What We’re Reading: Top State Stories 4/3

WI: Wisconsin governor pushes drug tests for Medicaid enrollees

A proposal that Republican Gov. Scott Walker plans to submit to the Department of Health and Human Services would make Wisconsin the first state with mandatory drug screening for Medicaid enrollees.

AR: Collecting Arkansas court fines, fees a problem

Millions of dollars in fines, costs and restitution from felony criminal cases are owed to circuit courts across Arkansas. In some instances, the person who owes the money is dead, in prison or unemployed.

OR: Oregon set to double recycling rate to 10 cents a can

Oregon’s first-in-the-nation bottle recycling program will double the payout for used soda cans and glass bottles. Oregon’s groundbreaking 1971 Bottle Bill has been replicated in nine other states and Guam.

LA: Louisiana governor, lawmakers target tax breaks for cuts

Hundreds of millions of dollars Louisiana doles out in tax breaks each year are squarely in lawmakers' crosshairs as they consider rewriting the state's tax laws. Louisiana will spend an estimated $6.8 billion on tax breaks in the current budget year and collect about $7.2 billion in taxes, despite budget woes that have forced steep cuts in government spending areas.

ME: Maine’s lobster industry begins to confront its addiction problem

Maine lobstermen have long been plagued by opioid addiction. But industry leaders and regulators ignored the drug use for years, not wanting to taint the iconic image of the Maine lobsterman, the backbone of the state’s $1.6 billion-a-year industry, and the lobstermen were intensely private, rarely asking for help. Now that’s starting to change.

HI: Hawaii moves closer to becoming a vote-by-mail state

Two Hawaii Senate committees have approved legislation that would implement voting by mail for all Hawaii counties by 2020. 

ND: North Dakota governor signs applicant privacy bill

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill that makes any records that could identify an applicant for a public job in North Dakota confidential until at least three finalists are designated.

IN: 5 burning issues in Indiana's budget debate

The Indiana Senate unveiled its $32.1 billion version of the two-year state budget, setting the stage for a showdown with the House over the prospect of a cigarette tax increase and funding levels for education and pre-kindergarten.

WV: West Virginia Senate to vote on bill that would disband state women's commission

The bill, already approved by the House, would do away with the commission that was created in 1977 to improve the status and opportunities for women in West Virginia.

MN: Minnesota bill would require police de-escalation training

All Minnesota law enforcement officers soon could be required to learn how to deal with people with mental illness and safely de-escalate crises, marking a shift in policing away from using force and toward less lethal ways to intervene. 

NV: Nevada Legislature eyes business incentives for paid family leave

Nevada lawmakers are considering a measure that creates tax breaks for businesses that pay workers who take leave because of a serious illness or because they become parents, among other situations.

Top State Stories 4/4 Rural Jobs