What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/6
TX: Slowdowns at border ports of entry could cost Texas billions
Because of increased wait times, Texas stands to lose more than $32 billion in gross domestic product in just over three months as the federal government shifts personnel away from international bridges to deal with a surge of migrants, according to a newly released study.
CA: California AG launches sex abuse audit for all Catholic dioceses
California Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra will audit all 12 of California’s Roman Catholic dioceses on their reporting procedures in sex abuse cases to see whether church officials followed state law and reported allegations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement.
MT: Governor signs Montana school safety tax bill
Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock signed a school safety bill that would let schools offer a new tax specifically for school safety costs, and to use existing funding streams for safety upgrades.
FL: Here’s how Florida Republican lawmakers got their way in 2019
Emboldened by a more politically engaged governor, a more conservative state Supreme Court and nimble new leaders in the House and Senate, Florida’s Republican lawmakers achieved many items on their wish list.
CO: Colorado’s Democratic-majority legislature delivers on campaign promises
Sweeping changes on education, health care and the environment, coupled with a host of social policy changes such as a ban on gay conversion therapy and new gun control, ensure Colorado's 2019 legislative session will be remembered as one of the most transformative in decades.
OK: Veto delays action on overtime for Oklahoma workers making $31K or less
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a bill that would have required Oklahoma state agencies to pay all employees making $31,000 a year or less for all overtime hours they work. The bill passed through the legislature with bipartisan support.
AL: Judge rules Alabama prisons fail to adequately prevent suicides
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the Alabama prison system fails to adequately prevent inmate suicides and ordered the Alabama Department of Corrections to implement specific steps to address what he called “severe and systemic inadequacies.”
PA: Pressure grows to loosen party grip on Pennsylvania primary
Pennsylvania is in the minority of states with closed primary elections as the number of independent voters grows quickly and sparks a debate in the legislature for the first time in memory about opening up party primaries.
TN: Tennessee child welfare agency had known 100+ kids who died last year
Of the 186 child death cases last year reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, 115 of the children had come to the agency's attention, according to USA TODAY Network - Tennessee.
NJ: New Jersey governor’s budget takes money from needy firefighters' fund
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy wants to divert $33 million from the fund designed to support New Jersey firefighters in times of tragedy and hardship. Critics call the maneuver “horrendous,” but it follows a state comptroller investigation that found inadequate oversight of the fund.
AK: Alaska governor sued for not providing $20M to schools
An Alaska nonprofit education group is suing Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the state education commissioner for not paying the $20 million to public K-12 schools that lawmakers agreed to last year.
VA: Court bars Virginia from again isolating death row prisoners
A federal appeals court has ruled that Virginia cannot go back to isolating death row inmates and denying them access to recreational facilities. The state improved its treatment of death row inmates in 2015 but did not commit to making those changes permanent.
ND: North Dakota incentive aims to attract petrochemical industry
The incentive's goal is to attract makers of ethane and propane that could in turn attract a plastics plant to add value to North Dakota's abundant natural gas supply. The legislation, approved by a split vote in the House and signed by GOP Gov. Doug Burgum, takes effect July 1.