What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/15
US: Prosecutors increasingly seek to punish drug dealers in overdose deaths
In many states, including Ohio, Maine, West Virginia and New Jersey, authorities grappling with an alarming surge in opioid abuse are filing homicide, involuntary manslaughter or related charges against drug dealers.
WI: Wisconsin governor activates National Guard after Milwaukee unrest
Republican Gov. Scott Walker activated the National Guard after violence erupted in Wisconsin’s largest city following the fatal police shooting of an armed man after a traffic stop.
LA: Louisiana will face a $1.5 billion shortfall in 2018
The state’s budget hole for the 2018-19 fiscal year will open up once temporary taxes passed earlier this year by Louisiana lawmakers — mainly a 1 percent state sales tax increase — hit their expiration dates.
IL: Illinois governor vetoes automatic voter registration bill
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill aimed at making voter registration automatic in Illinois, citing concerns about potential voting fraud and conflicts with federal law.
GA: Georgia college students can carry stun guns this fall
Thousands of college students are returning to campuses across Georgia this month, armed with dorm supplies, backpacks and possibly stun guns, now that a new law allows them.
TX: Federal judge blocks Texas law on election interpreters
A U.S. District Court judge blocked Texas from enforcing a state law that limits the availability of interpreters in polling places, ruling that it violates protections guaranteed by the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The law requires interpreters to be registered to vote in the same county as the person they intend to help.
CA: Lawsuit prompts California to reduce some penalties for cellphones in prison
California prison officials are rolling back some of the state’s tough penalties for inmates caught with cellphones behind bars following an inmate lawsuit. Among infractions drawing less punishment: possession of accessories, such as SIM cards or chargers.
AZ: Arizona lawmakers want control of endangered Mexican gray wolves
Lawmakers in Arizona are pushing legislation that would effectively remove federal Endangered Species Act protections and entrust the recovery of Mexican gray wolves to Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.
OH: Federal judge rules Ohio's effort to defund Planned Parenthood is unconstitutional
A U.S. District Court judge permanently blocked Ohio from implementing laws that would defund Planned Parenthood by making the agency ineligible for state funding to pay for health care programs for the poor, saying the laws are unconstitutional.
MA: Massachusetts governor makes way for Boston to lower speed limit to 25
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh says he would like to see drivers on busy stretches of Massachusetts’ biggest city slow down to 25 miles per hour — something now possible since Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a measure that gives the state’s municipalities control over default speed limits.
SD: How South Dakota took the money and ran
Every state got federal money to enact statewide building code requirements making new homes and buildings more energy efficient, but South Dakota is one of the only ones that failed to make good on it.
OR: 'Tiny house' evictions common in Oregon’s largest city
Officials in Portland say they have to enforce the zoning laws of Oregon’s largest city when neighbors complain that “tiny houses,” small houses on wheels, are used as a permanent residence in violation of the city's single-family zoning code.