Utah Gov. Asks 22,000 State Workers to Fill in as Substitute Teachers
To address Utah’s ongoing staffing crisis at schools, Utah now allows state employees to use their leave time to fill in as substitute teachers at public and private schools. Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order on Jan. 31, asking state employees to use up to 30 hours of their leave time to substitute teach, help in the cafeteria or elsewhere to ensure students attend school in-person through the end of the year. His order applies to the state’s 22,000 employees, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Department of Justice Initiates State Data Sharing Program
A new initiative from the U.S. Department of Justice, called Justice Counts, gives state governments access to current criminal justice data to help states make more informed policy and budget choices. According to GovTech on Jan. 27, a concern that prompted the initiative included states working with inconsistent data across agencies, making budgetary and policy decisions difficult. States also face time and technology constraints; to address these issues, Justice Counts plans to deliver criminal justice metrics and aggregation tools to help leaders make informed decisions.
Calif. City First in Nation to Require Liability Insurance for Gun Owners
San Jose, Calif., now requires gun owners to carry liability insurance coverage and to pay an annual fee—the first city in the country with the requirement. The city plans to use the new measure’s $25 annual fee towards gun violence prevention, with a focus on domestic violence, suicide prevention and mental health treatment. The ordinance, passed by the San Jose City Council, takes effect in August, according to Stateline on Jan. 26.
Okla. Wildlife Department Asks for Authority Over Licenses, Fees
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation wants the authority to determine hunting and fishing license fees, instead of lawmakers, according to The Oklahoman on Jan. 30. Two proposed bills give the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Wildlife Department’s governing body, the ability to change licenses and fees through administrative rules, like the department currently does with hunting and fishing regulations. Wildlife officials hope to modernize their licensing system to simplify the process for hunters and anglers.
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