What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/17
US: Governors have little power to block refugees
Despite protests from more than a dozen governors who want to close their states to Syrian refugees, those governors probably have little power to stop them from coming, legal scholars say.
WI: Wisconsin elections, ethics bills headed to governor's desk
Lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that would overhaul Wisconsin’s campaign finance law, and another that would dismantle the state’s elections and ethics board. The two controversial bills now go to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to sign them.
WV: West Virginia lawmakers eye drug testing for welfare recipients
Lawmakers unveiled a proposed bill that would mandate drug testing for welfare recipients in West Virginia. Those who fail drug tests would have to complete a treatment program. A second failed test would prompt a suspension of benefits, and a third would bring a permanent ban.
US: Looking to settle down, immigrant farmworkers face housing crisis
As migrant workers travel rural areas picking crops like cotton, apples and melons, they find few social services and even less affordable housing. That can leave them living in dangerous and dilapidated conditions.
MD: Maryland governor says he is cancer-free
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced he is “100 percent cancer-free.” The Maryland governor said a diagnostic test showed the aggressive chemotherapy treatment he underwent this summer eradicated the Non-Hodgkin lymphoma doctors found in June.
KY: Kentucky governor announces program to find jobs for recovered drug addicts
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear announced a program to help Kentuckians who graduate from drug abuse programs get jobs. The state’s 15 recovery centers graduate about 600 to 800 people a year.
TX: Is Texas denying health coverage to foster youth?
Advocates say Texas officials are routinely denying health care coverage to former foster children after they turn 21, even though federal law says the coverage should continue until they turn 26.
AK: Alaska corrections chief resigns amid scandal
Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, announced the resignation of Ron Taylor, Alaska’s corrections commissioner, after a report found widespread dysfunction that might have led to inmate deaths.
OK: Legislators gear up for another attempt to modernize Oklahoma’s alcohol laws
The measures to be considered would remove the distinction between “nonintoxicating” 3.2 beer and other beers, allow Oklahoma grocers and convenience stores to sell wine, and allow package stores to sell refrigerated beer and merchandise other than alcohol.
MT: Montana lawmakers to look at proposals to increase their pay
Montana lawmakers acknowledge that giving themselves raises could result in voter backlash. Their hourly pay rate of $10.33 while in session has been in place since 2009, though it is scheduled to go up to $11.33 per hour in 2017 to coincide with a raise given to state employees earlier this year.
IN: Indiana Senate Republicans to propose bill to balance LGBT protections, religious freedom
Republican leaders in the Indiana Senate say they plan to introduce a measure intended to enhance civil rights protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Their measure will also include additional protections for religious freedom.
HI: Hawaii lawmakers say state could do more to combat dengue fever outbreak
Two Hawaii lawmakers say the Department of Health should be doing more to combat dengue fever, including sending mobile testing units deep into rural areas.
PA: Pennsylvania voters will decide if judges can work longer
Next year voters in Pennsylvania will decide if judges should be allowed to retire when they are 75, five years later than they are currently required to step down from the bench. Proponents of the change say it will allow for more experienced adjudicators in state courts.