What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/16

  • December 16, 2015

VT: Vermont governor outlines new rules for opioid prescriptions

burlingtonfreepress.com

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin introduced several new steps to better control the prescribing of painkillers in an effort to prevent opioid dependence and addiction.

US: High school graduation rate reaches record high

npr.org

For the fourth straight year, the high school graduation rate has improved — reaching an all-time high, 82 percent, in 2013-2014. Achievement gaps have narrowed, too: rates range from 89 percent for Asian-Pacific Islanders to 62.6 percent for English-language learners.

OK: Oklahoma budget hole eyed at $900 million

normantranscript.com

The hole in next year’s Oklahoma budget is expected be about $900 million, and dwindling revenue collections this year will force midyear cuts to current agency appropriations.

TX: Texas governor orders National Guard to stay in place on border

texastribune.org

Because of a recent spike in minors crossing the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is ordering the Texas National Guard to stay in the area through December. The troops had been scheduled to leave by the end of the month.

IN: Indiana grocery, convenience stores can't sell cold beer, appeals court says

indystar.com

Hoosiers who want to buy cold beer will have to keep going to liquor stores to do so. A federal appeals court upheld Indiana’s decades-old law that prohibits gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores from selling cold beer, but allows liquor stores to do so.

VA: Virginia governor calls for boost in state spending on college financial aid

washingtonpost.com

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe seeks to boost financial aid for college students by $48 million and study a new way of handling campus sexual assaults.

ID: Idaho to boost wildfire budget after disastrous season

spokesman.com

The Idaho Land Board unanimously approved an additional $920,000 to prevent fires and keep more firefighters available, after one of the state’s worst fire seasons.

NM: New Mexico governor seeks crackdown on drunken driving

abqjournal.com

Longer jail and prison sentences for those convicted of multiple drunken-driving offenses are among the proposals Republican Gov. Susana Martinez plans to put before New Mexico lawmakers.

NC: North Carolina accused of violating ‘Motor Voter Law’

newsobserver.com

In North Carolina, where several legal challenges to elections law already are pending in the courts, three organizations claimed that state motor vehicle offices and public assistance agencies are failing to provide federally mandated voter registration opportunities.

AZ: Court rejects suit against Arizona race, sex abortion ban

azcentral.com

A federal appeals court has refused to revive a lawsuit challenging Arizona’s law that makes it a felony to provide abortions based on the race or sex of the child.

MT: Ride-hailing service Uber can start operating in Montana

billingsgazette.com

The on-demand ride service Uber can start operating in Montana immediately now that the Public Service Commission has approved operations.

HI: Hawaii teachers propose ambitious tax hike to finance swatch of reforms

civilbeat.com

The Hawaii State Teacher’s Association seeks a 1 percent increase in the state’s general excise tax to raise about $750 million a year to pay for a large bundle of education reforms — a proposal that faces an uphill battle in the Legislature.

MN: Minnesota lifts remaining bird flu quarantines

ap.org

Minnesota has lifted the last remaining quarantines on poultry farms that were infected with a deadly form of bird flu, marking a milestone in the state's recovery from an outbreak that cost its turkey and egg producers more than 9 million birds.

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