What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 2/12

WV: West Virginia governor vetoes right-to-work, prevailing wage bills

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed bills that would make West Virginia a right-to-work state and repeal the state’s prevailing wage law, saying neither bill will create jobs or lead to economic growth in the state.

KS: Kansas Supreme Court strikes down block grant funding of public schools

Kansas lawmakers violated the state Constitution last year when they repealed the state’s old school finance formula and replaced it with a system of block grants for two years, the court ruled in upholding a lower court decision that said the new system of funding public schools is not equitable.

OK: Oklahoma’s budget hole grows to more than $1 billion

Estimates are Oklahoma lawmakers will have $1.3 billion less to appropriate in the upcoming budget year, as depressed energy prices, tax cuts and other factors are not producing the revenue that was earlier expected.

TX: Texas could become first state to recommend moratorium on use of bite marks in court

The Texas Forensic Science Commission may recommend prohibiting the use of bite marks until additional scientific research is done to confirm its validity. The decision comes after a Dallas man was freed from prison last fall when the court agreed that bite mark evidence used to convict him of murder was bogus.

ID: Idaho governor asks for close look at faith healing

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he's concerned with the number of children who die in Idaho because their parents choose faith healing instead of traditional medical care. He asked the Legislature to find a way to both protect children and support religious freedom.

HI: Police in Hawaii say not all rape kits should be tested

Honolulu Police say a proposal to test all rape kits, including 1,500 kits dating back more than a decade, would be costly and inefficient.

MD: Maryland governor seeks money to knock down vacant homes

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is calling for the state to spend $21.5 million to help finance the demolition of vacant homes in Baltimore, a few small towns and older suburbs in Western Maryland. Officials estimate there are 16,000 vacant homes in Baltimore alone.

NJ: New Jersey Senate passes bill aimed at gender pay disparity

Senators approved a bill that would prohibit employers in New Jersey from paying people of one gender less than the other for "substantially similar" work unless they can demonstrate the disparity is based on factors such as training, education, experience or production.

OH: Ohio bill would ban switching parties in primary elections

Ohio voters would no longer be able to switch political parties within 30 days of a primary election under a legislator's proposal meant to thwart what he calls "shenanigans."

KY: Kentucky bill would raise legal age for buying tobacco, vaping products to 21

The sale of tobacco and nicotine vaporizing products would be prohibited to Kentuckians younger than 21, rather than the present age of 18, under a bill headed to the House of Representatives.

IL: Illinois looks at banning drones near prisons

The growing number of restrictions on where drones can fly could extend to prison yards under a new measure introduced in the Illinois Senate.

CO: Bill Cosby cases inspire Colorado bill for more time for victims

The sexual assault allegations against comedian Bill Cosby have inspired Colorado lawmakers to sponsor a bill to eliminate a statute of limitations to give rape victims more time to seek criminal charges.

Many Americans Are Rising Out of the 'Middle Class' Anti-Addiction Medication
Philadelphia Museum of Art