What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/26

MN, VA: Republicans in Minnesota, Virginia propose changes to their Electoral College rules

Republicans in Minnesota and Virginia — two swing states lost by Republican President Donald Trump in 2016 — have introduced legislation that would split up their electoral votes by congressional districts instead of awarding them statewide. If that system had been used in 2016, they would have handed 11 electoral votes from Democrat Hillary Clinton to Trump.

OH: Federal judge rejects Ohio’s new lethal injection process

A federal judge declared Ohio's new lethal injection process unconstitutional and delayed three executions, including one scheduled next month.

MA: Massachusetts governor proposes new levy on some businesses

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who won election with a no-new-taxes pledge, proposed a $40.5 billion state budget that relies on an expected $300 million a year in revenue from what the Massachusetts business community calls a new tax. Businesses with more than 10 employees would face an annual fee of $2,000 per employee if their health coverage offerings don’t meet certain requirements.

NM: Deal struck in New Mexico to plug budget hole

A $216 million solvency package intended to fix New Mexico’s budget problems and bolster the state’s depleted reserves is headed to Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s desk. The bills would plug a $69 million projected deficit and give the state some budget cushion by reducing funding for school districts and taking money from various state government programs and accounts.

VA: Stronger liquor could be coming to Virginia

Virginia’s House of Delegates has approved a measure that would allow state-controlled liquor stores to sell 151-proof alcohol, an almost 50 percent increase in alcohol content over what is currently allowed.

MN: Minnesota lawmakers agree on health insurance premium relief

Roughly 120,000 Minnesotans facing skyrocketing health insurance premiums are about to get some relief. A $325 million package backed by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican lawmakers will provide 25 percent discounts to people who buy insurance on the individual marketplace and earn too much to qualify for federal subsidies.

NV: State judge says Nevada retirement system must release pension information

The Nevada retirement system must release the names and pension information of tens of thousands of retired public workers sought by a conservative policy group, a state judge ruled.

KY, OH: Kentucky, Ohio secretaries of state to Trump: We haven’t seen massive voter fraud 

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky and Republican Jon Husted of Ohio took to Twitter in response to Republican President Donald Trump’s call for an investigation into alleged voter fraud by millions of people in November. Their message: We see no evidence of it.

AR: House panel advances plan to reinstate Arkansas voter ID law

The Arkansas Supreme Court in 2014 struck down the state's voter ID law as unconstitutional. The latest proposal would require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate, addressing a concern three of the court's seven justices raised that the measure, requiring most voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, didn't pass with enough votes in the Legislature when it was enacted in 2013.

KS: No conviction, no asset seizure under proposed Kansas bill 

A bill in the Kansas House would require a criminal conviction before a court could order the forfeiture of a suspect's money or property. Currently, police can seize money, vehicles or other property they believe has been used in the commission of certain crimes, and a court can order that it be permanently forfeited even if there is never any prosecution or conviction.

UT: Utah House votes to close payday loan loophole

The Utah House voted unanimously to close a loophole that critics say payday lenders use to trap borrowers into a hard-to-escape debt spiral.

ID: Idaho police may relax hiring rules on pot use

Prospective police officers in Idaho could be barred from certification if they’ve used marijuana in the past year, rather than in the last three years, under a new rule that still needs to be reviewed by the Legislature.

GA: Georgia Senate rejects more transparency on votes

The Georgia Senate’s Rules Committee voted down a proposal that would have made recorded votes on floor amendments more common.

Marijuana Legalization Clean Energy