What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 9/30

CA: State-managed retirement plan in California becomes reality with governor’s signature

The state-managed savings program for private-sector work will automatically put a share of workers’ wages into a retirement fund at low cost, unless they opt out.

VA: Virginia’s lethal injection costs set to skyrocket

The Virginia Department of Corrections has agreed to pay a secret supplier of lethal injection drugs $16,500 per execution under a new state contract, more than 30 times higher than what prison officials say they would have had to pay last year for a supply of chemicals sufficient for one execution.

PA: Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down provisions of shale gas law

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional for the shale gas industry to use eminent domain to seize private land for gas storage. 

FL: Florida’s mental hospitals are still violent and deadly

Patients and staff in Florida mental hospitals continue to fall victim to preventable violence, months after a joint investigation by two newspapers showed how $100 million in budget cuts had doubled violent incidents and contributed to the deaths of at least 15 people.

UT: Utah kids living in intergenerational poverty could fill 1,611 school buses

A new state report shows that more than 57,000 Utah children are caught in the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and warns that such children perform relatively poorly in school.

NV: Group against Nevada stadium because it “contains unacceptable level of risk for residents”

Nevadans for the Common Good, a local group comprised of faith-based organizations and nonprofits, says the use of general obligation bonds to fund a new football stadium leaves taxpayers on the hook to cover payments if hotel room taxes prove insufficient.

NM: New Mexico tax system “gamed” by insurance companies?

New Mexico’s insurance superintendent is facing questions from legislators and other state officials about his office’s ability to collect taxes from insurance providers after a report released last week showed the state failed to collect at least $193 million in premium taxes from health insurance companies over a recent five-year period.

MO: Missouri officials considering opening special hospital to treat tuberculosis

Two years after the University of Missouri closed the state’s lone hospital for treating tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, state health officials are looking at opening a replacement facility. The shift comes amid a nationwide increase in the number of people contracting the airborne bacterial disease that attacks the lungs, with 90 active tuberculosis cases in Missouri in each of the past three years.

TX: Ignoring anti-refugee rhetoric, Texans rush to help in resettlement

Texas nonprofits that resettle refugees say volunteer turnout has increased — in some cases dramatically — since the state's elected officials started trying to bar Syrians fleeing violence at home. 

NJ: Leaderless and underfunded, N.J. Transit had troubles well before fatal crash

The third-busiest commuter system in the country, New Jersey Transit has been operating without an executive director for nearly a year, its board of directors has not met for three months, and it has not explained how it will close a $45 million gap in its budget this year.

NC: North Carolina lottery winners repeatedly beat stunning odds

The Charlotte Observer found players who beat staggering odds so consistently that statisticians said the chances of being that lucky were less than one in a trillion, raising questions about whether some players are gaming the system.

NH: New Hampshire Senate upholds governor’s veto of concealed carry bill

With most votes falling along party lines, the state Senate failed to override any of Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's vetoes from the last session, including her veto of a bill that would have allowed concealed carry of a handgun without a permit.

Pipeline Concerns Top State Stories 9/29
Philadelphia Museum of Art