What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/13

IA: Iowa asks to rewrite Affordable Care Act rules to prop up its insurance exchange

Iowa is asking the Trump administration for permission to jettison fundamental aspects of its Affordable Care Act marketplace, contending that a large-scale rewriting of the rules is the only way to prevent the state from becoming the first without any health plans available under the law next year.

TX: Texas governor signs $217B budget, vetoes $120M

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a $217 billion two-year state budget, but the Republican vetoed about $120 million from programs approved by state lawmakers, including measures meant to improve the region's air quality and assist the colonias, impoverished areas on the Texas-Mexico border.

DC, MD, US: State attorneys general step up fight against Trump

Democratic attorneys general from Maryland and the District of Columbia alleged in a lawsuit that payments by foreign governments to President Donald Trump’s businesses violate anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution.

NY: New York to shorten standardized tests in elementary and middle schools

New York education officials said they would shorten the annual standardized tests taken in New York elementary and middle schools, shrinking the exams to two days per subject from three days each. Roughly 20 percent of eligible students sat out the tests in 2015 and 2016 amid complaints that they take up too much class time, are developmentally inappropriate and add unnecessary stress to the lives of children.

SC: South Carolina balking at plan to turn Statehouse into a 'front porch'

The city of Columbia won a $195,000 prize to transform the South Carolina Statehouse grounds into a temporary park called “The State’s Front Porch” filled, at times, with cafes, hammocks, putting greens, beach chairs and umbrellas, and ping-pong tables. But state officials aren’t so sure about the idea.

MA: Massachusetts lawmakers working to rewrite voter-approved pot law

Among the changes that could come as Massachusetts lawmakers revise a law passed by more than 1.8 million voters in November: raising the tax on retail marijuana sales, clarifying language about how cities and towns can ban pot facilities, and changing the makeup of the agency that will oversee pot sales.

CA: Proposal to protect Californians after government data breaches stumbles

Legislation to require California state and local agencies to provide 12 months of identity theft protection for anyone affected by a government data breach, similar to what’s required of businesses, stalled amid concerns over the costs it would impose on cash-strapped state and local budgets.

LA: Louisiana governor signs measures to combat opioid abuse

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed measures that prohibit doctors from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of opioids to first-time users, and aim to curb “doctor shopping” by requiring doctors to check Louisiana’s prescription monitoring program before prescribing opioids to patients.

NJ: New Jersey home-based day care providers must undergo background checks

Registered day care providers in New Jersey who work from their homes will have to undergo criminal background checks under a new state law. The Department of Children and Families has only been required to search the child abuse registry for prior offenses for home day care providers who voluntarily seek state certification.

NC: North Carolina governor calls for special legislative election before next year’s session

As North Carolina legislative leaders await a court order setting a timeline for redistricting, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper called for a special election to be held under new districts before the Legislature’s 2018 session.

FL: Florida set to steer more money to charter schools

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign a sweeping education bill that would steer more money to privately run charter schools, require recess in elementary schools, and change Florida’s oft-criticized standardized testing system.

MO: Missouri moves from DUI checkpoints to saturation patrols

Missouri is shifting more than $19 million in federal funds away from sobriety checkpoints, which are visible and often announced, to saturation patrols, which send officers to unannounced areas to watch for drunken drivers.

MT: Montana doesn't give out much financial aid based on student need

In recent years, Montana has put significant money into higher education. But the focus has been on avoiding steep tuition increases for residents, rather than directing money to students with lower incomes.

Tattoos and Piercings AIDS in the South