What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 2/1

UT: Utah bill favoring heterosexual parents unconstitutional, critics argue

Legislation that would require Utah judges to favor heterosexual couples over same-sex couples in adoptions or foster care placements is blatantly unconstitutional and won’t hold up in court, gay rights advocates argue.

MO: Missouri considers hiring private firm to verify welfare eligibility

Supporters say legislation that would require Missouri’s Department of Social Services to hire a private firm to verify recipients' eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, child care subsidies and cash welfare payments could save the state millions of dollars by ending benefits for people who aren't actually eligible for them.

KY: Kentucky Senate to take up live chat ‘informed consent’ abortion bill

Kentucky senators will vote on a House-passed “informed consent” bill that would require women to choose between a face-to-face medical consultation and a live video chat within 24 hours of having an abortion.

FL: Florida House to debate ‘open carry,’ ‘campus carry’ gun bills

This week, the Florida House will debate proposals that would allow people with concealed weapons permits to openly carry handguns and to carry concealed weapons on public college and university campuses.

MT: Out of bounds: Many Montana lawmakers live outside their district; But not a problem

Half of Montana’s residents are represented by a lawmaker who lives outside the district. Some live dozens of miles from the heart of their "home" district. Others live within just a few hundred feet of their nearest constituents. What most have in common is that they’re not breaking Montana law, which doesn’t always require legislators or judges to live in the district they represent.

OK: Oklahoma officials challenge FCC cap on inmate phone fees

The state of Oklahoma and state law enforcement officials are challenging a recent Federal Communications Commission rule that caps the amount of money prisoners and their families are charged for telephone calls.

TX: Oil driller's lawsuit could cost Texas billions in tax refunds

Texas’ highest civil court has agreed to hear a case hinging on whether metal pipes, tubing and other equipment used in oil and gas production should be exempt from sales taxes. A ruling favoring the industry could force the state to issue tax refunds of as much as $4.4 billion — enough to wipe out the state’s projected budget surplus.

DC: District of Columbia mayor directs $82 million to affordable housing

To create or preserve more than 800 units of affordable housing, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser has allocated $82 million toward affordable housing projects in the District of Columbia.

KS: Minority groups in Kansas push for Election Day voter registration

Minority groups and other voting rights advocates are pushing for passage of a bill that they say would dramatically increase voter turnout in Kansas by allowing people to register on Election Day and still have their vote counted.

WI: Wisconsin bill would provide option of a year’s supply of birth control

In an effort to reduce unwanted pregnancies, two Wisconsin lawmakers propose allowing patients to get a year’s supply of certain birth control at once rather than for 30 or 90 days as regulations now require.

IL: Illinois declines to expand medical marijuana conditions list

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration said Illinois will not expand the list of conditions that qualifies people to get medical marijuana.

Top State Stories 2/2 Unplanned Pregnancies