What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/23

PA: House vote signals breakthrough in Pennsylvania budget stalemate

A bipartisan coalition in the House sent a spending bill over a key procedural hurdle, raising the possibility that the main appropriations bill in a $30.8 billion spending package could pass and end a six-month budget stalemate.

KY: Kentucky governor orders clerks' names removed from marriage licenses

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin ordered county clerks' names removed from Kentucky marriage license forms, a move he said would honor the religious beliefs of officials who oppose same-sex marriage and still allow the marriages to be recorded.

UT: Judge: Utah can cut federal Planned Parenthood money

A federal judge said Utah can cut off federal funds to the state’s Planned Parenthood organization, which Republican Gov. Gary Herbert had ordered after the release of secretly recorded videos by an anti-abortion group.

MN: Feds reject Minnesota's ‘Real ID’ extension request

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security increased the chances that Minnesotans could have problems boarding planes next year by refusing to grant Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s request for an extension to comply with stronger driver’s license standards.

CT: Connecticut Grinch? State employees must work all day Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve

If Connecticut state employees are working on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, they better plan on staying all day. The widespread practice of leaving early has gotten so extreme that state officials sent an email to dozens of offices saying employees don’t get to cut out early.

IN: Indiana governor authorizes $42 million in raises for state employees

Republican Gov. Mike Pence authorized raises based on performance evaluations in January. Workers who meet expectations can expect a 3 percent raise. Those who exceed expectations will receive a 4 percent increase. And those rated outstanding will get a 6 percent hike.

ME: Maine attorney general: No basis for criminal inquiry into governor’s actions

Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills said she won’t pursue a criminal investigation into Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s actions that led a private school in Fairfield to withdraw its job offer to Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves.

WA: Judge says Seattle’s ‘gun violence’ tax doesn’t violate Washington law

A Washington Superior Court judge upheld Seattle's new tax on firearms and ammunition sales, rejecting a challenge from the National Rifle Association claiming the measure violated a state law barring municipalities from enacting firearm legislation.

VA: Say ‘Cheese:’ New Virginia DMV policy eases up on no-smile rule

Smile. Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles is easing its policy on smiling in photos used in driver’s licenses and identification cards. Since 2009, customers could smile but not show teeth as the state implemented image verification software.

WY: Wyoming road signs carry ‘Star Wars’ messages

Star Wars messages encouraging drivers to buckle their seat belts this holiday has started on digital message signs across Wyoming.

Model Minority? Millennial Legislators