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

Top State Stories 1/12

OH: Repealing the ACA could leave 220,000 Ohioans without mental health or drug addiction services

An estimated 220,512 Ohioans suffering from mental illness or drug abuse would lose access to mental health services if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and not replaced, a new study calculates. Nearly half of opioid addiction treatment with the drug buprenorphine in Ohio is paid by Medicaid.

KS: Kansas governor proposes borrowing idle funds, raids on highway fund to close budget hole 

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback proposes closing a projected $983 million budget hole for the next 18 months by borrowing money from the state's idle funds, selling off some state assets, sweeping sales tax revenue out of the highway fund and halting a scheduled income tax cut for lower-earning Kansans.

CA: California community college district pays $28,000 ransom to hackers

The Los Angeles Community College District paid a $28,000 ransom in bitcoin to hackers who took control of a campus email and computer network until California officials made the payment.

HI: Hawaii’s public employee pension fund shortfall tops $12 billion 

An independent report says Hawaii’s pension fund is only 54.7 percent funded, down from 62.2 percent last year. The new calculations could undermine the two-year budget proposal Democratic Gov. David Ige submitted to lawmakers last month.

MI: Michigan state workers dealing with bedbugs — at the office

Bedbugs in a Michigan state office building in downtown Lansing have forced some employees in the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget to relocate.

WV: West Virginia’s budget shortfall nears $100 million 

Tax revenue arrived $6.7 million short of projections for December, swelling West Virginia’s budget shortfall to $98.2 million halfway through the fiscal year.

AR: Arkansas lawmakers endorse delay of state's medical marijuana program

Arkansas lawmakers have advanced a plan to delay the launch of the state's medical marijuana program and a proposal removing a requirement that doctors recommending the drug say benefits outweigh its risk.

SD: South Dakota lawmakers vote against barring 'sexual contact' with interns

A South Dakota legislative panel has voted down a proposed rule change that would have explicitly prevented lawmakers from engaging in sexual contact with interns and pages. The measure’s sponsor said specific language was necessary to prevent legislators from engaging in inappropriate situations, while opponents said lawmakers are already barred from such behavior under existing rules.

NM: New Mexico governor calls for more budget cuts, use of reserve funds

With New Mexico still reeling from a prolonged revenue slump, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez outlined a spending blueprint that relies on more state government belt-tightening — and no tax increases — to fix a projected $69 million deficit for the current budget year and carry the state through the fiscal year that starts in July.

LA: Appellate court says some Louisiana charter schools shouldn’t get public funding

A Louisiana appeals court struck down funding for some charter schools, ruling that certain charters “are not public schools in the sense of the Louisiana Constitution” and thus may not use the state’s main pot of money for public schools.

MS: Mississippi House advances campaign spending measure

The Mississippi House approved a bill that would impose restrictions on the largely unregulated world of campaign spending for all elected officials in the state. The move follows reports last year that officials were spending money on clothes, cars and boots, with some withdrawing large sums at retirement for personal use.

GA: Georgia governor seeks raises for teachers, state police, caseworkers

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal asked lawmakers to approve a record $25 billion state budget that includes pay raises for Georgia teachers and state employees and a few expensive construction projects.

NE: Nebraska lawmakers weigh ending some occupational licenses

A set of bills to be introduced in the Nebraska Legislature on behalf of Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts would eliminate licenses for auto sellers, school bus drivers, cosmeticians and potato shippers. Other proposals would reduce the number of classroom hours needed to get a license for massage therapists, hair stylists and nail technicians, and allow the state to recognize nursing licenses from other states.

New Indiana Governor Creates Drug Czar Position DNA Upon Arrest