What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/24

US: In dry, windy West, firefighters target wildfires in several states

Growing wildfires stoked by windy, dry conditions have destroyed buildings and forced evacuations in California, Montana and Washington. Firefighters also are battling fires in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

OH: Federal appeals court backs Ohio’s new limits on early voting

Ohio got permission to shorten early voting from 35 days to 28 and eliminate the state’s “Golden Week,” which allowed people to register and vote early at the same time. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision that said the state couldn’t do that.

IL: Illinois governor signs law to toughen penalties for gun trafficking

Traffickers who take advantage of looser laws in neighboring states to illegally import guns to Illinois will face tougher penalties if caught under a measure signed into law by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

ID: Idaho orders emergency ban on synthetic opioid

Idaho’s pharmacy board banned the synthetic opioid known as U-47700 after two people died after taking it. The board took the emergency action until the Legislature can consider banning it permanently.

US: Five states file lawsuit over Obama administration transgender rules

Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wisconsin filed another lawsuit seeking to roll back the Obama administration’s efforts to strengthen transgender rights, saying new federal nondiscrimination health rules could force doctors to act contrary to their medical judgment or religious beliefs.

CA: California Assembly votes to extend target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would require a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. That’s an easier target than California’s current law that requires the state to reach 1990 levels by 2020.

KS: Kansas asks federal appeals court to let it keep thousands off voters’ rolls

Kansas asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to back the state’s strict proof-of-citizenship requirement by overturning a lower court order to add 17,500 people to voters’ rolls so they can vote in the November election.

TN: Tennessee’s health exchange market “near collapse”

Tennessee’s insurance regulator proclaimed the state’s health insurance exchange “very near collapse,” after signing off on hefty premium hikes in an extraordinary bid to keep the program afloat.

US: Scores sag for high school graduates taking the ACT college test

Nearly two-thirds of this year’s high school graduates took the ACT college entrance exam, and their scores suggest that most are unprepared for the rigors of college coursework.

CT: Connecticut sued over state regulation of liquor prices

A national liquor retailer filed a federal lawsuit seeking to end Connecticut’s 35-year-old practice of regulating liquor prices, arguing the regulatory scheme that sets minimum prices violates antitrust laws.

AL: Alabama lottery proposal won’t make it on November ballot

The Alabama House has blocked a committee meeting that was necessary for Republican Gov. Robert Bentley’s proposal for a state lottery to get on the Nov. 8 ballot.

VA: Medicaid will cover insect repellent costs in Virginia

To help ward off the Zika virus, Virginia’s Medicaid program is now covering the cost of mosquito repellent.

KY: Most Kentucky pension funds lost money last year — but not the one for lawmakers

Kentucky legislators enjoyed a modest investment return in their public pension fund in fiscal 2016. But the struggling funds for state and local government employees and school teachers lost money on investments, despite paying a combined $171 million in fees to financial advisers.

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