Citizenship Test to Become Mandatory for High School Graduation
Arizona recently passed a law mandating that all high school students, starting with the class of 2017, must take the U.S. citizenship test in order to graduate. They must answer 60 out of the 100 questions correctly in order to receive their diploma. Indiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, North Dakota, Utah, Virginia and seven other states are considering similar legislation. It has created controversy due to teachers’ concern that instruction time for standardized tests will have to be sacrificed to focus on preparing students for the citizenship test. Proponents say implementing the citizenship test would create a building block for students to become more aware of how their government works, and to eventually encourage higher turn-out rates. (New York Times)

Kindergartener Dies of Flu Despite Receiving Flu Vaccination
Five-year-old Las Vegas kindergartener Kiera Driscoll died of the flu on Jan. 20, three days after she started first experiencing flu symptoms, even though she had received a flu vaccine. Kiera had a slight fever that was temporarily alleviated after taking ibuprofen, but had returned the next day. She was then given albuterol nebulizer, a common treatment for asthma, to expand her airways. She was sent into urgent care the next morning, where she was given another albuterol treatment to expand her airways and sent home, but ended up collapsing after saying, “It’s hard to breathe.” Her mother dialed 9-1-1 and performed CPR on her, but her brain waves diminished as she went into cardiac arrest. Driscoll died the following day. Her official cause of death was cardiac arrest due to pneumonia and influenza A. This flu has been called an epidemic as 20 children have died this flu season. (ABC News)


Three Oklahoma Inmates Delayed Execution
The Supreme Court delayed executions for three Oklahoma inmates, on the basis that lethal injection could violate the Constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment. They are challenging that the sedative midazolam, which is the chemical used in state executions, violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. There is a possibility the executions will take place if the state uses a substitute chemical. The court action came too late for the fourth petitioner, Charles F. Warner, who was executed on Jan. 15. The court will hear arguments for their case in late April, which will be two months after the next scheduled execution. (Washington Post)