What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/7

US: Salaries of private college presidents continue to rise

Despite pressure on institutions of higher learning to hold down costs, the compensation of private college presidents continues to climb, up 5.6 percent between 2012 and 2013 to a median of $436,000, according to an annual survey.

CA: After attack, California lawmakers revive some gun control ideas

In the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said he would revisit some gun control proposals that previously stalled in the California Legislature. 

RI: Minorities sent to Rhode Island’s prisons, put on probation, far more than whites

Blacks account for 5 percent of Rhode Island's general population, but they make up 30.6 percent of the people in the adult prisons and 20.2 percent of people on probation or parole.

KY: Kentucky's incoming governor faces major challenges starting this week

After being sworn in Tuesday, newly elected Republican Gov. Matt Bevin faces the immediate challenges of assembling a state budget, addressing shortfalls in pension plans for state workers and teachers, and finding affordable ways to provide health care for Kentucky’s needy.

TX: High stakes for Democrats in Texas redistricting case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could have far-reaching implications for the way legislative districts in Texas — and across the country — are drawn. Democrats fear that if voters suing Texas succeed, minority communities will have reduced political power.

CO: Colorado hospital provider fee is a billion dollar political fight 

 A $1.2 billion system that provides health care to thousands of Colorado residents is becoming a political and fiscal headache for Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and lawmakers — one likely to dominate the 2016 legislative session.

FL: Florida lawmakers to debate concealed carry bill

House and Senate committees have both approved bills that would permit concealed weapons on Florida college campuses. The proposals await floor action when lawmakers reconvene next month.

KS: Kansas lawmakers, prison officials look for ways to ease overcrowding

Projections that put Kansas’ adult prisons nearly 1,700 inmates over capacity by the middle of the next decade have lawmakers and state corrections officials looking for ways to slow growth and ease overcrowding. About 609 beds will be needed by mid-2018 to meet projected demand.

IN: In Indiana, part-time lawmakers with full-time pay?

Indiana legislators receive on average $60,000 a year, far more than their base salary of $24,000. Most of their compensation comes from a per diem, which is $159 a day during the legislative session. 

MT: Montana retailers need license by Jan. 1 to sell e-cigarettes

Beginning Jan. 1, Montana retailers will need a new state license to sell alternative nicotine and vapor products, and they won’t be able to sell to people younger than 18.

ME: Drug cartels see Maine as lucrative new market

In the pipeline from Mexican poppy fields to users in Maine, the manufacture and sale of heroin is pure, if not simple, business.

WY: Wyoming county commissioners eyeing public land

The Wyoming County Commissioners Association is launching an initiative to review whether thousands of acres of federally owned land in Wyoming should be preserved or opened up for other uses.

NM: New Mexico legislators weigh bill to study hemp production

A Democratic New Mexico state senator wants the state Department of Agriculture to adopt rules for researching and growing an industrial version of marijuana’s nonintoxicating cousin.

Women in State Legislatures Presumption Laws