What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/1

Top State Stories 3/1

TX: Texas Supreme Court to take up same-sex marriage case

Same-sex marriage has been legal in the U.S. for almost two years, but Texas Republicans are looking to fight a U.S. Supreme Court ruling through a lawsuit challenging Houston's benefits for same-sex couples.

IL: Illinois governor looks for temporary workers amid strike threat

In preparation for a possible strike by Illinois' largest union of state workers, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration launched a website to recruit residents for temporary or permanent state jobs.

WV: West Virginia governor proposes raising soda, cigarette taxes

Democratic Gov. Jim Justice unveiled a revised budget plan to close West Virginia’s projected $500 million deficit by raising taxes on sugary soft drinks and cigarettes, revising pension contributions and reducing previously proposed fractional sales and corporate tax hikes.

CT: Connecticut Senate remains evenly split after special elections

Connecticut’s Senate continues to be split 18-18 between Democrats and Republicans following Tuesday’s special election to fill the seats of two lawmakers who stepped down.

AZ: Arizona’s 'protest' bill declared dead

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and the speaker of the Arizona House declared dead a bill that would have punished organizers of public protests that turn violent with racketeering charges.

US: U.S. attorney general signals a pullback on suits against police departments

Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled that the U.S. Justice Department would depart from an Obama administration practice of suing local police departments to force reforms related to violations of excessive force policies, racial discrimination and other misconduct.

MN: Minnesota's budget surplus grows to $1.65 billion

Minnesota increased the projected balance at the end of its next two-year budget cycle by $250 million to $1.65 billion, while warning that uncertainty over U.S. economic policy poses "significant risk" for the state’s finances.

MO: Missouri Supreme Court upholds St. Louis minimum wage hike

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that St. Louis acted within its charter authority when it decided to raise its minimum wage to $11 by 2018. The court said the state minimum wage law is intended to set a floor, but not a maximum minimum wage.

IA: 20-week abortion ban clears Iowa Senate hurdle

Abortions would generally be banned in Iowa 20 weeks after fertilization under a bill advanced by an Iowa Senate subcommittee.

NE: Lower tax collections expected in Nebraska

Nebraska economic forecasters lowered their estimates of state tax collections, leaving the Legislature to find ways to lower spending in the next two-year budget by $287 million.

AR: Arkansas Senate backs bill on nonviolent offenders

Senators approved legislation aimed at reducing Arkansas' swollen prison population by giving more breaks to some nonviolent offenders. The measure would allow people on parole and probation to be sanctioned to county jails or community correction facilities up to six times for minor offenses before they could be sent to prison. 

GA: Georgia bill would let state keep tolls after roads are paid off

State transportation officials are seeking the General Assembly’s blessing for a plan to use tolls as a permanent tool to regulate traffic on Georgia’s congested highways.

Health Care Quality Cash Bail