What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/25

KY: Kentucky’s Medicaid program faces $611 million deficit

Kentucky’s Medicaid program, which provides health insurance for more than a quarter of Kentucky’s population, faces a $611 million deficit over the next two years as it struggles to keep up with an aging population, a flood of new enrollees and the end of 100 percent federal funding for its expanded eligibility requirements.

OK: Oklahoma governor removes felony convictions from state job applications

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin ordered state agencies in Oklahoma to eliminate questions about prior felony convictions from application forms for state jobs. Nineteen other states and more than 100 cities and counties nationwide have adopted similar application guidelines.

FL: Florida governor asks for more Zika test kits

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is asking the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for another 250 kits to test for the virus that’s been found in 32 people in Florida so far.

IA: Iowa House votes to let children use handguns

The bill would permit children under 14 to use handguns with parental supervision. Current Iowa law allows children 14 and older to do so.

NM: Veto urged for New Mexico bill to let off-road vehicles use paved roadways

National consumer advocates are urging Republican Gov. Susana Martinez to veto legislation that would allow off-highway vehicles on paved roadways in New Mexico, saying the vehicles are unsafe.

MD: Maryland governor backs live video streaming of legislative floor action

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan endorsed a plan to require live video streaming and archived recordings of floor sessions of both houses of the Legislature. Forty-one states provide video stream of both chambers.

VT: Bill to legalize marijuana in Vermont advances

The Vermont Senate voted to advance the bill, which would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and create licenses for retailers and growers.

TX: Texas border communities have lower crime rates

Texas counties along the Rio Grande are relatively safe, state and federal crime statistics show, and they seem to be getting even safer as more law enforcement resources pour into the area.

AZ: State money helping wealthier Arizona kids go to private schools

Two years after Arizona lawmakers granted children from poor-performing schools the right to attend private schools at taxpayer expense, most children using the program are leaving high-performing public schools in wealthy districts, an analysis by The Arizona Republic has found.

UT: Utah Senate declares pornography a ‘public health crisis’

Utah senators adopted the crisis resolution after advocates said recent research indicates pornography is increasing, lowers self-esteem, leads to unhealthy views of sex and relationships, increases the odds of infidelity and is a major cause of divorce, among other problems.

MN: Minnesota agency wants ban on labeling wipes ‘flushable’

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency seeks to ban labeling on sanitary wipes that says they are “septic safe” because officials say they end up clogging wastewater treatment systems and lead to costly repairs. The agency also proposes that their packaging include a “do not flush” warning.

Top State Stories 2/26 State Laws Can Get in the Way of Police Accountability