What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/31

  • August 31, 2016

US: Federal government to distribute $53 million to states to fight opioid addiction


The Obama administration said the money will go to 44 states to help them focus on reducing overprescribing of painkillers, increasing access to treatment and making sure the antidote naloxone is widely available.

NJ: New Jersey governor vetoes $15 minimum wage


Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill to raise the state’s $8.38-an-hour minimum wage to $15 over the next five years, arguing more employees would be replaced by automated kiosks at small businesses if the wage was hiked.

LA: Louisiana borrows $187 million for construction work


Without an influx of new revenue, Louisiana was expected to soon start running out of money for items in the state construction budget such as building repairs, economic development projects, roadwork, park improvements and lawmakers’ local projects.

NY: New York’s highest court broadens definition of parent in landmark ruling


In a landmark ruling for nontraditional families, the New York Court of Appeals said a person need not have a biological or adoptive relationship with a child to be considered a parent. New York has lagged in expanding the definition of parenthood, as a majority of states already recognize nonbiological, nonadoptive parents.

ME: Maine governor says he won’t resign after all


Republican Gov. Paul LePage denied that he was resigning amid political blowback for saying that out-of-state black and Hispanic drug dealers were responsible for the surge in fatal drug overdoses in Maine and for leaving an obscene voice mail for a state lawmaker who called the comments “racially charged.”

SC: South Carolina pension fund deficit to increase by $1.4 billion


The unfunded obligations of South Carolina’s largest pension fund are expected to grow by $1.4 billion over the next year. The fund serves more than 180,000 state and local government employees, including teachers. Another 134,634 retirees also are part of the system.

IA: Iowa governor OKs state troopers to protect pipeline construction


Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said he will authorize the Iowa State Patrol to make arrests and ensure that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline proceeds if protesters follow through on a pledge to engage in civil disobedience in a bid to stop the $3.8 billion project.

OH: Good Samaritan protections apply to all Ohioans, state Supreme Court says


The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the state’s good Samaritan law that shields people who provide emergency treatment from civil liability applies to everyone, not just emergency personnel.

US: Labor Relations Board rules charter schools are private corporations — not public schools


The National Labor Relations Board said that similar to other government contractors, charter schools are private corporations that receive public tax dollars.

MO: New Missouri law pushes divorce judges to establish equal child custody time


Missouri’s new “shared parenting” law forbids judges making custody decisions based on the gender of the parent, and requires the state’s court administrator to develop guidelines for judges “in order to maximize to the highest degree the amount of time the child may spend with each parent.”

NE: Nebraska plans retention bonuses to combat prison staffing problems


One-time bonuses of $500 will be paid next month to Nebraska Corrections Department staff members in “high turnover, high vacancy positions,” including front-line security workers, food service specialists, licensed practical nurses and workers in chemical dependency and mental health treatment.

CA: Concealed-gun fees could increase in California


The Legislature sent Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would allow cities and counties to boost the cost of a permit to carry a concealed gun beyond its current $100.

MT: Contract spat sparks concerns about Montana’s Capitol TV coverage


Montana officials are being trained to shoot their own video footage of government proceedings in Helena. That’s because Helena Civic Television — the public affairs broadcast station long tasked with “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of committee meetings, commission hearings, legislative deliberations and judicial proceedings — shuttered its Capitol operations amid a contract dispute with the Legislature.