What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/31

CT and NC: Connecticut governor invites North Carolina businesses to move north

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut invited North Carolina business owners to relocate their companies to his state if they are concerned about the effects of a new LGBT law in their state.

MS: Mississippi Senate approves guns in church

The Senate passed the Mississippi Church Protection Act to allow armed security in churches, the carrying of concealed guns without a permit and a provision aimed at blunting federal regulations that would limit gun rights.

HI: Hawaii Senate to take up funding for affordable housing

Four bills that would increase funding for affordable housing, rental assistance and homelessness programs are headed to the Hawaii Senate floor for a vote after clearing the House.

VA: Religious liberty bill vetoed in Virginia

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would have prevented the state from punishing churches and wedding vendors in Virginia for refusing to serve same-sex couples.

MA: Massachusetts loses $1 million by letting public employees skate through tolls

The state gave up nearly $1 million in toll revenue from 2009 to 2015 because of perks that allowed state Transportation Department workers, retirees and even employees from outside companies to drive toll-free on Massachusetts highways.

US: Spate of social-conservative bills draws sharp party line in legislatures

New state laws on gun rights, abortion and discrimination are a bright spot for Republicans. But the perceived rewards for the party come with risks.

WV: West Virginia expands prescription-writing power for nurses

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed legislation that would let West Virginia nurses with higher degrees prescribe lower-level drugs for patients without a doctor signing off. Twenty-one other states and Washington, D.C., allow advanced-practice nurses to do the same.

AZ: Arizona governor weighs controversial illegal immigration bill

The bill before Republican Gov. Doug Ducey would require undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes to complete 85 percent of their sentences before Arizona would release them to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation. Currently, they can be released after serving half of their sentences if certain requirements are met.

NJ: New Jersey governor wants to invest $5 million in housing vouchers

Republican Gov. Chris Christie wants to spend $5 million on 500 housing vouchers for people in New Jersey who are chronically homeless or relying on public assistance. Under the statewide program, 100 of the vouchers would go to homeless veterans.

TX: Paying off Texas toll roads could cost $30 billion

Texas lawmakers who are considering eliminating toll roads were told it could cost roughly $30 billion if the state chose to pay them all off tomorrow.

OH: Ohio proposes putting in $10 million to help two cities merge

Ohio lawmakers are considering providing $10 million to help East Cleveland and Cleveland merge for financial reasons, with the one-time appropriation going to roads, bridges and emergency equipment.

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