As economists size up the chances of the first nationwide slump since 2009, four states — Alaska, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — already are in a recession, and three others are at risk of prolonged declines. The regions suffering the most are in the flop stage of the energy industry’s boom-to-bust cycle.
A compromise that will preserve the rights of Virginia gun owners to carry concealed weapons, but also require those convicted of domestic violence to surrender their firearms, is awaiting the signature of Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
With evidence that using powerful prescription painkillers alongside common anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines increases the chance of a deadly overdose, dozens of state and municipal public health officials are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to add so-called black box warnings to both types of medicine.
A bill to legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana narrowly passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, clearing the way for a vote by the full Senate. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin supports the bill, which would make Vermont the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through the legislature.
A federal appeals court endorsed Colorado’s “Amazon tax” law, designed to make it easier for the state to collect sales taxes on out-of-state purchases made over the Internet.
After voting last week against a measure that would have increased sales taxes in South Dakota, the House approved Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s plan for the increase, which would help boost teacher pay. The bill now moves to the Senate where it is likely to pass.
The Charlotte City Council passed a law allowing transgender people to choose public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has called the measure a threat to public safety and warned that the North Carolina General Assembly may step in.
After the Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee said it expects $72.7 million in additional General Fund revenue through the end of the current two-year budget cycle in June 2017, Republican Gov. Paul LePage proposed funneling the surplus into the state’s rainy day fund. The move could set up a conflict with legislators about the best uses for the extra money.
About one of every five bills in the Utah Legislature is sponsored by a lawmaker with a deep professional or personal interest in the proposal.
The director of Missouri's public defenders is warning that the state's chronically underfunded system for representing poor people has become a “house of cards” that could face a federal lawsuit if it's not improved.
Idaho lawmakers took a small step in signing off on a proposal that would allow the state to comply with national proof-of-identity requirements after refusing to go along with the strict federal regulations for nearly a decade.
Nearly 8,000 cellphones were confiscated last year in Oklahoma's correctional facilities, where officials say inmates used the contraband devices to access the Internet, harass their victims, conduct illegal financial transactions and, in some cases, publicly identify corrections staff to the outside world.
Reducing state contracts will not produce enough savings to close Louisiana’s $900 million deficit. But lawmakers, aware they're going to have to defend both budget cuts and tax increases when they return from Baton Rouge, are scraping for ways to make changes they can point to as common-sense reforms.