What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/3

PA: Pennsylvania sees biggest budget shortfall since recession

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue said that 10 months into the fiscal year it has a shortfall of more than $1 billion. That's more than 4 percent, a bigger margin than in any fiscal year since 2010, and it leaves budget makers with just nine weeks left in the fiscal year to address the unexpectedly large gap.

US: Life expectancy improves for blacks, CDC reports

African-Americans have made significant gains in life expectancy, and the mortality gap between white and black Americans has been cut in half since 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. But blacks in every age group under 65 continue to have significantly higher death rates than whites.

CO: Colorado looks to marijuana tax as budget fix

Tentative legislation would raise Colorado’s recreational marijuana special sales tax from 10 percent to the maximum 15 percent rate. The move is generating concern as it raises questions about increasing illegal sales and links core state expenses to a uniquely volatile industry.

GA: Georgia losing patience with drug treatment tourists

Privately owned treatment centers for heroin and prescription painkiller addiction in northwest Georgia draw thousands of patients from Tennessee. But locals are fed up with the onslaught of out-of-towners who pick up their meds and leave, and a new Georgia law essentially prevents any more clinics from opening in the area.

AR: Arkansas panels favor plan to shrink Medicaid rolls

Committees in the Arkansas House and Senate approved bills that would direct the state Department of Human Services to seek a federal waiver, allowing the state to move about 60,000 people off the expanded part of the state’s Medicaid program by limiting eligibility to adults with incomes of up to 100 percent of the poverty level, instead of the current threshold, 138 percent of the poverty level.

OH: Ohio House OKs $64 million budget with Medicaid controls

The Ohio House approved a nearly $64 billion, two-year operating budget that would impose new controls on Medicaid expansion money and invest $170 million in tackling the state's No. 1 ranking in opioid deaths.

TX: Texas voter ID law led to fears and failures in 2016 election

Texas' efforts to enact and enforce the strictest voter ID law in the nation were so plagued by delays, revisions, court interventions and inadequate education that the casting of ballots in the 2016 election was inevitably troubled, a ProPublica investigation has found.

WI: Wisconsin Senate OKs bills targeting opioid addiction

Wisconsin would target heroin and opiate addiction by expanding treatment, hiring special agents and establishing a charter school for addicted teens, under legislation approved unanimously by the state Senate.

OR: Oregon House backs building codes for tiny houses

The Oregon House sent the Senate a bill that would require the state Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt specialty building codes for prefabricated and site-built homes that are less than 400 square feet. Supporters say using tiny homes to shelter homeless or low-income people in Oregon could help with the state’s housing shortage.

SD: Mental health court money left out of South Dakota state budget

A pilot project to set up South Dakota’s first specialized court for treating and stabilizing defendants with mental illnesses has been stalled due to a lack of funding.

FL: Florida ponders mandatory minimum prison sentence for selling fetanyl

Florida senators are considering a bill that would impose tough criminal penalties on people who sell fetanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin.


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