What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/13

FL: U.S. Supreme Court deals blow to Florida's death sentencing system

The court struck down Florida's system of letting judges, not juries, decide whether convicted criminals deserve the death penalty.

LA: Louisiana governor signs Medicaid expansion

Newly inaugurated Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order making Louisiana the 31st state, and the first in the Deep South, to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The move will extend Medicaid coverage to 300,000 people.

KY: Kentucky governor notifies Feds he’ll dismantle state’s health insurance exchange

Following through on a campaign pledge, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has notified federal authorities he plans to dismantle Kynect, Kentucky's health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.

US: U.N. to help U.S. screen Central American migrants

The Obama administration is turning to the United Nations to help screen migrants fleeing violence in Central America and to help set up processing centers in several Latin American countries in the hopes of stemming a flood of families crossing the southern border illegally.

MN: Minnesota lottery: ‘It’s just a game’

In response to the estimated $1.4 billion Powerball jackpot, the Minnesota Lottery has purchased radio airtime to remind players to play responsibly. The Lottery also will communicate the message through social media, its website and electronic billboards.

ME: Facing impeachment effort, Maine governor is skipping ‘State of the State’ speech

Republican Gov. Paul LePage said it would be ‘‘silliness’’ for him to face lawmakers just a couple weeks after some of them tried to impeach him. Instead, he said, ‘‘I'll send them a letter and call it a day.’’

KS: Efficiency study says changes could save state of Kansas $2 billion 

A preliminary efficiency study of Kansas government provides 105 recommendations — such as requiring state workers to have high-deductible health insurance and consolidating some school districts’ services — that would save the state $2 billion over 5 years.

NJ: New Jersey prison to become drug treatment center

Republican Gov. Chris Christie announced that a closing New Jersey prison will reopen next year as a drug treatment facility for inmates. He also plans to add $1.7 million to a coaching program that assists addicts in recovery.

OH: Ohio will continue to recognize Virginia’s concealed handgun permits

Ohio will continue to recognize Virginia's concealed-handgun permits even though Ohio permits will soon no longer be valid in Virginia. A 2014 law requires the Buckeye State to automatically recognize such permits from other states with similar license standards.

WV: West Virginia lawmakers propose testing welfare recipients for drug use

An interim committee approved drafting a bill that would require drug testing for West Virginia welfare recipients to help curb the state’s substance abuse problem.

NM: New Mexico set for driver’s license fight

Legislation that would end driver’s licenses for immigrants who are in the country illegally — providing them instead with more limited driving privilege cards — was filed in the New Mexico Legislature, setting the stage for a clash in the 30-day session that begins next week.

AK: How proposed cuts would hit Alaskans’ dividend checks 

Independent Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed reductions to Alaska’s Permanent Fund dividend check, a change made due to the state’s budget crisis, will reduce payments to families of four by a total of more than $15,000 over the next three years.

OK: State Supreme Court rules Oklahoma sales tax initiative can go forward

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that a penny sales tax initiative to help fund public education can move forward. Opponents had challenged the effort as a violation of a state constitutional prohibition against measures that deal with more than a single subject.

Top State Stories 1/14 Drug-Addicted Inmates