What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/22

NY: New York governor to pardon thousands of youth offenders

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will grant “conditional pardons” to thousands of New York residents who were convicted of misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies in their youth, calling it a plan that balances “compassion and caring and protecting society.”

MS: Shifting Mississippi’s tax burden could be part of raising transportation money

Some Mississippi legislators are considering shifting the tax burden in the state by raising fuel or other taxes to repave roads and rebuild bridges, while cutting other taxes such as the corporate franchise tax or the personal income tax.

VA: Virginia to end concealed carry reciprocity with other states

Virginia will no longer recognize concealed carry handgun permits from 25 states that have reciprocity agreements with the commonwealth. The move will prevent some Virginians from obtaining a permit in a state with comparatively lax laws and carrying a handgun legally at home.

PA: Pennsylvania Supreme Court says governor can postpone executions

Pennsylvania's highest court upheld Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s authority to postpone executions in the state. Concerned about flaws in the death penalty system, Wolf last year began issuing reprieves to condemned inmates.

AK: To save money, more Alaskan patients head to the Lower 48

Flying out-of-state for major elective services, like knee and hip replacements, can save patients and insurance companies tens of thousands of dollars. So much money, in fact, that at least one Alaska insurance company plans to start paying travel expenses for members on individual and group plans.

LA: Louisiana governor-elect wants to restore food stamp benefits

Democratic Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards said he's asking the federal government and the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services not to interrupt food stamp benefits to about 31,000 residents. As of Jan. 1, those residents faced the possibility of losing the assistance because Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal decided not to apply for a federal waiver.

MN: Minnesota House GOP proposes boost for seniors in 2016

A group of Minnesota House Republicans wants part of the state’s sizable budget surplus to finance a phased-in tax exemption on Social Security income in the 2016 session.

NH: New Hampshire, Rite Aid sign deal to stock overdose reversal drug

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan announced Rite Aid has signed an order with the state to stock Narcan, an emergency treatment for heroin and opioid overdoses. The order means any individual will be able to purchase Narcan from a Rite Aid pharmacist in New Hampshire.

MD: Maryland county declares end to homeless veterans

Montgomery County (Maryland) has effectively ended veteran homelessness, after a half-a-million-dollar push to create housing for people who joined the military and then found themselves struggling after their service.

TX: In Texas, disaster relief funds go unspent

More than a third of the $3 billion in federal disaster recovery funds from hurricanes Ike and Dolly remains unspent seven and a half years after the storms battered the Texas coast.

FL: Study finds Florida’s crackdown on pill mills saved lives

Florida laws regulating pain clinics were able to slow the rise in deaths from prescription opioids and heroin, if only temporarily, according to research from Johns Hopkins University. Law enforcement and public health authorities have said that attempts to curb the illicit use of prescription opioids may have fueled increased use of heroin.

Millennial Legislators Dominican-American Voters