What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/15

US: Police departments ease standards to attract more recruits

Police departments in many states are relaxing age-old standards for accepting recruits, from lowering educational requirements to forgiving some prior drug use, to try to attract more people to ranks depleted by low pay and high risks.

US: Eight states get federal grants for heroin-treatment injections for inmates

To fight rampant misuse of prescription painkillers and heroin, the federal government has approved spending more than $23 million to fund treatment projects that include giving monthly injections of addiction-fighting Vivitrol to prison inmates.

CO: Colorado to test taxing drivers by the mile

Starting next month, state transportation officials will launch a program to test making motorists pay for every mile they drive as an alternative to Colorado’s 22 cent-a-gallon gasoline tax to fund badly needed road and bridge repair.

AR: Arkansas aims to hire more foster care workers

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's proposal to increase funding by $26.7 million in the coming fiscal year would allow the Department of Human Services to hire 228 additional staff members over the next two years to keep up with a population that has grown by 30 percent over the last year.

UT: More 80 mph zones coming to southern Utah freeways

The Utah Department of Transportation is increasing the number of miles where motorists can travel 75 mph or 80 mph after concluding that ttraffic moves at more uniform speeds under higher limits.

KY: Kentucky seeks millions in fines for dumping radioactive waste

Kentucky's Department for Public Health is seeking millions of dollars in penalties from companies blamed for bringing radioactive drilling waste into Kentucky last year and dumping it in landfills.

OH: Proposed changes would make it easier to get off Ohio’s sex offender registry

Eight years after Ohio tightened its sex offender registration laws to comply with federal standards, a state committee is considering changes that could make it easier for sex offenders to get off the registry if they no longer are a threat to society.

VA: Virginia’s schools are growing more racially, economically segregated

The number of Virginia schools isolated by race and poverty has grown from 82 in 2003 to 136 in 2014, and the number of students affected has grown from about 36,000 to more than 74,000, a new study finds.

ME: Drug overdoses now average one a day in Maine

Overdose deaths this year — mostly from heroin, prescription opioids and fentanyl — totaled a record 286 through September, surpassing the 272 deaths for all of 2015.

US: ‘Big Soda’ faces bigger adversaries in fighting against soda taxes

After years of stamping out soda tax proposals with well-financed campaigns, “Big Soda” is suddenly finding itself up against bigger adversaries after five municipalities approved special taxes on sugary drinks with billionaire Michael Bloomberg backing many of the efforts.

NV: Audit finds Nevada’s mortgage-assistance program hasn’t helped enough homeowners

Half of the $200 million made available by the federal government during the financial crisis to help Nevada homeowners pay mortgages has never been disbursed, the U.S. Treasury Department says.

KS, WY: Microsoft signs big wind power deals in Kansas and Wyoming

Tech giant Microsoft Corp. committed to its largest wind-power purchase to date with a deal to buy 237 megawatts of capacity from projects in Kansas and Wyoming, which will provide all the power needed by the company’s data center in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

US ‘Not There Yet’ on Mental Health Parity Help Wanted: Why Willing Workers Aren’t Filling Open Jobs