What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/19

CA: California tries again to thwart cellphone smuggling in prisons

California is installing nearly 1,000 sophisticated metal detectors, scanners and secret security cameras at its prisons in its latest attempt to thwart the smuggling of cellphones, thousands of which continue to flood the prisons and are used to coordinate everything from attacks in prison to crimes on the street.

NC: North Carolina governor signs bill curbing his successor’s power

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that would strip incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of some of his authority and water down the control of Cooper’s party over election boards.

IN, KY, US: Indiana, Kentucky join new call to end Clean Power Plan

The attorneys general of coal-dependent Indiana and Kentucky have joined 21 of their counterparts from other states to call on Congress and the incoming Trump administration to defend fossil fuels and order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take no further action to implement its Clean Power Plan on electric utilities.

ND: Massive 2013 oil spill in North Dakota still not cleaned up

Three years and three months later, a massive oil spill in North Dakota still isn't fully cleaned up. The company responsible hasn't even set a date for completion.

MI: Federal appeals court refuses to lift order for Michigan to deliver water in Flint

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stay a judge's order that requires the state of Michigan to make regular deliveries of bottled water to Flint households that don't have a working water filter on their kitchen taps.

MS: Mississippi to increase oversight of child care centers

Mississippi plans to double the number of annual inspections of licensed child care centers, hire more officials to conduct inspections and ease the workload of current inspectors in an effort to improve the quality of care for the state’s youngest children.

ID: Weak safeguards let Idaho police change jobs without scrutiny

Although the state has taken steps to ensure that problem officers stay off police forces, that does not mean they cannot get a job in another state. Nor does it mean that problem officers from other states cannot get a job in Idaho.

SD: South Dakota governor urges Feds to pay Native American health care costs

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants Congress to keep Native Americans in mind as it works to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, so the state can save millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements for South Dakota’s nine tribes.

NE: Lacking lawyers, Nebraska tries new rural staffing tacks

Nebraska has launched a program that offers rural high school students undergraduate scholarships to three Nebraska colleges in hopes of persuading them to return to their roots to practice law.

KS: Thousands of Kansas students are chronically absent from school

About one in seven Kansas students are chronically absent, missing 15 or more days of school each academic year, which can have a long-term effect on learning.

HI: Hawaii lawmakers to consider tax credit for pricy solar battery units

Proponents say a Hawaii state tax credit would jump-start the sale of solar energy storage systems, which use batteries to store unused power that's been generated. The average cost for a battery storage system is $8,000 to $10,000. 

Unmarried Millennials Women and Alcohol