What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/5

IN: Indiana Republicans propose gas tax increase

House Republicans proposed raising about $800 million in new funds for Indiana’s roads and bridges over the next two years, mostly by hiking gasoline taxes. The plan would initially increase the state’s gasoline tax by 10 cents a gallon, resulting in a tax increase of $48 per year for the average Hoosier motorist.

US: Is your state driver’s license good enough to let you board a plane?

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has begun posting airport signs to warn travelers that their state driver’s licenses need to conform to heightened security standards or they won’t be able to board planes a year from now. The signs target residents of nine states — Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington — whose identification cards don’t yet comply with the federal requirements.

FL: Florida governor proposes $5.8 million for counterterrorism efforts

Rattled by the devastation of the Pulse nightclub terror attack in June, Republican Gov. Rick Scott said he will ask for $5.8 million in the state's 2017-18 budget to hire more counterterrorism agents for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

KY: With governor’s blessing, Kentucky lawmakers advance anti-union bills

A House committee approved bills that would ban mandatory labor union membership and repeal Kentucky’s prevailing wage law. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said the bills are necessary for Kentucky to attract new jobs.

WI: GOP legislator rips University of Wisconsin program on masculinity

A Republican legislator said a University of Wisconsin-Madison program that explores masculinity amounts to a declaration of war on men and the university should be punished in upcoming budget deliberations.

ND: Proposed North Dakota budget forecast shows nearly $2 billion drop in general fund revenues

North Dakota’s House and Senate appropriations committees heard proposals for the coming two-year budget cycle that includes almost $3.7 billion in general fund revenues, down about 34 percent from the more than $5.5 billion projected for the current biennium.

PA: Number of opioid prescriptions drops in Pennsylvania

Insurers in Pennsylvania say the number of opioid prescription reimbursements fell dramatically in late 2016. The decline coincided with the launch of the state’s new prescription drug monitoring program, which lets doctors see if a patient has gotten prescription painkillers or other potentially addictive drugs from other physicians.

US: North Carolina congressman wants to make traveling with a gun across state lines simpler

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, Republican from North Carolina, introduced legislation that would guarantee concealed carry permit holders rights to have a gun outside their home state, so long as the person abides by local laws. He said the bill would ensure “our Second Amendment right doesn’t disappear when we cross state lines.”

AL: Alabama plans takeover of Montgomery public schools

The Alabama Department of Education is preparing to take over Montgomery Public Schools after the number of failing schools in the district almost doubled in 2016.

NC: In North Carolina, food stamps will soon require 20 hours of work or classes

Food stamp recipients in North Carolina who are under 50 and don’t have children will soon lose benefits unless they prove they’re working, volunteering or taking classes for at least 20 hours a week.

NM: New Mexico governor seeks tougher penalties for DWI

Stiffer penalties for people convicted of drunken driving and making it easier for police to testify at DWI hearings are among a package of proposals Republican Gov. Susana Martinez unveiled to combat New Mexico’s long-standing drunken driving problem.

NH: New Hampshire Legislature rejects dress code; keeps committee on children

New Hampshire’s independent-minded House of Representatives pushed back against its leadership and Rules Committee in the first legislative session of 2017, rejecting a proposal to eliminate the standing Committee on Children and Family Law and refusing to approve a dress code.

AR: Arkansas governor sees no need for ‘bathroom bill’

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he's told lawmakers he doesn't see the need for a state law to limit which restrooms transgender people can use at Arkansas public schools, arguing that the issue can be handled locally.

Pennsylvania Sees Dramatic Drop in Opioid Prescriptions Farmworker Housing
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