What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/8

Top State Stories 5/8

TX: Texas stokes immigration debate with ‘sanctuary cities’ ban

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a “sanctuary cities” ban that lets police ask during routine stops whether someone is in the U.S. legally and threatens Texas sheriffs with jail if they don't cooperate with federal immigration agents.

WI: Wisconsin governor pans increase in gas taxes

Republican Gov. Scott Walker rejected the heart of a roads plan put forward by Wisconsin Republicans, saying it amounted to a net tax increase on fuel of more than $400 million over two years.

CO: Teen sexting bill heads to Colorado governor

The legislation, which Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign, would make consensual exchanges of nude images by children a civil infraction and give Colorado prosecutors a range of options — from a petty offense to a felony — to use against teens who possess or distribute sexts against a victim’s will.

AZ: Arizona lawmakers pass $9.8 billion budget

Arizona lawmakers passed a $9.8 billion budget that provides 2 percent pay hikes for public-school teachers, a modest income-tax cut for residents and $1 billion in extra bonding authority for the state's public universities.

NY: New York governor signs bill making union dues deductible

Labor union dues will be fully deductible from New York state income tax under legislation signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The measure will save the state’s approximately 500,000 unionized workers about $70 a year each and cost the state $35 million in tax revenue.

NV: Nevada lawmakers back blood-only detection of marijuana DUIs

Nevada lawmakers advanced a measure that would eliminate urine samples as a way for police to show a driver to be impaired by marijuana. Law enforcement officers would continue using blood tests to prove a person was illegally operating a passenger car, commercial truck or boat while high.

AK: Amendment to Alaska Constitution would guarantee Permanent Fund dividend

The leader of the Alaska House introduced a proposal to constitutionally guarantee a Permanent Fund dividend of at least $1,250 per person. With Alaska facing a $2.7 billion annual deficit, the House and Senate have each proposed spending some of the earnings of the fund and reducing dividends.

NM: New Mexico governor calls Legislature to May 24 special session

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez set a budget-balancing special legislative session for May 24, giving her office and leading New Mexico lawmakers less than three weeks to try to hammer out a deal.

KS: Kansas wind power takes off

New wind farms brought online this year or planned for later this year will quadruple the amount of wind generation in Kansas in just six years, placing the state behind only Texas, Oklahoma, California and Iowa in producing wind energy, an analyst group said.

OK: New Oklahoma law could mean heavy fines, jail time for pipeline protesters

A bill signed by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin would levy steep fines or prison time against people convicted of trespassing at critical Oklahoma infrastructure facilities — including pipelines, refineries, chemical plants, railways and other industrial sites — to impede their operations.

MT: Abortion, state plane among 14 bills vetoed by Montana governor

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed bills to restrict abortions and the governor’s use of the state airplane, along with another that would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons in restaurants where alcohol is served. He signed 62 bills passed by the Montana Legislature, which adjourned last week before flooding his desk with 260 bills to consider.

NE: Nebraska Legislature backs longer prison sentences for traffickers

Anyone who forces children into prostitution or pays for sex with a child would face a minimum of 20 years and a maximum life sentence under a bill advanced by the Nebraska Legislature. Trafficking an adult would result in prison sentences between one and 50 years. 

‘Essential Health Benefits’ Opioid Epidemic