What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/24

Top State Stories 1/24

WI: Wisconsin proposal would require parents to work 80 hours a month to get food stamps

Wisconsin parents with school-age children who receive food stamps could lose some of their benefits if they don't work at least 80 hours a month, or receive job training, under a proposal announced by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

US: Democratic attorneys general join forces to protect Obama’s legacy

Attorneys general from 16 states banded together to join a federal appeals court battle in defense of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the latest sign of state-level Democrats combining resources to shield former President Barack Obama’s legacy.

AL: Alabama governor says new prisons are his top priority

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley said a plan to borrow $800 million to build four new state prisons will be his most important goal during Alabama’s 2017 legislative session.

TX: U.S. Supreme Court rejects Texas voter ID appeal — for now

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up Texas’ effort to salvage its strict voter identification law, handing at least a temporary victory to civil rights advocates who have successfully argued that the law discriminates against minorities.

MA: Massachusetts legislative leaders seek 40 percent pay hike

The Democratic leaders of the Massachusetts House and Senate are pushing a proposal that would give them $142,500 annual salaries — a 40 percent increase over the $102,000 they receive now. The plan, which includes raises for other state officials and a ban on outside income for legislative leaders, is expected to zip through the Legislature.

CA: Bill would force California cities to make it easier to build houses 

California cities that fall behind on housing production goals set by the state would have to remove some of their development restrictions under a state senator’s proposal.

CO: Colorado moves to crack down on black-market pot ads online

Marijuana is widely for sale in Colorado, but a bill approved unanimously by the state Senate would make it a misdemeanor to advertise pot if the person does not have a license to sell the drug.

SD: South Dakota lawmakers move to repeal government ethics measure

South Dakota lawmakers took the first step to repeal a government ethics overhaul approved by voters in November. The initiative, backed by a little more than 51 percent of voters, created an ethics commission, public campaign funding and limitations on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers.

AZ: Lawmakers defang plan for lower-cost dental therapists to practice in Arizona

Despite a promise of more access to dental care at lower costs, a push to license a new type of dental provider has stalled at the Arizona Legislature.

NJ: New Jersey towns ban release of helium balloons

A trio of towns on the New Jersey shore has banned the outdoor release of helium balloons, attaching a $500 fine for anyone who violates the law. Environmental activists say balloons get into the ocean and hurt marine life.

VA: Proposal to create secretary of coastal protection moving ahead in Virginia

Legislation that would create a cabinet-level position to better coordinate Virginia’s response to rising sea levels is making headway in the General Assembly.

FL: Florida recruits snake hunters from India to catch pythons

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spent about $68,000 to bring two members of the Irula tribe, India’s famed snake hunters, and two translators, to the Everglades to catch Burmese pythons. 

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