What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/26

KS: Kansas governor signs $15.6B budget bill

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a state budget for the next two years that will use a $1.2 billion income tax increase to fund Kansas government and schools. The budget will provide raises of up to 5 percent to state workers who haven’t had any in recent years.

US: Bloomberg’s next anti-Washington move: $200M program for mayors 

Michael Bloomberg, a wealthy former mayor of New York, will throw his financial might into helping beleaguered American mayors, creating a $200 million philanthropic program aimed at backing inventive policies at the city level and giving mayors a stronger hand in national politics.

OH: Governor’s website among those in Ohio hacked with pro-Islamic State message

Several state of Ohio websites, including that of Gov. John Kasich, were hacked Sunday with a message that supported the Islamic State and opposed President Donald Trump.

US: Analysis indicates partisan gerrymandering has benefited GOP

An analysis of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones.

LA: Louisiana governor signs speed camera notification law

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a law requiring Louisiana cities and towns that use cameras to catch speeders to post signs notifying drivers about the monitoring. If a sign isn't posted, the local governing authority won't be able to use the images to ticket motorists.

CA: California universal health care bill dead for the year

The California Assembly Speaker announced plans to park a bill to create a government-run universal health care system in the Rules Committee "until further notice." 

TN: Tennessee tax revenue better than expected

Tennessee’s revenue collections for May were $53.1 million above estimates used when the state budget was adopted. Gas and diesel fuel tax collections accounted for $8.9 million of the over-collection, while most of the surplus, about $44 million, came from the state sales tax.

AK: Alaska Legislature averts shutdown, but more work remains

Despite five months of work, the Alaska Legislature passed no bill that addressed the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit. The compromise budget does include some spending cuts, but many of those involve one-time decisions that won't be possible next year. 

HI: Hawaii governor to veto 15 bills

Democratic Gov. David Ige plans to veto 15 bills, including a proposal backed by environmental groups seeking to phase out the catching of aquarium fish in Hawaii and another that critics feared would give public worker unions too much power.

WA: Seattle’s minimum wage is costing jobs, University of Washington study finds

Seattle’s escalating minimum wage has meant a slight increase in pay among workers earning up to $19 an hour, but the hours worked in such jobs have shrunk, a University of Washington study commissioned by the city found.

IL: Illinois governor signs gun crime bill that cracks down on repeat offenders

The legislation signed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner changes gun sentencing laws so that Illinois judges will hand out sentences of seven to 14 years for some repeat gun crimes, rather than three to 14 years. If they want to depart from that guideline, they will have to explain why.

WY: Wyoming prisons use unique education program to improve inmate literacy

Wyoming inmates are learning to read English and Latin through a program originally designed for younger students with dyslexia. The idea is to break down language and understand the composition of words, rather than memorizing spellings and meanings.

PA: Pennsylvania Senate OKs stricter penalties for animal abuse, neglect

The near-death of a Boston terrier puppy in a Pennsylvania breeding facility apparently helped win passage of stronger anti-cruelty laws. The state had been one of three that didn't have a felony law for severe animal abuse.

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