What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/5

  • April 05, 2017

US: Thousands of safety defects found on oil train routes

ap.org

Government inspections of railroads that haul volatile crude oil across the U.S. have uncovered almost 24,000 safety defects, including problems similar to those blamed in derailments that triggered massive fires or oil spills in Oregon, Virginia, Montana and elsewhere.

WA: Federal judge blocks Washington state law allowing ride-hailing drivers to unionize

seattletimes.com

Seattle’s first-in-the-nation law that lets Uber and Lyft drivers unionize is on hold, after a U.S. district judge in Washington state issued a temporary injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

NY: New York passes emergency spending plan to avoid shutdown

politico.com

The stopgap budget approved by New York legislators not only keeps the state government operating, it includes nearly $1.8 billion in appropriations for Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic development projects and no additional controls on the spending.

AR: Arkansas governor signs bill barring guns from collegiate sporting events

arkansasonline.com

The bill signed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson puts Arkansas college sporting events off limits to people carrying guns. It amends a monthold law that allows people with permits to carry concealed weapons on college campuses if they have eight hours of extra training.

NC: North Carolina Senate passes ‘Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut’

newsobserver.com

The proposed cuts to personal and corporate income-tax rates would take 94,000 North Carolina families off tax rolls but reduce the state revenue by $324 million in the first fiscal year, $710 million in the second and more than $800 million in subsequent years.

NM: New Mexico governor signs bill limiting physical restraint of students

abqjournal.com

The bill signed by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez allows New Mexico schools to use physical restraint or seclusion only if a student’s behavior is a serious physical danger to someone else and if less-restrictive measures aren’t likely to help.

ND: North Dakota agencies offer buyouts to help balance budget

inforum.com

Ten North Dakota state agencies are offering buyouts to their employees to help offset a $1.5 billion revenue shortfall in the current two-year funding cycle that already has prompted spending cuts and workforce reductions.

TX: Texas Senate approves two-year tuition freeze

texastribune.org

The measure would prohibit the state’s public universities from hiking costs for the two years after the 2017-18 school year. After that, schools could increase costs by 1 percent, plus the rate of inflation, as long as they met a series of performance metrics set by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

WV: West Virginia House votes for medical marijuana

wvpublic.org

The House voted to legalize doctor-prescribed marijuana to treat certain medical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer seizures and post-traumatic stress disorder for patients in West Virginia. The bill must be reconciled with a version already approved by the Senate.

TN: Tuition break for immigrants gains support in Tennessee

ap.org

A push to offer in-state college tuition rates to students whose parents brought them into the country illegally is picking up momentum in Tennessee. If the plan succeeds, Tennessee would join left-leaning Washington, D.C., as the only other government to pass such a law since President Donald Trump took office. Twenty other states already allow the in-state tuition.

OH: Ohio governor says state must keep up with changing economy

cleveland.com

Ohio's leaders must prepare for the future, rather than gaze into the rear-view mirror, if they want to ensure the state's workers aren't left behind in a quickly changing world filled with technological innovations, Republican Gov. John Kasich said in his seventh State of the State address.

WI: Wisconsin proposal would give crime victims a host of rights

lacrossetribune.com

The proposed constitutional amendment would provide Wisconsin crime victims a host of new rights, including having their personal information sealed in police records and allowing them to speak out at more court proceedings.

US: Car insurance rates much higher in minority areas, report says

ap.org

A new report suggests that people living in urban minority neighborhoods could be paying as much as 30 percent more for car insurance, but an industry group says the report's findings are flawed.

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