What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/1

WI: Thousands dropped from food stamp program in Wisconsin after not finding work

Nearly 15,000 people in Wisconsin lost access to food stamps in the first three months of a new law that requires able-bodied adults without children at home to work at least 80 hours a month or look for work to stay in the program.

OK: Oklahoma may have to reimburse fathers millions in paternity cases

A state judge has ruled that the Oklahoma Department of Human Services has charged fathers in paternity cases too much in interest on back child-support judgments — a decision that could cost the state millions of dollars if upheld.

DC: Washington, D.C.’s housing authority relocates tenants, flips homes

The District of Columbia housing authority is moving tenants out of public housing in order to renovate and resell the properties for top dollar in gentrifying neighborhoods. The authority has denied requests from long-term, elderly residents to buy the homes.

IL: Illinois sues prisoners to pay for their room, board

The Illinois Department of Corrections is suing prisoners for the cost of their incarceration after release, employing a seldom-used 1982 law. The lawsuits often target inmates who have received money through inheritance and other means.

OH: Ohio Statehouse adds metal detectors, bans backpacks

The new safety measures apply more to the public than Statehouse employees, who will not have to go through metal detectors.

TX: Texas sees business potential in trade with Cuba

Texas could see $43 billion in economic impact and 214 new jobs from increased exports and other trade with Cuba, according to a new report from Texas A&M University. To jump-start efforts, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is leading a large state delegation to Cuba this week.

AL: Alabama governor settles lawsuit with Planned Parenthood

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley will not appeal a federal judge’s order to reinstate the Alabama Medicaid Agency's contracts with Planned Parenthood Southeast.

AR: Arkansas governor says sentencing guidelines need new look

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson wants lawmakers to address jail-time disparities for offenders who commit the same crimes. He suggests requiring judges and prosecutors to provide explanations when they don’t follow sentencing guidelines, and allowing appellate courts to review sentences that don’t conform.

FL: Florida cities don’t want Election Day to change

The Florida League of Cities wants to kill a legislative proposal that would shift city elections to the same date as the statewide November election.

MN: Number of inmates with drug convictions on rise in Minnesota prisons

The number of prison beds dedicated to inmates serving time for drug-related offenses increased almost 40 percent from 2010 to 2014 — a trend driven largely by an increase in offenders in prison for amphetamine-related offenses. 

NY: Former New York Assembly speaker convicted on corruption charges 

Sheldon Silver, once one of New York state’s most powerful politicians, was found guilty of federal corruption charges, ending a trial that was the capstone of the government’s efforts to expose the seamy culture of influence-peddling in Albany. 

NJ: Lawmakers consider mandatory recess for New Jersey schools

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would give children in kindergarten through fifth grade a 20-minute recess each day. The state already requires elementary students receive 150 minutes a week of physical education.  

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