What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 2/11

US: President’s budget would cut reimbursement to state, local prisons

President Obama’s proposed budget for next year calls for abandoning a program that reimburses state and local prisons for housing immigrants in the country illegally who’ve been convicted of crimes.

MA: Massachusetts moves to tighten oversight of nursing homes

Massachusetts health regulators moved to significantly strengthen oversight of nursing homes by creating a unit that will conduct unannounced inspections and imposing fines on problem-plagued facilities. The overhaul also calls for intensified scrutiny of companies and executives seeking licenses to run one of the 400-plus nursing homes in the state.

OH: Ohio House sends governor bill to defund Planned Parenthood

The House gave final approval to a bill that would cut off $1.3 million in public health grants to Planned Parenthood in Ohio, sending the measure to Republican Gov. and presidential candidate John Kasich. Kasich has said he will not veto the bill.

MO: U.S. sues Ferguson, Missouri, over police and court system

The U.S. Justice Department filed a 56-page lawsuit against the Missouri city, saying it rejected a consent agreement and alleging that its police and court system continue to violate the rights of black residents.

UT: Utah Legislature approves new category of licensed vehicles: ‘autocycles’

Utahns will soon be able to drive three-wheeled “autocycles” without having to get a motorcycle license. The vehicles are similar to motorcycles, but have a steering wheel, car-like seats and safety features such as a steel roll cage, air bags or anti-lock brakes.

IA: Iowa treasurer proposes state-run retirement savings plan

State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, a Democrat, is proposing a government-run retirement savings plan to help Iowans in the private sector save money for their futures. The program would focus on providing retirement savings options for small businesses that do not currently offer retirement plans.

DE: Delaware governor seeks $11.3 million for early education

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell is seeking money in his proposed budget to enroll more Delaware low-income children in pre-school programs, especially now that a federal grant to do so has expired.

WI: Wisconsin Senate OKs online voter registration

Senators passed and sent to the Assembly a bill that would allow Wisconsin residents to go online to register to vote. However, it would eliminate voter registration deputies who help people who have difficulty registering.

AL: Feds give Alabama go-ahead for Medicaid changes

The federal government gave Alabama the go-ahead to change the delivery of Medicaid to a managed care system that advocates hope will control costs and lead to better outcomes for patients.

MD: Maryland lawmakers push to strengthen state’s already strict gun laws

Democratic lawmakers in Maryland proposed a package of gun bills designed to keep firearms off college campuses and out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers and suspected terrorists. The legislation could set up a standoff with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

OK: Oklahoma Senate committee votes to continue historic preservation credits

Although it voted to suspend 20 state tax credits for two years, Oklahoma’s Senate Finance Committee chose to continue the credits that benefit historic preservation projects.

TX: Thousands of Texas kids use telemedicine to visit the doctor from school

In 2013, a telemedicine initiative run by Children’s Health, a hospital system in North Texas, began at two preschools. Today, there are screens and carts in 57 schools.

VA: Virginia bill would set fine for smoking in car with kids

The bill calls for slapping adults in Virginia with $100 fines for smoking cigarettes in cars carrying children under 8 years old.

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