What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/10

CA, US: Congress could stop California, other states from creating state-run retirement accounts

Republicans in Congress are moving to wipe out Obama administration regulations that allow California and other states to create programs to automatically enroll private-sector workers without retirement plans into state-run savings accounts.

NC: North Carolina has a surplus; Should it fund tax cuts or better schools?

North Carolina is headed for a $552.5 million budget surplus this year, prompting debate on whether to cut taxes or better fund education in an effort to strengthen the middle class.

AZ: Republicans fast-track school-voucher bill in Arizona Legislature

Republican lawmakers want to fast-track a plan to eventually offer vouchers to every public-school student in Arizona and privatize oversight of the public money given to parents to pay private-school tuition and other expenses.

PA: Federal appeals court halts solitary confinement practice in Pennsylvania

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Pennsylvania prisons can no longer keep former death-row inmates in solitary confinement after their sentences have been changed. The court cited the harmful psychological effects of lone imprisonment.

US: U.S. lottery operators worry as fewer millennials line up to play

Although overall ticket sales rose 9 percent last year versus 2015, the number of millennials who play is falling, creating consternation among leaders of an industry that generates $80 billion in annual revenue.

FL: Florida lawmakers debate expansion of ‘stand your ground’ law

Currently, criminal defendants have to explain at a pre-trail hearing why they deserve immunity from prosecution under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Lawmakers are shifting the burden of proof on to prosecutors.

HI: Hawaii considers rent control pilot project

A bill would require Hawaii’s counties to establish rent-control ordinances for both old and new housing. Honolulu is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the U.S.

MN: Minnesota governor proposes $125 million information technology upgrade

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton proposed pumping $125 million into upgrading Minnesota’s aging state computer systems and improving cybersecurity to protect information on citizens that is housed there.

OH: Ohio asked seven states for execution drug to no avail

Ohio asked Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Texas and Virginia for a lethal injection drug in an unsuccessful attempt to continue putting inmates to death. None of them agreed to provide it to Ohio, which had its last execution in 2014.

TN: Bill introduced to ban 'sanctuary cities’ in Tennessee

A Tennessee lawmaker has introduced a bill aimed at banning so-called sanctuary cities across the state, threatening to withhold state funding from any city that disobeys.

MS: Bill to strip civil service protection from Mississippi state employees advances

A Mississippi House bill that would take civil service protection away from most of the state’s 32,000 employees for the next three years goes to the Senate. It would allow agency heads to more easily fire them or shift their positions to save money as the state budget crunch persists.

AK: Alaska lawmaker plans health care price transparency bill

The proposal would require health care providers in the state to list prices for their most common procedures. Alaska’s health costs are among the highest in the nation.

KS: Loophole could allow 18-year-olds to carry concealed guns in Kansas

Several states issue permits to carry concealed weapons to nonresidents, and some to people as young as 18. That means 18-year-olds in Kansas could obtain one of those permits and get around Kansas law, which limits concealed carry to people 21 and older.

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