March 30, 2011
Online Poker, More Gambling Eyed by States
By Pamela M. Prah, Staff Writer
PLACING BETS: In Nevada , lawmakers are taking a look at regulating and taxing the multibillion-dollar online poker industry. Meanwhile, in neighboring California , Governor Jerry Brown negotiated his first Indian gambling compact, one that could set the tone for talks with the state's 58 other tribes with casinos. In a historic deal, California will take none of the profits on the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake tribe's first 350 slot machines but take 15 percent after it operates more than 600, The Sacramento Bee reports. Meanwhile, South Dakota approved rules allowing lottery establishments to offer new games that resemble those of slot machines and Ohio 's attorney general supports legislation to regulate Internet cafes that offer games that function like slots. A bid to allow people in Texas to vote on legalizing casinos faces long odds.
CUTTING JOBLESS BENEFITS: Michigan became the first state to significantly cut unemployment insurance for the jobless. Starting in January, laid-off Michiganders will be eligible for 20 weeks of jobless aid, instead of the standard 26 weeks, The Detroit Free Press reports. Other states considering cutting jobless benefits include Florida and Arkansas . Collectively, states owe the federal government $46 billion in loans to shore up their UI plans, says The Washington Post .
ELDER AND CHILD ABUSE: The vast majority of people suspected of sexually attacking residents in one of Oregon 's state nursing homes, assisted-living centers or other long-term care facilities are never arrested or prosecuted, an investigation by The Oregonian concludes. In Florida , after two dozen reports in the last 20 years blasting Florida's troubled child welfare system, little has changed, The Miami Herald says in a report that looks at the failed promises from leaders with the state's Department of Children & Families to make Florida's children safer.
ABORTION BILLS: A wave of anti-abortion bills is advancing through statehouses nationwide, including South Dakota , which now has the longest-in-the-nation waiting period of three days before women could have an abortion. Idaho , Kansas and Oklahoma are considering legislation modeled after a law approved last year in Nebraska that would ban elective abortions after 20 or 21 weeks of pregnancy, The Associated Press reports. Similar measures are pending in Alabama and Iowa . But a bill to give Ohio the most-restrictive abortion law in the nation has stalled after drawing fire from those on both sides of the debate.