What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/8

AL: U.S. Supreme Court restores parental rights in Alabama lesbian adoption case

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned an Alabama court’s refusal to recognize a same-sex adoption and denial of visitation rights to a lesbian mother.

VA: Virginia could resurrect electric chair for executions

Inmates on death row in Virginia could be executed by electric chair when the state cannot obtain lethal injection drugs. Legislation to bring back the chair has won approval from both chambers of the Legislature, though some differences in the bills need to be resolved.

US: As roads become safer for drivers and passengers, pedestrian deaths still rise

Safer cars and safer roads have resulted in an overall decline in driver and passenger fatalities in recent years, but the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles continues to increase.

LA: Louisiana House passes new alcohol tax

Taxes on liquor, sparkling wine and wine with low alcohol content would go up less than a cent per fluid ounce, while beer taxes would go up less than a penny per bottle. The new taxes would generate $19 million, making a small dent in Louisiana’s $2 billion budget shortfall. 

US: Renters’ rise extends to suburbs

The number of renters grew faster on the outskirts of the nation's 11 most populous cities than within them between 2006 and 2014.

OK: Oklahoma releases another plan to reduce temblors

State regulators asked oil and natural gas producers in central Oklahoma to decrease their wastewater disposal operations to try to temper the sharp increase in the number and severity of earthquakes in the energy-rich state.

AZ: Arizona Senate votes to let schools use testing alternatives

Legislation that would make Arizona the first in the nation to adopt a menu of standardized tests gained final approval in the Senate and now heads to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey's desk.

WI: In first four years, Wisconsin inspector general found tens of millions of dollars in health fraud

Since Republican Gov. Scott Walker created the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health Services in October 2011, the amount of money saved due to Medicaid and food stamp fraud detection in Wisconsin has increased 80 percent, from $14.6 million in 2012 to $26.5 million in 2015.

FL: Florida lawmakers allocate $49 million for teacher bonuses

The controversial “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus program, which rewards Florida teachers based on their college entrance exam scores, will continue for at least one more year.

TX: Mexico pays off water debt to Texas

Mexico has paid off its water debt to Texas, achieving compliance with a 1944 treaty on water in the Rio Grande for the first time in five years. In recent years, as drought caused water shortages across the Lone Star State, the debt had become an increasing issue for businesses and ranchers along the border who depend on the river.

UT: Utah Senate votes to ban selling glasses of liquor at drive-up windows

Starbucks coffee shops may have just won new state liquor licenses, but the Utah Senate has taken steps to ensure that they cannot sell glasses of wine and beer at drive-up windows.

Taxing the Wealthy Drug Prices