PERS

Mississippi pension fund heads for final ‘Jeopardy’

By  |  July 21, 2014  |  No Comments

We’ll take pension reform for a thousand.

Make no mistake, Mississippi is playing “Jeopardy” with its retirement fund.

Much of Oahu's tropical beauty is marred by a crisscross of aging power polls and powerlines, critics say

Hawaii’s highest-in-the-nation energy costs stay intact by politics, monopoly

Hawaii  |  July 21, 2014

If residents of Hawaii are going to have affordable electricity, the state needs to break up Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., the parent of the Hawaiian Electric Co., a former lawmaker contends.

PERMIT DENIED: The city of Ames turned down Kyle Thompson's request for a permit to sell some of the snakes he breeds.

Snake handler can’t charm fearful neighbors, who shut down his business

Iowa  |  July 21, 2014

Kyle Thompson can keep as many snakes as he likes, but he can’t sell any because of objections from his neighbors.

FREE-MARKET SOLUTION STYMIED: When Pittsburghers needed an alternative to taxis, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft filled the gap. Now, state regulations are jeopardizing that.

Cronyism could be behind Memphis order against Uber, Lyft

Tennessee  |  July 21, 2014

Most Memphis residents already know that city officials, citing public safety concerns, imposed cease-and-desist orders against private ride-share companies Uber and Lyft. But city officials were possibly acting in their own interests instead.

IN CHARGE: Edgardo Cortes was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to the new position of commissioner of the Department of Elections.

Virginia election system gets a new boss

Virginia  |  8:12 am

Heading into the November elections, Virginia has a new chief of voting operations.

Photo Credit: Daniel X. O'Neil

Open data pioneer: ‘I didn’t ask Congress, I just did it’

Vermont  |  7:46 am

Waldo Jaquith didn’t set out to be a pioneer of government accountability. But after years of experimenting with government data for fun, the director of the U.S. Open Data Institute and creator of Ethics.gov finds himself at the forefront of a transparency revolution.

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Alaska mine developers plan to fight EPA’s crippling restrictions

Wisconsin  |  8:08 am

By M.D. Kittle | Watchdog.org
While the Environmental Protection Agency appears to be backing off its push to pre-emptively kill a proposed copper and gold mine in Alaska’s bush country, the agency is pitching an array of conditions that could stifle the project.
Friday’s proposed list of restrictions, subject of a public comment period through Sept. 19, [...]

Photo by Chris Butler and Misty Hughes McKeithen

Environmental director who warned against flushing shoes departs

Tennessee  |  July 18, 2014

Sandra Dudley has moved on, free to worry about other toilets in other places.

CellPhone

Survey: 83 percent of Americans favor police warrants to search cell phones

National  |  July 18, 2014

American concerns over digital privacy are changing as the consequences of a post-privacy world becomes evermore apparent.

AP file photo

Socialists, billionaires back LA’s minimum wage hike proposal

National  |  July 18, 2014

By Bre Payton | Watchdog.org
An activist group is pushing to raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15 an hour with the help of philanthropic billionaires, tax dollars and a socialist workers party.
Armed with cash flowing from the likes of George Soros and Americans’ tax dollars, the Los Angeles Workers Assembly submitted a proposal [...]

lawsuit

Teachers union takes on Florida school choice law

Florida  |  July 18, 2014

A lawsuit from Florida teachers would eliminate school choice for many low-income students and effectively kill a program to help students with autism and other special needs.

SPECIAL REPORT

VIDEOS

PLAIN ENGLISH: While Gov. Sam Brownback has been characterized as uncaring in his opposition to Obamacare, the governor says it's a simple matter of fiscal prudence for those who realize the federal government doesn't always keep its promises.

Video: Brownback states plainly why Medicaid expansion hurts Kansas

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been on the business end of numerous barbs and critiques for taking a stand against Obamacare and Medicaid expansion in the Sunflower State.

Those with unwavering faith in the federal government have characterized the conservative governor as an uncaring obstructionist for his opposition, but in an exclusive interview with the Daily Signal, Brownback laid out the argument against Obamacare in his own words.

little free library

Leawood throws the book at Little Free Library

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The city of Leawood is using the full power of the law to protect property values from the threat of, uh, free cabinet-sized libraries.

A municipal statute designed to ban all detached structures is being levied against Leawood residents Brian and Sarah Collins after their 9-year-old son, Spencer, worked with his dad and grandpa to build the Little Free Library as a Mother’s Day gift.

WATCHBLOG

 |  Virginia

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – State Delegate Barbara Comstock is inflating her energy record to pump up her congressional bid.
The McLean Republican’s congressional campaign webpage declares that she “authored Virginia’s law to allow for offshore exploration of energy.”
In fact, Comstock’s “major legislation” did no such thing. Her 2010 bill, HB 900, [...]

