Legislative Pulse: Fighting Energy Subsidies and Federal Expansion in Maine

Editor’s Note: Two-term state Rep. Beth A. O’Connor (R-Berwick) serves on the Energy, Utilities,...

GOP Issues Blueprint for Tax Reform

House Republicans—led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the...

ACLU Appeals Nevada Judge’s Ruling Upholding ESA

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is appealing a Las Vegas judge’s ruling determining the...

Courts, Lawmakers Question Agency Deference

A June 20, 2016, decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning judicial deference given to...

Georgia District: No Education Degree Required to Teach

To fill 450 open teaching positions for the 2016–17 school year, the Savannah-Chatham County Public...

California Charter School Advocates Spend Millions on Primary Candidates

Groups supporting charter schools were responsible for nearly one-third of the record $27.9 million...
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Education

ACLU Appeals Nevada Judge’s Ruling Upholding ESA

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is appealing a Las Vegas judge’s ruling determining the state’s education savings accounts (ESA) program to be constitutional. Ninety-six percent of K–12 students in Nevada are eligible for the state’s ESA program, which allows parents to transfer their students out of public schools and have access to all or a portion of the state money that would have...

Environment

Legislative Pulse: Fighting Energy Subsidies and Federal Expansion in Maine

Editor’s Note: Two-term state Rep. Beth A. O’Connor (R-Berwick) serves on the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee. O’Connor has also served as vice-chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party.  Burnett: Maine is considering replacing its net-metering law with alternative policies to support solar power. What are your thoughts on government support for renewable energy? O’Connor: Net-...

Courts, Lawmakers Question Agency Deference

A June 20, 2016, decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court concerning judicial deference given to the interpretation government agencies make when creating regulations could have a profound impact on dozens of cases challenging various regulations now before courts across the country. In Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6–2 decision it is inappropriate for judges to defer...

GOP Issues Blueprint for Tax Reform

House Republicans—led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee—have released a tax-reform blueprint that could, if passed, end some notable energy tax credits, subsidies, and deductions. The tax blueprint, released June 24, 2016, as part of a six-part plan titled “A Better Way,” outlines GOP lawmakers’ plan to target...

Finance & Insurance

Arizona Reinstates Children’s Health Insurance Program After Six Years

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) signed a law reinstating KidsCare, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has been inactive since 2010, hours after Republicans joined Democrat state lawmakers in suspending the Senate rules in order to pass the legislation. After Senate President Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) blocked voting on KidsCare in March, a coalition of Democrat and...

Prosecution of Short-Term Lenders Mimics ‘Operation Choke Point’ Program

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a series of criminal charges against short-term lending companies, accusing the unrelated firms of violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, a federal law passed with the intention of combating organized crime. The prosecutions align with the goals of Operation Choke Point, a DOJ program using banking regulations to try to...

U.S. House Members Unveil Banking Reform Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives has rolled out a plan to ease federal restrictions on banks in an effort to reduce the cost of regulatory compliance and start to decrease federal government control over the economy. Congress and President Barack Obama imposed forceful financial restrictions in 2010 in response to the 2008 economic crisis, including the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street...

Health

Contact Lens Prescription Bill Would Increase Optometrists’ Market Power

Contact lens providers could be fined up to $40,000 per violation for filling prescriptions without first verifying them with prescribers by a modified verification process that could prolong patients’ wait times, if Congress passes a bill under consideration by the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Under current law, prescriptions are considered to be automatically...

Double-Digit Health Insurance Premium Spikes Loom for Maine Individual Market

Insurers in Maine are proposing to raise individual health plan premiums by as much as 22 percent to cover rising costs imposed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If the Maine Bureau of Insurance approves the rate increases insurers have proposed, premiums will rise between 14 and 23 percent for individual plans sold in the state, Insurance Journal reported in May. The premium hikes would begin in...

Hawaii Says ‘Aloha’ to Direct Primary Care

Consumer Power Report #512 A husband-and-wife team of doctors is turning its slice of Hawaii’s health care system into a luau. The strategy: Pool their knowledge of two schools of patient care and offer patients membership in the state’s first direct primary care (DPC) practice. Dr. Michelle Suber is a naturopathic physician, professional dance instructor, and mother of daughters aged 7 and 3,...

Taxes

Pennsylvania Tweaks Government Alcohol Sales Restrictions

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a bill reforming the state government’s restrictions on alcohol sales, allowing consumers to purchase more kinds of alcohol from privately owned stores and restaurants, instead of being required to buy from government-controlled stores. House Bill 1690 was signed into law in June and takes effect in August. Government restrictions regulating which days...

Louisville Lawmakers Pass Sharing-Economy Housing Restrictions

Lawmakers in Louisville, Kentucky are imposing new regulations restricting consumers’ ability to use popular peer-to-peer economy housing services such as Airbnb and VRBO. In June, the Louisville Metro Council approved ordinances restricting how and where people may use the services, which connect tourists seeking short-term housing and hosts providing places to stay on their property. The...

Mississippi Legalizes Daily Fantasy Sports Competitions

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed into law a bill temporarily legalizing daily fantasy sports while lawmakers consider how to deal with the popular industry. Daily fantasy sports services allow players to compete online by selecting professional athletes for fictional “fantasy” teams. Teams compete by comparing real-world performance statistics over an agreed-upon period. Teams with the...

Tech

Miami Taxicab Companies Sue County Government Over Uber Legalization

After local lawmakers voted to allow peer-to-peer transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in Miami-Dade County, Florida, taxicab company owners filed a lawsuit against the county government, demanding $1 billion in taxpayer money as compensation. The lawsuit, filed in May, claims county commissioners are responsible for protecting the value of taxicab licenses...

Google Is Rigging Searches For Hillary Clinton

This is huge news - but it is hardly surprising. Google - President Barack Obama’s biggest crony in a sea full of armadas full of legions of Obama cronies - has been cozying up to the woman Obama just endorsed to succeed him: Hillary Clinton. And by “cozying up” - we mean warping their search results to hide Clinton’s decades of scandals and scandalous behavior. Last...