What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/14

PA: Pennsylvania lawmakers pass $1.3 billion budget bailout

The Legislature approved and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed a $1.3 billion revenue package that hinges on a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase to balance Pennsylvania’s deficit-riddled budget and avert a lawsuit and a bond downgrade.

ND: North Dakota governor calls for special session over budget shortfall

Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple called for North Dakota legislators to return to Bismarck early next month to deal with a projected budget shortfall of more than $300 million for the biennium.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court says judges can consider gender at sentencing

The court said that judges in Wisconsin can rely on a risk assessment test that considers gender when it comes time to sentence offenders.

MS: Mississippi attorney general won’t appeal “religious freedom” ruling

Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood said he won’t appeal a federal judge's ruling that blocks a new Mississippi law that allows services to be denied people on religious grounds — a law lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people say is discriminatory to them. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is using his own attorney to appeal the ruling.

CA: California edges closer to teaching LGBT history in classrooms

After multiple delays, California education officials are moving to comply with the nation's first law requiring public schools to include prominent gay people and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights milestones in history classes.

LA: Louisiana special education students put in seclusion, restraint over 1,100 times

Louisiana students with disabilities were secluded or restrained more than 1,100 times during the past school year, according to a new report. Most of the students were black males between the ages of 8 and 12.

DC: Statehood on ballot for District of Columbia voters

District of Columbia voters will decide this November on a measure aimed at pressuring Congress to allow the city to become the 51st state.

VA: Virginia sued for pulling driver’s licenses of those too poor to pay fines

Virginia faces a class-action lawsuit that alleges its Department of Motor Vehicles is conducting an “unconstitutional scheme” of indefinitely suspending the driver’s licenses of some 940,000 people too poor to pay fines and court costs.

AL: Federal judge puts new Alabama abortion laws on hold

A U.S. district judge put on hold two new Alabama abortion laws — one banning a dilation and evacuation abortion during the second-trimester, the other prohibiting a clinic near some schools — pending a hearing on them in October.

MN: Minnesota adds 300 lakes, rivers, streams to polluted list

After testing about two-thirds of its watersheds, Minnesota has found 40 percent of its rivers and lakes are polluted by farm runoff, bacteria, mercury or other pollutants.

TX: University of Texas faculty can ban guns in offices

The University of Texas at Austin will give its faculty and staff the option of banning guns from their private offices when the state’s campus carry law goes into effect next month.

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