What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 10/13

US: Survey points to higher birth rate in future

More women in the U.S. expect to have children in the future than they did in 2002, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates. The number of births declined slightly last year to 3.97 million from 3.98 million in 2014, when births increased for the first time since 2007.

FL: Floridians given even more time to register to vote

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker gave residents of Florida six extra days — until Oct. 18 — to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election because of the disruption caused by powerful Hurricane Matthew in the state last week.

NV: Nevada Assembly to take up funding for NFL stadium

The Nevada Senate already has approved a deal to provide $750 million in public financing to build a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas that could house the Oakland Raiders.

NC: No extension for North Carolina voter registration

North Carolina’s State Board of Elections said it will keep Friday as the deadline for regular voter registration, despite the upheaval in eastern counties awash in floodwater brought on by Hurricane Matthew.

VT: Vermont wind project needs votes, so company offers to pay voters

A Spanish energy firm that wants to build Vermont’s biggest wind farm is offering to pay the 815 registered voters in the towns of Windham and Grafton a total of $565,000 a year for 25 years if they approve the project Nov. 8. The state attorney general’s office said the offer doesn’t appear to violate state law.

GA: Lawsuit seeks emergency voter registration extension in Georgia

Voter advocates filed a federal lawsuit seeking an emergency extension of Georgia’s voter registration deadline, asking the court to give residents until Oct. 18 to register because some of them along the coast were forced to flee Hurricane Matthew.

IL: Illinois’ Cook County to consider tax on soda, lemonade, sports drinks

The board president of Illinois’ most populous county, and the second most populous in the nation, is proposing a penny-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages including pop, lemonade and sports drinks to help close a 2017 budget shortfall.

CA: Effort to overturn California gun bills at ballot box fails

Opponents of the six major gun-control laws signed in early July have failed to collect the 365,880 voter signatures to qualify referendums on the bills for the 2018 ballot in California. The laws take effect Jan. 1.

KS: Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship voting requirement could be void

A federal court clerk in Kansas entered a default judgment against Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach for failing to file a timely response to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law requiring prospective voters to prove they are U.S. citizens. If the judgment stands, it means the proof-of-citizenship requirement can't be enforced.

OK: Oklahoma gaming revenue up three percent during statewide recession

While other funding sources lagged, the state of Oklahoma got a three percent bump in gaming revenue in the last budget year. Indian tribes paid the state $132 million in exclusivity fees from certain electronic and table games, up from $128.4 million the previous year.

MN: Minnesota governor declares Obamacare no longer affordable

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said the Affordable Care Act is "no longer affordable" for many. Individual insurance coverage in Minnesota is facing double-digit increases after insurers threatened to leave the state next year.

NY: New York rules former Uber drivers qualify for jobless benefits

Two former drivers for Uber are eligible for unemployment payments, New York State regulators have ruled, finding that they should be treated as employees rather than independent contractors, as the company has maintained. 

WI: Federal judge chastises Wisconsin officials over voter ID confusion

In considering a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law, U.S. District Court Judge James Peterson ripped state officials over inadequate training for Division of Motor Vehicles workers, some of whom recently gave prospective voters erroneous information about the necessary credentials to cast a ballot.

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