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

  • May 04, 2017

US: Senate votes to kill rule that would help states launch retirement plans


The Senate voted to eliminate an Obama-era rule that would make it easier for states to launch retirement programs for millions of workers who do not have plans through their jobs. The resolution now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk.

IA: Iowa insurance marketplace on verge of collapse as congressional uncertainty takes its toll


Iowa’s last major Affordable Care Act insurer threatened to pull out from the state’s marketplace next year, the latest step in a sudden collapse of the state’s insurance marketplace that holds ominous signs for health care customers in states across the county.

TX: Planned Parenthood reopens abortion clinic in Texas


Planned Parenthood announced the reopening of its first abortion clinic in Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down strict regulations that prompted more than half of the state’s abortion facilities to close. The clinic will be in Waco, which like many rural and midsize cities in Texas lost its only abortion clinic after then-Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed the regulations in 2013.

US: Gray Death: Dangerous opioid combo is latest mixing trend


“Gray death,” a new and dangerous opioid combination that looks like concrete mix, has been detected in or blamed for overdoses in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio.

SC: South Carolina House votes to recognize concealed weapons permits of more states


Under the bill, South Carolina would recognize the concealed weapons permits of most adults from states that recognize permits from South Carolina. The bill also would grant all active members of the military under age 21 the ability to carry weapons in South Carolina, whether or not they live in the state. Current law requires all permit holders be at least 21.

WV: West Virginia tax collections $60 million below estimates for April


West Virginia tax collections came in nearly $60 million below estimates last month. That puts the state $160 million behind estimates for fiscal 2017, which ends June 30. The state saw growth in its severance tax income due to the increased price of natural gas and growth in coal production, but personal income tax and consumer sales tax collections continued to miss their mark.

ME: Bill would set floor for Maine teacher salaries at $40,000


Lawmakers are considering a bill to raise the minimum teacher salary in Maine to $40,000 a year, more than a decade after the Legislature set the last floor for teacher pay at $30,000 a year.

CA: California ponders letting bicyclists roll through stop signs


The California proposal takes its cue from Idaho, where bicycling injuries declined after the state allowed bicyclists to yield rather than stop at stop signs. 

NM: Soda tax goes flat in Santa Fe


A national trend in favor of “soda tax” initiatives took a hit in New Mexico, where Santa Fe voters soundly rejected a proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax on the distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages. A record 37.6 percent of registered voters turned out for the special election.

FL: Florida Legislature passes pollution notice bill


A bill that requires Florida industry and government to notify the public quickly of any pollution problem is headed to Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it.

CO: Colorado governor wants map of gas lines after fatal blast


Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said Colorado should have comprehensive maps of oil and gas pipelines to help prevent a repeat of a fatal house explosion blamed on an old, severed gas line.