What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/18

US: U.S. Supreme Court hears dispute over president’s immigration plan

The court is taking up a dispute over immigration that could affect millions of families living in the country illegally. Texas is leading 26 states in challenging President Barack Obama’s plan to shield roughly 4 million people from deportation and make them eligible to work in the United States.

AK: Alaska Legislature heads into overtime

Legislative leaders said they planned to keep working past the voter-approved 90-day session limit in the hopes of reaching a compromise on outstanding issues, like oil and gas tax credits, in the next few days. 

FL: Florida governor vetoes child custody bill

Republican Gov. Rick Scott vetoed an overhaul of Florida’s alimony law that would have allowed equal time-sharing of child custody in divorces. He said the bill would put the wants of a parent before a child's best interest. 

NC: North Carolina Supreme Court rejects repeal of teacher tenure

The court ruled unconstitutional a state law that phased out job protections for North Carolina teachers who had already earned them.

MS: Mississippi governor signs guns in churches bill

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Church Protection Act to allow churches to legally have armed security if they choose, saying he did so because "churches deserve protection from those who would harm worshippers."

PA: Medical marijuana now legal in Pennsylvania

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed a medical marijuana bill, which many advocates are hopeful will now allow them to gain relief from debilitating pain, seizures and other medical conditions.

LA: Loophole-filled tax system costing Louisiana hundreds of millions of dollars

Dozens of categories of business transactions in Louisiana are not subject to the state sales tax, thanks to exclusions granted with increasing frequency by lawmakers. Exempting everything from school buses to tickets to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival costs the state an estimated $320 million to $920 million a year.

WY: Wyoming budget constraints put upgrade of state computers on hold

Costly replacements for several Wyoming state computer systems are on hold, which could hamper the state’s ability to provide services such as managing the state’s payroll system and processing driver’s license applications in the long run.

CA: California’s rich get richer — and pay more taxes

The top fifth of California taxpayers pay nearly 90 percent of state income taxes. They belong to the only income range whose average income increased in the last two decades. Forty-five percent of the state's income tax money comes from the top 1 percent of filers.  

MO: Missouri may hold on to transportation money for cities

For more than two decades, Missouri has divvied millions of federal dollars each year to cities and urban areas, even though it was under no obligation to do so. Now, the board that oversees the Department of Transportation is considering a proposal to keep $10.3 million that supported the urban programs.

WA: Marijuana vaping prompts new rules in Washington

Washington’s marijuana laws forbid pubic marijuana consumption. But state officials say handheld vaporizers can be used to circumvent the law with few people noticing, prompting new restrictions on vaping near children.

Top State Stories 4/19 Carbon Tax