Public Safety

California voters soundly defeated Proposition 19, which would have allowed people 21 and older to possess, grow and transport marijuana for their personal use. It would also have permitted cities and counties to decide whether to regulate and tax the commercial production and sale of the drug, possibly creating a system of "wet" and "dry" counties for marijuana, similar to those that exist with alcohol laws.  With 97% of precincts reporting, the measure has been defeated, 46.2 percent to 53.8 percent.

Tomorrow, when they enter the polling booth, California voters will face a dizzying array of ballot initiatives, nine in all.   Among other things, voters must decide whether to suspend the state’s landmark global-warming law, whether to repeal three corporate tax breaks, whether to allow the Legislature to approve budgets with a simple majority instead of a two-thirds vote, and whether California will be the first state to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana beyond medical use.

It’s a slim labor market out there. With overall unemployment rates hovering around 9 percent, it’s getting harder for teens to find jobs. The latest teenage unemployment rate is 25.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means more than a quarter of teens who want a job can’t find one.

Inmates in correctional facilities have higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections than the general population. State and local corrections, public health and community-based programs are helping inmates get tested and obtain treatment for HIV and other infections.  Five southern states have higher rates than the national average of inmates living with HIV infections. 

Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Daniel T. Eismann can attest to the success of the drug courts in his state. As a former drug court judge, he knows full well why the legislature continues to support the problem-solving courts even in tough fiscal times.

The recent pipeline explosion in Northern California that killed 4 and left dozens of homes in ruins has raised concern about the safety of our nation’s natural gas pipeline system and questions about how the industry can be better regulated to prevent future catastrophes.

According to a new report released today by the Pew Hispanic Center, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has dropped to 11.1 million in 2009 from a peak of 12 million in 2007, an 8 percent decline.   The researchers note that this is the "first significant reversal" in illegal immigrant growth in the last twenty years.

The study found that fewer illegal immigrants came to the United States every year between 2007 and 2009 than in years in the first half of the decade.   Specifically, approximately 300,...

On Sept. 11, 2001, my son Jonathan Lee Ielpi, 29, a New York City firefighter and the father of two boys, was killed in the collapse of the South Tower during the World Trade Center attack. My mission then—and we all have missions—was to find my son.

Inmates in state prisons and jails have higher rates of HIV and STIs than the general population.  Although inmates are usually infected prior to incarceration, they are often first diagnosed by correctional health services due to lack of access to health care and other factors.  

E-Newsletter Issue #53: August 5, 2010

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico is not only the worst environmental accident the U.S. has ever experienced, it’s also a harsh reminder of how—without any warning—one disaster can impact a state’s priorities, budget, elected officials and very future. Adding to the uncertainty for all states is the growing number of disasters across the country.