What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/19

CO: Colorado will no longer lock up people who are suicidal or in mental health crisis

The new Colorado law bans the use of jails to house people who are a “danger to themselves or others” but have not committed any crime, and increases funds for a network of crisis-response teams, walk-in mental health treatment centers and transportation to treatment from rural areas.

AL: Alabama lawmakers approve bill to shorten death penalty appeals

Death row inmates would get less time to file appeals under a bill Alabama lawmakers approved in an attempt to speed up the time between sentencing and execution. The bill is based on Texas procedures and will require inmates to raise claims, such as ineffective counsel, at the same time as appeals over alleged trial errors.

IA: Planned Parenthood to close four Iowa clinics after cuts

Planned Parenthood said it would shutter four of its 12 clinics in Iowa as a result of a measure backed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad that blocks public money for family planning services to abortion providers.

DC: New DC program provides free lawyers to fight eviction

The Council of the District of Columbia set aside $4.5 million for a yearlong pilot program that offers low-income residents a lawyer free of charge for eviction proceedings in the city’s landlord-tenant court. Last year, the court handled 33,000 eviction cases.

OR: Thousands on Medicaid in Oregon may be ineligible

The Oregon Health Authority could be spending as much as $37 million a month on Medicaid for people who aren't eligible for the health care program for low-income adults and kids. Oregon's secretary of state said more than 80,000 people — about 8 percent of the state’s Medicaid population — had not undergone annual eligibility determinations that are required under federal law.

TX: Texas House passes child welfare reforms

The Texas House tentatively approved a measure that would transfer major foster care services, including caseworker visits, court-related duties and decisions about where children live and go to school, from the state to nonprofits and local government entities in two parts of the state.

CA: California leaders vow to continue state-run retirement plan

California's treasurer and top Senate leader say they're going forward with a plan to automatically enroll private-sector workers in retirement savings accounts even after President Donald Trump signed legislation revoking a legal safe haven for the program. 

AK: Alaska bill legalizing Uber and Lyft heads to governor’s desk 

The Alaska measure prevents local governments from imposing their own regulations on the ride-hailing companies, but allows them to collect local sales tax and to pass local traffic ordinances, which could dictate how the cars operate near airports. The services can be banned in a municipality only by a voter initiative.

UT: New Utah DUI law bans new immigrants from driving after even a drop of alcohol

Utah's new toughest-in-the-nation drunken driving law contains a little-noticed provision that would impose a not-a-drop-of-alcohol-before-driving standard for two years on foreign immigrants who obtain driver’s licenses in the state.

VT: Vermont governor signs shield law, creating new protections for journalists

The new Vermont law creates a legal protection for information given to journalists by confidential sources or conversations that take place “off the record."

OK: Oklahoma Senate votes to allow county option for Sunday liquor store sales

The Oklahoma Senate sent the House a bill that would give county voters the option of allowing liquor stores to sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

Sales Tax Ransomware Attack