The state’s annual legislative session is never dull, and this year several unexpected topics have dominated the news cycle. As part of our Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland discusses the top stories so far.

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News

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June 29, 2016 | NPR · Since voting to leave the EU, Britain has seen a spike in reports of hate crimes and incidents of abuse, including dog excrement thrown at a German’s door and anti-Polish messages left on doorsteps.
 

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June 29, 2016 | WBEZ · Glenn Baker is what hospitals call a superutilizer, coming into the ER again and again with multiple health issues made worse by homelessness. So a Chicago hospital decided to offer him a home.
 

June 29, 2016 | NPR · U.S. Customs and Border Protection is proposing that travelers covered by the Visa Waiver Program be asked to provide their social media account information. The field would be optional.
 

Arts & Life

Courtesy of The Perennial
June 29, 2016 | NPR · The stripped-down look of exposed brick, poured cement floors, and Edison light bulbs is popular in restaurants across America. One reporter dares to ask, “Seriously, why?”
 

Ruby Wallau/NPR
June 29, 2016 | NPR · Bob Proehl’s sprawling novel follows actor Valerie and her son Alex on an epic road trip, punctuated by stops at comic conventions. It’s a charming but messy debut that crams in too many ideas.
 

June 29, 2016 | FA · Cathleen Schine’s new novel explores how one character’s physical and mental decline ripples out to affect his whole family. Critic Maureen Corrigan calls it a mix of “fun and bad behavior.”
 

Music

WXPN
June 29, 2016 | WXPN · The experiences of divorce and raising a son inform the Texas singer-songwriter’s new music.
 

June 29, 2016 | FA · The New Orleans-based musician completed recording his final album a month before he died last November. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead calls American Tunes a “fond last look” at Toussaint’s talent.
 

Courtesy of the artist
June 29, 2016 | NPR · Dogbreth’s huggable power-pop is the work of punks who write youthful, larger-than-life songs that still wrinkle at the edges.
 

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