previous early voting measure came less than six weeks after a report found that the state’s voting system and process was left vulnerable and chaotic after Superstorm Sandy.