What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/7

AZ: Arizona governor signs vast expansion of school vouchers

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill that extends eligibility for vouchers to all 1.1 million schoolchildren in Arizona. The program will allow parents to take between 90 and 100 percent of the state money a local public school would receive and use it to pay for private or religious education.

NM: New Mexico the first state to require officers to carry overdose antidote

Legislation signed by Republican Gov. Susan Martinez requires all state and local law enforcement officers in New Mexico to carry kits containing an antidote for opioids or heroin overdoses.

AR: Federal judge halts one of eight of Arkansas’ executions planned for over 11 days

A U.S. district judge halted one of the eight executions Arkansas plans over 11 days in the second half of April, saying the expedited schedule does not allow proper time for considering that inmate's clemency. The judge let the other seven go on as planned.

MD: Maryland the first state to mitigate any cuts to Planned Parenthood

The state agreed to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for their services if Congress cuts funding to the organization, which provides services for nearly 25,000 patients in Maryland.

NH: New Hampshire House fails to pass budget for first time since the 1960s

New Hampshire’s 400 House members failed to pass a budget, effectively removing themselves from the spending process for now. The budget developed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu will now go directly to the Senate for consideration with none of the House changes on the table when the two houses meet in conference in June.

OH: Federal appeals court affirms a halt in executions in Ohio

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Ohio’s new three-drug protocol for carrying out the death penalty, jeopardizing the state’s planned resumption of executions next month.

WV: West Virginia House votes to expand sales tax

The House voted for a $4 billion budget bill that would broaden West Virginia’s sales tax to cover more goods and services to help bring in $140 million in revenue, while making $75 million in cuts to government agencies.

MT: Montana governor rejects bill banning Shariah law in courts

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a bill that would have banned Shariah and other foreign laws from being used in Montana courtrooms, saying there was no need for it and it could fuel hate crimes. Montana was one of 13 states considering the legislation this year.

SC: South Carolina House votes to require coverage of 12-month birth control prescription

The House passed a bill that would require health insurance plans to cover a 12-month prescription for birth control for South Carolina women in an effort to reduce unintended pregnancies.

FL: Florida municipalities mobilize against property tax cut proposal

Florida’s cities and counties decry state legislation that would increase the homestead property tax exemption, saying the tax break for homeowners would lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue for local government.

KY: Kentucky governor restores voting rights to a lucky few

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin returned voting rights to 24 Kentuckians with felony convictions, but 98 percent who’ve asked him for a second chance since he took office are still waiting.

GA: Amid Georgia food stamp crackdown, a question of who can work

As Georgia expands work requirements to more food stamp recipients, state officials are wrestling with what seems to be a simple question: Who is really able-bodied?

NJ: New Jersey had highest property taxes in nation in 2016 (again)

The Garden State has the highest effective tax rate at 2.31 percent, a new study says. Of the nine counties in the country where the average bill exceeded $10,000, four are in New Jersey.

Apple Fixes 911 Dialing Issue Jails as Asylums