What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/24

PA: Pennsylvania finally has a budget

After nine months of deadlock, a budget standoff in Pennsylvania has come to an end. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said he will allow the Republican-proposed, $30 billion budget to become law without his signature.

NC: North Carolina approves law restricting LGBT accommodations

The General Assembly passed and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that would prevent North Carolina cities and counties from passing nondiscrimination ordinances and from opening bathrooms for people to use based on the gender with which they identify.

SC: South Carolina Senate votes to set up refugee registry

The South Carolina Senate passed a bill that would require refugees to register with the state and hold their sponsors liable if they commit an act of terror or violent crime. The bill moves to the House.

TN: Tennessee law that punishes mothers for drug-dependent babies will end

A controversial Tennessee law that penalizes women who give birth to babies who test positive for narcotics will sunset later this year after attempts to extend it failed in a House committee.

UT: Utah GOP’s online voting experiment has some hiccups

The Utah Republican Party's first foray into online voting in Tuesday's presidential caucus was not without snags, with voters stymied by long waits and confused by the registration process.

KY: Kentucky compromise will result in single marriage license for gays, straights

The deal, between Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and House Democrats, will allow license applicants to identify themselves as bride, groom or spouse and will not require a county clerk’s signature. It follows a controversy that erupted last summer when a Kentucky county clerk refused to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

IN: Indiana governor signs bill boosting road funding

The bill will put about $230 million in new money into improving Indiana’s highways and bridges over the next two years. It’s short of the $1 billion that Republican Gov. Mike Pence sought, but it doesn’t include an election-year increase in cigarette and gasoline taxes proposed as a longer-term way to increase funding.

NE: Senators uphold Nebraska food stamp ban for drug felons

Nebraska residents with major or multiple felony drug convictions will remain ineligible for federal food assistance after an effort to repeal the restriction stalled in the Legislature.

FL: Florida governor signs rape kit, needle exchange bills

Republican Governor Rick Scott has approved a new Florida law to require crime labs to test rape kits faster and another that allows the University of Miami to gives out free, clean needles and syringes in exchange for used ones.

MT: U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal to close Montana primaries

Justices rejected a Republican Party appeal to close Montana's primary elections in June, which means the elections remain open and any registered voter will be able to select a GOP ballot.

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