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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Man arrested in Louisiana church fires ... Officials still digging into a Durham, North Carolina explosion that killed one man ... A spring snow blankets much of the Midwest.
Arizona this week became the first state to allow new residents to transfer their occupational licenses from another state in order to work. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who pushed the measure, noted that a lot of new people move to the state each year. While many states have reciprocal agreements with Arizona and other states to recognize certain licenses, Ducey said this is the first law that establishes an across-the-board acceptance, as long as certain conditions are met. Those conditions include having been licensed for at least a year in the previous state and having no pending complaints. Licenses are needed for all kinds of jobs, from barbers to doctors. “You don’t lose your skills simply because you pack up a U-Haul truck and make the decision to move to Arizona,” said Ducey, who signed the legislation Wednesday after getting out of a U-Haul to attend a news conference. Democrats mostly objected to the proposal as going too far, saying the state should only have tweaked the requirements for jobs where there are shortages of licensed professionals in Arizona. Democratic Rep. Amish Shah noted that other states won’t be doing Arizona workers the same favor. “It’s not reciprocity because anybody else would be able to come to the state of Arizona, but Arizona professionals would not be able to use their licenses in other states,” he said. The libertarian Institute for Justice, which has filed lawsuits around the country challenging state licensing laws, estimated that 470,000 workers in the state are in jobs that require licenses. [Associated Press; Arizona Republic; Cronkite News]
LOUISIANA CHURCH FIRES | Louisiana law enforcement announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with fires at three historically black Baptist churches in St. Landry Parish within the span of 10 days. The suspect, 21-year-old Holden Matthews, is the son of a sheriff’s deputy also in that parish. Each church was set on a rural road and set ablaze in the early morning hours. Officials said they are looking into Matthews’ motive, including his interest in “black metal” music. "I don’t know what this young man’s motive was, or what was in his heart, but it can’t be rationalized or justified. These were evil acts,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards at a news conference. [The Advocate; NOLA.com]
EXPLOSION | Officials in Durham, North Carolina are still investigating an explosion that injured 25 people and killed one man, 61-year-old Kong Lee, the owner of a local coffee shop in a building that collapsed. Fifteen buildings were damaged in the blast, apparently set off when contractors installing fiber hit a 2-inch natural gas line. [WRAL-TV]
RACIAL PROFILING | The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Police on Thursday, saying troopers are racially profiling drivers they believe to be Latino to enforce federal immigration laws. The agency changed its policy in January, but the ACLU says it doesn’t go far enough .[PENNLIVE.com]
SNOW? | Spring has not sprung in much of the central United States, where an April storm of snow and wintry mix fell across the Midwest to the Rockies. South Dakota officials asked people to stay off the roads. The same was true in Minnesota, where thousands were without power as wind gusts felled power poles. The wind gusts, which extended as far south as Texas, actually carried brown dust as far north as Minnesota. [Washington Post; Star Tribune]
Laura Maggi is the Managing Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.