What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/30

NC: Federal court orders special North Carolina legislative election with redrawn districts

A federal court ordered North Carolina to hold a special election next year after 28 state House and Senate districts are redrawn to comply with a gerrymandering ruling. Legislators have until March 15 to draw new district maps, and every legislator whose district is altered will have their current term shortened.

CA: Lawmakers reach compromise to help California soldiers ordered to repay enlistment bonuses

California National Guard soldiers who received improper bonuses during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be able to keep the benefits unless the soldier “knew or reasonably should have known” that he or she was ineligible for it, according to a compromise announced by House and Senate negotiators.

MI: Michigan presidential recount could cost taxpayers nearly $1 million

Taxpayers could be on the hook for close to $1 million — or more — for a proposed recount of Michigan's presidential election results. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is being charged $125 per precinct, but any cost beyond that would be borne by taxpayers.

OH: Ohio leads nation in opioid overdose deaths

One in 9 of the nation’s heroin deaths and 1 in 14 of the nation’s synthetic opioid deaths occurred in Ohio in 2014, a new report shows.

NJ: New Jersey Statehouse to get $300 million renovation

Citing cracking paint, broken windows and other code violations, Republican Gov. Chris Christie has pledged $300 million to renovate New Jersey’s 18th century Statehouse.

VA: Virginia’s labor force shows new signs of life 

Between September and October, 27,000 new job seekers stepped back into the Virginia economy, the largest month-over-month increase in the size of the labor force since the survey began in 1976.

IL: Illinois House fails to overturn veto of automatic voter registration bill

The Illinois House failed to overturn Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have allowed visitors to a handful of state agencies to be automatically registered to vote unless they opt out.

KY: Kentucky’s retirement systems continue downward slide

Kentucky's plans covering teachers and state employees lost more than $1.8 billion in value in 2016 while obligations increased. The system has just 16 percent of the money it needs to pay benefits over the next 30 years, putting it among the worst-funded public pension plans in the country.

AL: Alabama prison chief says violence rising as staffing falls

The commissioner of Alabama’s Department of Corrections told a legislative panel that violence has doubled in five years in the state’s prisons as the number of corrections officers has declined 20 percent.

AZ: Arizona schools chief seeks more money for teachers, buses

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas unveiled a new funding proposal that would give the state's public schools $680 million to pay for teacher raises, school facilities repairs and new school buses.

OK: Oklahoma Highway Patrol warns of slower nonemergency response time

With appropriations to the Department of Public Safety for fiscal 2017 down 11.3 percent from initial funding for the previous year, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is implementing several cost-saving measures, including a daily 100-mile restriction on patrol cars, reduced flying hours for highway patrol aircraft, and fewer dispatchers during overnight hours.

PA: Pennsylvania prosecutors release guidelines for police-involved shootings

A week after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill on how police-involved shootings should be handled by Pennsylvania prosecutors and law enforcement, a group of elected prosecutors released its own guidelines.

KS: Kansas promises high-speed internet in every school 

Kansas will use about $10 million in state money and upward of $70 million in federal money to equip every classroom in the state with high-speed internet access over the next two and a half years.

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