What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/3

NY: New York attorney general probes insurers over hepatitis C coverage

Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking to see whether health insurance companies in New York are inappropriately rationing high-priced hepatitis C drugs in order to pad their bottom line.

FL: Bill to prevent rape kit backlogs clears Florida Legislature

The Florida House unanimously approved a bill that would require local law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits they collect to a statewide crime lab for testing within 30 days. Testing would have to be completed within 120 days. 

OK: Oklahoma House passes bill cutting 111,000 from Medicaid

The Oklahoma House agreed to a bill that would cut 111,000 Oklahomans, most of them women, from Medicaid. Under the measure, Oklahoma would seek federal permission to exclude all able-bodied adults younger than 65 from the program, saving an estimated $130 million a year but costing $203 million in federal matching funds.

KS: Kansas bill would take more traffic ticket revenue from cities for the state 

State senators in cash-strapped Kansas are considering a bill that would require municipalities to turn over more revenue they receive from traffic tickets to the state’s general fund. If a city refused to follow the new law, its municipal court would be temporarily shut down.

WI: Wisconsin’s corrections secretary calls for curbing forced overtime

The new head of Wisconsin’s Department of Corrections said his agency must address staffing shortages in the state's maximum security institutions and in a troubled prison for youth in northern Wisconsin.

OR: Oregon governor signs tiered minimum wage bill

The bill signed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown gives Oregon the highest statewide minimum wage rates in the nation: $14.75 inside Portland's urban growth boundary, $13.50 in midsize counties and $12.50 in rural areas by 2022.

WV: West Virginia Senate votes to raise sales tax to pay for highway work

The West Virginia Senate adopted a plan to raise nearly $290 million a year for road construction and maintenance — primarily through a 1 percent increase in the state sales tax. The bill also would add 3 cents a gallon to the wholesale gasoline tax in years when gas prices are $2 a gallon or less, raise Division of Motor Vehicles fees and increase the state privilege tax on vehicle purchases from 5 to 6 percent.

TX: Years after voter ID law, alternative IDs confuse Texas county officials

An election identification certificate is free to any qualifying voter with underlying documentation, such as a birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of residence. But in the three years since Texas began issuing them, only 653 have been issued — one for every 930 Texans who lack voter ID.

KY: Bills would usher public charter schools into Kentucky 

Lawmakers introduced bills that would allow public charter schools in Kentucky, one of a remaining handful of states without them. New Republican Gov. Matt Bevin had campaigned for them.

UT: Utah House OKs $9 million to help build new homeless shelters

Rather than sending all of Salt Lake County’s homeless to a single shelter and winter overflow facility, the bill approved by the Utah House seeks to build more and smaller shelters in other neighborhoods.

AK: Alaska Senate moves to protect children from identity theft

The Alaska Senate voted unanimously to approve a bill that allows parents to request a credit freeze on their child's behalf. For children who do not yet have a credit report, the legislation allows parents or guardians to create one, in order to put a freeze on it.

MS: Mississippi Senate passes execution secrecy bill

The names of employees and family members at an execution, as well as the pharmacy providing lethal drugs, would be kept secret under the bill, which will now hold for the possibility of more debate before moving to the Mississippi House.

PA: Pennsylvania begins building managed care system for older, disabled adults

Pennsylvania is seeking proposals to develop a managed care system that will support more than 400,000 lower-income older and disabled adults. 

Opioid Prescribing Limits Voting Machines