What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/20

NM: New Mexico Legislature adjourns; Special budget session likely

Lawmakers left after sending Republican Gov. Susana Martinez a $6.1 billion spending plan for the coming year that includes about $350 million in tax increases. She vowed to veto a tax increase and call lawmakers back to session to try again.

LA: Louisiana governor wants big changes in how state taxes businesses, individuals

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to replace Louisiana’s corporate tax on income with a corporate tax on sales. He also will propose extending the state sales tax to a number of activities and services that go untaxed in return for eliminating a temporary 1-cent increase in the sales tax.

SD: South Dakota governor vetoes loosening of concealed carry gun laws

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have let South Dakota gun owners carry concealed weapons without a permit and another that would have let people with an enhanced permit carry concealed weapons at the state capitol. Eleven states allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

US: States looking to help patients declare: No opioids, please

Alaska and Connecticut are among the latest to consider legislation that would let patients put directives in their medical files that notify doctors they don’t want to be prescribed opioid medication. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania last year created laws to let patients who fear a relapse into addiction create directives.

NV: Nevada Legislature on cusp of historic vote on Equal Rights Amendment

If the Nevada Legislature this week votes as expected, a state will have ratified the proposed federal Equal Rights Amendment for the first time in four decades — and 45 years after Congress started the process March 22, 1972.

US: States differ widely in college aid offers

California, New Jersey and Wyoming provide more aid to low-income college students than the largest federal grant program does. But most states don’t. More than 30 states spend less than 25 percent of what the federal government spends per student through the Pell grant program.

WV: West Virginia Senate votes to repeal tax cut for wind turbines

Repealing the tax break, which is similar to ones West Virginia provides specialized manufacturing, aircraft manufacturing and high-tech property, would bring in $8 million in revenue by 2019.

VT: Vermont Senate committee votes for $30.2 million pay hike for mental health workers

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved a mental health bill that would increase funding to workers at designated mental health agencies in Vermont by $30.2 million. Low pay makes it difficult for the agencies to retain workers. The turnover rate has been around 27 percent a year.

AR: Education savings accounts fail in Arkansas House

The proposal would have established savings accounts for students worth about $6,712.50 a year that Arkansas families could have spent on education as they saw fit.

MD: Maryland House approves ‘yes means yes’ requirement for sex education

The legislation that would require Maryland public schools to teach a “yes means yes” standard for sexual consent, moving the state one step closer to becoming only the second to adopt such a mandate.

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