What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/14

  • September 14, 2016

OH: U.S. Supreme Court declines to restore extended early voting in Ohio


The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a bid by the Ohio Democratic Party to allow an extra week of early voting — the state’s so-called Golden Week of voting that the Legislature eliminated — in the November election. That means that early voting will begin Oct. 12, not Oct. 5, the start if Golden Week had been restored.

CA: Tampon, diaper taxes will endure in California


Measures to roll back the taxes advanced on the strength of arguments that California needs to rethink its tax policy to reflect which items are most important to consumers. But Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed both, as well as several other proposals to cut taxes, saying they must be taken up during budget deliberations.

LA: Louisiana board stalls $15 million in industrial tax breaks


A Louisiana review board has stalled about $15 million in property tax breaks for manufacturing facilities, after Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said he wants the tax breaks tied to the number of jobs created. Once seen as a rubber stamp on the tax breaks, the Board of Commerce and Industry deferred action this week on more than two dozen requests.

IN: Federal appeals court to hear challenge on Indiana's Syrian refugee ban


Indiana is challenging a February ruling by a federal district judge that blocked Republican Gov. Mike Pence's call to suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees. In court documents, the state says stopping Syrian refugees from coming to Indiana is a safety precaution similar to quarantining the contagiously ill.

AK: The state of Alaska will pay you $30K to move and maintain this historic bridge


"The bridge is in a remote location and is available as-is," the Alaska Department of Transportation wrote in a public notice. The state wants the 80-year-old bridge, on a narrow gravel road nearly 200 miles from Anchorage, removed so construction on a new structure can begin in 2018.

TX: Texas lawmakers explore paring back free tuition for veterans' kids


In 2009, when the Texas Legislature decided to offer free college tuition to the children of many veterans, the state predicted a small impact: Just over 880 beneficiaries would be enrolled by 2014. Five years later, the number of "legacy" students getting free tuition was more than 21 times the original guess — 18,599 students and growing.

MI: Michigan bill would change underage drinking from criminal to civil charge


Under the bill, which has been approved by the Michigan House Criminal Justice Committee and the state Senate, a first offense for a minor in possession of alcohol would become a civil infraction, punishable by a $100 fine, instead of the current misdemeanor charge that carries a fine and up to 90 days in jail.

NJ: End of tax agreement could boost New Jersey credit rating


New Jersey’s credit rating could get a boost from Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to end a tax reciprocity agreement with Pennsylvania. But the change would mean higher taxes for many of the 120,000 New Jerseyans who work in the Keystone State.

ME: Maine utilities commission proposes phase-out of solar incentives


Under the proposal from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, residents who already have solar panels installed at their homes would have financial incentives grandfathered for 15 years. But benefits for new solar owners would be limited to 10 years.

WI: Wisconsin agency violates records law, judge rules


A Wisconsin circuit judge has ruled that the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission violated the state’s open records law last year when it refused to quickly turn over information about a teachers union election.

KS: Kansas Supreme Court asked to restore tenure for public school teachers


The state’s largest teachers union asked the Kansas Supreme Court to restore a decades-old law that provided job protections known as tenure rights for most of the state’s nearly 34,000 public school teachers. The Legislature repealed teacher tenure rights two years ago.

NY: New York issues cyber regulations for banks, insurers


Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued long-anticipated proposed cyber security regulations for banks and insurers in New York, the first of their kind by any state or federal agency. The planned regulations for institutions overseen by the New York State Department of Financial Services would require companies to set up cyber security programs and appoint a chief information officer.

PA: Pennsylvania borrowing more to pay bills


For the fourth time in two years, Pennsylvania is borrowing money to meet its short-term needs for cash.