What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/21

US: U.S. Justice Department survey shows drop in violent crime from 2013 to 2015

A survey by the department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics showed a drop in violent crimes rates from 23.2 victims per 1,000 people in 2013 to 18.6 per 1,000 people in 2015. Last month, the FBI reported rates had risen last year.

KY: Kentucky Supreme Court strikes down city’s minimum wage hike

The court said Louisville exceeded its authority in requiring the city's businesses pay their workers at a higher level than the state's minimum wage. Kentucky cities can pass higher minimum wages only if the Legislature says they can, the court said.

NY, US: New York negotiates national settlement with major insurer on opioid treatment

The insurer Cigna will no longer require pre-authorization for prescriptions for medicine to treat opioid addiction under the terms of a national settlement, announced Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York.

WY: Wyoming is requiring citizenship proof from naturalized voters

The Wyoming Secretary of State's Office alerted county clerks to require an undetermined number of people to provide proof of citizenship before allowing them to vote, stirring anger from some who say it has deterred people from casting ballots.

LA: Louisiana attorney general challenges governor’s LGBT-rights order

Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry asked a judge to block an order Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards issued in April that prohibits discrimination in Louisiana state government and in state contracts based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

VA: Federal judge orders voter registration reopened in Virginia

A U.S. district judge ordered voter registration reopened in Virginia for another day because the state’s voter registration website had crashed earlier in the week.

CA: Will California get out of its promise of generous retirements for public employees?

The California Supreme Court will soon decide whether the state can reduce promised public retirement plans. If it rules pensions can be cut, it could be a vehicle for reducing a shortfall amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars in state and local pension systems.

AR: Medical marijuana in Arkansas might cost more than it raises

Two measures before Arkansas voters that would legalize marijuana for medical use would cost the state more to enforce than the sales of proceeds would provide, state officials estimated.

WA: Could capital city’s ballot measure presage Washington state income tax?

A city initiative that would levy an income tax on Olympia residents whose household income exceeds $200,000 would likely end up in the courts if it passes. And that would give Washington’s Supreme Court a chance to reverse its 1930s decisions that struck down graduated state income taxes as unconstitutional.

KS: Kansas cites slavery-era ruling in abortion case, then backpedals

Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt withdrew a court brief that cited the slavery-era Dred Scott decision to support the state's position that the Kansas Constitution does not guarantee a right to an abortion. Schmidt said it was inappropriate to cite the notorious case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal government could not prohibit slavery in its territories.

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