What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/26

MD: Maryland governor vetoes paid sick leave bill

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed legislation that would have required Maryland employers with more than 15 workers to allow them to earn paid sick leave, setting up a potential veto override fight when state lawmakers return to Annapolis later this year or next.

AL: Midwifery is now legal in Alabama

After 13 years of lobbying by grassroots organizations, and over the opposition of some of the state's largest professional medical associations, a new law will allow midwives to attend home births in Alabama for the first time in more than 40 years.

TX: Texas pushes ahead with ‘bathroom bill’ as others shy away

As “bathroom bills” targeting transgender individuals falter across the U.S., fizzling even in conservative bastions like Kansas and Arkansas following the upheaval over a North Carolina law last year, Texas Republicans are doubling down in their determination.

OR: Oregon House backs Electoral College reform

Under the bill, Oregon would award its Electoral College votes only to presidential candidates who win the national popular vote. If the bill becomes law, Oregon would join 11 other states and Washington, D.C., in the national popular vote compact, which won't take effect until states with a collective 270 Electoral College votes sign on. It stands at 165 electoral votes now.

PA: Pennsylvania Senate gives green light to internet gaming

The Pennsylvania Senate sent the House legislation that could pave the way for gamblers to wager online, buy lottery tickets over the internet and play fantasy sports from the comfort of home or while waiting at the airport.

ME: Details vague as Maine governor plans to commute sentences, free prisoners

Republican Gov. Paul LePage said he plans to commute the sentences of an unspecified number of prisoners in Maine and arrange for their early release. LePage called the releases fiscally prudent, and his announcement came four days after he unilaterally moved to close a minimum-security prison.

KS: Kansas Houses passes bill requiring women get more information before an abortion

Kansas women would need to be briefed on what year a doctor received their medical degree, whether they have malpractice insurance, and if they have had any disciplinary action taken against them. Patients would also need to be told if the doctor is a Kansas resident. All information would need to be provided on white paper, in black ink, with a 12-point Times New Roman font.

WI: Wisconsin prisons spend $10M treating hepatitis C

Wisconsin taxpayers have spent $10.4 million on hepatitis C drugs for more than 200 inmates since July, according to state Department of Corrections figures. Just four years ago, the state spent less than $2 million.

FL: Florida eliminates ‘tampon tax’

Under the bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, feminine hygiene products such as tampons and menstrual pads will be tax-exempt starting next January. Florida is joining 13 other states and Washington, D.C., that exempt taxes on the sale of feminine hygiene products or have enacted laws to exempt these products in the future.

GA: ‘Super liens’ no longer a super threat to Georgia homeowners

A ruling this month from the Georgia Supreme Court gives Georgia homeowners who fall behind on their property taxes new protection from “super liens,” which have allowed cunning investors to quickly snatch away their homes and everything the owners had paid on them.

VA: Calls to Virginia fraud hotline jump

There’s been a surge in calls to an anonymous state hotline to report fraud, waste and abuse during the third quarter of the fiscal year, leading to what Virginia officials called a "significant increase" in state agency investigations.

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