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News Scan

Georgia Switches to Single Drug Execution: Rhonda Cook and Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal Constitution report on Tuesday, Georgia's Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens said the state will switch to using a single lethal injection drug, pentobarbital, instead of three for executions. Owens rescheduled Wednesday's execution of Warren Hill until Monday. "The department has been using pentobarbital in its execution process and based upon the experience of other states and competent medical testimony the drug has proven to be effective," said a statement released by the state's Department of Corrections.

Illinois Governor Signs 3 Crime Victim Bills: Michelle Manchir of the Chicago Tribune reports Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has signed three new laws that will increase assistance from the state to victims of crime and their families. Law enforcement officials will be required to provide a copy of victims rights to a victim of any crime within 48 hours of their first contact. These rights must also be posted outside all criminal courtrooms in the state. The bills also streamline contributions to a state fund that provides assistance to crime victims, and increases the maximum awards for services such as funeral or burials.

CA Bill to Remove Criminals from Classrooms Dies: Larry Sand, a retired teacher and current president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, has this piece in City Journal about California Senate Bill 1530, which failed to pass out of the Assembly Education Committee. The California Teachers Association strongly opposed the bill, which would have added language allowing school boards to suspend an employee for "serious or egregious unprofessional conduct." The Los Angeles Unified School District asked for changes to be made to existing law to speed up the process of removing certain teachers after the arrest earlier this year of longtime elementary school teacher Mark Berndt, who was arrested on 23 counts of committing lewd acts on children between the ages of seven and ten. The bill would have streamlined the process by curtailing the number of steps required in the process of firing a criminal teacher. "In a state where pedophiles aren't allowed to live near a school, these legislators don't seem to have a problem with them teaching in one," Sand writes.

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