What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/31

WA, US: Led by Washington state, Democratic state attorneys general begin Trump pushback

Washington became the first state to sue the Trump administration over the president's executive order restricting refugees and immigration. It likely will not be standing alone for long.

CA: California to take up sanctuary city legislation

California may prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, creating a border-to-border sanctuary in the nation’s largest state as legislative Democrats ramp up their efforts to battle President Donald Trump’s policies.

OH: Ohio governor proposes raising sin, sales taxes to reduce reliance on income tax

Republican Gov. John Kasich unveiled a two-year, $144 billion budget proposal that would further reduce Ohio’s reliance on income tax revenue by raising taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, goods and services and oil and gas drillers.

MN: Minnesota's medical marijuana program needs more money

Minnesota's medical marijuana program needs extra state funding to cover the costs of its patient database and inspections of drug manufacturers, just a few of the regulations that make it one of the most restrictive such laws in the country.

CT: Connecticut governor proposes tax cut for insurance industry

Hoping to keep Connecticut attractive for insurance companies, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy is proposing to lower the tax rate on insurance premiums, saving the industry $11 million next year and $22 million the following year.

IA: Bill to cut current state budget sent to Iowa governor

The Iowa Legislature sent Republican Gov. Terry Branstad a bill that cuts $117.8 million from the state budget during the last five months of fiscal 2017. The proposal protects K-12 schools, Medicaid and payments to local government, but includes cuts to higher education, corrections and other agencies.

LA: For first time, Louisiana asking for private help to upgrade roads and bridges

Louisiana transportation officials said they will solicit input from private firms to fast-track major improvements on Interstate 10 in the Baton Rouge area. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has vowed to find innovative ways to tackle the state's $13 billion road and bridge backlog.

NJ: New Jersey governor’s anti-addiction agenda advances

The New Jersey Legislature advanced bills sought by Republican Gov. Chris Christie that would require health insurers regulated by the state to cover inpatient and outpatient treatment for opioid addiction for up to six months and limit initial opioid prescriptions to a five-day supply.

TX: Misleading statistics fuel Texas Republicans’ effort to cap local property taxes

Senators falsely claimed in hearings that local property taxes have grown nearly three times as fast as Texans’ ability to pay, aiming to bolster a bill that would limit the power of cities and counties to control funding for police, park maintenance and road work.

AR: Food-stamp ban on junk food clears Arkansas House

The Arkansas House approved a bill that would prevent food-stamp recipients from using their government benefits on soft drinks and “junk food,” treating it in the same way as alcohol and tobacco.

IL: Interest payments on Illinois' unpaid bills add to cost of budget impasse

Illinois has a stack of unpaid bills that's expected to hit $15 billion by July if nothing is done. The state owes at least $370 million in interest on bills for state employee health care during the 18-month stalemate, and the Democratic comptroller's office estimates it will owe $700 million in interest on this year’s spending.

IN: Indiana lawmakers eye background check expansion for teachers

After an investigation found holes in Indiana’s screening process, a group of bills filed in the House and Senate aim to strengthen background checks on school employees. The proposals include requiring screenings every five years, instead of just at the time of hiring.

GA: Beer deal allowing direct sales from breweries advances in Georgia

Legislation that would allow beer lovers to buy directly from Georgia’s craft breweries and brew pubs represents a compromise that would end a decades-old stand-off between the brewers and the state’s beer wholesalers. 

Maryland Considers Marijuana Legalization Suspended Licenses