What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/1

NC: U.S. Supreme Court refuses to reinstate North Carolina voter ID law

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to delay a lower court ruling that found the law was tainted by racial discrimination. As a result, North Carolina voters won't have to show one of several qualifying photo IDs to cast ballots in November. Early voting also reverts to 17 days, starting Oct. 20.

IL: Illinois' pile of unpaid bills could hit record of $14 billion next summer

Moody’s Investors Service estimated the state’s backlog of unpaid bills could reach a new high. Illinois is spending more than it's taking in following the rollback of a 2011 temporary income tax increase, the credit rating firm said, and a stopgap budget has put off many tough decisions on cuts or tax hikes until after the November election.

NJ: State appeals court: New Jersey may deny access to public records

Government agencies may deny access to public records by saying they can “neither confirm nor deny” their existence, a state appeals court ruled. New Jersey is now the second state after Indiana to adopt as law a secrecy tool first used by the U.S. government during the Cold War to protect its national security interests.

CA: California Legislature votes to limit out-of-network medical billings

The California Assembly sent Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would limit the charges that are incurred when an insured patient gets treatment from a specialist not in his or her insurance network. Under the bill, the patient would pay the in-network rate.

AK: Alaska attorney general: Marijuana social clubs are illegal

Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said the clubs — where people pay a fee to gather to consume cannabis and which sprang up in the aftermath of Alaska's vote to legalize marijuana — are illegal because they aren’t licensed retail marijuana outlets.

US: Homeless students to get more attention under new education law

A federal law that takes effect Oct. 1 will require that school administrators get better at recognizing homeless students — those "hidden" in other people's homes or whose families are staying in places like campgrounds, motels and cars — and keeping them in school even if they're missing paperwork or move around. An estimated 1.3 million students enrolled in school are homeless, double the number a decade ago. 

WV: West Virginia state agencies told to contribute more to pension funds

West Virginia’s Consolidated Public Retirement Board told state agencies they will have to contribute more because investment earnings by the pension fund have not reached the required 7.5 percent annual growth in recent years.

SC: South Carolina Supreme Court rules no reimbursement needed when cops damage property

South Carolina isn't required to reimburse private property owners for damage by law officers doing their jobs, the court said. The ruling sprung from a 2004 hostage-taking incident at a convenience store in which police officers ultimately used a bulldozer to end the standoff.

NY: Seeking psychiatrists, New York offers $150k toward college debts

The state office of mental health is taking applications for the Doctors Across New York (DANY) Psychiatrist Loan Repayment Program. This incentive offers up to $150,000 in tax-free reimbursement for psychiatrists with active student loan debt who agree to serve at a state psychiatric center for at least five years.

OH: Ohio judge prevents new anti-local hiring law from taking effect

A county judge put on hold a new law that prohibits Ohio cities from requiring contractors on public projects to hire local workers. Rural communities say current hiring quotas prevent their residents from getting construction jobs in big cities.

OK: Oklahoma child care providers closing their doors

The number of child care homes or centers in Oklahoma has declined by 34 percent, to 3,409, since 2008, and the number of spaces in these facilities has dropped by 20 percent. Child care providers blame tight state regulations, government aid that lags increasing costs, and difficulty in recruiting and retaining workers.

MD: Maryland governor orders schools to start after Labor Day beginning next year

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order requiring Maryland public schools to delay the start of the school year until after Labor Day starting next year. Most educational leaders in the state have pushed for an earlier start to the school year, saying students lose too much learning over long summer breaks.

MO: Birth certificates unlock past for some Missouri adoptees

Under a new Missouri law, adoptees born before Jan. 1, 1941, are able to retrieve their original birth certificates, which had been under seal.

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