What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 4/12

CT: Connecticut governor starts laying off state workers

Facing a $933 million budget gap, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy said as many as 2,000 workers could be laid off, out of a total executive branch workforce of about 31,200, a figure that excludes workers at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.

KS: Kansas governor signs bill to overhaul juvenile justice system

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed an overhaul of Kansas’ juvenile justice system into law. Under the changes, the state will spend less on low-risk juvenile offenders and more on high-risk offenders, and children will be less likely to go to jail for probation violations.

KY: Kentucky attorney general sues governor over cuts to higher education

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit challenging Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s authority to cut the budgets of Kentucky’s public colleges and universities by 4.5 percent without legislative approval.

US: Zika fight requires more money, Congress told

Two senior Obama administration officials said the government did not have enough money to effectively combat and treat the Zika virus, which is carried by mosquitoes found in 30 states and has become what they called a more profound threat.

ID: Idaho driving test focuses new attention on pedestrians, bicycles

Getting a driver's license in Idaho now requires a little knowledge of those who also are on the road. Everyone taking the driver's license test has to answer at least two questions about bicycle and pedestrian safety.

DC: Mayor pushes $15 minimum wage in District of Columbia

Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to boost the minimum wage from $10.50 to $15 per hour. The district’s minimum wage already is set to increase by a dollar on July 1.

MO: Missouri governor orders state agencies to ‘ban the box’

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon issued an executive order telling all Missouri departments, agencies, boards and commissions he has authority over to wait until later in the job application process to ask an applicant about his or her criminal background.

WI: Wisconsin governor signs bill giving abuse victims confidential addresses

Under the measure, which Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed, victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse will be able to receive an assigned address from the state Department of Justice, which will forward the victim's mail from this assigned address to the victim's actual address.

NC: North Carolina governor previews drug abuse, mental health proposal

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory proposed spending $30 million to provide emergency housing for people with mental illnesses who leave hospital emergency rooms, prison or institutions; special crisis centers to serve children; and more money for specialty courts, such as drug courts.

FL: Florida backtracks on changes for LGBT foster homes

Florida’s Department of Children and Families is backing off on plans to let transgender children wear clothes of their own choosing and be placed in group homes according to their gender identity.

NE: Nebraska Medicaid can now cover treatment for children with autism

Nebraska’s Medicaid program received federal approval to cover applied behavioral analysis and other intensive treatment for children with autism. Concerned about costs, state officials had long resisted the coverage. But they reversed course after a judge ruled against the state in a class action suit.

NJ: New Jersey considers banning marriage for young teens

A proposed law would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to get married in New Jersey. Advocates say marrying young undermines girls’ education, health and economic opportunities, and often leads to divorce.

Helping New Farmers Top State Stories 4/11