What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 6/23

NY: New York sets 7-day limit on initial opioid prescriptions

New York is limiting opioid drug prescriptions to seven days of painkillers following a patient's initial visit to a doctor. The changes also require insurers to cover initial inpatient drug treatment without prior approval; extend from 48 to 72 hours the time someone can be held for emergency treatment; and add 2,500 addiction-treatment slots statewide.

MI: Michigan attorney general sues French, Texas firms over Flint water crisis

Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette sued the French water company Veolia and Texas engineering services firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, claiming they allowed residents of Flint, Michigan, to be exposed to dangerously high levels of lead in their drinking water.

US: Federal judge sets aside rules for fracking on public lands

A U.S. district judge in Wyoming has set aside new regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands, saying the U.S. Bureau of Land Management lacked congressional authority to set the rules. Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation joined the oil and gas industry in seeking to block the rules.

PA: Pennsylvania governor abandons call for sales, income tax hikes

In a shift that could ease the path to a budget deal, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said he would no longer seek a hike in Pennsylvania's personal income or sales taxes to raise new revenue.

RI: Rhode Island makes recess mandatory

Recess has taken a beating in recent years, falling prey to the intense focus on testing. But a measure set to become law this fall in Rhode Island mandates 20 minutes of recess, defined as free play, in every elementary school, including those with grade six.

KY: Kentucky governor proposes having Medicaid recipients pay monthly premiums

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin proposed imposing monthly premiums of $1 to $15 on Medicaid recipients as part of his plan to overhaul the federal-state health care system for the poor. He said the premiums would save Kentucky taxpayers $2.2 billion over the next five years.

NE: Nebraska prepares to offer special savings accounts

With the debut of its Enable Savings Plan on June 30, Nebraska will become one of the nation's first states to offer special tax-free savings accounts to people with disabilities. The plan allows adults with disabilities and their families to save as much as $100,000 without forsaking public benefits.

 OR: Oregon DMV wrestles with nonbinary IDs

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles is sorting through the ramifications of adding a third gender option to the state's driver's licenses. The move follows a ruling this month from an Oregon judge that a transgender person can legally change their sex to nonbinary rather than male or female, a move that legal experts believe is a first in the U.S. 

WI: In Wisconsin, a backlash against using data to foretell defendants’ futures

A Wisconsin case in which a sentencing decision was based in part on a secret algorithm used in the state to calculate the likelihood that someone will commit another crime highlights a broader national discussion about how law enforcement officials use predictive data.

VA: Virginia might add assault, consent lessons to sex-ed coursework

Proposed curriculum in Fairfax County, Virginia, would add lessons about consent and sexual assault to high school sexual education courses. A survey found that many high school graduates have conflicting ideas about the definition of sexual consent.

MO: Missouri governor signs bill expanding access to naloxone

Under a new law signed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, Missouri pharmacists will be able to dispense naloxone via prescription or with physician approval. The law also legalizes the possession of naloxone, which blocks the effects of an opioid overdose and can prevent death, without a prescription.

HI: Hawaii air conditioning initiative faces delays

The Hawaii Board of Education’s plan to add air conditioning to 1,000 classrooms has been slowed by high costs and a shortage of skilled workers.

MS: $10.4 million shortfall projected for Mississippi financial aid office

The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid will suspend payments to certain forgivable loan and payment programs and reduce award amounts for others in an effort to curb a nearly $10.4 million projected shortfall this year.

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