What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/24

CA: California guardsmen and women must repay enlistment bonuses

About 9,700 current and retired California National Guard soldiers have received notices to repay enlistment bonuses of $15,000 or more offered when more enlistees were needed to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WA: Washington state ‘grossly’ unprepared for major quake

Washington state’s emergency managers will begin asking residents to stock enough food and other supplies to survive on their own for two weeks, after a draft government report said the state is grossly unprepared for a large earthquake and tsunami that may strike in the coming decades.

MO: Settlement from VW cheating scandal helps shore up Missouri budget

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is using Missouri’s $8.7 million share of a settlement stemming from Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal to offset cuts he made to the state’s $27 billion budget. He put $4.5 million in local school transportation, $3 million in biodiesel subsidies and $1.2 million in the State Emergency Management Agency.

WY: Wyoming ballot measure would invest more state money in stocks

Looking to stretch Wyoming's finances in the face of a downturn in energy revenues and the sagging bond market, lawmakers are asking voters to allow them to invest billions of dollars more of state money in stocks.

US: Posting ballot selfies? Better check state laws first

Although federal judges have struck down bans on selfies in New Hampshire and Indiana, it's against the law to share any photo of your ballot in 18 states, and six bar photography in polling places while allowing photos of mail-in ballots.

AL: Alabama ballot includes 14 constitutional amendments

Alabama voters will have the chance to vote on 14 amendments to the state constitution next month. Some deal with big issues like economics and labor. Some aim to clarify constitutional language. Some repeal age limits for elected officials.

OH: Ohio moves death row

Ohio is moving its death row for the third time in a little over a decade, this time to a newer prison that’s able to better accommodate the growing number of aging inmates serving death sentences who have physical limitations.

SC: Some county boards fail South Carolinians with intellectual disabilities

South Carolina county agencies responsible for caring for thousands of intellectually disabled state residents have failed to adequately protect the money and property of those they are caring for, an audit finds.

IA: Fewer Iowans carrying flood insurance despite rising risk

There were 13,872 flood insurance policies in Iowa at the end of last month, down from 17,861 in 2011. Officials say the 22 percent decline can be attributed to several factors, including higher premiums and buyouts of flood-prone homes.

SD: South Dakota schools want state to fill juvenile justice reform gaps

A year and a half after Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a widely praised package of juvenile justice reforms, South Dakota school administrators say the law has left them with few options for addressing truancy, underage drinking and other smaller offenses by students.

NJ: New Jersey advances bill to forgive student loan debt of deceased students

The New Jersey Senate has signed off on legislation that would force the state’s student loan agency to erase the debt of students who die or become permanently disabled. 

KS: Kansas judicial races drawing big-money advertising campaigns

Supreme Court retention races for five Kansas justices are drawing a large amount of campaign spending, but a loophole in the state's disclosure laws prevents anyone from knowing the true total or where the money is coming from.

AK: Alaska's population was flattening even before its economy began shedding jobs

The latest round of population estimates from Alaska shows the state's growth rate was flattening because of stronger job growth in the Lower 48 and other factors even before the state's current economic slowdown.

Rural Seniors State Police