What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/19

TX: Texas governor proposes increasing penalties for crimes against police

After police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he would ask Texas lawmakers next year to enact a "Police Protection Act" that would increase penalties for crimes against officers regardless of whether the violation is a hate crime.

NC: North Carolina governor signs bill restoring right to sue for discrimination

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation that restores employees’ right to claim in state court that they were fired for discriminatory reasons. Lawmakers say they unintentionally blocked that recourse when they passed a law in March precluding broad protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

CT: Connecticut Supreme Court affirms ruling abolishing death penalty

The court reaffirmed its decision that Connecticut's abolition of the death penalty must also apply to those already convicted of a capital felony.

AK: Alaska Senate adjourns special session, leaving budget reforms to wait

The Senate ended the session called by independent Gov. Bill Walker without votes on any of the bills that Walker proposed to reduce Alaska’s $3.2 billion deficit.

US: At least 6 states adopt fantasy sports laws; 21 others don't

Colorado, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Indiana and Virginia enacted laws legalizing and regulating daily sports fantasy games offered by Boston's DraftKings, New York's FanDuel and dozens of other smaller operators. They join Kansas, which legalized the games last year. But 21 other legislatures, including Arizona, Florida, Maryland and Washington, declined to take action this year before adjourning.

CA: Airbnb in California strikes deal with Los Angeles to collect lodging taxes

Under the deal struck with Los Angeles city officials, Airbnb will start collecting lodging taxes from rental hosts, providing millions of dollars in revenue that will help pay for homeless programs in California’s largest city.

MI: Michigan board approves bailout of Detroit schools

A Michigan board approved emergency loans and other parts of a plan to provide a $617 million bailout of Detroit’s school district and return control to local officials after more than seven years of state management.

IA: Iowa seeks to help ex-inmates with new certificate

State corrections officials are hoping to help former Iowa inmates find work by making it easier for them to show that they've learned valuable work skills while serving time. Inmates will automatically receive certificates of employability for completing certain skills training in prison, instead of having to apply for such proof.

AL: Ethics panel wants Alabama chief justice removed from office

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore should be swiftly removed from office for a second time because he urged the state's probate judges to defy federal courts on gay marriage, a state ethics commission says.

NE: Syrian refugees begin settling in Nebraska

Even as Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts continues to question whether federal authorities are doing enough to check the backgrounds of Syrian refugees and find potential terrorists, nearly 50 refugees from the war-torn nation have quietly moved into Nebraska with the help of relief agencies.

MO: Missouri holds millions in unclaimed property

Missouri’s state treasurer holds more than $822 million in unclaimed property in more than 4.8 million owner accounts. The money in the state’s largest lost and found could be from uncollected government refunds, cash from bank accounts, utility deposits or wages from past jobs. 

NJ: New Jersey moves to protect turtles

It is now illegal to harvest the once-plentiful diamondback terrapin in New Jersey. 

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