What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 1/22

US: U.S. Clean Power Plan can proceed pending review

A federal appeals court panel in Washington rebuffed efforts to delay enforcement of President Barack Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The plan has been challenged by more than two dozen mostly Republican-led states and allied business and industry groups tied to fossil fuels.

CA: California to test mileage fee program

The California Department of Transportation is seeking 5,000 volunteers for an experimental program that will charge motorists a fee based on how far they drive — a proposal that could replace the state gasoline tax as a way to fund highway maintenance and repairs.

TX: University of Texas chancellor blasts ‘Top 10 Percent Rule’

Texas should consider scrapping its rule for automatically admitting the top 10 percent of graduating classes into state universities because it hurts the prestige of the University of Texas at Austin, the UT System chancellor said. The rule is designed to make Texas' top universities more diverse. 

WY: Wyoming committee defeats Medicaid expansion proposal

The Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee rejected a request by Republican Gov. Matt Mead that the state expand Medicaid to offer coverage to about 20,000 low-income residents.

US: U.S. tightens visa rules for some European visitors

The Obama administration announced changes to a visa-waiver program that would make it harder for travelers to enter the U.S. from Europe if they had dual citizenship from Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, or had visited one of those countries in the last five years.

VT: Vermont governor unveils budget with higher fees

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin unveiled a $1.53 billion general fund budget for Vermont’s upcoming fiscal year that calls for new or higher fees on independent doctors and dentists as well as mutual funds, and strengthens security at state buildings following the August murder of a child protection worker.

KS: Kansas lawmakers propose new checks on welfare recipients

Some Kansas legislators, who last year cracked down on what welfare recipients could do with their benefits, are proposing legislation that would cross-check recipients against a list of lottery winners, verify the identity of all adults receiving assistance, and monitor excessive benefit card replacements.

AK: Alaska budget calls for fewest state workers since 2007

Independent Gov. Bill Walker’s proposal to cut 185 jobs in the next fiscal year would leave Alaska with just over 24,000 workers, the smallest total since 2007.

WV: West Virginia senators narrowly approve ‘Right-to-Work’ bill

The West Virginia Senate narrowly passed a controversial “Right-to-Work” bill similar to what 25 other states have enacted. The vote came just before an expected state Supreme Court ruling on a case that could alter the balance of political power in the chamber.

NC: Five North Carolina towns to hold 2015 elections again

After complaints from second-place town council candidates about possible election law violations that could have cost them the vote, five North Carolina towns will repeat last year’s election when voters head to the polls for the March 15 primary.

MD: Maryland Legislature overturns five of governor’s 2015 vetoes

The Maryland General Assembly overturned five of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s 2015 vetoes. The resurrected measures dealt with public marijuana smoking and pot paraphernalia, police seizures of criminal assets, taxation of online hotel-booking services and funding to renovate an arts center in Annapolis.

IN: Indiana Senate passes bill to open adoption records

Adoptees born between 1941 and 1994 would be able to access their birth records under a bill passed by the Indiana Senate.

ND: North Dakota tribal members sue over voter ID laws

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger was served with a lawsuit by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who claim that recent changes to the state's voter identification laws infringe on their right to vote.

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