What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/16

Top State Stories 2/16

NJ: New Jersey limits painkiller prescriptions to five days

Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law that sets a five-day limit on initial prescriptions for pain-killing opioids in New Jersey and requires insurance companies to accept addicts into treatment without delay.

US: Traffic deaths soared past 40,000 last year

The number of people killed in car crashes last year exceeded 40,000 for the first time in a decade, reversing a trend that saw traffic fatalities dwindle for several years. Officials attribute the increase mostly to the improved economy and lower gas prices.

MI: Michigan House panel approves gradual elimination of income tax

The Michigan House’s tax policy committee voted along party lines to gradually phase out the personal income tax. The plan would blow a $1.1-billion hole into the state’s budget in the first full year of its implementation.

NC: North Carolina House backs plan to send money to rainy day fund

The bill would require that 15 percent of each year’s revenue growth from the prior year go into a rainy day fund, and prevent North Carolina legislators from spending more than a set amount from the fund.

TX: The football stadiums that ate Texas

In Texas, the old hands say there are only two seasons: spring football and fall football. But lately there’s a year-round game getting played as well: the competition to build the most expensive high school football stadium in the world.

KS: Kansas House advances income, business tax increases

Kansas House members gave early approval to a bill that would increase personal income taxes and reinstate taxes on some businesses. The bill would generate about $590 million next year, when the state faces a potential $500 million shortfall.

OK: House panel backs plan to let Oklahoma dads block abortions

An Oklahoma House committee approved a bill that requires women seeking an abortion to provide the father's written, informed consent, despite objections that the measure would be found unconstitutional.

IL: Illinois governor raises prospect of tax hike in budget speech

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he would entertain tax measures to address Illinois’ deep financial woes. He said he was open to broadening the state’s sales tax base, but tied any income tax hikes to a permanent freeze on local property taxes.

NM: New Mexico Senate wants disclosure of ‘dark money’ spending

Independent “dark money” groups that spend to influence New Mexico’s elections would face new requirements to disclose their donors under a bill adopted by the state Senate.

MN: Diversity, crisis training for officers on tap in Minnesota

Minnesota lawmakers are moving to require diversity and crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers after two fatal shootings of black men put police-community relations in the spotlight.

HI: Aid in dying bill moves forward in Hawaii Senate

A bill that would allow licensed physicians in Hawaii to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill, competent adults who have a prognosis of six or fewer months to live has passed its first Senate committee. Last year, a similar proposal didn't even get a hearing.

NE: Nebraska session marred by gridlock

Despite having only a single, nonpartisan chamber, state senators in Nebraska have become so engrossed in an argument about debate rules that they have passed just two bills in a month, and there's no compromise in sight.

GA: George Senate votes to make ‘upskirting’ illegal

Senators voted to make it illegal to secretly take photos or videos under a person's clothes. The action comes after a divided state Court of Appeals found that a man didn't break any Georgia laws when he filmed up a woman's skirt while she shopped at a grocery store.

New Jersey Enacts Nation's Strictest Opioid Prescribing Limit High-Risk Pools