What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/11

  • September 11, 2017

VA: Virginia scraps touch-screen voting machines as election for governor looms

washingtonpost.com

Concerned about potential hacking two months away from the state’s closely watched gubernatorial election, Virginia’s state Board of Elections voted to replace any touch-screen voting machines. The decision will force jurisdictions that together serve about 190,000 of the state’s 5 million active voters to replace their machines before the Nov. 7 election.

KY: State agencies must cut budgets by 17% to avoid $200M shortfall, Kentucky governor says

courier-journal.com

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has asked most state agencies to slash their budgets by more than 17 percent to cope with an anticipated $200 million revenue shortage and to beef up an emergency fund. The massive cuts follow a 9 percent cut that was part of Kentucky's 2016-18 budget as well as a series of other funding cuts stretching back to the onset of the Great Recession in 2008.

TX: New school buses to have seat belts under Texas law

texastribune.org

Starting this month, Texas school districts in the market for new school buses must ensure they have shoulder-to-lap seat belts for all riders. The three-point seat belt law replaces a 2007 law that offered money to districts that opted to install seat belts in their school buses. Few districts took advantage of the funding, leaving most Texas school buses beltless.

PA: Pennsylvania monitoring program reduces prescription drug abuse

goerie.com

Since Pennsylvania implemented a prescription drug monitoring program a year ago, the number of people who visited five or more doctors or pharmacists to obtain a prescription has dropped 86 percent.

MO: Abortion rights supporters mark rare victories in Missouri

columbiatribune.com

The number of licensed abortion clinics in Missouri recently doubled to two. A third, in Columbia, should be licensed soon, marking rare victories for abortion rights supporters in a state politically dominated by their opponents.

MT: New Montana law could give second chance to ex-offenders

billingsgazette.com

A new Montana law that takes effect next month will allow anyone to petition the courts to have his or her misdemeanor record erased, so long as that person has completed the sentence and had no other offenses for five years.

CA: California bill to fast-track L.A. Olympics projects, Clippers arena stalls

latimes.com

California lawmakers shelved a bill that would have fast-tracked bus, train and other transit projects for Los Angeles’ 2028 Olympic Games and a new Inglewood arena for the Los Angeles Clippers. The measure would have lessened developers’ duties under the California Environmental Quality Act.

ME: Maine governor cuts last direct ties with tribes on public health

mainepublic.org

Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration cut off state funding that the four federally recognized Native American tribes in Maine were using to plan an expansion of addiction treatment and mental health care. The move comes six years after Maine started including the tribes in state-funded efforts to combat major health problems.

OH: Ohio lawmakers weigh revamp of congressional redistricting

dispatch.com

As an Ohio coalition collects signatures for a 2018 ballot issue and the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case that could send political shockwaves nationwide, congressional redistricting reform talk is warming at the Statehouse.

AK: Alaska signs on to public safety broadband network unrolling nationwide

adn.com

Alaska already has a communications system in place that allows police, firefighters and medical personnel to get on the same channel and talk to one another on walkie-talkie-like devices. But the new network, called "FirstNet," will use broadband technology to go beyond voice-only connections, allowing them to send and receive photos, maps and audio recordings.

NY: State and federal efforts take aim at New York’s Scaffold Law

timesunion.com

The state Scaffold Law, intended to protect workers who helped build New York's now-iconic skyline in the 19th century, places legal blame for workers' gravity-related injuries on contractors and property owners when it is found that proper safety measures weren't in place. Now, separate state and federal efforts are taking aim at the law.

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