What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/22

  • March 22, 2016

NY: FanDuel, DraftKings shut down daily fantasy sports games in New York


Top daily fantasy sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings agreed to halt their business in New York, betting on a legislative path to make the games legal after a monthslong fight with the state's attorney general.

CO, NE, OK: U.S. Supreme Court denies Oklahoma and Nebraska challenge to Colorado pot


The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Nebraska and Oklahoma's proposed lawsuit against Colorado's legal marijuana laws. The 6-2 vote means the nation's highest court will not rule on the interstate dispute, and Colorado's legal cannabis market is safe — for now.

CA: California health exchange threatens to cut underperforming, overpriced hospitals


In what appears to be the first proposal of its kind in the county, California’s insurance exchange is threatening to cut hospitals from its networks for poor performance or high costs. The goal is to boost the quality of patient care and make coverage more affordable.

MA: U.S. Supreme Court orders Massachusetts to review ban on stun guns


Massachusetts is among a handful of states that prohibit possession of stun guns. In its ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the state’s Supreme Judicial Court to look again at its decision to uphold the ban.

AK: Alaska budget deficit jumps by $300 million


Falling oil prices have led Alaska’s Revenue Department to lower revenue expectations for the current fiscal year from $1.6 to $1.3 billion. Current revenue can cover only about 25 percent of the existing state budget. The picture for the following year is even worse.

KS: Kansas House passes bill calling for big changes in juvenile justice system


The proposed changes would shift Kansas’ reliance from incarceration to allowing nonviolent juvenile offenders to remain at home and participate in community-based programs so they could remain in school. The changes — aimed at reducing recidivism, while saving $72 million over five years — now go back to the Senate.

AZ: Arizona House approves 204 percent ‘flex’ loans


A bill authorizing short-term loans at an annual interest rate of 204 percent squeaked through the Arizona House. Supporters say the loans would provide a way for people facing emergencies but who have poor credit and no savings to get quick cash. Critics say the bill only opens an already vulnerable population up to predatory lending.

LA: Louisiana’s private universities, students could be losers in scholarship debate


To save money, the Louisiana Legislature may prohibit state residents who attend private colleges and universities from receiving tuition help from a state scholarship program. The change would save the state roughly $20 million a year, about 7 percent of the $300 million the program is expected to cost in the coming fiscal year.

NJ: New Jersey senator wants lawmakers, judges to be able to carry handguns


A veteran New Jersey lawmaker is proposing that state judges and legislators be allowed to carry firearms after completing an eight-hour training course. New Jersey has among the nation’s strictest gun control laws, but the sponsor says lawmakers and judges are more at risk for being attacked than average citizens.

WV: Another West Virginia city moves to try to trim the number of vacant houses


In an effort to reduce the number of abandoned properties that blight the city, the Huntington City Council is demanding that owners of vacant properties register them with the city or face up to a $500-a-month fine. Two other West Virginia cities, Charleston and Wheeling, already have a similar registry.

OH: Ohio launches new tourism campaign — aimed at Ohioans


State tourism officials are launching a new TV advertising campaign targeted primarily at Ohioans. It’s called “Ohio. Find It Here.” The reason: Most of the state’s 200 million visits to tourist destinations in 2014 were by travelers from inside Ohio.

AR: Arkansas calls for policy changes at centers for developmentally disabled


The Arkansas Department of Human Services is calling for increased training and documentation on the use of emergency restraint techniques at its five residential centers for the developmentally disabled.

VA: Prisoners in Virginia can now earn college credit


Prisoners incarcerated in Virginia can now earn college credit in five courses offered through the state Department of Corrections. It is the only corrections department in the country with courses certified by the American Council on Education.