What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/8
CT: Connecticut lawmakers look to cut corporate taxes in special session
Connecticut legislators expect to pass a large package of items, including cutting corporate taxes, reducing overall spending by $350 million and enacting a constitutional lockbox for transportation funding. The special session is necessary because the state’s sluggish economy has led to lower-than-expected tax collections.
US: U.S. Supreme Court won’t review laws banning assault weapons
Justices declined to review whether cities and states can prohibit semi-automatic, high-capacity assault weapons, which have been used in some of the nation’s most deadly recent mass shootings.
IL: Illinois governor signs bill to free up gas tax, lottery money
Cities and towns across Illinois will soon receive an infusion of cash to operate 911 centers, plow roads and train firefighters under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. The bill also will funnel money to pay lottery prizes and ensure low-income families get help paying heating bills after both programs were thrown into turmoil by the state’s budget impasse.
US: Uranium contaminates water in the West
Uranium, the stuff of nuclear fuel for power plants and atom bombs, increasingly is showing in drinking water systems in major farming regions of the West.
NC: North Carolina rolls out new brand, logo for the state
Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration has launched a new $1.5 million branding effort for state government, with a new state logo and a slogan: “Nothing Compares” that will be seen on 75 billboards.
KY: Kentucky governor issues 201 pardons before leaving office
In his final hours as Kentucky’s governor, Democrat Steve Beshear granted 201 pardons and six commutations to people sentenced for a range of offenses, including 10 women sentenced for violent crimes they committed after suffering years of domestic violence.
TX: After legal fight, 21 Syrian refugees to arrive in Texas
Twelve Syrian refugees were scheduled to arrive in Texas after the state eased up in its legal fight against resettlement agencies and the federal government. The refugees, including six children, were expected to join relatives already settled in Dallas and Houston. Another nine refugees are scheduled to arrive in Houston Thursday.
MA: Massachusetts governor proposes giving localities greater power over liquor sales
Cities and towns would gain greater power to issue liquor licenses under a bill proposed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker that is aimed at streamlining state oversight of municipalities.
GA: Georgia tax collections grow ahead of 2016 legislative session
Strong income tax collections boosted state revenue in November. For the fiscal year that began July 1, revenue is up 9.1 percent, or about $700 million. About 40 percent of that has come from the higher fuel taxes and a new hotel-motel fee.
MD: Maryland policing panel to seek major changes in investigating alleged misconduct
A legislative work group plans to recommend substantial changes in how quickly Maryland police officers must cooperate with internal investigations and the amount of time the public has to file brutality complaints.
FL: Florida lawmakers consider bills to protect for-profit college students
In the wake of major scandals, state lawmakers are considering stronger regulations against for-profit colleges. The proposals come after Florida spent years loosening standards and opening up more public money to such institutions.
IA: Iowa asks out-of-staters to tout benefits of privatized Medicaid
Hoping to put a positive face on Medicaid privatization, Iowa’s Department of Human Services asked each of the companies it has contracted with to bring out-of-state residents to tout their experiences to Iowa lawmakers.
SC: South Carolina lawmaker proposes database of sorority, fraternity probes
A South Carolina lawmaker wants the state to set up an online database where violations, arrests and investigations linked to fraternity and sorority activities at the state’s public colleges can be listed.