What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 6/13

IL: Illinois governor vetoes spending bill

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed spending nearly $4 billion on higher education and human services in Illinois for the current budget year that ends June 30, calling it an "unfunded, empty promise."

MO: Missouri governor signs daily fantasy sports legislation

When the new law signed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon takes effect in August, websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel must pay 11.5 percent of net revenue from Missouri participants and an annual fee of $10,000 or 10 percent of revenue, whichever is lower. Money from the fee will go toward education.

KS: Kansas attorney general asks state Supreme Court to withdraw threat to close schools

Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the court to withdraw its warning that it might close Kanas public schools if the Legislature fails to fix inequities in funding by the end of the month. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is calling lawmakers to a special session to address funding.

OK: Oklahoma school board approves cuts to public school activities budget

The state Board of Education voted to cut $38.2 million from public school activities in Oklahoma, making significant cuts to alternative education and early reading programs, and eliminating several other programs such as professional development and parent education.

CO: Governor signs biggest change in Colorado alcohol sales since Prohibition

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper approved a compromise to gradually let Colorado grocery stores sell full-strength beer and wine. The bill starts a 20-year phase-in for grocers to acquire liquor licenses, sometimes by paying for those held by neighboring liquor stores.

CA: Diaper assistance program left out of California budget

The $16 million program was proposed to address the difficulty that California’s low-income families have affording diapers. It would have been the first such program in the country if it had been approved.

FL: Inmates riot in north Florida prison

About 300 inmates stormed two housing dorms, drilled through a concrete and brick wall and smashed everything from TVs to sprinkler systems at Franklin Correctional Institution, the third disturbance at the Florida prison this year.

WV: West Virginia Senate passes budget bill with hike in tobacco tax

The Senate sent a $4.187 billion spending plan to the House that includes a nearly $100 million increase in West Virginia’s tobacco tax to help close a revenue shortfall.

PA: Proposed Pennsylvania energy tax hike would be nation’s highest

Pennsylvania is considering what would effectively be an 8.5 percent severance tax on the production of natural gas. If approved, the tax would be the highest of its kind in the nation.

MD: Maryland pays more than $320 million in fees to manage pension funds. What does it get in return?

Maryland’s public pension system pays professional fund managers who tout their ability to beat the market with smart investments. But some financial experts question whether the fees really pay off for the more than 382,000 active and former state employees who participate in the plan.

TX: Foul-ups prompt Texas to scrap school test scores

Fifth and eighth graders who failed Texas’s standardized exams this year won’t be held back a grade or be required to retest later this month because of “ongoing reporting issues” with the state’s new testing company.

MI: Bike tragedy in Michigan city leads to introduction of bills

The death of five bicyclists who were struck by a pickup near Kalamazoo has prompted lawmakers to propose expanding Michigan’s law that makes it a felony punishable by 15 years in prison for a driver involved in an accident that causes serious physical injury or death to cover cyclists, pedestrians or people in wheelchairs.

Rattlesnake Recovery Doctor Shortage