What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 6/21

U.S. U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to bans on assault weapons

Justices declined to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as assault weapons. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New Jersey, as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

AK: Alaska governor calls Legislature back for another special session

Independent Gov. Bill Walker called lawmakers back for a second special session next month to confront how to close next year's projected $3.2 billion state budget deficit. The deficit will exhaust Alaska's primary savings account in two years without a rebound in oil prices or action by lawmakers.

MS: Federal judge refuses to block Mississippi’s religious freedom law

A U.S. district judge in Mississippi has allowed a new state law that permits people to deny wedding services to same-sex couples based on religious objections to stand. It’s a law lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people call discriminatory.

NY: New York touts first-in-the-nation testing of lead in schools

Schools in New York would soon have to start testing for the dangerous chemical in drinking water at the tap, under a bill the Legislature sent to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The bill would provide for state aid to cover much of the cost of testing and remedies.

CO: Legal weed sparks Colorado debate: Why not allow pot clubs?

People are smoking marijuana on Colorado sidewalks, in city parks and in alleys behind bars and restaurants — despite laws against it. And they're getting ticketed for it. What to do? Marijuana advocates suggest creating legal pot clubs, which voters in the state’s capital city may consider this fall.

PA: Pennsylvania Supreme Court won’t reinstate law on Pennsylvania gun challenges

The court declined to reinstate the law, which allowed Pennsylvania residents who are eligible to own a gun or a group that represents them to challenge local ordinances anywhere in the state that restrict gun ownership or sales.

NV: Nevada judicial panel approves $3 million for 34 specialty courts

The courts, to be set up in cities across Nevada, are designed to handle offenders who have underlying behavioral causes of criminal behavior, such as drug and alcohol abuse or mental illness.

CA: California bill would slow spread of “mom and pop” water providers

California has over 7,000 water systems, including small systems that serve only campgrounds, prisons or schools. Small systems have more health violations and are less able to avoid water shortages during drought conditions.

ND: Rental assistance rejected for state employees in North Dakota's oil patch

Amid sinking oil prices, members of the North Dakota Emergency Commission voted to kill a request to provide temporary salary boosts to state employees working in the state’s once-booming oil field areas to help cover high housing costs.

NY: New York City's single-stall restrooms poised to go gender-free

In a victory for transgender New Yorkers, all single-occupant restrooms in New York City will have to be gender-neutral starting Jan. 1, under a bill the New York City Council is expected to pass.

Generation Gap Cul-De-Sac Culture