What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/15

Top State Stories 2/15

US: Nearly 56,000 of nation’s bridges called structurally deficient

Almost 56,000 bridges, which vehicles cross 185 million times a day, are structurally deficient, a bridge construction group using U.S. Transportation Department data says. The five states with the most: Iowa with 4,968, Pennsylvania with 4,506, Oklahoma with 3,460, Missouri with 3,195 and Nebraska with 2,361.

KY: Kentucky governor promotes bill to smooth felons’ return to society

The proposal, backed by Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and key legislators, would let some felons hold jobs inside prison or on work-release programs, cut probationary or parole time, and prevent defendants from being jailed because they are unable to pay court costs.

MO: Missouri considers bill to require special prosecutor for officer shootings

The proposal would require a special prosecutor when charges or a complaint is filed against a Missouri officer involved in a shooting. It follows several high-profile incidents in which officers were acquitted after being charged in the deaths of African-American men, notably the 2014 Michael Brown case in Ferguson.

VA: Unauthorized immigrants would do overtime in Virginia jails under bill to boost deportations

The Virginia Senate passed a bill that would require the state’s jails and prisons to hold inmates up to two days beyond their sentences to give federal immigration officials time to pick them up.

NY: New York governor blocks city's plastic bag law

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that effectively kills a law that would have imposed a 5-cent fee on plastic bags in New York City.

TX: Texas drivers could soon help end the backlog of untested rape kits

A House bill would ask Texans applying for or renewing a driver's license to donate $1 or more to test evidence in sexual assault cases, be it older untested rape kits or evidence in an ongoing investigation.

NH: New Hampshire lawmakers call for tougher enforcement of election laws

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and many legislators say that despite no evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire, election laws should be tightened and more violations prosecuted.

AL: Alabama House passes bill to block funds to 'sanctuary' colleges

House members approved a bill that would set up a way to block funding for Alabama colleges and universities that establish "sanctuary" policies and don't follow state or federal immigration laws.

WI: Wisconsin Republicans shy away from gasoline tax hike

An effort to raise Wisconsin’s gasoline tax by 4.5 cents a gallon to help pay for road repair is lacking crucial support from rank-and-file Republicans in the Assembly.

UT: Outdoor retailers warn Utah they’ll push to move trade show elsewhere

A coalition of major outdoor companies ramped up a threat to get a lucrative outdoor trade show to leave Utah unless Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and elected officials stop pushing for public policies they say threaten public land, such as urging state control of federal lands.

DE: Fentanyl-related overdoses in Delaware triple last year

More than one-third of Delaware's 308 fatal overdoses in 2016 can be attributed to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller that has tripled the number of overdoses related to this drug last year.

IN: Indiana House passes bill to protect Airbnb rentals

The bill was designed to prevent local communities from banning residents from renting rooms in their homes. It also would prevent governments from enacting overly strict regulations, such as adding costly fire prevention codes or noise or parking restrictions that go beyond what other homeowners face.

GA: Georgia lawmakers reach final deal on money for big law enforcement pay hike

The Georgia House and Senate agreed to a midyear spending plan that adds $600 million to this year’s budget and provides money to give state law enforcement 20 percent raises.

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