What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 10/5

MA: Massachusetts high court gives parental rights to unmarried gay partner

The Supreme Judicial Court extended parental rights to people in same-sex relationships who never married and have no biological connection to a child, but can show that they actively took part in the child’s upbringing since birth. It is the first such ruling in Massachusetts, but it follows a handful of decisions in other states extending parental rights to same-sex couples.

NJ: New Jersey lawmakers set to vote on 23-cent gas tax deal

The Legislature is set to vote on a deal that would more than double New Jersey’s gasoline tax to 37.5 cents a gallon. Advocates say it's necessary to continue financing the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, the state's flailing roads-and-bridges bank account that's been dry since July 1.

NM: New Mexico House takes up reinstatement of the death penalty

The bill largely mirrors a capital punishment statute that legislators repealed in 2009 and would allow the death penalty in cases involving the murder of a child, a police officer or a corrections officer.

OK: Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down restrictive abortion law

The law imposed restrictions on abortion providers, including a requirement that they take samples of fetal tissue from patients younger than 14 and preserve them for state investigators. It also set new criminal penalties for providers who violate abortion-related statutes and created a stricter inspection for Oklahoma abortion clinics.

US: Users of prepaid cards to get new protections

Prepaid cards, found on racks in nearly every U.S. grocery store, will soon come in packaging that clearly states the fees they may charge and will grant users new protections under final rules released by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

TX: Texas investigators fail to check on thousands of at-risk children

On any given day in the last six months, nearly 1,000 of Texas' "highest-priority" children — considered by the state to be at immediate risk of physical or sexual abuse — were not checked on even once by Child Protective Services investigators. The agency faces a $40 million budget shortfall, large caseloads, rapid staff turnover and a shortage of foster homes.

MO: Missouri’s tax revenue falls short of expectations in first quarter

Revenue for the first three months of Missouri’s new budget year rose by just 3.6 percent over last year, making it unlikely that Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon will release nearly $175 million in spending he has frozen since July 1.

US: About 2.5 million people missing out on Affordable Care Act tax credits

About 2.5 million people earning between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level —  up to $100,000 for a family of four — are missing out on tax credits to lower the cost of insurance they are buying federal and state health care exchanges, federal regulators said.

ME: Maine’s governor wants fewer school administrators, school consolidation

Republican Gov. Paul LePage said he intends to push school system consolidation, saying Maine is spending too much money on administrators rather than in classrooms.

KS: Amid budget woes, Kansas proposes ending monthly tax reports

A task force appointed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is recommending sweeping changes to the way state officials forecast how much revenue Kansas will take in each year, including how much of that information is disclosed to the public. The recommendations came a day after tax collections in September came in nearly $45 million short of projections.

CO: First group of Colorado students with Down syndrome starts college this fall

The first cohort of college students in Colorado with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities are starting school — a result of the state’s delayed response to the 2008 federal Higher Education Opportunity Act that said people with intellectual disabilities have the right to attend college. Colorado was among the last four states to comply with the law.

Opioid Epidemic Taxing Nonprofits?
Philadelphia Museum of Art