What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/17

CA: California justice doesn’t want immigration arrests in court

The chief justice of the California Supreme Court asked federal immigration agents to stop making arrests at courthouses, saying "stalking undocumented immigrants" at the facilities thwarts people's access to justice.

MI: Michigan House OKs open records plan as Senate shows opposition

Michigan is one of two states that do not subject both their governor’s and state lawmakers’ offices to open records requests. Now the House has approved a package of bills that would do just that, but the issue could die in the Senate. 

LA: Task force reveals reforms to reduce Louisiana's prison population

Louisiana, which has a higher incarceration rate than any U.S. state or country in the world, could shed 13 percent of its prison population and cut prison costs by $150 million over the next 10 years under a plan put forward by a state task force.

MO: Missouri tax break for seniors, disabled renters could end

The Missouri House voted to end a roughly $55-million-a-year tax break for low-income seniors and disabled renters. Republican House budget leaders say the money could be used to prevent cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Eric Greitens to in-home and nursing care services.

AR: Bill to widen gun toting heads to Arkansas governor’s desk

The measure would allow Arkansas gun owners with concealed-carry permits and up to eight hours of active-shooter training to take their weapons onto college campuses, into bars and churches, and into many public places, including the Capitol in Little Rock.

OH: Ohio House passes bill that would ban fees to remove mugshots from websites

The House sent the Senate a bill that would prohibit websites from charging fees in Ohio for removing or editing booking records that appear online. That information is rarely updated after a person is released and not charged or a record is sealed, and the sites often charge hundreds or thousands of dollars to remove the records.

NM: Plan for New Mexico ethics commission advances

A proposal to create an independent New Mexico ethics commission to look into complaints against elected officials, lobbyists and others is just one step from going before voters in November 2018. Now a conference committee will try to reach a compromise between House and Senate versions of the plan.

VA: Virginia Department of Corrections changes execution protocol

Under recent changes in the Virginia Department of Corrections execution manual, witnesses will no longer view inmates as they are led into the execution chamber and strapped onto the gurney or into the electric chair.

TX: Texas universities face funding cuts

Texas universities would lose 6 to 10 percent of their state funding under the budget plan approved by a Senate panel. The plan protects some smaller schools at the expense of large, growing ones.

WV: West Virginia Senate committee passes bill aimed at raising the employment chances for ex-cons

The bill would give convicted felons the opportunity to request a court to expunge certain nonviolent felony offenses from their records after 10 years of good behavior. West Virginia has 150,000 convicted felons, equating to 10 percent of the adult population.

KY: Overweight trucks given green light by Kentucky Legislature

The General Assembly gave final approval to a bill that will allow more overweight trucks on Kentucky roads to accommodate the hauling of heavy metal, such as aluminum. The price of a permit for the heavier loads will go up, from $250 a year to $1,250 a year.

NE: Slow fall in land value a frustration for Nebraska farmers

The value of farmland in Nebraska fell 10 percent in the year ending Feb. 1, a result of falling crop and livestock prices.

KS: Kansas chief justice proposes raises for judicial employees

Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss asked Kansas legislators for a $22 million budget increase, most of which would go to raise the salaries of judges and court employees. He said some judges are leaving the bench because of low pay and nearly a third of the court system’s employees hold outside jobs to make ends meet.

30-Something Mothers Medicaid for the Disabled