What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/14

NE: Nebraska lawmakers approve $137 million in cuts to ease budget deficit

Lawmakers sent Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts legislation that makes across-the-board cuts to most state agencies, while sparing spending on public schools and corrections. Even with the cuts, Nebraska faces a projected $760 million shortfall for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2019.

DC: Congress moves to block the District of Columbia’s assisted-suicide law

A U.S. House committee voted to overturn a law that would make assisted suicide legal in the District of Columbia. Assisted suicide is legal in just six states.

NY: New York mayors push back against governor’s plan for sharing services

About three dozen New York mayors spoke out against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push for more municipalities to share services to ease local property taxes. The mayors want an increase in the $715 million state funding that goes to local governments each year.

SD: South Dakota committee rejects eliminating death penalty for mentally ill offenders

A House committee killed a bill that would have eliminated the option of the death sentence for severely mentally ill criminal offenders in South Dakota.

GA: Should Georgia hospitals be able to grab your tax refund?

A Georgia lawmaker wants to allow many of the state’s hospitals to tap into people’s pending state income tax refunds to cover their unpaid hospital bills.

NJ: Uber, Lyft drivers must pass background checks in New Jersey

Republican Gov. Chris Christie has signed into law a measure that makes New Jersey the 36th state to regulate the popular ride-hailing industry. Among the state’s regulations: insurance and criminal background checks for drivers.

UT: Hike in telephone fees sought to upgrade Utah’s 911 system

Utah telephone users could soon pay an extra 38 cents a month on every cellphone and landline — 50 percent more than now — to help upgrade what officials say are antiquated 911 and public safety radio systems statewide.

OK: Oklahoma House committee OKs governor's $1.50 cigarette tax plan

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin's plan to increase Oklahoma’s cigarette tax by $1.50 a pack to more than $2.50 passed its first legislative hurdle. The bill would raise almost $258 million for health care.

MO: Growing inmate population could force Missouri to build new prison

Missouri’s prison system was designed to house 31,540 inmates, but currently has more than 32,000, prompting some officials to warn the state could fill its 21 existing prison facilities.

VA: Virginia Senate backs ‘Tebow’ bill, fines for ‘left-lane bandits’

Senators voted for a “Tim Tebow” bill that would allow Virginia’s home-schooled students to play public high school sports and another that would impose a $250 fine for “left-lane bandits” — motorists who drive in the left lane of a highway even when they’re not passing another vehicle.

Jail Visitation Undocumented Workers