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PNS Daily Newscast - August 24, 2017 


Featured on today’s nationwide rundown Florida set to execute the first white man for killing a black person; A new study finds a minimum-wage bump of just a dollar an hour could reduce the number of child-neglect cases; and we’ll tell you why the growth of backyard chickens is hatching a salmonella outbreak.

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Indiana Encouraged to Follow Illinois' Lead on Prison Reform

A report suggests Indiana could do more to help former inmates reintegrate back into society. (bop.gov)
A report suggests Indiana could do more to help former inmates reintegrate back into society. (bop.gov)
August 4, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS – A publication that takes a look every year at legislation debated across the nation is highlighting Illinois as an example of good laws put on the books, and suggests other states including Indiana could follow suit.

In an effort to reduce recidivism, Illinois enacted laws that help former inmates reintegrate into society.

Scott Greenberger, executive director of Stateline, says one law on the books is "ban the box," which means offenders aren't asked to check the box on an employment application indicating they've served time in prison.

"Two of the new Illinois laws eliminate general bans that prevent people with drug convictions from working at schools or park districts," he says. "Another bill that lifts the ban preventing people convicted of forcible felonies from obtaining health-care licenses."

This year Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order banning the box on executive branch job applications but then signed another that bars local governments from passing "ban the box" ordinances that would apply to private businesses.

The latest Stateline report looks at medical-marijuana laws, reproductive health care and state legislatures that pushed back against citizen-approved ballot measures.

Greenberger says South Dakota is an example of that. Residents approved campaign-finance and lobbying restrictions, but lawmakers repealed it.

"Just because people approve something at the ballot box doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be implemented the way they envisioned or, in that case, implemented at all," he adds.

Maine lawmakers repealed a new tax on the wealthy, and in Florida residents voted in favor of medicinal marijuana but lawmakers tweaked the law. It now says pot can't be smoked but must be ingested in other ways. A lawsuit by one of the backers of that legislation has now been filed.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN