What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/7

FL: Correction officers say Florida prison system is a “time bomb”

Members of the union representing state corrections officers want Florida lawmakers to convene an emergency legislative session to address the state's prison crisis. 

LA: Shooting in Baton Rouge prompts Justice Department investigation

The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of a black man by the Baton Rouge police that was captured on video, as city and state leaders appealed to a city roiled by the killing to remain calm.

TX: Guardianships grow in Texas with little oversight

More than 53,000 Texans, most of them elderly or intellectually disabled, are under a guardianship, a 60 percent increase since 2011. In much of Texas, there is nobody watching these cases.

WA: Seattle median home price at record $666,500

As home prices and rents continue to soar faster in the Seattle area than just about anywhere else in the nation, the city has set a new all-time high for housing costs. Seattle home prices have risen 15.9 percent just in the past year and an astounding 74 percent in the last five years.

CA: Parents sue to stop California vaccination law

A group of parents and the nonprofit Education 4 All have sued to stop California's strict new law that requires all schoolchildren to be vaccinated. 

MN: Political pressures intensify on Minnesota's few black lawmakers

Only three of 201 Minnesota state lawmakers are African-American. All face primary contests on Aug. 9. Their challengers, who are also black, say the legislators they want to replace aren't changing things fast enough.

MA: Lawmakers reach deal on transgender bill

Massachusetts lawmakers came to a final agreement on a compromise bill that would allow people to use the restrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity, and would protect transgender people from discrimination in public places.

ME: Maine governor opposes minimum wage ballot question

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, in his weekly radio address, said efforts to raise the minimum wage to $12 hour were misguided and would result in job losses and fewer opportunities for young workers to gain experience.

VT: Underpaying taxpayers get relief

Vermonters who underpaid their 2015 taxes because of a software error will not have to file amended returns or pay any additional money, the Department of Taxes said. About 19,000 Vermonters who used commercial tax preparation software underpaid when the software underestimated their taxes. Software companies had failed to adapt to new caps on itemized deductions Vermont passed last year.

SD: Sales tax hang-up stalls Uber in South Dakota

A month after Uber applied for a license to start operating in Sioux Falls, the local market is still off-limits for the ride-hailing company that connects drivers and ride-seekers. A new state law opening the door for Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies in South Dakota went into effect July 1.

AZ: Court OKs seizure of suspected smuggler funds in Arizona

After a decade of litigation, the Arizona Attorney General's Office apparently has defeated a civil suit challenging the seizure of electronic fund transfers suspected of paying off Mexican drug- and human-trafficking cartels.

OH: Small businesses prepare for Ohio medical marijuana market

Dozens of marijuana and cannabis-related business names have been registered with the state since the Legislature passed Ohio's medical marijuana law in late May, and existing Ohio companies are considering how they can service the marijuana industry. 

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