What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/11

  • July 11, 2016

US: 10 more states sue over federal transgender bathroom rules


Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming sued the federal government over rules requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms that conform to their gender identity, joining a dozen other states in the latest fight over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

MA: Massachusetts governor vetoes court, child care spending as austerity measures


Republican Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed spending on Massachusetts courts, child care for low-income families and homelessness services, arguing that a flat stock market has forced the state to tighten its belt. The vetoes and other trims totaled $412 million, another dash of austerity in an already tight budget season.

PA: Pennsylvania budget could move forward without governor’s signature


Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said he will let the state’s $31.5 billion budget go into effect without his signature if it does not include a tax package to support Pennsylvania’s schools and addiction treatment. 

UT: First Zika-related death in continental U.S. confirmed in Utah


U.S. health officials have confirmed that a Utah resident's death late last month was the first Zika-related death in the continental United States.

KY: Payday lenders in Kentucky keep their licenses, despite being cited hundreds of times


Big payday lenders in Kentucky break consumer protection laws time and again, but are able to keep their store licenses and pay fines toward the bottom of the available range, a new analysis of state enforcement records finds.

VA: Virginia faces $266 million shortfall


Although Virginia’s economy continues to grow, the state is facing a budget shortfall as recent sales and payroll-tax receipts came in lower than expected.

OH: Cashless payment system proposed for Ohio’s medical marijuana program


Ohio could be the first medical marijuana state to fix the industry’s cash-only situation by allowing state officials to set up a “closed loop” payment processing system, similar to prepaid debit and gift cards.

WV: West Virginia sees massive drop in revenue as budget year ended


West Virginia collected about $426 million less in tax revenue than expected in the last budget year that ended June 30, a shortfall driven largely by low gasoline prices and the continued decline of the coal industry. Collections were down about 7.5 percent from the year before and about 1 percent below what the state took in eight years ago.

MD: In win for gay couples, Maryland high court recognizes ‘de facto’ parents’ rights


Maryland’s highest court ruled that non-biological parents who live with and help raise children also have parental rights, overturning a 2008 decision that gay and lesbian advocates considered devastating to same-sex couples.

DE: Delaware, other states look at replacing gasoline tax with use fee


Delaware and partnering states, including Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, have requested a $1.5 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to look at charging motorists a fee based on the distance they travel to fund highway repairs and maintenance.

TX: Texas Supreme Court halts cuts in children’s therapy


Texas lawmakers last year approved $350 million in budget cuts for Medicaid programs that provide physical, speech and occupational therapy to disabled children. Blocked once before by a district court order, the cuts were scheduled to take effect July 15, but the Texas Supreme Court’s order will delay the cuts once again.

AR: Medical marijuana proposal clears Arkansas ballot hurdle


Backers of a measure that would legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas have collected enough signatures to put it on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. But the proposal faces strong opposition from the backer of a competing constitutional amendment, a conservative organization and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

AK: Alaska’s ‘citizen’ Legislature?


In recent years, Alaska’s scheduled 90-day legislative sessions have stretched on for months. Many lawmakers today don't have jobs other than lawmaking.