What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/18

TX: Texas Senate backs measure creating statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies

The measure, which would override all local regulations, would require Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies to have a permit from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and pay an annual fee to operate throughout the state. It also calls for companies to perform local, state and national criminal background checks on drivers annually — but doesn't require drivers to be fingerprinted.

MD: Maryland just got its first licensed grower of medical marijuana

The commission that oversees Maryland’s fledgling medical cannabis program voted to award the state’s first full license to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes. The company must still wait for dispensaries to be fully inspected and licensed before it can sell cannabis products to approved patients, which it hopes to do by late summer or early fall.

NC: ‘Raise The Age’ bill to keep teens out of adult court passes North Carolina House

The proposal would allow a 16- or 17-year-old who commits certain crimes to be tried as a juvenile — not as an adult. North Carolina is the only remaining state that automatically prosecutes people as young as 16 as adults. Violent felonies and some drug offenses would still be handled in adult court.

AK: Alaska moves closer to repealing cash subsidies for oil companies

The Alaska Senate has passed a House proposal to repeal the subsidy program, but the two chambers haven't yet decided what to do about subsidies the state already owes but hasn't paid. Oil-company claims are projected to exceed $1 billion by next year.

NE: Nebraska lawmakers fail to override governor’s budget vetoes

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts’ allies in the Nebraska Legislature sustained his $56.5 million worth of vetoes in the two-year budget ending June 30, 2019. The defeated motions included one that would have restored $32.5 million for the care of low-income Nebraskans and people with developmental disabilities or mental health problems.

LA: Louisiana House passes ‘sanctuary’ cities bill

The state attorney general would determine whether a Louisiana city has a policy in place that limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Those that have such “sanctuary” policies would have 90 days to discard them or they would lose state funding.

AL: Alabama lawmakers pass bill to require insurance coverage for autism therapy

The Alabama House sent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey a bill that would require many insurance plans in the state to cover therapy for children with autism.

DE: Delaware governor moves to dissolve economic development agency

Democratic Gov. John Carney is planning to eliminate the 35-year-old Delaware Economic Development Office and shift many of its core functions to a new public-private partnership.

CA: California legislative package would help refugees 

The Legislature is considering making all refugees eligible for in-state community college tuition as soon as they arrive in California and giving preference for state government jobs to refugees who worked with the U.S. military in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

NV: Nevada outlaws anti-gay clinical therapy on children

Under the new Nevada law, psychologists, social workers, nurses and other clinical counselors will be prohibited from attempting anti-gay conversion therapy on minors.

NY: New York Assembly passes indoor vaping restrictions

The New York Assembly passed restrictions on vaping in public places, basically by adding e-cigarettes to the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act. Vaping opponents fear the aerosols used are harmful and that the practice can become addictive, but others see it as a safe alternative to smoking.

IA: Budget cuts raise worries that some Iowa state parks will have 'closed' signs

As Iowans make plans for summer vacations, budget cuts are raising worries that some state parks could be forced to close. Steep reductions in the ranks of seasonal workers at Iowa's state parks are already making it more difficult to keep grass mowed, restrooms cleaned and trash picked up.

Deportation Arrests Up Nearly 40 Percent Methamphetamine