What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/13

AK: In Alaska budget talks, an income tax is back on the table

The coalition leading the Alaska House of Representatives has unveiled the core of its plan to erase the state's $2.7 billion budget deficit. It includes a state income tax and a proposal to spend some of the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund. 

TX: Privatized Medicaid program in Texas serves fewer people, costs more

The privatization of a state program that transports poor Texans to medical appointments has cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars more while serving fewer than half as many people, according to a Legislative Budget Board report that some officials tried to withhold from the public.

CA: California bill would block local Netflix taxes

A California assemblyman has introduced a bill that would block cities from taxing streaming video services until 2023. More than 40 cities have been told they could tax their residents’ online viewing using existing tax rates for cable providers.

PA: Pennsylvania governor proposes tax on towns that use state police

One plank in Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s $32.3 billion annual budget proposal is a new $25 per-person tax on Pennsylvania towns that use the state police for full-time policing.

SC: South Carolina House endorses expanding Medicaid — by accident

The South Carolina House of Representatives approved a 935-word resolution urging Republican Gov. Henry McMaster to expand Medicaid. But it was an accident, and a day later, the House quickly passed a retraction.

CT: Local leaders say Connecticut towns can’t survive proposed cuts

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy's state budget proposal has local leaders on edge, fearing that the suggested redirection of funding to Connecticut cities will crush residents of midsize and small towns. Malloy says the proposals are necessary to close a $1.7 billion budget gap.

VA: Historic black cemeteries seeking the same support Virginia gives Confederates

A bill working its way through the General Assembly would set aside money for two historic black cemeteries — just as the state already pays for the upkeep of thousands of Confederate graves in Virginia.

AZ: Arizona judges could soon decide when to take children from families

In a move that could slash the large number of children separated from their parents in Arizona, the state's Department of Child Safety is developing a plan that would force caseworkers to seek a judge's order before removing children in most cases.

MD: Maryland Assembly moves to give attorney general authority to sue Trump administration

The Maryland General Assembly is moving quickly to expand the power of the Democratic attorney general to sue the federal government without Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's permission.

KY: Kentucky Senate passes 'Charlie Brown Christmas' bill

The Senate sent the House a bill that details the rights of Kentucky public school students to express religious viewpoints in school, including in their homework and artwork and on their clothing.

AR: Arkansas mulls free tuition, fees for 2-year college programs

The Arkansas Future Grant, which breezed through the House, would cover students' tuition and mandatory fees at any technical or community college, as well as associate degree programs at universities.

NE: Nebraska criminals who complete probation less likely to repeat crimes

About 14 percent of Nebraska criminals who successfully completed probation sentences committed additional serious crimes within three years, according to a report from a University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher. That compares to a recidivism rate of 30 percent for those who serve prison sentences.

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