Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday signed new limits on welfare programs into law, committing state and federal taxpayers to nearly $80 million in spending to draw more people into the labor force. "Our ... welfare reform bills ensure help to those who truly need it, while providing the training and assistance they need to re-enter the workforce and regain independence," Walker said in a statement.Supporters have said that, with the state's unemployment rate at an all-time low of 2.9%, it's the ideal time to shift more people from food stamps and other public benefits to jobs. Though these measures could cost state taxpayers in the short run, they could save money for the federal taxpayers who cover that program's benefits, they say.
Iowa cities and counties that intentionally violate federal immigration law will have their state funding revoked under a bill signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday. Senate File 481 targets so-called sanctuary communities across the state and has drawn widespread debate in the Capitol and across the state. It takes effect July 1. Reynolds, a Republican, did not hold a public bill signing event. Supporters say the new law will maintain public safety and uphold the rule of law, but critics argue that Iowa has no sanctuary cities and that the bill will only stoke racial fears that could fuel discrimination.
A program is now in place to bring fast internet to hard-to-reach rural communities in Georgia. Now, lawmakers just have to fight about the money. Both chambers passed state Sen. Steve Gooch's Achieving Connectivity Everywhere Act last week, creating a grant program to fund broadband expansion. But the bill, which will go to Gov. Nathan Deal's desk, does not guarantee funding. Instead, it creates a source for added revenue — with a stated desire that lawmakers invest the money into rural counties.The bill allows private companies to build fiber optic lines along Georgia's 1,247 miles of interstate. The Georgia Department of Transportation will award contracts for this work. The winning companies, in turn, will make money leasing fiber access to internet providers.
The Canadian government recently announced the launch of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a C$3 billion commitment that will help chart the course for government investments in the sector over the next five years. The partnership aims to help the sector grow trade, advance innovation and strengthen public confidence in the food system, the government said. In addition, business risk management programs will continue to help producers manage significant risks that threaten the viability of their farms and are beyond their capacity to manage.
The West Virginia Legislature approved seven rule changes related to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, most of which will go into effect April 29. House Bill 4079 adopted several rule changes involving animal disease control, state apiary law, fruit inspection, auctioneers, noxious weeds, inspection of meat and poultry, and inspection of nontraditional/domesticated animals.“Technology innovations and federal guidelines change on a yearly basis,” Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said in a Monday news release. “This requires the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to update rules and regulations to modern standards. The department is here to help farmers and producers understand these changes."For animal disease control, the change allows people who own sheep and goats to submit certifications online or by mail. Certified flocks or herds can be approved for entry to fairs or festivals by the commissioner or through a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection.
When Danielle DiNapoli's English bulldog, Scruffles, died last year after being groomed at the PetSmart in Flemington, she found no real legal recourse in the event of possible gross negligence or recklessness when pets are in the care of others. Her attorney, Daryl Kipnis, a Somerset attorney and Republican 12th District congressional candidate, is looking to change that by proposing an animal justice revision to New Jersey Civil Code that would allow pet owners to sue for damages, including statutory damages of $10,000.On Friday, Kipnis introduced "Scuffles Law" to be considered by the New Jersey State Legislature. His Somerset law office worked on writing the proposal. According to Kipnis, the proposed legislation recognizes the relationship that owners of domestic companion animals have with their pets and gives them powerful legal remedies against individuals who cause the injury or death of their pets through negligence, recklessness or animal cruelty.
South Dakota tenants who lie about having a disability to keep a pet in their rental unit will be subject to eviction and fees beginning in July. The governor signed into law this month a proposal that would allow landlords to evict tenants who fake a disability or provide false documentation claiming they have a medical condition to keep an emotional support animal.Supporters said the law is crucial in preventing tenants from lying about their medical conditions to forego payments for pets. Under current law, landlords can't deny tenants from keeping service or emotional support animals.
Maryland state Senate has already approved the Beagle Freedom Bill, which includes both cats and dogs but is named for the most common type of research dog. A similar bill has failed for the past two years and was opposed by several research institutions including John Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Hopkins now supports the bill, which was amended to allow researchers to run adoption programs, among other changes.
A growing number of mostly Republican-led states are itching to create work requirements for people on Medicaid, but finding a way to pay for it could prove challenging. In Tennessee, lawmakers want to add a Medicaid work mandate, but only if they can use federal — not state — dollars to make it happen. And they think there may be a way to do just that.Republicans have proposed taking money from a different government program that provides cash assistance to poor families and instead using it to cover the multimillion-dollar cost of creating and monitoring work requirements in its Medicaid program, known as TennCare
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles announced that preliminary analysis of the 2017 Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program reveals a multi-million-dollar economic impact for the state. According to early analysis of the 2017 processor production reports, Kentucky licensed processors paid Kentucky growers $7.5 million for harvested hemp. Additionally, Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program processor licensees reported $25.6 million in capital improvements and investments and $16.7 million in gross product sales.