What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/26

MO: Missouri lawmakers send governor law tightening abortion restrictions

Missouri lawmakers delivered Republican Gov. Eric Greitens a political win by sending him a wide-ranging bill tightening abortion regulations. Critics say the changes are aimed at limiting access to abortion in a state that already has tough restrictions.

CA: California governor signs law to extend state’s cap-and-trade program

Cementing California’s role as a leader on climate change, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program while surrounded by a coalition of supporters including his predecessor, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

TX: Texas Senate votes to curb transgender access to public bathrooms

The Republican-controlled Texas Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that restricts bathroom access for transgender people. Enactment in Texas could give momentum in other socially conservative states for additional action on an issue that has become a flashpoint in the U.S. culture wars.

MT: Montana will cut services, lay off staff to balance budget

After revenue came in $75 million lower than projected, about 20 people will lose their full- or part-time jobs and many unfilled posts will remain that way. About half the money in Montana’s fire fund will be used to beef up reserves and a contract with the insurance company that administers Medicaid expansion will be ended.

NY: New York governor signs bill to let campers use bug spray

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will allow summer campers, overnight campers and traveling summer day campers to carry and use bug spray — with parental permission. It augments a New York law that lets kids carry and use sunscreen with the permission of a parent or guardian.

IA: Iowa’s prison population, rate of repeat offenders inch upward

Iowa’s prison population, prison capacity and the rate of repeat offenders in state prisons all increased from the previous year, despite state efforts to curtail them. The increases come at a time when some of the same numbers nationally and in neighboring states are declining.

MI: Michigan governor vetoes legislation to speed up tax cut on vehicle sales

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation that would have accelerated a tax cut approved in 2013 for those trading in a vehicle when purchasing a new or used vehicle, saying the measure would put too much strain on Michigan’s budget.

FL: South Florida localities offer incentives to TV and film production companies 

Florida localities are trying to make up for part of the nearly $300 million in incentives to TV and film production companies that the state once offered. North Miami, following Miami-Dade County’s lead, is offering up to $50,000 and breaks on certain fees, and Miami Beach is drafting a similar program.

MD: Petroleum industry leads Maryland lobbying spenders — but lost 

The American Petroleum Institute paid almost three times as much as the next-biggest spender on lobbying during Maryland’s General Assembly session this year. But the trade association failed in its push to permit fracking in Maryland.

ME: Maine governor vetoes tobacco age hike, cellphone bills

Republican Gov. Paul LePage announced that he had vetoed a bill to ban the use of cellphones and other hand-held devices while driving and another to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21, saying he opposes laws that amount to “social engineering.” Maine lawmakers are set to take veto override votes Aug. 2

WV: Budget cuts leave West Virginia Tobacco Prevention office with one employee

With its $3.03 million annual state appropriation zeroed out of the 2017-18 state budget, the West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention is in the process of terminating all but one position in the eight-person office.

Prisoner Re-Entry Gas Tax