What We're Reading Now: Top State Stories 3/4

  • March 04, 2016

FL: Florida revamps death penalty

nytimes.com

The Senate passed a compromise bill that would allow Florida to resume death penalty prosecutions by making it harder for juries to send someone to death row. The legislation, which seeks to address the U.S. Supreme Court’s objections to Florida’s capital punishment law, is expected to be signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

US: U.S. Supreme Court denies bid to block mercury air pollution rule

reuters.com

The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Obama administration in rebuffing a bid by 20 states to halt an Environmental Protection Agency rule to curb emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants.

ME: Maine seeks new rules for prescribing opioids

pressherald.com

A bill introduced by Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration to combat Maine’s heroin crisis would create new restrictions on prescribing opioids to control pain that would be among the strictest prescribing standards in the nation.

WV: West Virginia governor vetoes concealed carry bill

wvpublic.org

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill that would allow anyone over the age of 21 in West Virginia to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The bill also removes the requirement to take a safety training course in order to carry a concealed handgun.

CA: California Assembly votes to raise smoking age

latimes.com

The state Assembly approved measures that would raise the legal smoking age in California from 18 to 21 and ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public places where traditional smoking is prohibited. The measures now go to the state Senate, which has previously acted on similar bills.

MI: Feds to expand Medicaid for Flint children, expectant mothers

detroitnews.com

Federal officials say they will expand Medicaid coverage for families in Flint, Michigan, to make additional health care and other services available to thousands of children up to age 21, as well as pregnant women, who have received water from the city’s lead-contaminated system.

VA: Bill to create child abuser registry heads to Virginia governor

wtvr.com

Virginia lawmakers have passed “Eli’s Law,” legislation that would add child abusers to a public registry that already includes known sex offenders.

AL: Alabama judge says state’s death penalty sentence scheme unconstitutional

al.com

A Jefferson County judge ruled that Alabama's capital murder sentencing scheme, which allows judges to override jury recommendations of life without parole and instead impose the death penalty, is unconstitutional.

OK: State agencies in Oklahoma asked to make even deeper cuts

tulsaworld.com

Following a worse-than-expected revenue failure, Oklahoma officials announced an additional cut of 4 percent for state agencies, bringing the total cuts for the current fiscal year to 7 percent.

NE: No license necessary for hair-braiding services under bill passed by Nebraska Legislature

omaha.com

Nebraskans no longer would have to get a cosmetology license to charge for hair-braiding services under a bill passed by the Legislature.

LA: Louisiana House OKs cigarette tax hike

theadvocate.com

The Louisiana House approved legislation that would increase the state tax on cigarettes by 22 cents to $1.08 per pack. The increase would raise $16 million this year and $46 million next year, and bring Louisiana’s cigarette tax in line with those of surrounding states.

TN: Bill restricting employment questions heads to Tennessee governor

tennessean.com

One day after the Senate approved a bill that would eliminate a question about a job applicant's criminal history while seeking employment with state government, the Tennessee House took a different approach, banning local governments from restricting questions employers may ask.

MD: Effort to legalize assisted suicide fails — again — in Maryland

washingtonpost.com

An assisted-suicide bill failed in the Maryland Senate, effectively ending a yearlong push to make the state one of just a few in the nation where doctors can prescribe a lethal dose of medicine to the terminally ill.

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