What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 1/26

US: U.S. Supreme Court expands ban on mandatory life sentences for juvenile killers

The U.S. Supreme Court expanded its ban on mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for inmates convicted of murders committed before age 18, saying even those imprisoned years ago should have an opportunity to argue for their release.

NC: Arguments over North Carolina voter ID law begin in federal court

The bitter dispute about North Carolina’s elections law, which requires voters to produce one of six accepted credentials or to submit a provisional ballot, returned to a federal courtroom.

US: President bans solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons

President Obama announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences.

LA: Health and hospitals, higher education in line for Louisiana budget cuts

Louisiana has a $750 million budget shortfall. According to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, if legislators do not approve his revenue-raising plan, higher education and the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals each will have to find $131 million in cuts.

KS: Kansas bill would ban discrimination against gun dealers, manufacturers 

The measure would function like Kansas laws that prevent religious or racial discrimination, and allow gun dealers to sue when they feel discriminated against.

OH: Ohio sees rise in human trafficking victims, investigations 

Ohio law enforcement identified more than 200 potential human trafficking victims last year, 60 of them under age 18, and successfully prosecuted 33 traffickers — reflecting an increasing number of investigations, victims and arrests for something that wasn’t a crime in the state 10 years ago.

TX: Texas faces lawsuit over provision of border security law

A national civil rights group is suing Texas over a new law that makes it a felony to harbor undocumented immigrants. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the law is unconstitutional because immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility.

NH: New Hampshire bill seeks conditions to get Medicaid

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan says the most effective step lawmakers could take to combat New Hampshire's opioid crisis is to reauthorize Medicaid expansion. A Republican bill to do that would also require Medicaid recipients to be employed, do community service or provide child care services.

NM: New Mexico weighs anti-crime laws as other states ditch them

While some states are discussing easing three-strikes sentencing laws, scaling back mandatory sentencing laws and focusing on rehabilitation, New Mexico lawmakers and the governor are pushing a tough-on-crime agenda.

AR: Campaign contributors to Arkansas Supreme Court candidates win high court cases

A high-profile class-action lawyer, his Texarkana law firm and five law firms headquartered outside Arkansas rank among the biggest campaign donors to state Supreme Court justices, an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette analysis of public records shows.

NV: Ballot measure would restore old rooftop solar rates in Nevada

The rooftop solar industry, grappling with an increase in customer bills that has prompted several companies to halt sales in Nevada, is turning its attention to the political process, with a ballot measure that would restore a prior rate design for rooftop solar customers.

HI: Hawaii governor focuses on infrastructure

Democratic Gov. David Ige vowed in his State of the State speech to install fixes that will cool 1,000 Hawaii classrooms and to launch an initiative to develop water, sewer and other infrastructure to make it easier for companies to develop affordable housing.

WI: Bill aims to remove barriers to reporting sexual assaults by Wisconsin students

Under a bill introduced by Republican state Rep. Joan Ballweg and backed by the University of Wisconsin, victims of sexual assault and the bystanders who help them wouldn’t get in trouble for underage drinking if they report the assault.

Top State Stories 1/27 Medicaid Expansion