What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/3
DE: Delaware’s top court says state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional
The Delaware Supreme Court said the state’s capital-punishment statute violates the U.S. Constitution by giving judges, and not juries, the final say to impose a death sentence.
US: CDC provides stopgap Zika funds
Amid calls for Congress to cut short its recess and act, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it provided more than $16 million to 35 states and five territories to combat the spread of the Zika virus.
AL: Alabama’s refugee lawsuit dismissed
A federal court has dismissed Alabama’s lawsuit against the U.S. government concerning the possible relocation of Syrian refugees to Alabama. At least two other states have also filed individual suits on the refugee issue. Texas’ lawsuit was also dismissed and Tennessee’s is ongoing.
IN: Police attackers should get stiffer penalties, Indiana lawmakers say
Those who threaten or attack police officers and their families could face additional jail time under two new proposals from Indiana lawmakers.
PA: Binge watchers in Pennsylvania now have to pay “Netflix tax”
Pennsylvania’s 6 percent sales tax has been extended to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. The move is expected to help fill a $1.3 billion budget hole.
NC: North Carolina will defend voter ID without attorney general
Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper won’t represent North Carolina in appealing a federal court ruling that overturned a voter ID mandate and other voting restrictions. Cooper is challenging Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who denounced him for refusing to defend the state against this and other politically charged lawsuits.
HI: Hawaii governor kills highway expansions
Democratic Gov. David Ige said the projects designed to increase highway capacity and reduce traffic congestion on Hawaii’s roadways are often very expensive, and the Department of Transportation must instead focus more of its resources on highway maintenance.
CA: Californians continue water conservation despite relaxed drought rules
Californians are continuing to save significant amounts of water despite the decision by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to relax drought rules two months ago. Statewide, urban residents cut water use 21.5 percent in June, compared with the same month in 2013.
LA: Thousands of families in limbo as Louisiana’s solar tax credits dwindle
Hundreds of Louisiana households are in financial limbo after the state Department of Revenue warned last month it has run out of money to fund tax credits once meant to promote solar purchases. Many are scrambling to cobble together thousands of dollars to pay loans now coming due on their panels.
MS: Mississippi schools struggle to serve non-English speaking students
The number of students in Mississippi who know little or no English has grown by 47 percent since 2013, forcing public schools to ramp up their services for the students, the majority of whom speak Spanish.
TX: In Texas, free-standing emergency rooms largely help the wealthy
Business is booming for free-standing emergency departments in Texas, which is home to more of them than any other place in the country. But many of the centers are emerging in wealthier neighborhoods, where patients are privately insured and are less likely to have Medicaid or Medicare.
NY: New York state aiding nuclear plants with millions in subsidies
Utility customers in New York will pay nearly $500 million a year in subsidies aimed at keeping some upstate nuclear power plants operating.