What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/2

  • December 02, 2015

US: Congress agrees on 5-year transportation bill


Senate and House negotiators reached agreement on a $305 billion, five-year transportation bill that would fund roads, bridges and mass transit. If approved and signed into law, it would be the first U.S. highway measure in a decade to last longer than two years.

MI: Juvenile justice bills would limit kids in Michigan’s adult prisons


The package of bills would raise the age to be eligible for juvenile status from 17 to 18 and make it more difficult to automatically waive juveniles into adult court, except in the most serious violent crimes like murder and rape.

KS: Kansas takes in $7.8 million more than expected in November


State tax revenue in Kansas was more than anticipated for the first time this fiscal year, by $7.8 million, driven by an increase in income tax receipts and from a new, higher sales tax.

US: Background checks for guns sales hit peak on Black Friday


The FBI processed a record 185,345 background checks — roughly two per second — the same day that three people were killed and nine others wounded in an attack at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado.

LA: Louisiana tax amnesty program now open, ends Dec. 31


Louisiana residents and businesses have a chance to pay overdue state taxes with reduced penalties and interest in an amnesty program that ends Dec. 31. This will be the last tax amnesty program for at least the next decade, state officials say.

TN: Tennessee governor announces state university overhaul


Republican Gov. Bill Haslam announced plans to overhaul the state's public higher education system by creating independent governing boards for the six universities that would set policies and tuition.

DC: District of Columbia to make most body camera footage available to public


The Council of the District of Columbia has approved a plan that would make most police-shot body camera footage available to the public. The legislation includes exemptions for footage shot inside homes.

FL: Florida lawmakers protest governor’s opposition to raising wages for state workers


Lawmakers faulted Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s unwavering opposition to any across-the-board pay raises for state workers, who haven’t seen a raise in eight years.

CO: With potential budget deficit, Colorado lawmakers consider early cuts


A potential $160 million deficit in the current budget is prompting Colorado lawmakers to consider spending cuts in the middle of the fiscal year, despite objections from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

NM: Cost of clearing New Mexico’s ‘rape kit’ backlog put at $8M


An estimated 5,000 untested “rape kits” are in New Mexico’s crime labs and warehouses, and it could take five years to work through the backlog.

IA: Iowa pension fund still faces $5 billion shortfall


The financial prognosis of Iowa’s largest public employees’ pension fund is improving in response to stock market gains and changes made by state policymakers, but Iowa taxpayers still face a long-term liability of more than $5 billion for the fund.

AZ: Arizona sheriffs oppose governor’s border-security strike force


Arizona sheriffs are revolting against Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to permanently fund a state border strike force to combat drug and human trafficking.

NH: Wanna buy a New Hampshire bridge? No joke


The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is selling a historic bridge in the town of Farmington. The catch: The top bidder will have to remove it, rebuild it elsewhere and then maintain it on their own for 10 years.