What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/24

US: Trump administration plans crackdown on recreational marijuana

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the Department of Justice will pursue enforcement of federal law against the recreational use of marijuana. Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have all legalized recreational marijuana.

AR: Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down city’s LGBT protections

The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a Fayetteville city ordinance that bans discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, but it stopped short of saying whether a state law aimed at prohibiting such local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender protections is constitutional.

KS: Kansas House passes Medicaid expansion

That House gave final approval to expanding Medicaid to cover more than 150,000 low-income Kansans. The bill moves to the Senate for consideration. Kansas is among 19 states that have not expanded the federal-state health insurance plan for the poor.

TX: Federal appeals court reinstates Texas immigration law

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas once again can enforce a 2015 state law that added criminal penalties for “harboring” or concealing immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Ten months ago, a judge blocked the state from enforcing the anti-harboring provision.

US: Deadly U.S. heroin overdoses quadrupled in five years

The number of deadly heroin overdoses more than quadrupled from 2010 to 2015 in the U.S., the National Center for Health Statistics said. They went from 3,036 to 12,989.

NM: New Mexico House OKs $6.1 billion budget with tax increase

The New Mexico House signed off on a $6.1 billion spending bill for the coming year and a $265 million package of tax and fee increases to help pay for it. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has vowed to veto any tax increases.

AZ: Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent

Claiming people are being paid to riot, Arizona senators voted to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad, and gives the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated.

MA: Massachusetts governor says transgender students in state will be ‘protected and safe’

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said he disagrees with the Trump administration’s move to lift federal protections that allowed students to use bathrooms according to their gender identity. Baker last year signed a public accommodations law for Massachusetts that will supersede the federal guidance.

WA: Washington governor to limit cooperation with immigration enforcement

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced an executive order aimed at restricting Washington state workers and agencies from helping enforce federal immigration laws. The order is aimed at countering President Donald Trump’s aggressive moves on unauthorized immigrants.

NC: North Carolina squandered millions for prison mental health reform, whistleblower says

In a scathing report to North Carolina lawmakers, a retired prison psychologist contends that the state’s efforts to reform mental health for inmates has instead squandered millions of tax dollars while endangering inmates and prison workers.

KY: Kentucky bill would make colleges compete for state funding

Kentucky's public colleges and universities would have to compete against each other for shrinking state tax dollars under a Senate bill that would divvy up about $1 billion through a new formula that would reward institutions for granting more degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

GA: Georgia Senate backs creation of women’s veterans program

The Senate voted to create a program for Georgia’s growing number of women’s veterans, now numbering about 100,000. They are the fastest-growing segment of the state’s homeless veterans. They are more likely to be caretakers for their parents and most are of working age.

WV: West Virginia Senate votes to penalize sharing explicit images

West Virginia’s Senate voted to make it a crime to publicly display, distribute or threaten to disclose sexually explicit or intimate images of someone else without that person’s consent.

Philadelphia Soda Tax Receipts Double First-Month Predictions Municipal Bonds