What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/18

CO: Colorado Supreme Court upholds state’s DUI laws

The court upheld Colorado’s drunken driving statutes, ruling prosecutors can present evidence at trial that a suspect refused to take a blood alcohol test, police can order an unconscious driver’s blood to be tested in certain instances, and simply advising drivers of their expressed consent does not make blood tests inadmissible in court.

PA: Pennsylvania governor proposes raising minimum wage to cut Medicaid costs

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says in his proposed budget that increasing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour — above the current $7.25 — would shave almost $50 million from public-benefit costs.

CA: California lawmakers consider a range of proposals for recruiting, retaining teachers

California lawmakers have introduced bills that give teachers tax credits, exempt them from state income taxes, prevent districts from charging new teacher fees, give financial incentives for teaching in under-served communities and provide grants for teachers who specialize in hard-to-fill subjects.

TX: Transgender bathroom bill could cost Texas economy $3.3 billion

Banning transgender people from public bathrooms would dissuade tourists from visiting Texas, costing the economy as much as $3.3 billion and 35,600 jobs, a new study says. House lawmakers are about to consider a Senate “bathroom bill,” which would prevent cities from adopting local laws protecting transgender people in bathrooms.

IL: Illinois bill would ban removing airline passengers

An Illinois lawmaker introduced a bill that would ban the forcible removal of travelers from flights by state or local government employees. The bill, filed after a United Airlines passenger was dragged from an aircraft last week, says passengers could be removed only if they presented a danger or an emergency was taking place.

MT: Montana lawmakers push bills aimed at cutting health insurance costs

The bills would authorize a high-risk insurance pool, allow out-of-state insurers to sell policies in Montana, require patients to be better informed about the cost of procedures, and give tax credits to small companies that offer high-deductible plans to their employees.

WI: Wisconsin seeks to test some Medicaid enrollees for drugs

Childless adults who sign up for Wisconsin’s Medicaid program would be screened for drugs and required to pay premiums, under a proposal Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s administration plans to submit to the federal government for approval.

WA: Washington state law would make cost of student loans clear

The Legislature gave final approval to a bill that would require public and private colleges in Washington to help students keep track of how much they owe in student loans and tell them what they can expect to pay monthly when they graduate. Indiana, Wisconsin and Nebraska have passed similar legislation.

AR: For Arkansas lottery play, debit cards now an option

Starting this summer, retailers selling tickets for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery can accept payment by debit cards, thanks to a new law that zipped through the Legislature. But the law will bar retailers from selling tickets on credit.

KS: Kansas secretary of state ordered to turn over documents taken to meeting with Trump

A U.S. magistrate ordered Kansas’ top elections official to turn over a document with proposed changes to federal voting rights laws that he took to a meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump, saying it is relevant to a lawsuit challenging a state law that requires voters provide proof of their U.S. citizenship when registering.

AL: Alabama senators propose making lieutenant governor like 'vice governor'

A dozen senators are signed on as supporters of a proposal to change the Alabama Constitution so that the governor and lieutenant governor would run on the same ticket and serve as a team, like the president and vice president.

HI: Hawaii lawmakers want state officials to update plans to cope with a nuclear attack

Eyeing the possibility of an attack from North Korea, a Hawaii legislative committee has asked the state to identify the locations of usable fallout shelters, restock them with provisions, update signs and conduct public awareness campaigns to ready the public for a nuclear disaster.

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