What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/21

DE: Millennials, boomers fuel increase in Delaware apartment construction

As millennials shun the anchor and cash commitments of homeownership, they are fueling an uptick in apartment construction in Delaware’s New Castle County.

KS: Kansas House advances ‘anti-Bloomberg’ bill to prevent local regulation of junk food

The bill would prohibit Kansas cities and counties from regulating the nutritional content of food sold in restaurants, vending machines and more. It’s commonly known as anti-Bloomberg legislation, after former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose administration tried to ban the sale of large sugary drinks in the city.

MD: Bill to ease sentencing for drug offenders advances in Maryland Senate

A landmark bill advancing in the Maryland Senate would send people charged with drug possession to treatment instead of prison; lower the age at which longtime prisoners can win early release; and allow drug offenders serving mandatory-minimum terms a chance to appeal their sentences.

LA: Louisiana budget woes blamed for exodus of medical school graduates

About half of the future doctors graduating this year from the Louisiana State University medical school in New Orleans will remain in Louisiana for residencies, but school leaders said more would have stayed if not for the looming threat of devastating state budget cuts to health care and higher education.

AK: Alaska governor plans to sell much of state’s royalty oil

Independent Gov. Bill Walker’s administration plans to ask for legislative approval to sell a large chunk of the state's royalty crude oil. The five-year contract would allow Alaska to sell the state’s only gasoline refiner up to 25,000 barrels of oil daily, bringing in up to $56 million in extra revenue. 

CA: California’s rebate program for green cars to shift gears

A state program that aims to make clean vehicles more accessible to California drivers will soon increase incentives for low- and moderate-income consumers. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project will also impose an income cap, restricting the eligibility of relatively high-income green car buyers.

KY: Kentucky House gives final approval to benefits for families of fallen paramedics

The bill, which goes to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, would extend $80,000 in death benefits and free tuition at state universities or community colleges to the families of Kentucky paramedics who die in the line of duty.

FL: Proposal to ban surprise medical bills reaches Florida governor’s desk

Florida legislators have sent Republican Gov. Rick Scott a bill that would prohibit doctors and hospitals from charging patients with out-of-network medical bills for emergency room and other hospital visits. 

TX: Texas officials note significant drop in abortions

The number of abortions performed in Texas dropped 14.2 percent in 2014, with almost 9,000 fewer procedures in the state compared to the year before. The new statistics come as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of Texas abortion restrictions that have been credited with the decrease.

OH: Ohio lawmakers to consider allowing smoking in private clubs

The legislation would make an exception to Ohio’s indoor smoking ban by allowing smoking in cigar clubs and other private organizations.

IA: Despite salmonella worries, Iowa suspends egg inspections

Iowa, the epicenter of a nationwide salmonella outbreak that sickened thousands of people nearly six years ago, has suspended its egg facility inspections. The reason: State agriculture officials say they fear inspectors might spread the bird flu virus from one flock to another as they visit egg facilities.

AR: Arkansas leading way on computer classes

Texas was the first state to require that all high schools teach computer science, but Arkansas schools catapulted ahead in the past year. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson made computer coding a priority in Arkansas and pushed a bill paying for teacher training and mandating that high schools offer the courses.

CO: Colorado economists warn about recession, complicating spending fight

The severe downturn in the oil and gas industry, combined with global economic pressures, led Colorado analysts to caution lawmakers about the looming possibility of a recession. The warning follows years of positive news as the state surged out of the Great Recession, and complicates the ongoing battle over the $27 billion state budget.

Apartment Boom Minority College Graduates