What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 1/4

US: Government agents begin push to deport immigrants denied refuge

Immigration agents are targeting the addresses of families with deportation orders, as the government begins an effort to find and deport Central American migrants who sought refuge in the U.S. and stayed illegally.

AK: Alaska Senate president weighs sales tax

Republican Sen. Kevin Meyer said in an email to his colleagues that Alaska lawmakers should consider implementing a statewide sales tax as they seek solutions to the state's budget crisis.

US: Gun control advocates shift focus to the states

With President Obama poised to act on his own authority to try to stem gun violence, his gun control allies are using big-money donors and shifting tactics to take on the powerful National Rifle Association in state-by-state battles.

KY: Kentucky Legislature to face partisan battles, budget woes

Kentucky’s Legislature returns Tuesday for a 60-day session that will feature partisan battles over charter schools, public pensions, abortion, voting rights for felons, educational spending, caps on lawsuit damages, a higher statewide minimum wage and mandatory workplace union dues.

UT: Utah’s property tax delinquent lists include prominent names

Utah's tallest building, the outgoing mayor of its largest city and the Utah Jazz's biggest star all appeared on the lists of people who did not pay property tax on time in 2015.

NY: New York governor to lift minimum wage for workers at New York universities

Continuing a push to pay higher wages for public-sector jobs, Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to raise the minimum wage for state university workers in New York to $15.

TX: As ‘open carry’ takes effect in Texas, local officials predict lawsuits

The state’s handgun license holders, who previously had to keep their firearms concealed, now can carry them openly. Texas prosecutors and police chiefs must determine whether — and when — police officers can ask those visibly carrying guns to present their permits.

PA: Pennsylvania lawmakers want to reform state lobbying laws

A group of Pennsylvania legislators wants to overhaul lobbying laws to require state officials to report when a spouse or family member is a lobbyist, implement stricter requirements for reporting gifts and increase fines on lobbyists who violate state requirements.

HI: Hawaii raises smoking age to 21

Hawaii's new law bans people under 21 from buying tobacco, including electronic cigarettes. 

KS: Kansas bill to ban anti-gay discrimination will get early look

A bill that would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Kansas will receive a hearing on Jan. 14, the fourth day of the new legislative session.

OK: Federal inquiry opens amid care complaints at Oklahoma VA facility

The Veterans Health Administration’s Office of the Medical Inspector has launched a federal inquiry into allegations that missed diagnoses and poor patient care at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center have resulted in life-altering consequences for a number of veterans.

IL: New Illinois laws aim to keep teens out of prison system

A package of new laws includes changes that stop youths from being detained for misdemeanor crimes and give judges more discretion on whether teens should be tried as adults.

CO: Colorado ethics commission has no investigators, little authority

Faced with a lack of authority and resources, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, approved by voters in 2006, struggles to do its work. But a proposed ballot question would extend the commission's narrow authority over public employees to the judicial system.

Walk-in Clinics Selling State Buildings