What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/15

  • December 15, 2015

US: Smaller counties driving growth in jail populations


While big-city jails get most of the attention, lockups in small and medium-sized counties have actually driven the overall explosion in the U.S. inmate population, according to a new analysis of 45 years of jail statistics.

MD: Maryland pharmacists can sell opioid overdose antidote without a prescription


The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued an order authorizing pharmacists to dispense naloxone to thousands of individuals who have been trained and certified through the state’s Overdose Response Program.

ME: U.S. warns Maine over worst-in-nation food stamp delays


The federal government says Maine processes food stamp applications slower than any other state and its “chronically poor performance” doesn’t meet federal standards. That could threaten the federal dollars that cover about half of the $20.4 million the state spends annually to administer food stamps.

WI: Wisconsin governor signs law streamlining interstate doctor licensing


Republican Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that makes it easier for doctors who seek licenses in other states and doctors from other states to get credentials in Wisconsin.

MO: Missouri bill would strip scholarships if athletes strike


A state legislator is proposing that student athletes should lose their scholarships if they go on strike, a response to a threat by University of Missouri football players not to play over criticism of the administration's handling of campus racial discrimination complaints.

OH: Ohio blocked from taking action against Planned Parenthood


A federal judge temporarily blocked Ohio from taking legal action against Planned Parenthood to enforce fetal tissue disposal rules, and Republican state lawmakers proposed new regulations for such disposal.

SC: South Carolina threatens to sue U.S. over delayed plutonium processing


South Carolina has put the federal government on notice that it could face a lawsuit and potentially up to $100 million a year in fines if it doesn’t meet goals for reprocessing weapons-grade plutonium being stored at an unfinished plant near Aiken.

MA: Massachusetts cuts revenue outlook for its first casino


State officials have cut by nearly 40 percent the amount of tax revenue they expect Plainridge Park Casino to generate, the latest sign that Massachusetts’ first casino is falling short of expectations.

AZ: After felony charge, Arizona college student appeals medical-marijuana ban on campus


An Arizona State University student is asking an appeals court to overturn the law that makes it illegal for him to have physician-recommended medical marijuana in his dorm room. Arizona is the only state where medical-marijuana patients can face felony charges if they use or possess it on a college campus.

CA: California bill would allow collective bargaining for ‘gig economy’ workers


A California proposal would allow independent contractors who use apps like Uber to collectively bargain with the company operating the app. The bill will be introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez when the Legislature convenes in January.

WY: Wyoming to close a thousand abandoned wells


Wyoming has struggled for years to address the thousands of coal-bed methane wells abandoned after the industry's collapse. But the state is coming to grips with the problem. Regulators expect to plug more than 1,000 abandoned wells on state and private land before the year is out.

KY: Kentucky governor announces solution for Guard members’ tuition


Republican Gov. Matt Bevin announced that a way has been found to provide tuition for about 700 more Kentucky National Guard members to attend college in the upcoming spring semester after a state-funded tuition assistance program ran out of money.

ND: Proposed North Dakota ballot measure would give crime victims expanded rights


Sponsors of a proposed ballot measure inspired by the Marsy’s Law, in California, want North Dakota voters to give crime victims the rights to be free from intimidation, to prevent the release of information that could be used to harass them, to refuse a deposition by the defendant’s attorney, and to be notified when an offender is released or escapes from custody.