What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 5/26

  • May 26, 2016

US: Eleven states sue over Obama’s transgender bathroom directive

ap.org

Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin are asking a U.S. district judge in Texas to declare unlawful the directive to let transgender students use school bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

LA: Louisiana Senate sends “ban the box” bill to governor

theadvocate.com

Louisiana state agencies would be prohibited from asking job applicants about their criminal pasts before interviewing them for a job under a “ban the box” bill sent to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

SC: South Carolina governor signs bill outlawing abortion at 20 weeks

postandcourier.com

The bill, signed by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, makes it illegal for a woman to get an abortion in South Carolina once her pregnancy reaches 20 weeks. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.

WV: West Virginia governor to lawmakers: Don’t raid Rainy Day Fund

wvgazettemail.com

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin told West Virginia legislators he would veto any budget bill that seeks to take more than a few million dollars from the state’s $135 million Rainy Day Fund to help close a $270 million shortfall.

OH: Ohio House OKs online voter registration — starting in 2017

dispatch.com

Ohio appears to finally be ready to join more than 30 other states in offering online voter registration — but not until after the 2016 presidential election.

US: Predictive crime technology used by states may have racial bias

propublica.org

State criminal justice systems are increasingly using risk assessment scores to inform judge’s decisions about assigning bonds and sentencing. But the algorithm-based scores are unreliable in forecasting violent crime and may falsely flag black defendants as future criminals.

NH: New Hampshire lawmakers opt against decriminalizing marijuana

unionleader.com

House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a bill that would lower New Hampshire’s penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana to a misdemeanor, but pulls up short of decriminalizing it.

WI: Appeals court reinstates Wisconsin’s right-to-work law, for now

wpr.org

Wisconsin’s right-to-work law is back in effect for now, as a state appeals court issued a stay in a lawsuit challenging it. The law bans mandatory union dues at private sector businesses.

US: 46 states made prison reforms in the last two years

ap.org

A new analysis from the Vera Institute of Justice says nearly every state made reforms such as improving bail systems, supporting recently released prisoners and curbing the use of solitary confinement in 2014 and 2015. Some states reduced jail time and provided alternative sentencing. Others created specialty courts for veterans, the homeless and drug addicts.

NJ: Legislature tries again to end smoking on New Jersey beaches

nj.com

Lawmakers are taking another shot at banning smoking on New Jersey beaches and other public areas, as the state Senate will take up a revised version of a bill vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

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