What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/5

  • April 05, 2016

US: U.S. Supreme Court upholds total population count in electoral districts


Justices refused to change the way state and municipal voting districts are drawn, saying states can count everyone, not just eligible voters, in deciding how to draw electoral districts.

OK: Oklahoma expects to pay $158 million in rebates for unprofitable wells


The Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates the state will pay out $158 million in rebates next year to operators of “economically at-risk” wells that are no longer profitable at current oil and gas prices. The tax breaks are meant to cushion the blow of low prices.

US: Control of state courts becomes a top political battleground


In states where voters elect Supreme Court judges, millions of dollars are being spent to reshape the courts for years to come. And lawmakers in many states are debating proposals to tip the balance of power by expanding or reducing their court's size, or making it easier to impeach judges whose rulings upset the legislative majority.

VA: Virginia governor vetoes sexually explicit schoolbook bill


Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the bill, which would have forced Virginia schools to notify parents if their children will be assigned books with sexually explicit content, would have inappropriately interfered with local school board policy.

WA: Facebook post sets voter registration record in Washington


More Washington residents registered to vote online March 18 than in any other day in state history. The reason? A Facebook advertisement.

US: Judge approves $20 billion settlement over 2010 BP oil spill


A federal judge granted final approval to an estimated $20 billion settlement over the worst offshore spill in the nation's history. The settlement includes $5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and other claims by the five Gulf states and local governments.

FL: Florida’s new transportation law makes way for self-driving cars


Republican Gov. Rick Scott has signed a law that allows self-driving vehicles to operate on public roads by anyone with a valid driver’s license.

TX: Lawmakers, not educators, behind biggest Texas college tuition hikes, data shows


A Dallas Morning News analysis of average undergraduate tuition and fees over the last quarter-century found that costs rose faster at most Texas public colleges and universities when lawmakers set the prices.

DE: Owe back taxes? Delaware school districts could get your cash


A new Delaware law lets the state to intercept income tax refunds for people who are delinquent in paying their property taxes. The money will go to close a $32.6 million gap in back taxes owed to 19 state school districts each year.

WY: Wyoming wolf population increases about 15%


By the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s count, there are 382 wolves in Wyoming, 48 packs and 30 breeding pairs. That is 14.7 percent increase in the number of wolves in 2014.

AZ: Arizona governor to lawmakers: No more bills


Republican Gov. Doug Ducey's top staffers have told legislative leaders to not send the governor any more bills until a state budget reaches his desk.