What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/11

AK: Alaska leaders struggle to cut multibillion-dollar deficit

The collapse in oil prices has left oil-reliant Alaska with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit and few palatable options for digging its way out.

CA: California to expand paid family leave

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown will sign a bill to increase the amount paid to new parents or people caring for a sick family member to as much as 70 percent of their regular income for California’s poorest workers, up from 55 percent.

AR: Arkansas governor signs Medicaid bill

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation preserving health coverage for more than 267,000 low-income Arkansans, but lawmakers still have to approve funding for the program in a session that begins this week.

TX: Foster home crunch strands Texas children in psych facilities

Abused children in Texas are being left in psychiatric facilities longer than they were six years ago as the state's child protective services system grapples with federal court scrutiny and diminishing options. In June 2009, children spent a total of 10 extra days in the facilities. By August 2015 that number had grown to 768 days.

NH: New Hampshire lawmaker barred from bringing oxygen tank to House chamber

Although New Hampshire legislators are allowed to carry concealed weapons onto the House floor, an 80-year-old lawmaker has been told not to bring his portable oxygen concentrator with him because it creates a safety hazard.

MO: Missouri lawmakers advance rules, taxes on daily fantasy sports

Daily fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel could continue to operate in Missouri under a proposal passed by the House. But they would need to ban employees with insider knowledge from playing, verify users are at least 18, and pay a $5,000 annual registration fee.

VA: Virginia governor moves to let state acquire lethal injection drugs in secret

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe gutted a bill to let Virginia use the electric chair when it cannot find scarce lethal-injection drugs, making an eleventh-hour amendment that would allow the state to secretly procure the drugs.

KS: Kansas delays payment into retirement fund

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's administration will delay a $92.6 million payment into the pension fund for public schools, community colleges and technical schools that is due April 15 to help deal with a shortfall in revenue.

MD: Maryland Legislature passes expansion of equal pay law

The House gave final approval to a bill that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and prohibits businesses from retaliating against employees for discussing or disclosing salaries.

AL: Alabama Senate approves Innocence Inquiry Commission

Alabama senators approved legislation to create a commission that would allow those sentenced to death to have their convictions overturned if they can present evidence firmly establishing their innocence.

SC: South Carolina governor says transgender bathroom bill unnecessary in her state

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley came out against a bill that would block local governments from expanding use of gender-designated public restrooms to transgender people, saying it is not needed in South Carolina.

LA: Louisiana lawmakers accidentally strip sales tax breaks from sports teams

The last-minute scramble to raise revenue during the recent special legislative session opened the possibility for the NFL Saints and NBA Pelicans to terminate their contracts with Louisiana, allowing the two professional teams to leave New Orleans.

Top State Stories 4/12 Public Defenders