What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/5

IL: Illinois Senate votes to override veto of income tax hike, budget

Illinois lawmakers are one step away from ending a record budget impasse after the Senate overrode Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of a tax hike and spending plan. The measures now await action in the House, where 15 Republicans broke ranks with the governor over the weekend to approve the budget package.

OH: Ohio governor vetoes plan to stop new Medicaid enrollment

Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a two-year $133 billion budget, but not before vetoing an enrollment freeze for Ohio’s Medicaid expansion that he spearheaded in 2013.

ME, NJ: Maine, New Jersey end state government shutdowns

New Jersey and Maine ended partial government shutdowns just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, helping Republican Gov. Chris Christie move past the embarrassment of being photographed on a New Jersey beach that had been closed to the public. They were two of nine states that missed their deadlines for enacting budgets in time for the July 1 start of the fiscal year.

FL: Florida judge rules state's latest ‘stand your ground’ law is unconstitutional

A Miami-Dade Circuit judge ruled that Florida lawmakers overstepped their authority in modifying the law to force prosecutors to disprove a defendant’s self-defense claim at a pre-trial hearing. The judge said that under Florida’s Constitution, the change should have been crafted by the Florida Supreme Court, not the Legislature.

WA: Washington Legislature approves family-leave measure

The Washington Legislature approved a paid family leave program that offers workers paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious medical condition of the worker or the worker’s family member. The bill closes the loop on work left unfinished in 2007, when lawmakers created a paid family leave program but never came up with a way to pay for the benefit.

AR: Arkansas puts $60M back in budget for fiscal '17

Arkansas is reinstating $60 million that was cut from the state's budget earlier this year after seeing a rebound in sales tax collections over the past two months. The move nearly erases a $70 million budget cut Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced in April.

GA: To combat shortage, new Georgia budget gives big boost to foster parents

Faced with a surge of children needing foster care and a shortage in foster care homes, Georgia is spending an extra $19 million this year on the program, including a big increase in the daily allowances that help pay for kids’ basic needs and more money for hiring staff.

CA: California Supreme Court makes it harder for three-strike prisoners to get sentence reductions

Judges have broad authority in refusing to lighten the sentences of “three-strike” inmates, despite recent ballot measures aimed at reducing the state’s prison population, the California Supreme Court ruled.

KS: Kansas beats June revenue projections by $72M to end fiscal year on a high note

Kansas tax revenue came in more than $72 million above projections for June. The news comes roughly a month after the Kansas Legislature overcame Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto and approved a tax increase expected to raise roughly $600 million annually in the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.

VA: Virginia farmers can donate food in exchange for tax break

Under a new Virginia law, farmers can now donate edible food crops to a nonprofit food bank and receive up to a 30 percent tax credit for their donation.

OR: Oregon lawmakers consider cutting 'double' health coverage for teachers, state workers

Requiring families with multiple state or K-12 school employees to use a single health insurance plan for each family member could save $94 million in Oregon’s general fund over the next two years. The state's largest public employee union said the benefits are part of employees' total compensation, and cutbacks in insurance would necessitate increases in other areas.

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, with electronic access to voter rolls to be available for a few hundred dollars rather than thousands.

IA: Iowa budget shortfall could hit $350M for the year

Iowa budget analysts expect revenue to fall another $104 million short of projections, bringing the year's total budget shortfall to about $350 million. Lawmakers have already made $118 million in cuts to programs and services while transferring another $131 million from the state's emergency cash reserve funds.

Top State Stories 7/6 Small Towns