What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/17

MO: Missouri court overturns law enacted after Ferguson unrest

The Missouri Supreme Court struck down portions of a 2015 law that imposed special requirements on Ferguson and other cities in St. Louis County following a U.S. Department of Justice report on predatory revenue-generating practices in Ferguson's police and court system. The court said parts of the law were unconstitutional because they singled out St. Louis County without any substantial justification.

LA: 'Historic' criminal justice compromise reached by Louisiana governor, district attorneys

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana's district attorneys said they have agreed on a criminal justice legislative package that would reduce the state’s prison population by 10 percent and save the state $78 million over the next 10 years.

PA: Pennsylvania to expand hepatitis C treatment for Medicaid patients

Under pressure from advocacy organizations that had threatened a lawsuit, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said it would expand Pennsylvania’s Medicaid coverage for treatment of hepatitis C, a major change that many states have put off over fear of spiraling costs.

TN: Tennessee governor signs rural broadband bill

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill that clears the way for nonprofit electric co-ops to start providing internet and video service. It also provides $45 million in grants and tax credits to co-ops and internet service providers to encourage the development of internet in areas of Tennessee that don't have it.

VA: Virginia governor proposes statewide carbon cap

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe ordered state officials to create regulations that will reduce carbon emissions from Virginia power plants and emphasize clean energy sources such as solar, a plan similar to a federal policy that President Donald Trump has threatened to rescind.

TX: Texas seeks Medicaid money it gave up over Planned Parenthood ban

Four years after Texas gave up millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds so it could ban Planned Parenthood from participating in a family planning program for low-income women, the state is asking the Trump administration for the money back.

CA: Bail reform could cost California ‘hundreds of millions’

Under a California bill that would end the use of money bail, the state would have to spend “hundreds of millions of dollars” to reimburse counties for new pretrial services to determine whether defendants should be released, plus millions more to pay court-appointed lawyers for defendants, according to a legislative analysis of the proposal.

VT: Vermont moves to criminalize fentanyl distribution

A single piece of legislation heading to Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s desk would change Vermont’s bail system, create a new crime for distributing fentanyl, and outlaw bestiality. Fentanyl, which can be about 50 times more potent than heroin, is increasingly linked to overdose deaths in the state.

NJ: Anti-terror officials in New Jersey discuss how state can fight against future attacks

In the months since a string of bombings in New York and New Jersey, New Jersey's top homeland security official says his office redoubled efforts to bring the global fight against extremism to the state's cities and small towns.

SC: South Carolina lawmakers weigh spending $1.5 million on opioid addiction treatment

As a heroin and prescription pain pill epidemic continues to sweep parts of the country, members of the South Carolina House are calling for $1.5 million to be spent on drug addiction treatment in the state. 

WI: One-third of Wisconsin large-scale animal farms operating under expired permits

Around a third of Wisconsin’s large-scale animal farms, known as concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs, are currently operating under expired permits, according to data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.

AK: Alaska marijuana businesses are treated differently 

While other Alaska crops are stamped with the “Alaska Grown” label, the state’s Division of Agriculture hasn’t approved any labels for marijuana growers yet. Officials said they are concerned that doing so would jeopardize federal funding the state receives.

Methamphetamine Noncompete Agreements
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