What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/6

  • September 06, 2017

US: States, immigrant groups to fight Trump's Dreamer decision

reuters.com

Several U.S. states and immigrant advocacy groups vowed to fight President Donald Trump’s decision to end a program that protects people brought illegally to the United States as children from deportation. But legal experts said the challenges will face an uphill battle.

PA: Pennsylvania House Republicans unveil budget plan with no tax hikes

mcall.com

After more than a month of secretive budget work, House Republicans unveiled a plan to cover Pennsylvania’s $2.2 billion deficit without tax increases or going to a bank for a big bond. The plan would take $507 million from mass transit, ports, rails and infrastructure accounts and $440.5 million from hazardous waste and industrial cleanups, and agriculture, environmental and recycling programs.

WI: Delays rise for DNA tests at state crime labs in Wisconsin

postcrescent.com

Police and prosecutors across Wisconsin this year are waiting longer for the results of DNA tests amid a growing backlog of cases. The amount of evidence waiting for tests in state labs each week has gradually climbed over the past two years — reaching more than 1,000 cases in July — and it has become increasingly common for evidence to wait more than two months for testing.

WA: Washington state to test pay-by-the-mile tax to fund highways

seattletimes.com

Beginning early next year, Washington state will start a pilot project in which 2,000 volunteers pay a mock tax — the planned rate is 2.4 cents a mile — on the number of miles they drive on state roads, rather than on the amount of gas they use.

TX: Ag agency hikes on fees to Texas farmers and ranchers raised millions more than needed

texastribune.org

Nearly two years ago, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller irked farmers, ranchers and lawmakers by dramatically raising fees for a wide range of services his agency offers. The fees generated $27.3 million in 2016, while programs that rely on such fees cost just $20.8 million to operate, according to a new report by the State Auditor’s Office.

OH: Major roadblock to medical marijuana in Ohio may be solved

cincinnati.com

Other states allow private laboratories to test marijuana's properties before it is sold, but Ohio's law put a one-year moratorium on private testers in favor of colleges. Many public universities worried they would lose money from a federal government that still considers marijuana illegal. But Hocking College in southeast Ohio says it will take on the task.

IL: Illinois officials push governor to sell bonds to cut unpaid bills

bloomberg.com

Illinois officials are pushing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to sell bonds to pay bills left from the state’s record budget impasse, saying it would reduce steep interest penalties of as much as $2 million a day.

SC: South Carolina governor says he’s found the cash to replace fiery school buses

thestate.com

In the state budget that started July 1, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster vetoed $20.5 million to replace aging fire-prone school buses. Now the Republican is urging state school officials to use some of the state’s $34 million share of a nearly $3 billion settlement with German carmaker Volkswagen to buy new buses.

AZ: School voucher expansion heads to Arizona ballot

azcentral.com

Advocates have gathered enough signatures for a 2018 vote on a massive expansion of school vouchers in Arizona, a state official said.

NV: Marijuana possession, advertising banned at Las Vegas airport

lasvegassun.com

Commissioners in Nevada's Clark County voted unanimously to ban the possession or advertisement of legal marijuana at McCarran International Airport and other properties overseen by the county's aviation division. The ordinance is intended to ensure distance between the state’s legalized weed industry and the Federal Aviation Administration, which still considers marijuana an illegal substance.

HI: Hawaii governor signs bill giving state added control over rail project

staradvertiser.com

Democratic Gov. David Ige approved approximately $2.4 billion to complete construction of a Honolulu rail line, the largest public works project in Hawaii history. The measure requires Honolulu to pay rail project vendors upfront and then submit requests to the state for reimbursements from the excise surcharge and hotel room tax revenue.

AK: Marijuana business bans make the ballot in three local Alaska elections

adn.com

When Alaska voters legalized recreational cannabis in 2014, the ballot measure included an option for communities to opt out of the marijuana industry. Local governments can vote to ban businesses, and voter initiatives can take the question back to the ballot.

NY: New York state bets comedy can spark a revival

nytimes.com

In a multimillion-dollar gamble that will test the power of giggles versus geography, New York has invested nearly $10 million in the hopes that it can turn Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown into an A-list tourist destination and a prime example of civic pluck triumphing over chronic malaise.

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