What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/7

US: Hundreds of convicted terrorists already held in U.S. prisons

Federal prisons in the U.S. currently hold 443 convicted terrorists, far more than the 89 men imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many members of Congress oppose closing the Cuba prison because they say they don’t want terrorists on U.S. soil, and many governors have said they don’t want them in their states. 

MS, NC: States, cities ban employee travel to Mississippi, North Carolina 

At least four states and seven major cities have banned nonessential employee travel to Mississippi or North Carolina after they enacted legislation that advocates contend discriminates against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. 

OR: Oregon governor proposes plan to clean up toxic air

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown promised a major overhaul in Oregon’s air pollution regulations, which is expected to result in requiring industrial sources to reduce pollution if they pose a health risk to nearby residents. Such rules already exist in California and Washington.

US: Several states emerge as a tax haven alongside Switzerland, Caymans

The U.S. is emerging as a top tax haven, as states such as Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming, in particular, are competing with each other to provide foreigners with the financial secrecy they crave.

FL: Unwed couples can now live together in Florida

Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that repeals Florida's 148-year ban on unmarried couples living together. Now only Michigan and Mississippi make it illegal. 

US: Addiction epidemic fuels demand for unregulated ‘sober homes’

The nation's addiction epidemic is fueling runaway demand for often unregulated "sober homes," where recovering addicts live together in a supervised, substance-free setting to ease their transition back to independence. At least five states have passed or considered legislation to regulate them.

IA: Iowa governor signs drug overdose bill

The new law signed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad will allow Iowa emergency personnel and others to administer the drug, naloxone, to heroin and opioid overdose victims. The drug acts as an antidote.

AL: Alabama governor paints grim picture for Medicaid in his state

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley laid out a stark picture of the effects of the Medicaid budget approved by the Legislature, including the elimination of many services, cuts to physician reimbursements and elimination of drug coverage for adults.

OH: Ohio bill proposes paid maternity, sick leave 

Ohioans could receive up to $1,000 a week for 12 weeks while caring for a family member, bonding with a new child or dealing with a health condition under a new bill introduced in the House. The leave would be paid for by employee premiums withheld from wages. Employers would have the option of paying the premiums on behalf of their employees. 

VA: In Virginia, lawmakers banish pricy gifts — but not splashy fundraisers

Virginia's elected officials have hosted birthday blowouts, high-dollar hunting and fishing trips, and expensive golf tournaments to raise money at the same time lawmakers were putting new limits on gifts they could take from lobbyists.

CA: California partners with smartphone app to help drivers

The California Department of Transportation will work with the popular smartphone app Waze to get up-to-the-minute traffic data and provide Waze with information about road closures, construction projects and other highway conditions.

VT: Vermont bill would exempt military from having to be 21 to smoke

The House passed a bill that would raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 in Vermont with a new provision that exempts members of the military. They could still legally puff if they’re 18.

The State of Food Safety Gun Taxes