What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/22

  • August 22, 2016

US: Ranking health official warns Zika could spread across Gulf states


One of the nation’s top public health officials warned that the mosquito-borne Zika virus could extend its reach across the Gulf Coast after officials last week confirmed it was active in the popular tourist destination of Miami Beach.

AZ: Arizonans to vote on $12 minimum wage


Voters will decide in November on whether to raise Arizona’s $8.05 hourly minimum wage to $10 by Jan. 1 and eventually to $12.

AL: Alabama Senate approves governor’s lottery proposal


The bill, proposed by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, seeks a constitutional amendment that would establish a state lottery to shore up the state’s general fund and help pay for education. If approved by the House, the question would go before Alabama voters in November.

US: Government moves to end duplicate health care coverage


The Obama administration is moving to end duplicate coverage for tens of thousands of people who are enrolled in Medicaid and simultaneously receiving federal subsidies to help pay for private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

CA: California legalizes lane-splitting by motorcyclists


California became the first state to make lane-splitting by motorcyclists legal when Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that authorizes the state highway patrol to develop guidelines for the motorcyclists who delight in weaving in and out of traffic.

IL: Illinois governor vetoes legislation to abolish room-and-board lawsuits against prisoners


Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner used his amendatory veto power to rewrite a bill that would have ended the state’s growing practice of suing prison inmates to recover the costs of their incarceration — effectively killing the legislation.

OH: Ohio won’t follow federal lead in ending private prison contracts


The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said it is satisfied with the two privately operated facilities in the state and has no plan to end the contracts. By law, the prisons must save the state at least 5 percent annually compared to the cost of public operation of the facilities.

KS: Kansas universities taking steps to absorb 4 percent cut in state allotment


University administrators across Kansas are applying across-the-board spending cuts, reducing the pool of money for merit raises or still figuring out how to absorb a $23.6 million cut that Republican Gov. Sam Brownback ordered in May to balance the state budget.

NE: Food stamp use on the rise in Nebraska, unlike in rest of U.S.


The percentage of Nebraskans on food stamps started ticking higher last year and into this year — bucking the downward trend seen throughout the rest of the U.S.

WI: Wisconsin has limited tracking and enforcement of amusement rides


Although two people have died and at least 75 were injured on amusement rides in Wisconsin in the past decade, the state has no unified database to track such incidents and no record of many incidents because it relies on operators to self-report.

TN: Tennessee board shifts gas station cleanup costs to taxpayers


Tennessee’s Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board has taken steps to shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers. Most members of the board are chosen by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, whose family owns a chain of truck stops.

WY: Conflict between wolves, livestock up sharply in Wyoming


Federal officials say the number of conflicts between wolves and livestock in Wyoming is up sharply, exceeding the number of wolves that were killed last year, which was the second highest number in the state since they were reintroduced to the northern Rockies 21 years ago.

IA: Iowa school bus law seems so be backfiring


A 2012 law intended to crack down on drivers who fail to stop for Iowa school buses may be having the opposite effect: Some authorities appear reluctant to prosecute motorists because of the law’s harsh penalties.