Six weeks into the current state budget cycle, Louisiana lawmakers are already being forced to cut $4.6 million from higher education and other state services. Plunging oil prices, coupled with concerns new taxes and fees bills might not actually generate the initially advertised dollars, mean the state's budget projections are unusually shaky this year.
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered all state agencies to stop funneling federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. State law bars any organization from using state funds for abortions, and that prohibition extends to Planned Parenthood's federal grants, the governor said.
Three years after California voters passed a ballot measure to raise taxes on corporations and generate clean energy jobs by funding energy-efficiency projects in schools, barely one-tenth of the promised jobs have been created, and the state has no comprehensive list to show how much work has been done or how much energy has been saved.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is proposing raising the price of hunting and fishing licenses, as well as the cost of permits for big game such as deer and elk. Under the proposal, the cost of a basic one-year hunting or fishing license for a Kansas resident would go to $25, a $7 increase. A combination license would go to $45, a $9 increase.
Montana’s legislative leadership has decided it needs to reinforce its authority over state agencies and their rule-making, beginning with teaching legislators how to supervise them and taking more control over how the laws they pass are implemented.
Lawmakers want to revisit Pennsylvania’s “revenge porn” law. Some say the measure passed last year is too limited because restricting prosecution to intimate partners and requiring proof of an intent to harass leaves many victims unprotected.
The proposed measure, similar to laws in 27 states, would require adults to store guns safely and securely wherever children could be present, or face criminal liability.
Driver's license suspensions have become one of Milwaukee's most widely used debt collection mechanisms for unpaid traffic fines. The municipal court issued nearly 48,000 suspensions for that reason alone last year. But many drivers don't have the money to pay the fines, or decide other expenses have to come first.
Maryland’s top housing official said he wants to look at loosening state lead paint poisoning laws, saying they could motivate a mother to deliberately poison her child to obtain free housing.
It will cost North Carolina taxpayers more than $1 million to keep their legislature going in overtime to try to merge competing House and Senate plans into a new, two-year state budget.