What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/26

NY: Most guns used in New York crimes are from out of state, attorney general says

Six out of seven handguns connected to recent crimes in New York state were brought in from elsewhere, Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a report on suspected gun trafficking along the East Coast.

US: Fearing Election Day trouble, some schools cancel classes

Rigged elections. Vigilante observers. Angry voters. The claims, threats and passions surrounding the presidential race have led communities around the nation to move polling places out of schools or cancel classes on Election Day.

SC: South Carolina’s pension debt is $40 billion, lawmakers told

South Carolina’s unfunded pension debt could be nearly twice as large as estimated — some $40 billion.

WY: Wyoming municipalities group calls for tax hike

The cost to run a city or town — from paving a street to collecting trash — is increasing, and the Wyoming Association of Municipalities says it’s time to raise sales and property taxes to help local governments keep up amid an economic slump that has severely dented state tax collections.

IA: Iowa governor to explore statewide minimum wage hike

Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said he will explore a statewide increase in the minimum wage, replacing minimum wage hikes being approved on a county by county basis throughout Iowa.

AL, FL, GA: Alabama sides with Florida against Georgia in water wars

Alabama is throwing its legal weight behind Florida in an attempt to keep Georgia from using too much of the Chattahoochee River, backing the Sunshine State’s claims that metro Atlanta, in particular, hogs the river water to the environmental and economic detriment of communities downstream.

OR: Oregon weighs whether all its kids should get an outdoor education

A ballot measure asks Oregon voters to take a slice of lottery proceeds to guarantee a week of Outdoor School for all children — a 50-year-old program currently funded by a patchwork of parent fees and fundraising, but which excludes about half the 11- and 12-year-olds in the state.

MS: Mississippi lawmakers question government travel spending

Mississippi legislators are looking for ways to further curtail state spending by focusing on government travel, an area in which many agencies haven’t appeared to scrimp even as they’ve cut services and staff. Spending on travel grew from $51.4 million in 2012 to $60.2 million in 2016.

GA: Georgia governor and lawmakers approve teacher raises, but many don’t get one

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and lawmakers got a lot of publicity for approving 3 percent pay raises for Georgia teachers this year, but thousands of educators never saw their salaries increase.

HI: Group floats car emissions caps in bid to reach Hawaii’s energy goals

Hawaii is one of 17 states that does not require smog tests or emissions caps for car and truck drivers. But an environmental group is arguing that the measures could bring the state closer to its clean energy goals.

WI: Use of Wisconsin state parks appears up, despite higher fees

Use of the parks this year is on track to be higher than average, although the Wisconsin Legislature and Republican Gov. Scott Walker ended tax support for the parks system and increased fees.

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