What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/1

US: Opioid poisonings rise sharply among toddlers and teenagers

The number of children being hospitalized because of prescription opioid poisoning has risen sharply since 1997, especially among toddlers and older teenagers, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine reported.

GA: Georgia Supreme Court rules guns not allowed at school functions

The Georgia Supreme Court said a law that prohibits guns at school property trumps one passed at the same time that allowed firearms inside school safety zones.

US: Election could create flood of marijuana cash with no place to go 

The number of U.S. banks working with pot businesses, now sanctioned in many states, is up 45 percent in the last year. Still, marijuana merchants say there are not nearly enough banks willing to take their cash — a situation they hope will change if ballot measures in California, Florida and seven other states pass.

NC: Exclusion from North Carolina voter rolls at issue in court order, new lawsuit

As the second week of early voting began in North Carolina, the state NAACP and voters in Beaufort and Moore counties filed a lawsuit in federal court contending elections officials are erroneously purging eligible voters from the rolls as part of an attempt to suppress African-American voters.

KS: Kansas public employee retirement fund considers lowering projected return rate 

Kansas’ public employee pension officials are considering lowering the 8 percent expected rate of return for investments annually, which could mean taxpayers and possibly employees would need to chip in more money.

NE: Nebraska’s growing Latino population looks for representation in state government

Latinos now make up more than 10 percent of Nebraska’s population, a number that’s expected to double by 2040. But that growth has not translated to more Latino representation in the Legislature.

CA: California law to ease access to birth control has been disappointing for some women

Under the 2013 law, women should be able to go to a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription and pick up hormonal contraception, including pills and patches. But California pharmacists aren’t required to provide birth control and many say they’re unsure whether they ever will. 

AR: Arkansas governor proposes $10 million increase in higher education funding

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson wants to tie the proposed spending increase, which would be the first across-the-board hike in Arkansas since 1996, to schools’ performance rather than their enrollment.

IL: Illinois law puts hairdressers on the front lines of recognizing domestic abuse

A new Illinois law requires all licensed hairdressers to take a one hour class every two years, when they get their license renewed, to help identify signs of domestic abuse in their clients.

MD: Jilted cannabis firm sues Maryland medical marijuana regulators

A company that was denied a license to grow medical marijuana in Maryland has filed a lawsuit against state regulators alleging that they didn’t follow a law calling for racial diversity in the potentially lucrative industry. It’s the third prospective marijuana grower to pursue legal action against the cannabis commission. 

OR: Oregon ballot measure would be state’s biggest tax increase

The proposal would levy a 2.5 percent tax on many companies’ Oregon sales over $25 million, generating an estimated $3 billion a year for public education and other state services. Proponents say the state’s business taxes are unusually low. Opponents say consumers would end up paying some of the bill.

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