What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/25

US: Consumers hit with double-digit price hikes on health insurance exchanges

Premiums will go up sharply next year on federally run health care exchanges and many consumers will be down to one insurer. Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states.

WY: Wyoming governor says state may need to dip into rainy day fund

Wyoming will be about $156 million short for the 2017-18 biennium that began July 1, prompting Republican Gov. Matt Mead to say the state could consider using some money from its stabilization, or rainy day, account.

PA: Pennsylvania lawmakers pass regulatory framework for ride-hailing companies

The Legislature gave final approval to a bill that for the first time grants permanent authority for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate in Pennsylvania.

US: Election could be turning point for legal marijuana

The movement to legalize marijuana, the country’s most popular illicit drug, will take a major leap on Election Day if California and four other states vote to allow recreational use, as polls indicate they may.

KY: No flip-flops or exposed belly buttons for Kentucky state workers

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has banned flip-flops, exposed midriffs or attire with large commercial logos in a new dress code for Kentucky’s more than 31,000 executive branch employees.

SC: South Carolina governor pushes for hiring nonviolent prisoners upon release

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley urged South Carolina businesses to hire nonviolent prisoners near release, a step she said would give them a good start toward a second chance.

VA: Virginia scraps stricter building codes for abortion clinics

The Virginia Board of Health has rolled back requirements that abortion clinics in the state meet hospital-style building codes.

MI: Federal court halts enforcement of Michigan law banning ballot ‘selfies’

Michigan voters should be free to take “ballot selfies” for the first time Nov. 8. A U.S. district judge suspended a long-standing ban the state is fighting to reinstate with little more than two weeks to go until Election Day.

WI: Special-needs vouchers cost Wisconsin school districts $2.4 million in aid

Wisconsin school districts will lose $2.4 million in state aid this year to fund 202 students with disabilities in private schools. The program allows qualifying resident students to attend private schools on state-funded tuition vouchers worth $12,000 a year.

MO: Dueling Missouri tobacco tax initiatives causing confusion

Missouri voters are facing the confusing prospect of two proposals on the same ballot that would increase the state’s lowest-in-the-nation tobacco tax by different amounts. The results are simple enough if one proposal passes and the other fails, or if they both fail. But if they both pass, the courts may be left to sort it out.

NC: Jilted North Carolina to PayPal: Give us our stuff back

State leaders have asked PayPal to return a ceremonial wooden bowl now that the online payment company has canceled its plans to expand in North Carolina in protest of a state law that limits legal protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The bowl was given to PayPal as a token of appreciation when the expansion was announced.

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