State News

Sexual health education has taken on a whole new venue. Public health programs are offering teens the ability to ask  questions anonymously and get personalized answers through text messaging services and web sites.

While there are many things that may distract drivers, cell phone usage—both texting and talking—has drawn the attention of legislators across the country. They’ve banned the use of handheld devices and prohibited new drivers from using cell phones behind the wheel. This year, legislators focused on text messaging while driving.

More than 1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and are living longer since drug treatments became available in the 1990's.  African-Americans are disproportionately affected, and represent nearly half of all people living with HIV.  More than half of all Americans living with HIV reside in southern states.  State Medicaid and prevention programs are connecting with communities to help HIV/AIDS patients stay productive and to prevent HIV transmission. Effective policies include HIV testing as part of routine medical care and increasing public awareness of the need for HIV testing.

The growing number of death row inmates exonerated is prompting several states to reconsider capital punishment.New Jersey has abolished the death penalty completely. Commissions in other states have stopped short of recommending the death penalty be abolished and instead recommended a series of actions to prevent the possible conviction and execution of innocent people.