What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/29

TX: Zika surfaces in Texas, likely to be first local transmission

Texas health authorities said a Brownsville woman is infected with Zika, a case that could make the South Texas city the second place in the continental U.S. where the mosquito-borne virus is spreading locally.

GA: Georgia university could lose state funding if it declares a ‘sanctuary campus’

A powerful Georgia lawmaker aims to cut off state funding to Emory University and any other higher education institution that declares it will defy President-elect Donald Trump if he tries to deport immigrants who are illegally in the U.S.

US: States accused of submitting bad food stamp data

More than 40 states submitted bad data in the federal food stamp program, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Justice Department is investigating some states that intentionally underreported payment errors, which could have qualified them for millions of dollars in performance bonuses they didn’t earn.

CO: Colorado governor debuts new efforts to battle homelessness with marijuana tax dollars Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s budget request for fiscal 2017-18 asks Colorado lawmakers to put $12.3 million in annual marijuana tax revenues toward building new housing units for people who experience chronic and episodic homelessness.

NY: New York governor signs law cracking down on Broadway ticket scammers Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s so-called ticket bot bill, aimed at cracking down on the use of software that allows users to buy up a bloc of tickets, often for resale, more quickly than a single consumer can.

US: Prison directors ask for authority to block inmate cellphone calls

The Association of State Correctional Administrators asked the Federal Communications Commission to re-evaluate regulations that prevent state prisons from using technology that would block calls from prisoners with illegally obtained cellphones.

OH: Following attack, Ohio lawmakers still look to loosen gun rules on campus

After Monday's attack at Ohio State University, state lawmakers are still looking to move ahead legislation that would permit colleges and universities to allow concealed firearms on campus. 

NJ: Top lawmakers want more judges in New Jersey

Legislators in New Jersey want to hire 20 more Superior Court judges and additional staff, at a cost of $9.3 million a year. Supporters say the move would allow the judiciary to handle the added workload from criminal-justice reforms that passed in 2014 and are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

FL: Major pro-gun legislation likely next year in Florida

With strong Republican majorities in the state Legislature and a more gun-friendly state Senate, a Florida lawmaker proposed a bill that would allow concealed weapon permit holders to carry guns in airport terminals.

MD: Maryland medical pot panel takes steps to diversify industry Maryland medical cannabis regulators plan to hire a diversity consultant in an attempt to quell criticism over the underrepresentation of African-Americans among businesses that have been pre-approved to grow marijuana.

NE: Nebraska proposal could shield lethal injection suppliers

Nebraska officials will try to change the state's death penalty protocol, giving the corrections director the power to choose which drugs are used and to withhold any records that identify the department’s suppliers. Certain lethal injection drugs have become virtually impossible to obtain because companies, fearing a public backlash, have refused to sell them.

AL: Alabama authority approves sale of bonds backed by BP payments

Alabama is expected to receive about $610 million from a bond issue backed by $850 million in oil spill settlement payments from BP under a plan approved by a new bond authority.

CA: California has 102 million dead trees and no easy answers for what to do with them

California’s dead trees represent a major fire threat. But removing them poses logistical, financial and public safety risks.

San Francisco Hit by Ransomware Attack Top State Stories 11/28