Comstock goes overboard with offshore energy claim

 |  Texas

While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.

Medicare fraud: $97 million for mentally ill patients to watch movies, play games

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org
State public utilities regulators are calling for an easy way for consumers to compare complaints against the nation’s phone companies.
Currently, consumers can file complaints about their telecommunications service with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, but those complaints aren’t publicly available in an online format for consumers.
On Wednesday, Chris [...]

Regulators push for public database of complaints against phone companies

 |  Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has saved almost $2 billion staving off welfare fraud, waste and abuse under Gov. Tom Corbett, said Beverly Mackereth, the secretary of the state’s Department of Public Welfare.

DPW chief: PA saves billions fighting welfare fraud

 |  Montana

By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
For some, ignorance is bliss, but for Democrat Jon Tester, it’s an important campaign tactic.
Sure, the second-term senator from Montana isn’t up for re-election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from using disingenuous attacks on the wealthy to scare his constituents into sending him campaign cash.
“Today, it looks like the billionaire Koch [...]

Tester launches disingenuous attack on the Koch brothers

 |  Pennsylvania

With no debate and a nearly party-line vote, the state House passed a bill that eliminates a loophole in the law state defining the crime of stalking.

PA House approves ‘stalking’ bill

Section 7

FROM AROUND THE WEB

By Steve Chapman | Reason
Living in a city that had 82 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend, Chicagoans could be forgiven for envying the residents of Indianapolis.
Imagine living in a place where homicides have been reduced by more than half in the past two decades, where robberies are less common than they’ve been in [...]

The truth about violence in Chicago

By Katy Grimes| FlashReport.org
On the heels of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board refusing to count thousands of ballots collected by farmworkers cast six months ago to decertify the United Farm Workers labor union, the city of Berkeley has decided to weigh in on the contentious labor issue.
This is the same Berkeley City Council, which [...]

Berkeley moves against farmworkers’ campaign on behalf of UFW

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential
Amid all the publicity of the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy and bailout, the scramble to find money for road repairs and school superintendents who have spun funding increases as reductions, what may be lost is that the overall state budget is projected to increase by $2 billion in fiscal 2014-15.
In [...]

Michigan state budget jumps by $5 billion over 3 years

By James Poulos | Cal Watchdog
As California muddles ahead with its disorganized decriminalization of marijuana, local and federal lawmakers are adopting distinctly different approaches to the prospect of pot-related crime.
City councils are apt to worry about different kinds of drug crime than Congress. But the new attention from both ends of the political pecking order comes [...]

California, feds spar over marijuana regulation

By Lenore Skenazy | Reason
When I agreed to keynote the Reform Sex Offender Laws conference this week in Dallas, Texas, I didn’t expect it to hit quite so close to home.
But before I arrived, I got a phone call from a soft-spoken, super-articulate young man, Joshua Gravens, who is a Soros Justice Scholar based in Dallas. His specialty is the [...]

Man arrested for a sex crime because he made a scheduling error

By Susan Crabtree | Washington Examiner
Republicans are assailing President Obama‘s decision to attend two fundraisers in New York City Thursday night after 295 people perished when a Malaysian passenger jet crashed in Ukraine after an apparent rocket attack and Israel launched a ground war in Gaza the same day.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus took to Twitter to launch a broadside against Obama for going through with the fundraisers benefiting [...]

Republicans blast Obama for fundraising after jetliner crash in Ukraine

By Zachary Dawes and Jarrett Skorup | Michigan Capitol Confidential
A new grant program in Michigan takes extra money from hunting and fishing fees and distributes it to private landowners.
The state Department of Natural Resources recently announced 12 wildlife habitat grant winners for the “Deer PLAN” (Private Land Assistance Network). This grant is available to private landowners in six [...]

Michigan private landowners reap hunting and fishing fees

By Caleb Taylor | The Arkansas Project
Last week I wrote about Mark Pryor’s MIA stance on Senator Harry Reid’s (and his fellow Senate Democrats’) bill — the bill that would have essentially overridden the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision,which protected religious liberty rights for business owners.
I asked his press secretary for a statement regarding his stance on the bill, but she never got [...]

Arkansas’ Pryor attacks religious liberty

By Adam Kredo | Washington Free Beacon
English speakers across the globe are getting a real-time glimpse of what it is like to live under the constant threat of terrorist rocket attacks thanks to a hugely popular smartphone app that sends out a “red alert” whenever Israel is targeted.
As Israeli citizens struggle to shelter themselves from [...]

Hamas firing rockets? There’s an app for that