What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/18

NY: Mismanagement cost New York’s pension fund $3.8 billion, regulator says

High fees paid to hedge fund managers whose strategies underperform have together cost the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the nation's third-largest public pension fund, $3.8 billion since 2008, the state's financial regulator said.

NC: North Carolina estimates $1.5 billion in hurricane damage to buildings

North Carolina emergency officials have estimated that the destructive and deadly Hurricane Matthew caused $1.5 billion worth of damage to more than 100,000 homes, businesses and government buildings in the state.

US: Use of facial ID technology raises new concerns of police profiling

The growing use of facial-recognition systems has led to a high-tech form of racial profiling, with African-Americans more likely than others to have their images captured, analyzed and reviewed during computerized searches for crime suspects, a new report finds. Half of all adults have their images stored in at least one facial-recognition database.

VA: Virginia elections website crashes on last day of voter registration

Virginia’s online voter registration site slowed significantly Monday, and at times was completely unresponsive, as residents tried to meet the deadline to sign up to vote in November’s election. 

CA: If California's 21-and-up smoking law is a success, other states may follow suit

California this year became the second state after Hawaii to raise its minimum smoking age to 21. It has become a national test case for a 21-and-up smoking law — one that could have major implications for dozens of places now considering similar legislation.

TX: After a lull in 2015, Texas-Mexico border apprehensions spiked in 2016

Apprehension of families and unaccompanied children surged again along the Texas-Mexico border this year, reflecting the new prevalence of illegal immigration from Central America. The number of families that were apprehended or turned themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley swelled by 90 percent.

MT: Meth becomes most common substance after alcohol in Montana DUI blood tests

For the first time, methamphetamine outpaced marijuana as the most common drug found along with alcohol in DUI samples sent to Montana's state crime lab last year.

OH: Local governments losing out on millions by not switching investments

Ohio taxpayers are losing out on millions of dollars because local governments participating in two state-sponsored investment plans have not transferred money from one to the other that has higher returns. Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel, who administers both plans, has no authority to transfer money between the two, and doesn’t advise local governments how to handle their money.

MD: Maryland’s attorney general pushes for change to bail system

Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh said he will submit a letter to lawmakers urging them to change Maryland’s cash bail system so poor defendants are not held in jail because they can’t afford to make bail.

IL: Illinois voters to decide proposed transportation lockbox amendment

Illinois voters will be asked Nov. 8 whether to change the state constitution to prevent lawmakers from raiding funds intended to be used on transportation projects.

WI: Wisconsin lawmakers look to address projected shortage of health care workers

A group of Wisconsin legislators plan to introduce a $3.5 million package of bills as part of an initiative to try to improve rural health care, education, technology and workforce issues. One bill would seek to train more workers in specialties needed the most, such as OB-GYN and mental health.

IA: Iowa schools search for bilingual teachers

The number of students who speak another language and need to learn English has increased by 452 percent in Iowa in the last 20 years. Many of the students are in rural areas, leaving school districts there scrambling to train teachers to work with them.

NJ: Ahead of expected casino defeat, New Jersey lawmaker proposes slots at racetracks

A New Jersey assemblyman wants to bring slot machines to the state’s racetracks. He is proposing the gaming expansion as an alternative to a referendum to bring casinos to the northern part of the state that is expected to fail.

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