What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/9

US: States vie to shield the wealth of the 1 percent

Nevada, Delaware and other states are competing to offer ways for the rich to fend off creditors, divorcing spouses and even tax collectors by creating trust laws that can shelter wealth — an effort critics fear is turning into a competitive game of giveaway.

CA: Bilingual education back on California ballot 18 years after voters rejected it

Proposition 58, which will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot in California, will ask voters to remove the restrictions of Proposition 227, which mandated that English learners be taught in English only, rather than in bilingual programs long favored by many educators.

NC: No quick ruling seen in North Carolina same-sex marriage suit

A federal judge seems inclined to let a legal challenge continue over North Carolina’s law allowing magistrates to refuse to marry same-sex couples, but only if those suing can prove they have the right to file the legal action.

MN: 3,300 Minnesota preschoolers in line for new state program

More than 3,300 4-year-olds will attend preschool this upcoming school year as part of Minnesota’s new, state-funded preschool program that targets impoverished school districts that don’t have early education options.

US: What $100 can buy, state by state

Everything from the price of a cup of coffee to the cost of a house can fluctuate between, and even within, states. Now, the federal government measures these variations.

VT: Vermont Supreme Court throws out “jailhouse lawyer” case

Vermont’s highest court has dismissed charges against a so-called jailhouse lawyer accused of illegally practicing law by dispensing legal advice to fellow inmates. The court said the accused never held herself out as a licensed attorney or accepted payment for legal work.

US: When water is more valuable than crops, farms can’t compete with thirsty cities

Farm families in Western states like California and Colorado are increasingly under pressure to sell their water. It’s been coined “buy and dry,” as water is diverted from farm fields and instead used to fill pipes in condos and subdivisions.

PA: Pennsylvania jail officials, doctors divided on care of opioid-addicted inmates

Some Pennsylvania wardens describe addicted inmates as patients, but are hesitant to allow for medically assisted treatment inside their prisons and jails.

US: Americans of both major parties say infrastructure has worsened; want more spending

Between 80 and 90 percent of those surveyed in a new national poll said roads, bridges and energy grids are in “some or extreme need of repairs.” And more than 70 percent of respondents thought federal, local and state governments should be doing additional work to improve infrastructure across the nation.

RI: 15,000 Rhode Islanders still await tax refunds

Some 15,000 Rhode Island state income tax refunds are still being processed because they contain errors, have been flagged for alleged fraud, or were filed after the April 18 deadline. As of last week, the Division of Taxation had paid 426,924 tax refunds, about 96 percent of the total expected to be paid.

OH: Ohio not covering costs of HIV drugs for sexual assault victims, despite law

The state isn’t helping cover the cost of a cocktail of drugs that can protect sexual assault victims from contracting HIV as agreed to under a 2014 law. That has left Ohio hospitals and sexual assault nurses scrambling in some cases to get the expensive and time-sensitive drug regimen to patients who often are reeling from the trauma of an attack.

NE: Nebraska faces workforce, housing challenges

Nebraska suffers from a severe shortage of workers in science, technology and building trades and still has work to do to attract fast-growing startup companies, says a report prepared for Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts. The report said wages remain below the national average in much of the state, forcing residents to work more than one job.

Welfare Restrictions Opioid Addiction