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President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission is renewing efforts to collect voter information nationwide in the wake of a federal court ruling rejecting a bid to halt the project over privacy concerns. Commission Vice Chairman Kris Kobach assured elections officials from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in a letter that the information would be kept “confidential and secure.” Continue reading.
To ease prison crowding and rein in corrections spending, state legislatures are trying to help ex-offenders re-enter society with the goal of ensuring they don’t return to prison. People exiting prison often struggle to find work and housing, and many legislators say the law continues to punish them as they are hit with court debt and barred from entering certain professions and, in some places, from getting public assistance. Continue reading.
Lockup has gotten a lot less crowded in Charleston, S.C. Over the past two years, the number of admissions at the county jail has dropped 30 percent, in turn bringing the daily prison population down by 10 percent. It’s not that lots of criminals have gotten out of the game or moved elsewhere. It’s that law enforcement and the criminal justice system are handling offenders differently. Continue reading.
The number of prescriptions for opioids written by health care providers declined between 2012 and 2015, the government reported Thursday, introducing a glimmer of progress in efforts to quell the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said prescriptions for highly addictive painkillers such as oxycodone dropped 13.1 percent over the three-year period, from 81.2 per 100 people to 70.6. Continue reading.
This week, Philadelphia is launching a first-of-its-kind program to address a common problem: Late and unpaid water bills can leave low-income people without the ability to shower or cook food in their homes. In Philadelphia, more than 40 percent of the city's water utility customers are delinquent in paying their water bills, amounting to about $242 million in uncollected revenue, according to the Philadelphia Water Department. Continue reading.
A Florida judge ruled Monday that lawmakers’ changes to the state’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law violate the state’s constitution. The decision dealt a blow to gun-rights supporters who pressed for the revisions and heartened critics who said the changes made it more difficult to convict people of violent crimes. Continue reading.
Soon after President Donald Trump took office with a pledge to cut regulations, Republicans in Congress killed an Obama-era rule restricting how broadband companies may use customer data such as web browsing histories. But the rule may be finding new life in the states. Continue reading.
North Winnebago Street doesn’t look like a high-crime area. The tidy homes in this Rockford, Ill., neighborhood are well cared for. Kids walk to and from nearby Welsh Elementary School. In May, the neighborhood turned out to welcome two new residents, Patrice Turner and her 17-year-old daughter, Paris. Continue reading.
Senators, the United States is a sick country. Four years ago, a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council set out to assess the nation’s health compared with that of 16 other rich nations. Americans, they found, had the second-highest mortality from noncommunicable conditions — like diabetes, heart disease or violence — and the fourth highest from infectious disease. Continue reading.
The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear an appeal from a Colorado baker with religious objections to same-sex marriage who had lost a discrimination case for refusing to create a cake to celebrate such a union. Continue reading.
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