What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/18

OH: Online retailers must pay tax on Ohio sales, state Supreme Court rules 

Ohio can impose its primary business tax on out-of-state companies that sell to its residents but have no stores or physical presence in the state, justices said. The state’s commercial activity tax applies if a business earns $500,000 or more in annual gross sales in the state.

AL: Alabama infant mortality almost three times higher for African-Americans

The mortality rate for white infants in Alabama fell to a 10-year low of 5.2 as the rate for black infants rose to its highest level in a decade, 15.3. The most recent infant mortality rate for the nation is 5.8 deaths in the first year for every 1,000 births.

LA: Louisiana governor targets higher education, Medicaid providers

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards will propose an $18 million cut in higher education spending and a delay in Medicaid payments to health care providers to help Louisiana close its $315 million midyear budget deficit. 

MI: Michigan may require lead screening of all young children

Michigan will consider requiring all infants and toddlers to be tested for lead poisoning as part of an initiative to eradicate children's exposure to the neurotoxin statewide.

CA: Federal appeals court rejects six states’ lawsuit against California egg law

Six states lacked the legal right to challenge a California law that prohibits the sale of eggs from chickens that are not raised in accordance with strict space requirements, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky and Iowa failed to show how the law would affect them and not just individual egg farmers, the court said.

CT: Connecticut could face more cuts to services

Closing Connecticut’s projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall could lead to fewer services for rape victims and children with mental illness, longer wait times at the DMV and an end to rifle salutes by the Connecticut Honor Guard at military funerals, according to detailed plans from Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s department heads.

FL: Medical marijuana supporters say Florida Health Department is clouding the rules

Just days after Florida voters approved medical marijuana, supporters say the state health department is only trying to expand the existing cannabis oil law.

VA: Companies that got state grants failed to meet Virginia performance requirements

Twenty-three companies that received public money during a 10-year period failed to meet at least one of three performance requirements: jobs created, capital investment or average wages. The state should have recouped an estimated $8.7 million, but the Virginia Economic Development Partnership didn’t seek to recover the money, a new audit said.

ND: North Dakota lawmakers cancel tribal, judiciary addresses to 2017 Legislature

North Dakota lawmakers canceled the traditional State of the Judiciary Address and Tribal-State Relationship message, usually held during the first week of a new legislative session, citing the ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline protests and increased demand on law enforcement. Tribal leaders will meet privately with both parties’ leadership to air concerns and propose legislative ideas.

MS: Mississippi wants college students to finish degrees

Leaders of Mississippi's universities and community colleges announced a plan to encourage people who started college but never finished to complete their degrees. As many as 67,000 Mississippians may have passed enough courses for a degree but didn’t graduate, and another 200,000 dropped out short of the needed classwork over the last 15 years.

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