What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/23

US: GOP governors seek flexibility on Medicaid and health markets

Several Republican governors pleaded with fellow Republicans in Congress to give states more control over their Medicaid programs and their individual health insurance markets as lawmakers work to replace the Affordable Care Act.

AL: 12 Alabama legislative districts ruled unconstitutional

A federal court ruled that 12 of Alabama's legislative districts were unconstitutional, citing an improper use of race in their composition. The three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined the use of the districts in future elections but stopped short of intervening in the drawing of new districts.

NY: New York to require insurers to cover birth control

New York state ordered health insurers to cover birth control and abortions even if President Donald Trump signs a repeal of “Obamacare” that would lift federal mandates on the industry.

AR: Competing low-income tax cuts clear Arkansas House panel

The Arkansas House tax panel endorsed competing bills — Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson's legislation to cut individual income tax rates for people with less than $21,000 in taxable income, and a House Democrat’s plan to create a state earned income tax credit.

SC: South Carolina senators ban naming laws after people, animals

State senators in South Carolina have banned themselves from attaching the names of people or animals to bills in an effort to keep emotions out of policymaking.

CA: California drops undocumented health insurance request

California has withdrawn its request to the federal government for permission to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain health insurance from the state’s exchange.

CO: How the political mood at the Colorado Capitol shifted toward a tax hike for roads

Colorado needs $9 billion to improve roads and alleviate traffic congestion in the next 10 years — a number so large that state lawmakers are entertaining a once-unthinkable solution: a tax hike.

KS: Kansas Supreme Court upholds law that ended teacher tenure

Justices unanimously rejected a challenge to a 2014 law that removed tenure protections for Kansas' public school teachers.

WV: West Virginia left with one abortion clinic

West Virginia women who want an abortion are down to one in-state choice now, as one of the state’s only two abortion clinics closed its doors.

UT: Education funding tops Utah legislators’ agenda

Republican and Democratic legislative leaders often disagree. But they are unanimous about what the biggest topic facing the Utah Legislature is: education funding.

MS: Mississippi governor would control health, mental health agencies under two new bills

Bills introduced in the Mississippi House and Senate would give Republican Gov. Phil Bryant the reins of two of the biggest agencies in the state, a move some Democrats say could bring unnecessary political influence to agency business.

OK: Nonwhite students outnumber white students in Oklahoma

Nonwhite students account for 50.6 percent of the 693,710 students who attend Oklahoma public schools, collectively making up the majority for the first time in state history. White students remain the state's largest single ethnicity, followed by Hispanic (17 percent), Native American (14 percent) and black (9 percent) students.

NH: New Hampshire right-to-work vote puts spotlight on new ethics rules

Five New Hampshire state senators disclosed potential conflicts of interest before voting on right-to-work legislation, putting a spotlight on new ethics rules that have significantly expanded reporting requirements. 

State of the States 2017 Medicaid Expansion