What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/11

  • December 11, 2015

CT: Connecticut to deny guns to those on terror watch list

courant.com

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy announced that he will sign an executive order making Connecticut the first state to block anyone on federal terrorism watch lists from obtaining a gun permit. He said he is working with the White House to get the list.

US: Congress agrees to permanently ban state taxes on Internet access

dispatch.com

House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on legislation to make permanent a moratorium that prevents states from taxing access to the Internet. The seven states that have taxes — Ohio, Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin —would be required to phase out the taxes by mid-2020.

KS: Kansas Supreme Court hears separation of powers case involving itself

kansas.com

Justices heard arguments in a case that pits the legislative branch against the court itself. At issue in the case, in which lawmakers tied funding of the Kansas court system to the outcome: Whether it is constitutional for the lawmakers to alter the court’s administrative authority.

US: Shelters for migrant children to open in Texas, California

sacbee.com

A new spike in unaccompanied Central American minors crossing illegally into the U.S. is pushing federal officials to open at least three shelters — two in Texas and one in California.

NM: New Mexico’s public officials spend millions lobbying other public officials

nmindepth.com

New Mexico cities, counties, colleges and other public entities spent nearly $7.2 million in 2014 and 2015 to lobby the state and federal government. Two-thirds, or more than $4.8 million, went toward lobbying officials in New Mexico and $2.4 million was spent to lobby in Washington.

TX: University of Texas panel: Ban guns in dorms, but not classrooms

texastribune.org

The 19-member group of faculty, staff and students issued 25 suggestions for implementing Texas’ newly passed campus carry law that takes effect in August. The law allows license holders to carry concealed handguns on to public university campuses.

KY: Kentucky’s pension funding woes worsen

kentucky.com

The ailing Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System added to the state’s ongoing pension problem by announcing a $24.4 billion unfunded liability for 2015, up from $21.5 billion in 2014. Even if the state devoted its entire two-year budget to closing the gap, the fund still wouldn’t cover what it owes future retirees.

GA: Georgia lawmakers consider legalizing horse racing, casinos

ajc.com

Lawmakers began exploring whether to expand gambling in Georgia but gave no clear indication about whether they would back efforts to legalize casinos and pari-mutuel betting on horse races.

OK: Oklahoma economy the nation's worst in second quarter

newsok.com

Energy losses triggered by persistently low oil prices accounted for more than a 4 percentage point reduction in Oklahoma's gross domestic product in the second quarter. The state was one of only four that registered a decline in GDP, and it ranked dead last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

VA: Virginia governor proposes pay bump for state workers

wdbj7.com

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants to give Virginia state workers, college professors and school teachers a 2 percent raise. The salary bump is part of a two-year budget plan expected next week.

FL: Diseases ravage Florida’s orange crop

palmbeachpost.com

Florida officials predict that orange production will fall nearly 30 percent this year over last season because of damage wrought by non-native citrus diseases. The state agriculture commissioner wants lawmakers to spend $8.5 million to research the diseases.

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