What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/13

KS: Kansas limits the votes for about 17,000 people

A state board approved a regulation that will limit the voting rights of an estimated 17,000 Kansans by saying they can cast ballots only in federal races this year — not in state or local elections.

AK: Alaska governor signs criminal justice overhaul

The overhaul signed by Independent Gov. Bill Walker gives nonviolent simple drug offenders lighter sentences to improve the odds that they will successfully return to society. The measure is expected to reduce Alaska’s prison population by 13 percent by 2024.

LA: Louisiana governor cuts millions from state construction budget

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards stripped $44 million from Louisiana's construction budget, saying the state can't afford the 25 projects amid its continuing financial struggles. Even with the vetoes, the measure contains more projects than the state can afford.

AZ: Arizona Supreme Court says police can search based on the smell of pot

Police in Arizona may legally search an individual's home or vehicle based solely on the smell of marijuana, even though the drug is legal for medical use, the state’s top court ruled.

NC: Wild hogs can now be shot from helicopters in North Carolina

They ravage crops, attack each other and mate prolifically. Now wild hogs can be culled by aircraft in North Carolina — provided they are shot by state or federal wildlife officers.

TX: Texas gun laws pose challenge for police, Dallas chief says

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Texas laws that allow civilians to carry firearms openly, as some did during a protest last week where five officers were killed, present a growing law enforcement challenge.

CA: California considers outlawing ransomware

Proposed legislation would make it a felony to knowingly use ransomware, a type of intrusive software that allows a hacker to hold data hostage until money is paid. An uptick in cybercrime and a series of recent attacks on hospitals in Southern California inspired the bill.

WY: Wyoming OKs new high school graduation requirements

Wyoming high school students who do not receive a passing grade will now be able to pass a course assessment as part of a number of changes the State Board of Education has made to graduation requirements. The changes still must be approved by Republican Gov. Matt Mead.

OR: Oregon says it doesn’t have enough foster homes

Oregon’s Department of Human Services said the state lost 400 foster homes last year because of a long certification process and inadequate staffing to handle new foster parents and warned the shortage of homes has come to a head.

KY: Kentucky closes out budget year with $49 million surplus

Kentucky taxes generated $49 million in surplus revenue over what was anticipated in the state budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30. This was the sixth consecutive year of revenue growth, and topped $10 billion for the first time.

US: Upgrading unsafe oil tanker cars could take 15 years, safety board says

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said accident-prone railroad tank cars used to haul crude oil could remain in service another 15 years under federal rules that allow companies to phase in upgrades to aging fleets. The rules requiring safer cars were aimed at preventing fiery derailments and dangerous spills.

NJ: Hunters challenge New Jersey law banning the import of big-game trophies

Hunting groups are asking a federal judge to overturn a new New Jersey law that makes it illegal to import or export big-game trophies of threatened or endangered animals.

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