What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/13
CO, US: U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Colorado’s ‘Amazon tax’
Justices left in place a Colorado law dubbed the "Amazon tax" that’s designed to make it easier for the state to collect sales taxes on out-of-state internet purchases. The action handed a victory to states seeking to boost revenue by ensuring that online shoppers pay state taxes on their purchases.
NY: New York governor opens door to renewing millionaires’ tax
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s open to renewing New York’s “millionaires' tax” before it expires next year if the state needs the money. The surcharge affects individuals reporting more than $1 million in income.
MA: Massachusetts governor not ruling out vehicle miles tax
Although Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in August vetoed a pilot program to test a new tax on miles traveled by Massachusetts motorists, emails indicate his administration is not ruling out considering a similar pilot program in the future.
OK: Oklahoma may require restroom signs in anti-abortion effort
Oklahoma has plans to force hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and public schools to post signs inside public restrooms directing pregnant women where to receive services as part of an effort to reduce abortions in the state.
US: Drinking, drug use largely down among teens
The use of alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications and illicit substances declined among teens again in 2016, continuing a long-term trend, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health.
OR: Oregon plans second women's prison
In the face of crowding at Oregon’s only female prison, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said she wants $17.5 million to operate a second facility. But some criminal justice advocates said the state should reduce its prison population rather than pay to house more inmates.
TX: Texas sued over fetal remains rule
The Center for Reproductive Rights asked a U.S. District Court to stop the Texas Department of State Health Services from enforcing a new rule that requires the cremation or burial of fetal remains. Under the rule, Texas health providers are forbidden from disposing of fetal remains in sanitary landfills, regardless of gestation period.
WV: West Virginia pharmacy board to target suspicious drug orders
Amid an opioid abuse epidemic in West Virginia, the state Board of Pharmacy plans to ask prescription drug wholesalers to report on pharmacies that order a “suspicious” number of pain pills or other controlled substances.
VA: Virginia governor wants to overhaul state economic development agency
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he wants to strengthen oversight, accountability and management of Virginia’s Economic Development Partnership. An audit of the public-private agency that is funded almost entirely by taxpayer dollars found that it lacks a “deliberate strategy.”
DE: Fatal fentanyl overdoses double in Delaware this year
Fatal fentanyl overdoses have more than doubled in Delaware this year, with 90 people dying of the synthetic, highly addictive painkiller in nine months, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services.
MO: Lobbyist gifts to Missouri legislators have dropped significantly
Between 2004 and 2014, lobbyist gifts to Missouri public officials hovered around $1 million a year, with most of the money going to members of the Legislature. But after a series of scandals, some legislators declined to accept gifts. By the end of 2015, lobbyist spending totaled $690,000, and spending has continued to fall this year.