What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 9/16

  • September 16, 2016

US: Conditions in many older county jails are grim, dangerous

ap.org

Inadequate and unsafe jails are problems across the nation, with aging facilities holding an increasing number of people. They often operate with little to no oversight, experts say. And with reluctance to spend money on jails, it seems unlikely the decrepit structures will see a face-lift anytime soon.

VA: Virginia governor not in contempt of court for restoring voting rights to 13,000 felons

washingtonpost.com

The Virginia Supreme Court refused to rule Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in contempt of court for individually restoring the voting rights to 13,000 felons after the court threw out his blanket clemency order that would have done so for more than 200,000.

AZ: Arizona police will no longer stop people to check immigration status

reuters.com

Arizona police officers will no longer detain people solely to investigate their immigration status under a settlement reached on Thursday after a lawsuit challenged the “show your papers” provision of an immigration law.

LA: Louisiana will borrow up to $400 million in short-term loans to shore up budget

theadvocate.com

Most of Louisiana’s money comes in during the second half of the fiscal year, while expenses are often larger in the beginning. This is the first time a Revenue Anticipation Note has been used in Louisiana state government since the 1980s.

MS: Privately run Mississippi prison with history of abuse is closed

nytimes.com

Mississippi shut down a privately operated prison that a federal judge once concluded was effectively run by gangs in collusion with corrupt prison guards, and its prisoners transferred to other state facilities.

US: Truckers warn speed caps will jam highways, cause crashes

ap.org

Truckers say that a federal government plan to electronically limit the speed of tractor-trailers will lead to highway traffic jams and possibly an increase in deadly run-ins with cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring electronic speed limiters on all trucks and buses over 26,000 pounds so they couldn’t go faster than possibly 60, 65 or 68 mph.

US: Seven Midwest governors seek to boost ethanol gasoline sales

desmoinesregister.com

The governors of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota sent a letter the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking for changes in regulations intended to increase sales of gasoline blended with a higher percentage of ethanol.

NE: Nebraska prisons director asks for more staff, new facility

omaha.com

The director of Nebraska’s troubled prison system laid out an ambitious proposal to add 164 new full-time positions and build a $75 million prison addition for elderly and seriously mentally ill inmates. The budget proposal asks for an additional $5 million in state general funds in 2017-18 and $15.3 million extra the following fiscal year, on top of the new prison construction.

WA: Washington state to increase testing for pesticides in pot

ap.org

More than two years after Washington state launched legal marijuana sales, it's planning to more regularly test the pot for banned pesticides.

NV: Plan for a pro football stadium sent to Nevada governor

reviewjournal.com

The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee sent a proposal for a $1.9 billion domed stadium designed to bring the NFL to Las Vegas to Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for his consideration. The plan would require a $750 million public investment.

TX: Lawmakers, courts consider ways to help Texans who can’t afford lawyers

texastribune.org

Almost 4 percent of the more than 300,000 civil cases filed in Texas courts in 2015 involved plaintiffs or petitioners who didn't have an attorney. Ahead of the next legislative session, lawmakers and legal service providers are looking for ways to make the legal process easier for those who represent themselves.

ME: Both sides of Maine’s gun referendum gird for costly campaign

pressherald.com

Groups on both sides of a Maine ballot initiative to expand background checks on gun sales are buying television airtime and mobilizing their bases ahead of what could be one of the costliest referendum campaigns in the state’s history.

PA: Bottled water companies may have to pay more to draw from Pennsylvania taps

publicsource.org

Bottled water companies pay very little to collect water in Pennsylvania, so lawmakers there are considering charging them annual licensing fees.

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