What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/30

KY: New Kentucky law puts 3-day limit on painkiller prescriptions

A new Kentucky law places a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions for acute pain, the tightest limit in the nation. The number of drug-overdose deaths in Kentucky has climbed the past four years, reaching an all-time high of 1,404 in 2016, and officials hope the limit will help reverse the trend.

OH: Ohio poised to approve 4-year degrees for community colleges

Under the budget headed to Republican Gov. John Kasich’s desk, the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education would be able to approve a four-year degree at a community college if the school is able to demonstrate a workforce need or a growing long-term need, or if a program demonstrates a unique approach.

OR: Oregon Legislature proposes health insurance for unauthorized youth
In the final days of the legislative session, Democrats expect to pass a bill that would enroll an estimated 15,000 young unauthorized immigrants into the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid. The $36 million cost would be covered by recently approved taxes on hospitals and health insurance companies.

CA: California will stop suspending driver’s licenses for traffic fines

As part of a series of bills signed to enact the California state budget, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown approved a provision that will prevent courts from suspending someone’s driver’s license simply because of unpaid fines.

NJ: Government shutdown looms over New Jersey budget stalemate

New Jersey lawmakers have until Saturday to pass the state budget, which is now in peril because lawmakers cannot agree on a key piece of health care legislation that the Legislature needs to pass in order to earn Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s support for the Democratic spending plan. 

FL: Number of inmates on death row in Florida keeps dropping

Florida's death row population is now at its lowest level in more than a decade as courts continue to vacate death sentences and order new sentencings for convicted killers. A total of 367 men and women are residing on death row, down from 383 at the start of the year.

AK: Alaska report finds problems in state child protection system

A new report from Alaska's government watchdog agency paints a picture of a state child protective services system stretched beyond its capacity, with disturbing consequences for children and their families.

NY: New York Senate joins Assembly on 2-year extension of mayoral school control
The New York Legislature and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted a two-year extension of mayoral control over New York City’s schools, ending months of uncertainty over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s leadership of the nation’s largest school system and its 1.1 million students a day before it was to expire.

LA: Louisiana to pay $15 million for solar tax credits stalled since 2015

Louisiana will spend as much as $15 million to clear a backlog of tax credits for homeowners who paid thousands of dollars to add solar panels to their property, only to see the state abruptly end the tax breaks they had expected to offset much of the cost. Residents said it was unfair to stall tax credits already in the pipeline.

WA: Washington budget to boost education spending
A state budget agreement would boost Washington’s public-school spending by $7.3 billion over the next four years, funded in part by a hike in the statewide property tax that goes to education.

AZ: Arizona settles lawsuit to make voter-registration data more accessible, affordable

Arizona has settled a lawsuit with a national voting-rights group, resulting in an agreement that allows the public to access voter information at a much lower cost.

GA: Guns legal on Georgia college campuses

After years of political debate, partisan pleas and protests, Georgia as of Saturday will allow guns on any campus in the state’s public college and university system.

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