National Black Caucus of State Legislators
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.