What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/1

TX: Texas will require burial of aborted fetuses

Texas approved new rules this week requiring health care facilities that perform abortions to bury the fetal remains instead of disposing of them in a sanitary landfill like other forms of biological medical waste.

US: U.S. attorney general announces school system within federal prisons

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said a school system would be formed within the vast federal prison network as part of a series of efforts to drive down recidivism and create a clearer path for thousands of inmates to re-enter their home communities. The federal government also will cover the cost of obtaining state-issued identification for all inmates before their release.

MN: Trump’s stance on ‘sanctuary cities’ could cost Minnesota millions

President-elect Donald Trump is doubling down on his threat to deport immigrants living in the country illegally and to withhold federal grant money from “sanctuary cities” such as St. Paul, Minneapolis and Worthington, Minnesota. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman says the threat could cost his city $12 million in federal funds a year.

CA: California faces a looming teacher shortage, and the problem is getting worse

Between 20 and 40 percent of California teachers leave the profession in the first five years, a figure that rises to 50 percent in some school systems, especially those that serve low-income and minority students.

US: U.S. imposes nationwide ban on smoking in public housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a sweeping final rule banning smoking in all public housing units. The rule prohibits smoking any lit tobacco products in indoor areas of public housing complexes, in administrative offices, and in outdoor areas within 25 feet of the buildings.

LA: Louisiana governor returning to Washington to lobby for more flood relief

Louisiana has already secured $437.8 million in federal flood relief, but state leaders are pressing for billions more during Congress’ lame-duck session this month.

NY: New law requires timely rape-kit testing in New York

Thousands of sexual assault evidence kits that have gone untested across New York will be sent for forensic testing under a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The law sets uniform time limits on testing the evidence kits for the first time in the state.

KY: Kentucky governor orders cuts at state utility regulating commission

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin ordered a reorganization of the Kentucky Public Service Commission that will shrink the agency responsible for regulating the state’s utilities and protecting their customers. The commission said the public won’t suffer from larger utility bills or worse service as a result of the “streamlining.”

WY: Wyoming Supreme Court: OK to charge to see public records

The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled public agencies may charge people seeking to inspect electronic records for the cost of computer programming and other requirements to compile the information.

AR: Arkansas agency begins drafting medical marijuana rules

Medical marijuana products sold in Arkansas would have to include detailed labels with information about their laboratory analysis, dosage, source and warnings under draft rules being prepared for the launch of the first medical marijuana program in the Bible Belt.

MO: Missouri’s struggle to pay for road, bridge repair continues

Despite years of debate, Missouri lawmakers continue to struggle to sort out how they will pay to repair thousands of miles of run-down highways and bridges. State funds for road and bridge repair have tumbled in recent years, from $1.3 billion in 2009 to an estimated $800 million by 2017.

Environmental Health Laws Sanctuary Cities