What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 1/7

AL: Alabama justice says order against gay marriage is still in place

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore said state probate judges remain under a court order to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples even though a U.S. Supreme Court decision effectively legalized same-sex marriage more than six months ago.

FL: Florida governor launches TV campaign on policy goals

Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s political committee will start airing $1 million worth of TV ads next week to convince state legislators (and Florida residents) to back two of his proposals: to cut taxes by $1 billion and create a $250 million fund to recruit businesses to the state.

AK: Alaska institutes hiring freeze

Independent Gov. Bill Walker’s administration has put in place a hiring freeze and travel restrictions for state workers in light of Alaska’s budget crisis. The move comes more than a year after House and Senate leaders asked him to consider such measures.

MI: Michigan governor signs bill limiting public talk of ballot issues

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that prohibits local officials in Michigan from publicly discussing ballot proposals or millage issues in the 60 days leading up to an election. Municipal and school district officials have blasted the measure as a violation of free speech. 

TX: Texas zoos struggle to limit guns under new laws

Zoos that want to limit firearms on their property are walking a legal tightrope under a pair of new Texas gun laws, and complaints have already been filed against zoos in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth over their efforts to limit weapons on their grounds.

CA: State of emergency declared over Southern California gas leak

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over a Los Angeles-area well that’s been venting huge amounts of methane since October. Brown wants the owner to pay for greenhouse gas emission reduction projects elsewhere in California to counteract the disaster.

KS: Kansas begins mentoring program for welfare recipients

Kansas launched a new program to provide interested welfare recipients with volunteer mentors who can teach them life skills, with plans to expand it this summer to foster children nearing adulthood.

MA: Massachusetts lawmakers hear testimony on bicycle protection

A Massachusetts legislative committee heard emotional testimony on proposed legislation that would require side guards and convex mirrors on large trucks to help prevent bicyclists from being killed or injured.

WA: Some Washington labs more friendly to pot dealers

An analysis of the labs that test legal marijuana in Washington found that some appear to be friendlier to the industry than others in their results, leading to calls for stricter state oversight.

OK: Oklahoma attorney general pushes for independent auditor

Oklahoma’s attorney general and state auditor are at loggerheads over whether the state attorney general’s office should be allowed to select its own independent auditor.

KY: Kentucky GOP senators target abortion, Common Core

Republicans who control the Kentucky Senate unveiled a series of priority bills on abortion, religious expression and a major overhaul of public education to replace the controversial Common Core academic standards.

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