What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/21

TX: Federal appeals court rejects Texas’ voter ID law

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit struck down Texas’ tough voter identification law as discriminatory against blacks and Hispanics, setting up a potential Supreme Court showdown over the contentious issue of state photo ID rules.

MD: Maryland backs off proposal to ban letters to prison inmates

Prison officials withdrew proposed regulations to impose the nation’s first total ban on letters to inmates, except for official legal correspondence. The regulations were proposed to stop easily concealed strips of the addictive drug Suboxone from flooding into Maryland’s prisons.

MA: Massachusetts cracks down on loophole in assault weapons ban

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey put gunmakers and sellers on notice that they are not to sell slightly altered assault-style rifles that she said are intentionally designed to circumvent Massachusetts’ ban on assault weapons.

LA: Louisiana has no more tax credits for solar owners

The Department of Revenue warned that the state has no more money to pay for tax credits that help Louisiana residents shave the cost of buying solar panels for their homes.

IL: Illinois judge tosses constitutional amendment to strip Legislature’s power over redistricting

A Cook County judge tossed from the fall ballot a constitutional amendment to take away the Illinois’ General Assembly’s power to draw boundaries for legislative districts.

MN: Minnesota moves toward banning dangerous synthetic opioids

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy plans to add synthetic opioids tied to recent overdose deaths across the country to the list of controlled substances in the state. States like Ohio, Wyoming and Georgia have already taken steps to ban the substances.

KY: Kentucky governor wants foster-care agreement on religious teachings thrown out

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration wants a judge to throw out a court settlement that is intended to ensure that church-run foster-care programs in Kentucky don’t try to proselytize to children in their custody.

NY: New York investigates working conditions in dry-cleaning industry

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the investigation will include the study of chemicals commonly used by New York dry cleaners that pose a health risk to workers.

ME: Maine lawmaker tries to stop auto insurance rate hike for seniors

The House chairman of the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Services Committee has submitted legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from charging older Mainers higher premiums based solely on their age.

MS: Mississippi police officers could be protected class under hate crime law

A group of Mississippi lawmakers is making moves to pass legislation that would increase the penalties for those convicted of assaulting or murdering law enforcement officers. The move comes on the heels of murders of police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas following growing tension over shootings of black men by law enforcement officers.

PA: Drug dealers in Pennsylvania ordered to buy overdose kits

A Pennsylvania county judge is making convicted drug dealers buy naloxone kits for the communities in which they sold drugs. Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose caused by opioids like heroin.

NJ: Proposed New Jersey law would ban prior restraint of student newspapers

Lawmakers in New Jersey are considering a bill that would keep school districts and public universities from authorizing prior restraint of school-sponsored media.

OH: Ohio lawmaker seeks to let cities override the state’s concealed gun laws during conventions

A state senator said he would introduce legislation to permit Ohio cities to override the state’s open and concealed weapon policy during “events of regional or national significance.” The move comes after Republican Gov. John Kasich said he didn’t have the power to prevent firearms from being carried openly at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

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