What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 2/8

US: States take action to keep guns out of hands of abusers

More than a dozen states have strengthened laws over the past two years to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers, a rare area of consensus in the nation's highly polarized debate over guns.

WV: West Virginia Senate takes up multimillion dollar tax cut for energy industries

Although in the midst of a budget crisis, the West Virginia Senate is moving forward with a long-planned multimillion dollar cut in the state’s severance tax for the coal and natural gas industries proposed by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

IL: Budget impasse puts Illinois college accreditation at risk

The accreditation agency that oversees Illinois' public colleges and universities has asked that they submit emergency plans detailing how they will accommodate students if the ongoing state budget crisis forces them to close.

CA: Super Bowl brings tax windfall to California

Thanks to California's high “jock tax,” the state's going to raise some $159,000 from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton alone.

NE: Nebraska lawmakers vote to end ban on meatpackers owning hogs

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts is expected to sign a bill that would allow Nebraska meatpackers to own hogs. The state is the last one with such a ban that was designed to protect farmers.

MT: Montana’s Indian reservations left out of state’s rosy economic news

The state of Montana’s most recent economic development report paints a rosy picture —unemployment rates between 3.9 and 4.4 percent, more than 10,000 jobs added, wages up 3.5 percent in the state last year. But certain segments of the state — especially American Indian reservations — aren’t doing as well.

KS: Kansas House approves bill that would protect underage drinkers

Underage drinkers could avoid criminal charges if they call for medical help under a bill Kansas House members approved in what supporters said is an effort to head off preventable tragedies.

UT: Utah needs teachers, but college students don’t want to major in education

Utah's K-12 schools are clamoring for teachers. But its colleges are struggling to churn them out.

KY: Kentucky governor wants to scale back Kentucky’s statewide broadband project

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says that he wants to scale back an ambitious $324 million plan to build a high-speed broadband network around the state to instead focus on Eastern Kentucky.

OH: Is Ohio’s largest city tearing down too many houses?

Although Columbus has a little less money than in previous years to tear down vacant houses, it has enough to tear down hundreds of them in neighborhoods across Ohio’s capital city. And that has some area leaders questioning whether neighborhoods are being irrevocably altered.

VA: Virginia bill would weaken land-use bill behind new roads, parks, schools

The Virginia Senate will take up a measure that would weaken a land-use tool used for decades by local governments to get builders to add roads, parks and other improvements to new home developments.

NY: New York governor moves against therapy that claims to make gay children straight

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a series of measures intended to eliminate so-called conversion therapy in New York, a practice that claims the ability to reverse same-sex attraction in some people but that has been widely discredited by scientists and criticized by gay-rights groups.

Tribal Recognition Top State Stories 2/5