The Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, Sarah Riggs Amico, has raised rural hospital closures as a campaign issue. “There are 60 counties in Georgia without a pediatrician, half of our counties don’t have an OB/GYN, & rural hospitals are closing,” she stated in an Aug. 20 tweet. She criticized state lawmakers for failing to expand the number of people covered by Medicaid, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. “… [O]ur current state lawmakers sent back $33 [billion] in your federal tax dollars –money Georgia had already paid in — because they wanted to play politics.” Amico, a business owner, faces Republican Geoff Duncan, a former state representative, in the race for lieutenant governor.
The attorneys general of 15 states are waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a pair of cases by Missouri and Indiana against California and Massachusetts over what they see as a violation of interstate commerce by trying to regulate agricultural production in other states. Missouri and Indiana both led court challenges against laws in California and Massachusetts that seek to stop the sale of livestock and poultry products from other states based on farm standards set within their own state lines.California's law involves standards for egg-laying hens on eggs to be sold within the state. Massachusetts law blocks the sale of eggs, pork and veal in the state based on confinement standards set by Massachusetts law.Whatever way the nation's high court treats the cases, the two cases and state laws will help determine whether the federal government has final say on food and animal-welfare standards and whether states have authority to regulate the treatment of animals outside their borders when it comes to food sold in their states.
Thousands of scrap rubber tires have been recycled and repurposed into material used in construction of a local road. Nearly 14,000 recycled tires were used during construction on West W Avenue from the Schoolcraft village limits to Portage Road in early August, implementing rubber technology never used before in the United States. "Scrap tire innovation is nothing new to the state, however the type of recycled tire material used for this project has not been used here before," Managing Director Joanna Johnson said.
Vegetarian food-maker Tofurky filed a lawsuit in Missouri on Monday seeking to defend its right to describe its products with meat terminology such as "sausage" and "hot dogs," as long as the packaging makes clear what the ingredients are. The Hood River, Oregon-based company and The Good Food Institute, an advocacy and lobbying group for meat alternatives, say a Missouri law set to take effect Tuesday that bars companies from "misrepresenting" products as meat if they're not from "harvested livestock or poultry" is too vague and could be used to go after a range of vegetarian products that use such terminology. Tofurky says if the law is allowed to stand, it would have to change its packaging.The Missouri Cattlemen's Association, which supported the statute, said its concern isn't with products like Tofurky that make clear they're from plants. Mike Deering, the group's executive vice president, said the worry is the emerging science of meat grown by culturing animal cells in a lab, and whether they'll disclose how they were made once they're on the market.
Nevada dispensaries sold nearly $425 million worth of recreational marijuana and pulled in nearly $70 million in tax revenue in the state’s first full year of sales, officials announced. Including recreational and medical marijuana as well as marijuana-related goods and accessories, Nevada stores eclipsed a half-billion dollars in sales, just under $530 million, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nevada Department of Taxation.That dwarfs first-year sales seen in other states, and significantly outpaced Nevada’s own projections for the budding industry.Bill Anderson, executive director of the Tax Department, said that the industry “has not only exceeded revenue expectations, but proven to be a largely successful one from a regulatory standpoint.”
A pair of proposed amendments to the Colorado Constitution, dubbed Amendments Y and Z, take aim at "the most important voting matter no one has ever heard of," according to one backer. Their target: Gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is stacking the deck in favor of one political party by drawing political district maps in its favor. In practice, opponents say, gerrymandering removes the “representative” part of representative democracy.“Regardless of what you believe — that Colorado is gerrymandered or not — almost everyone agrees it's good public policy to explicitly prohibit gerrymandering,” Fair Maps Colorado campaign co-chair Joe Zimlich said. "Almost everyone in our state, far higher than anywhere else, acknowledges that gerrymandering is a national crisis or a national issue. So preventing that in Colorado is important."Amendments Y and Z are simple enough: Nonpartisan legislative staff draw up maps for congressional and state legislative districts. A tri-partisan commission of four Republicans, four Democrats and four voters unaffiliated with a political party review them. Eight of the 12, which must include two unaffiliated voters, must vote to approve the map.
Hawaii was spared a direct hit from a major hurricane as Lane diminished to a tropical storm as it approached and then drifted west, further from land. But rain was still pounding the island chain, touching off flooding on Oahu and Kauai. A flash flood watch also remained in effect for Oahu, home to the state capital Honolulu and 70 percent of Hawaii’s 1.4 million residents.Micco Godinez, who lives on the north side of Kauai, said he found the only road out of Hanalei, where he lives, barricaded by police vehicles when he tried to leave for work on Tuesday morning. He expected to be stranded for at least another day.“I can’t get out at all,” Godinez said. “Our little community of Hanalei is isolated and then west of us is even more isolated,” he said.Even as Hawaii residents sought to recover from Lane, they kept a watchful eye on Tropical Storm Miriam, spinning in the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 miles to the east and expected to become a hurricane by the time it approaches the islands.“Miriam is supposed to go north and dissipate in the colder waters and drier air, so I’m not really worried about it,” Godinez said. “But it is hurricane season, and there’s another one behind that. You know what they say: Without rain you wouldn’t have rainbows.”
poultry producer is asking for a change to the decision that grants it a special use exception for a deboning facility in Delaware. An Allen Harim spokesperson tells WBOC-TV the company found the condition that its spray irrigation system must be upgraded, approved, permitted and operational before the Millsboro facility is operational too restrictive. That condition was one of two set by the Board of Adjustment in its May decision approving the facility, over the objections of those with environmental concerns.The DNREC slapped Allen Harim with nearly $250,000 in penalties and other costs for years of wastewater violations at its chicken processing plant in Harbeson.
Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday vetoed a bill to facilitate urban agriculture zones in Chicago and other Illinois cities, delivering a blow to advocates who said the legislation could have helped to break up food deserts and revitalize underserved communities. The bill would have allowed local governments to provide incentives such as reduced water rates and utility fees and property tax abatements for farmers in urban agriculture zones established at the municipal or county level. The bill received support from both environmental advocates and groups focused on increasing access to healthy foods in urban areas.This spring, the legislation passed the Illinois House by a vote of 86-22 and the state Senate by a unanimous 55-0 vote.
When feral hogs invaded a 1,400-acre tract in southern Davie County, the owners, a Salisbury-based conservation group, came up with what it says is a unique solution: Sign up hunters to settle the score. Three Rivers Land Trust, formerly known as LandTrust for Central North Carolina, has battled hogs since acquiring the farmland between the Yadkin and South Yadkin rivers in 2012. Local people say the hogs were released there illegally a couple of years earlier. The Davie County hogs were ravishing local farmers’ corn and soybean crops, said Travis Morehead, the executive direct of Three Rivers.For years, the land trust has tried to control the hogs by luring them into corrals baited with shelled corn and by leasing hunting rights. Its conservation land manager, Cody Fulk, gets alerts on his cell phone when the hogs have taken the bait. Last year, when its hunting leases expired, the land trust tried a new approach that it says is unique among North Carolina conservation groups. It created a Sportsman Access Programthat lets hunters onto the property nine months of the year.Hunters pay $100 for four “draws” that allow them to hunt in the 200-acre block and week of their choice. About 100 hunters have signed up so far, but the program can accommodate up to 370.