What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/1

Top State Stories 5/1

US: Half of immigrants arrested in raids had traffic convictions or no record

About half of the 675 immigrants picked up in roundups across the U.S. in the days after President Trump took office either had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses, mostly drunken driving, as their most serious crimes.

FL: Florida deal would reverse key part of Medicaid expansion

The Trump administration has made a tentative deal with Florida to provide additional money to help hospitals defray the cost of caring for low-income people who are uninsured. The Obama administration balked at that approach, arguing that if Florida expanded Medicaid eligibility, hospitals would have less uncompensated care.

TX: Federal judge in Texas finds Harris County bail system unconstitutional

A federal judge in Houston issued a scathing denouncement of the cash bail system in Harris County, Texas, saying it is fundamentally unfair to detain indigent people arrested for low-level offenses simply because they can't afford to pay bail.

LA: How waves of campaign cash prompted favorable policy for Louisiana nursing homes

Government experts and industry stakeholders spent more than two years crafting a plan that would have reduced Louisiana’s expensive and unpopular reliance on nursing homes to house the state’s most helpless residents. But it took just one email from the head of the industry’s powerful Louisiana lobby to kill the reform.

SC: Paying for pothole damage? Ask South Carolina for help

Drivers on South Carolina roads can file claims to the state Department of Transportation asking for compensation for personal injury and vehicle damage caused by the state’s crumbling roads. And claims for road damage and the cost to resolve them both are on the rise.

WI: Wisconsin prison population to hit record soon

After a brief reprieve from a rising inmate population, Wisconsin’s prisons are on track to hold a record number of people by 2019 as the state’s violent crime rate continues to increase.

HI: Hawaii lawmakers strike deal to fund Honolulu rail project

House and Senate leaders have reached a tentative deal to increase Hawaii's hotel tax to help pay for construction of Honolulu's rail system. 

AR: With drug out of date, Arkansas executions all on hold

After executing four men in the past two weeks in a rush to beat a drug expiration date, Arkansas now finds itself with 29 more inmates condemned to die and no clear idea what to do next. More than two dozen drugmakers have tightened distribution to prevent their products from being used to carry out death sentences.

NV: Unlikely Nevada coalition seeks insulin refund law

Las Vegas casino owners have banded together with their employees' unions to push for legislation that would force pharmaceutical companies to disclose how they set insulin prices — and issue refunds to Nevada diabetics or their insurance companies if annual price hikes surpass inflation.

KS: Kansas prisons make slow shift away from solitary confinement

The state of Kansas has quietly reorganized its prison system in recent months, moving inmates around its largest facilities to reduce the use of solitary confinement.

AK: Alaska House advances plan for same-day voter registration

The House sent the Senate a bill that would allow Alaskans to register to vote on Election Day, then cast a ballot for statewide office. 

MT: Montana lawmakers adjourn without infrastructure bill

Montana lawmakers adjourned the 2017 legislative session just like they did two years ago — failing to authorize bonds to pay for state infrastructure projects after negotiations collapsed and threats failed to sway intransigent legislators.

RI: Fight brews in Rhode Island Assembly over eye exam apps

Optometrists and technology companies are locked in a battle over whether Rhode Islanders can renew their eyeglasses or contact lens prescriptions without a trip to the doctor’s office. Bills pending before the General Assembly would effectively ban a series of new apps, which offer eye tests and vision prescriptions via mobile phone.

Romeo and Juliet Laws Road Salt