What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 4/22

CA, MA: Uber drivers remain independent drivers, as lawsuit is settled

Uber has agreed to pay up to $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit which resolves a major challenge to its business model by allowing the ride-hailing service to keep its California and Massachusetts drivers as independent contractors.

LA: Louisiana governor signs ‘historic’ changes in food stamp program

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order that will require unemployed, able-bodied adults without kids in Louisiana to seek help in finding a job and getting training through state programs to receive food stamps for an extended period.

OK: Oklahoma Senate passes internet tax bill

The bill is designed to increase revenue from the sales tax on internet purchases by requiring out-of-state companies to send Oklahoma customers an annual statement noting the dollar amount of purchases they made and telling them they may owe state tax. 

MA: Massachusetts unveils plan to make state colleges less expensive

Massachusetts education officials laid out a plan to sharply reduce college costs for community college students who go on to attend a state university by awarding rebates at the end of each completed semester and freezing tuition when they enter the program.

MO: Missouri House advances bill to expand birth control access

House members gave initial approval to a bill that would allow Missouri pharmacists to prescribe oral contraceptives. Those under 18 would have to show pharmacists a doctor's previous prescription.

MN: Minnesota governor seeks big boost in funding for cyber security

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton wants more than $45 million from the Legislature to help Minnesota’s state agencies shore up their defenses against cyberattacks. So far, key lawmakers aren’t clicking.

KS: Kansas lawmakers bristle at governor’s proposed budget fix

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback proposes to cover Kansas’ projected $290 million budget deficit by selling off expected proceeds from a settlement with tobacco companies for one-time cash or delay a $100 million payment to the state’s pension fund until September 2017.

TX: Texas can cut Medicaid payments to therapists

A state appeals court cleared the way for Texas to proceed with cutting the Medicaid pay of therapists who serve disabled children and impoverished seniors. The court threw out a lawsuit by several home-care companies and their patients, who argued that the cuts would violate state and federal laws.

UT: Utah commission to drop diversity criteria when considering judges

Under pressure from Utah lawmakers, the state’s judicial nominating commission that vets judicial hopefuls will strike language from the application dealing with diversity, at least for now.

WA: 'Hidden' homeless exist in Washington’s affluent suburbs

Nearly 36,000 students in Washington were homeless at some point last year, and many were in suburban districts that might be thought affluent. School buses are stopping at tents and parked cars that serve as homes for schoolchildren and their families.

Government Fraud Apps Driverless Cars