What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/25

Top State Stories 5/25

VT: Vermont governor snuffs legal pot, offers to work with lawmakers on changes

Republican Gov. Phil Scott halted, at least temporarily, efforts to make Vermont the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Scott said the bill should make clear that there will be no change in current penalties for giving or selling the drug to minors under 21 or near schools, and it should have stiffer penalties for smoking marijuana while driving or in front of children.

WI: Wisconsin seeks to be first to drug test Medicaid applicants

Republican Gov. Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require childless adults applying for Medicaid to undergo drug screening. The plan, which needs federal approval, could serve as a national model.

CA: California cap and trade program rebounds

California’s market-based program for fighting climate change just had one of its strongest auction results in the past year, weeks after the state Court of Appeal upheld the legality of the program. Industrial companies spent more than $1 billion on the credits, buying more than 90 percent of them.

NJ: New Jersey governor backs law to expunge records of some drug offenders

Republican Gov. Chris Christie said he expects to sign comprehensive reforms that would allow addicts in recovery who've graduated from New Jersey’s drug courts to have their convictions expunged from state records.

MT: Montana revenue falling behind projections

Montana tax collections are 3.8 percent lower than legislators predicted when they built the two-year budget, which could trigger cuts to programs and services. Most of the decrease comes from low individual income tax collections. 

AL: Alabama governor signs bill protecting Confederate monuments

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill to prohibit local governments in Alabama from moving historical monuments on public property that have been in place for 40 years or more. The new law also prohibits renaming buildings and streets with historical names that have been in place at least 40 years.

NV: Weighted funding will send millions to needy Nevada students

Unexpected state revenue and a bipartisan consensus to provide need-based education funds are converging at the Nevada Capitol with a deal to send tens of millions more dollars to Nevada public schools.

SC: Accusations against public officials await stalled South Carolina Ethics Commission

More than 50 complaints are ready to be reviewed by the new South Carolina Ethics Commission. But the state Senate has yet to confirm the eight appointees to the commission nearly two months after a new law went into effect changing how South Carolina polices its public officials.

FL: Florida County steps up Zika prevention program

Miami-Dade County’s mosquito-fighting division has been shored up with $25 million — most of it covered by funds from the state of Florida — allowing it to hire more people and beef up services. For the first time, the mosquito that carries the Zika virus is being treated as a year-round problem, with larviciding ongoing through the winter and the spring.

TX: Texas House backs measure targeting ‘lunch shaming’ in schools

The proposal would require local school boards to develop a grace period policy that ensures Texas students without enough money in their school lunch accounts have some time to resolve the issue.

NE: New Nebraska law will protect students if for-profit colleges close

Under the new law, student records from for-profit schools that close will be sent to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Students may also recoup lost tuition and fees if a school closes mid-term. 

OR: Oregon Senate likely to block impeachment resolution

Oregon will likely remain the only state without a way to impeach and remove its governor. The House passed a resolution that would ask voters to give lawmakers the power to throw out the governor and other statewide elected officials, but Senate Democratic leaders plan to quash the House's efforts.

Immigration Enforcement Secret Settlements