What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/27
CA: California upholds auto emissions standards, setting up face-off with Trump
California’s clean-air agency voted to push ahead with stricter emissions standards for cars and trucks, setting up a potential legal battle with the Trump administration over the state’s plan to reduce planet-warming gases.
VA: More Virginia taxpayers must provide additional documentation, delaying refunds
To combat rising fraud, the Virginia Department of Taxation has mailed about 104,000 letters to taxpayers to date this year asking for additional information to verify their identities.
NC: 'Bathroom bill’ to cost North Carolina $3.76 billion
Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina's "bathroom bill" isn't hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.
MS: Mississippi state agencies face more cuts in new budget
Most state agencies in Mississippi will see their budgets cut yet again for the coming budget year under a roughly $6 billion spending plan. House and Senate negotiators failed to reach a deal on a borrowing plan for roads, bridges and other capital projects — the first time since 2012 lawmakers have not done such borrowing.
WV: West Virginia House passes flood protection planning bill
The House of Delegates approved a bill aimed at jump-starting a long-ignored state plan intended to protect West Virginians from flooding and reduce damage to lives and property.
TX: Appeals court upholds Texas cigarette tax
Dismissing a lawsuit filed by small tobacco companies, an Austin-based appeals court ruled that Texas regulators could impose a special tax on cigarette makers that weren’t part of a multibillion-dollar settlement reached with Big Tobacco in the late 1990s.
DE: Delaware inches forward on bail reform
Delaware is on the verge of changing its bail system in a way that would alter — and in some cases eliminate — the price tag on freedom for those awaiting trial.
AR: Arkansas struggles to find enough people to watch executions
The state of Arkansas, which plans to execute eight inmates over 10 days next month, is struggling to comply with a state requirement that at least six people witness an execution to ensure that the state’s death penalty laws are properly followed.
MD: Maryland alcohol tax increase linked to drop in drunken driving crashes
Alcohol-related crashes in which people were killed or hurt dropped by an annual rate of 6 percent after Maryland raised the alcohol sales tax in 2011, a new study shows. The decline, which was even higher for younger drivers, was more significant than researchers expected from the tax hike.
KS: Polling changes could confuse Kansas voters
More than 36,000 voters in Kansas are being asked to cast their ballots at new polling stations in the nation’s first congressional election since President Donald Trump’s November victory, prompting concerns that confusion could suppress turnout.
WA: Proposals in Washington state would address nurse staffing levels
Amid reports of staff shortages, long shifts and dangerous nurse-to-patient ratios, bills that would address nurse staffing levels, overtime and rest breaks are moving through the Washington Legislature.
WI: Wisconsin doctors must check patient history before prescribing opioids, other drugs
Patients who take opioids or other controlled substances soon will be under greater scrutiny in Wisconsin, where doctors will have to start checking a database of drugs previously given to patients before they write certain prescriptions.