In addition to suspending driver’s licenses for not paying traffic fines, some states suspend licenses for unsatisfied debts stemming from any criminal case, from misdemeanors like marijuana possession to felonies in which court costs can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. Critics say the policies can create a cycle of debt for people.
After years of failing to make it harder to grow large amounts of pot without paying taxes, the Colorado Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would require people who grow more than 99 plants for medical marijuana patients to get licenses like their commercial counterparts.
Nevada lawmakers, Democratic and Republican, bristled at the idea of repealing the state’s longevity program, which pays $150 a year at eight years of employment and grows up to a maximum of $2,350 annually.
Undeterred by controversy surrounding the bill, the Republican leadership in the Maine Senate is supporting an “Act to Enact the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act” that is nearly identical to the religious freedom law passed recently in Indiana.
The Montana House voted to ban the possession and hunting of wild or feral hogs in the state. Anyone violating the ban could be fined up to $10,000 and be required to pay costs of control or eradication.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said he’d consider a request for a tax break for the Minnesota United professional soccer franchise to build a stadium. In the past, he has turned aside calls for a public subsidy.
South Carolina lawmakers are preparing to tackle bills that would require all police officers to wear clip-on body cameras after a bystander shot a video of a North Charleston police officer fatally shooting an unarmed man.
Under the two-year plan, state spending would increase 4.6 percent, including almost $4.5 billion that will go toward cutting property and franchise cuts. Without those dollars, Texas’ budget would grow by 3.5 percent.
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon said he will appoint a Democratic county treasurer as Missouri’s new state auditor, replacing Republican Tom Schweich, who killed himself last month.
California has become a battleground between the tobacco industry and health groups as lawmakers push proposals that include increasing cigarette taxes by $2 a pack and raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.
Kansas lawmakers have tough budget decisions to make, as the state is coming up about $48 million short of revenue estimates. About of a third of the 125-member House has signaled an unwillingness to raise taxes when revenues fall short of spending. And almost half the 40-member Senate is on record opposing new taxes.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal will not release to the public any work-related emails that he has sent during his two terms in office. Shortly after Jindal was elected, he backed an overhaul of Louisiana’s public records law that shields communication considered part of the “deliberative process.”
Delaware liquor store owners are concerned that their competitive advantage over their counterparts in Pennsylvania might change because of efforts to overhaul Pennsylvania’s arcane alcohol laws.