What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 4/15

CA: California court upholds tenure for teachers

A California appeals court upheld the state’s laws on teacher tenure, dismissal and layoffs, reversing a trial judge's ruling that found tenure deprived some students of a good education.

NJ: New Jersey’s transportation fund set to dry up by August

New Jersey legislators pressed Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s administration on how to shore up the state’s almost broke transportation fund. Without new funding, the amount of debt to be paid for road, bridge and public transportation projects will outweigh all revenue sources, including nearly $600 million from the state's gas tax.

LA: Louisiana will need up to $700K annually to oversee medical marijuana production

To cover the costs, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture plans to charge marijuana growers $100,000 annually and ask them to pay 7 percent of the gross sales the producers receive from getting the product to pharmacies.

MO: Missouri House passes ban on fetal-tissue donation

The legislation, which now goes to the Missouri Senate, would ban the donation of fetal tissue from abortions and establish a tracking system for fetal remains from abortions. It also requires hospitals, abortion clinics, and pathology labs that deal with fetal-tissue remains from abortions to adopt whistle-blower protection policies.

TN: Tennessee governor vetoes making the Bible the official state book

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed the measure, saying it's unconstitutional and would "trivialize" a sacred text.

OH: Ohio Senate votes to recognize firefighters’ cancer as a job-related illness

The legislation would establish a presumption that when firefighters get cancer it is a result of their work, making it easier for them to access benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

GA: Georgia governor seeks to expand needs-based scholarship

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal outlined plans to dramatically expand a Georgia program aimed at helping financially needy public school students earn college scholarship money.

TX: Texas bans inmate social media profiles managed by others

The state is cracking down on social media accounts managed for inmates by friends or relatives while the prisoners have no internet access in prison. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said it’s prohibiting the accounts because many social media companies bar people from operating an account in someone else's name.

AZ: Expanding children’s health care would give Arizona $75 million jolt: study

Providing health care coverage to low-income children through Arizona’s version of the Children's Health Insurance Program could deliver long-term economic benefits with fewer high-school dropouts and more college graduates, a new study says.

OK: Oklahoma Senate approves autism insurance coverage bill

The legislation would require health insurers in Oklahoma to cover screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in individuals younger than 9 years old. Children also would have access to applied behavior analysis for up to 25 hours a week, with a limit of $25,000 a year.

Black Colleges Unaccompanied Minors – the State and Local Story