What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/18

MI: Federal appeals court ruling maintains straight-party voting in Michigan

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Michigan's bid to reinstate its ban on straight-party voting, a ruling that means voters in the state will be able to use one mark to select all candidates from one party in the Nov. 8 general election.

CO: $12 minimum wage measure makes Colorado ballot

If Colorado voters approve the initiative, the state’s minimum wage would rise from $8.31 an hour to $12 by 2020, and the wage for tipped workers would go from $5.21 to $8.90.

US: Railroads show little progress in adopting key safety technology

Many commuter and freight railroads have made little progress installing safety technology designed to prevent deadly collisions and derailments despite a mandate from Congress, the Federal Railroad Administration says.

KY: Kentucky governor proposes Medicaid changes that could give nonprofits unwanted volunteers

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin wants able-bodied adults to volunteer in their communities in exchange for Medicaid benefits. But Kentucky’s nonprofits say they can’t handle an influx of tens of thousands of people who would need training, supervision and — in some instances — criminal-background checks.

CA: California bill would allow women to get a year’s supply of “the pill”

California women who take birth control would have to make fewer trips to the pharmacy under a bill that would require insurers to cover up to a 12-month supply at one time — instead of being limited to a 30- or 90-day supply, an industry standard that has existed since “the pill” went on the market in the 1970s.

KS: Kansas governor backs reversing cut in Medicaid payments that he ordered

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback endorsed reversing a 4 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursement rates to Kansas health care providers that he ordered earlier this year, saying he wants lawmakers to instead increase a tax on hospitals to help balance the state’s budget.

GA: Federal government to sue Georgia over “psychoeducational” schools

The U.S. Department of Justice is set to sue Georgia for segregating disabled children in schools with no students without disabilities and often lacking libraries, gyms and science labs. Some schools are decrepit and once housed black students during the Jim Crow era.

TX: Spike in pregnancy-related deaths in Texas puzzles researchers

The rate of Texas women dying of causes related to their pregnancies nearly doubled from 2010 to 2014, with the state seeing more than 600 such deaths in the four-year span. The rest of the country also experienced an increase, but not like Texas. 

SC: South Carolina transportation chief wants money to make rural highways safer

Transportation Secretary Christy Hall said he would seek money to clear areas alongside highways so drivers can recover if they run off the road, drain ditches so they do not hold water and upgrade signs. South Carolina ranked second in the nation in highway fatalities on rural roads last year.

OH: Not enough low-income housing is being built in Ohio’s better neighborhoods

A new report finds Ohio gives most of its federal tax credits to developers who pitch low-income housing projects in distressed neighborhoods that are deeply racially segregated and impoverished — not in neighborhoods with betters schools and safer streets.

WA: Washington state land to be used for temporary Seattle homeless camp

A sliver of state-owned land near the downtown of Washington’s largest city is being positioned as a stopgap destination for people moving out of homeless encampments underneath and near Interstate 5, an area known as The Jungle.

WV: Three pharmacies settle dispute with West Virginia over generic drug sales

West Virginia reached a nearly $3 million settlement with Kroger, CVS and Walgreens in a dispute over cost savings from generic prescription drug sales. The companies have agreed to comply with state law that requires pharmacies to pass retail savings on to consumers.

PA: People in Pennsylvania can now have wine shipped directly to their homes

For the first time, Pennsylvania oenophiles can have up to 36 cases (up to nine liters per case) of wine a year delivered to their homes. Oh, the new law also says the wine must be for personal use.

Drug Overdose Deaths Living With Parents
Philadelphia Museum of Art