What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 4/27

US: U.S. high school seniors slip in math and show no improvement in reading

Twelfth-graders have displayed no improvement in reading and their math performance has slipped since 2013, results of a test administered by the federal government last year show. Scores also show a long-term stagnation in performance.

GA: Georgia approves state funds for anti-abortion centers

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation that allows state money to go to "pregnancy resource centers" that offer medical and other services to pregnant women while discouraging them from getting abortions. Georgia joins at least 10 other states that specifically dedicate funding to anti-abortion efforts.

AZ, CA NV: Arizona, California, Nevada discuss cutting water use

Officials from the three states are considering cutting their use of Colorado River water to stem declines in the shrinking level of the river and Lake Mead. Under the proposals being negotiated, California would accept reductions before it would be legally required to.

NC, US: Free speech on college campuses under scrutiny

Hecklers who shout down speakers on North Carolina's college campuses could be punished under a proposal being floated before lawmakers that would make this state the newest battleground over free speech at U.S. universities.

US: Selfies in the voting booth? Depends on the state

Some states, like South Carolina, have few restrictions on whether you can snap a selfie while you cast your ballot. Others, like Pennsylvania and Vermont, allow for fines of up to $1,000. Last year, a federal court in New Hampshire overturned a ban on the photos, a decision still being appealed.

MI: Michigan House approves $16.1 billion education budget

The spending plan boosts the foundation allowance for K-12 students by $60 to $120 per pupil, while giving universities and community colleges funding increases of 3.4 percent and 3.7 percent respectively. 

NJ, NY: New Jersey adds New York to its multistate drug monitoring program

New York will join New Jersey’s prescription drug monitoring program that allows doctors in various states to assess a patient’s prescription patterns to determine if a patient is trying to gain inappropriate access to narcotics.

KS: Governor pulls Kansas out of Syrian refugee resettlement program

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback told the Obama administration that Kansas is withdrawing from the federal government’s refugee resettlement program out of security concerns. But federal officials will continue to place refugees in the state.

MO: Missouri House proposes expanding the carrying of concealed weapons

The legislation would allow Missourians who can legally own guns to carry them concealed anywhere they can now openly carry without a permit. It also would allow guests in a home to use deadly force to defend themselves and others, with the permission of the home’s owner.

ME: Maine governor vetoes proposed fix to Clean Election Fund

Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a $500,000 funding fix for the Maine Clean Election Fund, which makes public money available to qualifying candidates for campaigning. He said the fund is perpetually underfunded because resources for election cycles are spent during the previous ones.

TX: Across Texas, lions, tigers and bears aren't widely tracked

A tiger left roaming the streets of a Texas town after flooding last week has focused attention on the fact that there are few statewide regulations regarding “dangerous wild animals.” For the most part, it’s up to Texas counties and municipalities to decide whether to ban animals such as lions, tigers, bears, hyenas and gorillas.

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