What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/24

NM: Lawmakers ask New Mexico Supreme Court to block vetoes of budget

Top-ranking New Mexico legislators asked the state’s Supreme Court to invalidate some of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’ line-item vetoes of a budget bill, arguing she overstepped her authority by striking down about $779 million for legislative branch agencies and higher education.

AR: Arkansas plans for first double execution since 2000

Two condemned Arkansas killers who admit they're guilty, but fear their poor health could lead to extreme pain during lethal injections set for Monday, could become the first inmates put to death in a double execution in the U.S. in more than 16 years.

IA: Iowa lawmakers adjourn 2017 session after approving $7.2 billion budget

After approving the budget, the Iowa Legislature ended a session that included passage of measures to limit public union power, expand gun rights and enact new abortion restrictions.

CO: State budget cuts could cost rural Colorado hospitals millions

About a dozen rural hospitals in Colorado are poised to lose millions of dollars as part of a budget deal that would trim payments for uncompensated care. At least 10 hospitals are at risk for significant reductions in services, and several could possibly close.

MS: Mississippi governor vetoes criminal justice bill over early parole

Because of a typographical error, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant vetoed a bill that would have allowed some Mississippi inmates early parole, eliminated automatic prison time for failure to pay a fine, and let some Mississippi parolees schedule online interviews with probation officers.

TX: Texas House passes bill to raise age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18

The measure would move 17-year-old offenders from Texas’ adult criminal justice system to its juvenile justice system beginning in 2021. The change would put Texas in compliance with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, which prohibits all 17-year-old inmates from being within sight and sound of older prisoners.

MO: Missouri poised to make it harder for fired workers to win discrimination cases

A bill moving through the Missouri Legislature would require workers who claim discrimination in wrongful termination lawsuits to prove that bias was the explicit reason they were fired. The current standard is much lower, requiring only proof that bias was a contributing factor.

CA: California could resume executions next year

Corrections officials expect to submit revised lethal injection rules to state regulators, and the California Supreme Court is expected to rule this year on challenges to a ballot initiative that would speed up executions.

FL: Florida bill would target criminals who use bitcoin

Florida lawmakers are poised to pass a bill that will add "virtual currency" to the state's money-laundering statute, a change hailed by law enforcement although frowned upon by some bitcoin enthusiasts. 

MT: Legislators want tourism dollars to promote Montana's Native American destinations

Some lawmakers say the state needs to do more to develop and promote its vast tribal lands in Montana as tourist destinations, not only to spark entrepreneurship but also help outsiders better understand Native Americans.

Alabama Considers Mandating Coverage for Autism Treatment Rural Doctors