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

  • November 09, 2017

ME: Maine governor says he won’t expand Medicaid in Maine unless Legislature funds it 

pressherald.com 

Nearly 60 percent of Maine residents who voted approved an expansion that would extend Medicaid benefits to an estimated 70,000 people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, said he would not act to implement the expansion until it was fully funded by the Legislature. 

AK: Alaska meth deaths up fourfold 

adn.com 

Using a three-year average, the rate of methamphetamine-related deaths in Alaska increased fourfold from 2008-10 to 2014-16, according to a new state report. There were 233 meth-related deaths in Alaska from 2008 to 2016, the bulk of which were direct drug overdoses while others were from causes such as drownings or falls while the person was on meth. 

CA: California governor delivers a blunt climate change message in Germany 

sandiegouniontribune.com 

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said the whole world needs to wake up to the perils of warming temperatures, and promised the United States would one day be back to work on global solutions with the international community. California is part of the “Under 2 Coalition,” which includes 188 cities, states and other jurisdictions around the world committed to curbing CO2 emissions and limiting global warming to an increase of 2 degrees Celsius. 

TX: Some in Texas Legislature talking about re-thinking gun laws 

texastribune.org 

In the days after a lone gunman at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs left at least 26 people dead, some members of the Texas Legislature, including at least one Republican, are pushing for their fellow legislators and other top officials to examine whether the state's gun laws need to be changed. 

WV: West Virginia agencies pair to allow students to work in state parks 

wvgazette.com 

Two state agencies announced a partnership designed to get high school students real work experience in West Virginia’s state parks. 

AZ: Arizona sued over dual voter registration system 

azcentral.com 

A coalition of nonprofits have filed a lawsuit alleging the Arizona Secretary of State's Office is unconstitutionally blocking tens of thousands of people from voting with its registration rules. The state requires more documentation of citizenship for state and local races than for federal elections. 

UT: Utah Supreme Court rules drugged driving standard unconstitutional 

sltrib.com 

The Utah Supreme Court has reversed a ruling by the Utah Court of Appeals, which last year found that a law making it a second-degree felony to cause death or serious injury while driving with "any measurable amount" of drugs in one’s system was unconstitutional. 

PA: In first week of Pennsylvania program, 4,000 sign up for medical marijuana 

readingeagle.com 

More than 3,800 patients and 200 caregivers have signed up for Pennsylvania's medical marijuana registry since it launched last week. More than 300 physicians have registered with the department to participate in the program, state officials said. 

NY: Rule would push New York prosecutors to release evidence favorable to defense 

nytimes.com 

In an unusual move meant to make criminal trials fairer, New York state’s top judge has issued a new rule specifically requiring judges to order prosecutors to search their files and disclose all evidence favorable to the defense at least 30 days before major trials. 

MI: Michigan Senate OKs concealed pistol carry in schools, churches, day care centers 

freep.com 

The legislation in Michigan would allow the concealed carry of handguns in places that have traditionally been off limits to guns, such as schools, churches, day care centers, bars and stadiums. The three-bill package, which now moves to the Michigan House, passed the Senate 25-12, over strong objections from Democrats. 

MN: Minnesota Senate facing December furloughs, shutdown 

startribune.com 

The Minnesota Senate is fast running out of money and could begin furloughing its 205 staff members — and all 67 senators — as soon as Dec. 1, Republican leaders said. 

FL: Florida House panel votes to limit power to raise taxes 

orlandosentinel.com 

After a brief pep talk from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, House members got moving on an election-year proposal that would make it harder for future lawmakers to raise taxes. 

WI: Republican lawmakers' bill would lower drinking age to 19 in Wisconsin 

jsonline.com 

The bill being circulated by three state legislators would only drop the age to 19 if Wisconsin would not lose its federal highway money. Current law says any state with a drinking age lower than 21 can lose 8 percent of federal highway funding.

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