What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/22

TX: Texas threatens to withdraw from refugee resettlement program

Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation's refugee resettlement program if federal officials don't “unconditionally approve” a state plan requiring additional vetting of relocated people. But a withdrawal wouldn’t block the flow of Syrian refugees to the state, because the federal government could distribute money directly to nonprofits that help them.

OH: Ohio attorneys given green light to advise medical marijuana clients

Ohio attorneys were assured by the state Supreme Court they could assist medical marijuana clients under the state’s new law, although the federal government considers the substance to be illegal.

CA: Governor signs bills to boost graduation rates at California universities

One bill signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown would create programs at Cal State campuses to give certain students extra support from academic advisers and priority registration in classes. The other would provide $15 million in grant funding for California community colleges to improve graduation rates by partnering with high schools or public universities.

NJ: Lawmakers in New Jersey consider limits on toy gun sales

New Jersey legislators are considering a bill that would ban the sale of imitation firearms unless they come in colors other than black, blue, silver or aluminum. The fake weapons would also be required to have an orange stripe and closed barrel.

US: State-by-state look at state legislators’ per diem rates

How states compare on taxpayer-funded reimbursements for lawmakers’ lodging and food away from home — a payment typically provided on top of lawmakers’ annual salaries.

SC: South Carolina Supreme Court will keep oversight of suit by poor, rural schools

The South Carolina Supreme Court will continue its oversight of a landmark 1993 school-equity lawsuit brought against the state by poor, rural school districts that say they need more money. State leaders had asked the court to dismiss the suit, citing steps the Legislature already has taken to address inequities in public education identified in the court’s 2014 ruling.

KS: Kansas faces another budget hole 

Kansas could be facing a $20 million budget gap in its current budget despite spending cuts, updated estimates from the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Research Department indicate.

ND: Affidavit allowed for North Dakota voters lacking ID

A federal judge in North Dakota has ruled that the state must let voters without identification cast a ballot by filing an affidavit.

NH: One in three New Hampshire residents will be 65 or older by 2040

Residents are leaving northern New Hampshire and other rural communities at a rapid rate, and a surprising number of people over the age of 75 are moving into the state. 

OR: Oregon officials confront soaring pension costs

Oregon's public pension system owes billions of dollars more to retirees than it has, and the last major attempt to fix the problem was shot down in courts. This month, cities, school districts and others will find out how much more they'll pay to help prop up the system. 

UT: Special session of Utah Legislature likely to fix gas tax glitch

The speaker of the Utah House said a special session of the Legislature is likely in November to fix a new law that is giving cities less than they expected from a nickel-per-gallon gas tax hike.

VA: Did a Virginia city solve the pay gap?

In Alexandria, Virginia, female city employees are making 94 cents for every $1 their male counterparts earn. Nationally, the gap is wider, with women earning 80 percent of men’s wages.

WV: Lawmakers urged to lift bans on hunting on Sundays across West Virginia

Making hunting legal on Sundays across West Virginia could create about 2,600 jobs and spur up to $155 million in additional economic activity each year, lawmakers were told. Twenty-two of the state’s 55 counties already allow it on private land. Voters in five counties will decide in November whether to remove bans on Sunday hunting.

High-Speed Internet Top State Stories 9/21
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