What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 9/20
SD: South Dakota agency won’t help feds place more refugees
The director of the lone resettlement program in South Dakota said the group will not participate in the federal effort to increase the number of refugees settled in the U.S., citing the debate over immigration in the state.
CA: California restricts pollutants, from cow flatulence to diesel emissions
Under a bill signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, California will cut emissions of methane from dairy cows and other animals by 40 percent and black carbon from diesel trucks and other sources by 50 percent. It’s the latest of several efforts in the most populous state to reduce emissions leading to climate change.
MO: Missouri voters will get chance to bring back campaign contribution limits
An initiative on the November ballot will ask Missouri voters whether they want to limit contributions to individual candidates to $2,600 and limit contributions to a political party to $25,000. The caps would go into effect next year.
LA: Louisiana flood relief program may exclude mobile homes
Under the “Shelter at Home” program, Louisiana will use at least $400 million in mostly federal money to help flood-affected homeowners make basic repairs — drywall replacement, bathroom repairs, gutting and other work — to enable them to remain in their homes. But the program, which provides up to $15,000 per homeowner, may not apply to thousands of people who live in mobile homes.
RI: Former Red Sox pitcher agrees to $2.5 million settlement in Rhode Island case
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling agreed to participate in a $2.5 million settlement over a controversial financing deal for his 38 Studios video company. Rhode Island officials agreed to issue $75 million in bonds as part of a package to lure 38 Studios, but the company went bankrupt.
WY: Wyoming considers changes in investment strategy
As Wyoming seeks to ease its budgetary shortfall, officials have focused their attention on the Permanent Wyoming Mineral Trust Fund. The fund receives 2.5 percent of all severance taxes collected from minerals in the state and interest from it is the second-largest contributor to the state’s general fund. But the drop in mineral prices has caused a plummet in such contributions.
GA: Georgia governor bans gas price gouging after pipeline spill
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order to prevent Georgia gas stations from significantly hiking fuel prices after a pipeline spill in Alabama led to long lines and dry pumps across parts of the South.
WV: Legislature sends West Virginia governor $85 million appropriations bill for flood recovery
The bill would tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund, extra lottery money and unspent funds from last year’s budget to cover the state’s share of an estimated $339 million of recovery costs from June 23 floods in central and southeastern West Virginia.
SC: South Carolina budget writers brace for cost of aging population
The fastest-growing segment of South Carolina’s population is residents age 85 or older, and that aging population will change the way the state spends money and collects tax dollars. Already, it is changing where South Carolinians live and how local governments operate.
UT: Utah Transit Authority circumvents vow to keep board committee meetings open
An inadvertent admission by a board member revealed that the Utah Transit Authority has creatively circumvented its recent vow to keep all its board committee meetings open to the public.
ND: North Dakota drug courts face budget cuts
In Grand Forks, the drug courts provide an opportunity for nonviolent, first-time felons to turn their lives around — and avoid costly incarceration. But budget cuts made by the North Dakota Legislature in a special session in August will put more on the plate of district judges, leaving them without time to administer drug court.
NV: Nevada lawmaker pitches alternative plan for public stadium
A Democratic state senator is pitching a plan to build a 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas that would be publicly owned and paid for by a 4 percent hike in the hotel room tax. Last week, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee recommended a plan to lure the Oakland Raiders that would include $750 million in public money, $650 million from private developers and $500 million from the team.
CO, NE: Is Colorado to blame for rise in Nebraska marijuana busts?
The rate of marijuana arrests in Nebraska grew 11 percent between 2013 and 2014, the year marijuana shops opened in Colorado, according to an analysis by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. But researchers stopped short of fully tying the increases to Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana, and said the numbers may be up due to stepped-up law enforcement efforts.