What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/6

  • April 06, 2017

AL: Alabama Ethics Commission sends governor’s case to prosecutors

ap.org

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley could face criminal prosecution after the commission found probable cause that he broke ethics and campaign finance law in a sex-tinged scandal that has engulfed him for more than a year.

FL: Florida Legislature poised to bolster ‘Stand Your Ground’ law

reuters.com

Florida lawmakers advanced a measure that could make it easier to avoid prosecution in deadly shootings and other use-of-force cases by seeking immunity on self-defense grounds under the state's pioneering "stand your ground" law. The measure would shift the burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors when the law is invoked to avoid trial.

AR: Arkansas Parole Board suggests mercy for 1 of 8 due to die

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas' parole board recommended that Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson extend clemency to one of eight inmates scheduled to die in an unprecedented series of double-executions this month. Hutchinson, who is not bound by the board's finding, can intervene at any time before the execution begins.

VA: Virginia House rejects governor’s effort to expand Medicaid

richmond.com

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s latest bid to expand Virginia’s Medicaid program died on a party-line vote in the House of Delegates. But Republican opponents left open the option of finding other ways to “close the coverage gap” for uninsured Virginians.

SC: South Carolina House votes to let people carry handguns without a permit

postandcourier.com

The House passed a bill that would allow South Carolina residents to carry a gun, openly or concealed, without getting a weapons permit.

MA: Thousands of Uber, Lyft drivers fail Massachusetts background checks

bostonglobe.com

More than 8,000 drivers for ride-hailing companies have been denied licenses to operate in Massachusetts under a new state background check process. The most common reasons were suspended licenses or not having driven long enough to qualify. But 51 were rejected for sex-related crimes.

TX: Texas House backs crowdfunding measure to test more rape kits

texastribune.org

The Texas House gave initial approval to a bill that would crowdfund money from Texans to deal with a state backlog of thousands of untested rape kits. The legislation would give people applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses an option to donate $1 or more toward testing.

IA: Iowa House OKs 20-week abortion ban

detroitnews.com

The Iowa House voted to outlaw the practice in most cases after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, incest or fatal fetal anomalies. The bill, which now returns to the Senate, also includes a required 72-hour waiting period before a woman could have an abortion.

NE: Nebraska lawmakers back bill to end childhood sex abuse victims' deadline for filing civil suits

omaha.com

Current Nebraska law requires childhood victims of sexual assault to file lawsuits against their abusers by the time they turn 33 years old. The bill backed by the Legislature would remove the statute of limitations, and apply it retroactively to many past cases of abuse.

WV: West Virginia’s greyhound racing days could soon be numbered

wvpublic.org

West Virginia’s two greyhound racing tracks, among the last in the U.S., could soon be out of business. Lawmakers sent Democratic Gov. Jim Justice a bill that would end a $14 million state subsidy that benefits breeders and handlers at the tracks.

HI: Hawaii weighs new penalties for drunken drivers

staradvertiser.com

Under a House bill, Hawaii drivers arrested on a repeat DUI offense would have to agree to stop drinking alcohol for at least 90 days and wear an ankle bracelet that would alert a private company if they have a drink. Offenders would have to pay for the device, which could cost about $360 a month.

OR: Oregon House passes eviction restrictions

bendbulletin.com

The House passed a measure that would ban Oregon landlords from evicting renters without cause in many instances and give cities in the state the freedom to adopt their own rent-control policies.

CO, KS, MN, OK, UT: The weak outlook for weak beer

hutchnews.com

This isn’t a last call for 3.2 beer, but Kansas, Minnesota and Utah soon may be the last markets for grocery sales of low alcohol-content beer unless they join other states in allowing grocers to sell strong beer. Colorado and Oklahoma will allow it within the next two years.

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