What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/19

Top State Stories 6/19

WV: West Virginia Legislature passes budget with cuts, no tax increases

Both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature adopted a $4.2 billion general revenue budget without additional tax revenue for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The budget has deeper cuts in funding for state colleges and universities than it would have with either chamber's tax legislation.

TX: Texas tightens state law on child brides

A new Texas law prohibits a person younger than 18 from marrying unless a judge consents. It also prohibits anyone under 16 from getting married. Under previous state law, a judge could have approved the marriage of a child of any age.

IA: Iowa didn't have money to pay tax refunds at previous pace

Iowans were told in January that their state tax refunds would be delayed several weeks in an effort to prevent identity theft and fraud. But a Des Moines Register examination of state data shows another reason: Iowa didn't have enough cash to pay people at the same pace as in previous years.

NV: Nevada governor vetoes bill to open ‘Medicaid for all’

Gov. Brian Sandoval, the first Republican governor to expand Medicaid, has decided that Nevada will not be the first state in the nation to attempt to open the government-subsidized health care program to anyone, regardless of need.

CO: Colorado proposal would impose first legal limits on smartphones for children

Colorado officials have cleared the language of a proposed ballot measure that would establish the nation’s first legal limits on buying smartphones for children. Backers of the move to forbid the sale of smartphones to children younger than 13 now need about 300,000 voter signatures for the proposal to make the 2018 ballot.

US: In U.S., crowded jails aren’t just an urban issue

When policymakers talk about problems with the nation’s jails and over-incarceration, they often are discussing concerns that center on the largest cities. But a new study shows that rural facilities are growing the fastest and are driving a national increase in jail population, even as the crime rates in rural areas remain much lower than their urban counterparts.

CA: Recycling centers continue to struggle, driving California recycling rates down

In a state that prides itself as a global leader in protecting the environment, recycling rates for beverage containers have dropped to their lowest point in almost a decade amid the continued closing of centers that pay for bottles and cans and the fallout from changes to California’s recycling program.

WI: Wisconsin budget committee votes to end same-sex couple program

An 8-year-old program that gives same-sex couples some of the benefits of married couples would end under a plan adopted by the Wisconsin Legislature's budget committee. Republicans who lead the committee said the domestic partnership program was no longer needed because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 there is a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.

IL: Illinois' bill backlog has state more than $1 billion behind in payments to schools

The record-setting budget stalemate in Illinois means the state is more than $1 billion behind in paying school districts the money it promised for the school year that ends this month. 

NJ: New Jersey's largest public psychiatric hospital has fewer doctors, more patients

With some patients sleeping in common areas, New Jersey's largest publicly run psychiatric hospital has exceeded its capacity. At the same time, a wave of psychiatrists are retiring or taking jobs for better pay in the private sector, according to the hospital's trustee board.

KS: Restored Kansas Medicaid funding expected to boost children’s health providers

Thousands of Kansas medical providers will see increased reimbursements for Kansas Medicaid, or KanCare, after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill to restore a 4 percent cut imposed in May 2016 amid persistent budget crises.

CT: Casinos and energy dominate lobbying spending at Connecticut Capitol

Businesses, nonprofits, and cities and towns spent more than $25 million this legislative session trying to win favor with Connecticut lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration. Health care, energy and casino gambling were among the most heavily lobbied issues, with about $2.3 million alone spent on a high-stakes fight over a third tribal casino.

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