What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/2

Top State Stories 8/2

US: 15 states appeal EPA delay of stricter air-quality standards

Attorneys general from 15 states filed a legal challenge over the Trump administration's delay of Obama-era rules reducing emissions of smog-causing air pollutants, saying it violates the Clean Air Act.

MA: Massachusetts governor proposes bill to tighten immigration enforcement

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation that would permit local law enforcement to detain certain unauthorized immigrants at the request of federal officials. The move comes after a court ruling that said Massachusetts law enforcement officers do not currently have the authority to comply with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests.

IL: Illinois governor’s veto could jeopardize school funding

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner used his veto power to strip millions of dollars for Chicago Public Schools from a school funding overhaul, a move that could mean no Illinois districts get state money before classes begin.

NH: New Hampshire lawmakers reject insurance department plan to stabilize Obamacare

A legislative committee rejected a request from the New Hampshire Insurance Department to impose a $32 million assessment on the 72 companies selling health insurance in the state. The money would have been combined with $13 million the state hopes to get from the federal government to create a $45 million high-risk pool to stabilize rates and keep the remaining two insurance companies in the online exchange for individuals not covered by Medicaid.

NY: Medical marijuana set for major growth in New York

The New York State Department of Health said it has licensed five new companies to join the five existing firms that grow and sell medical marijuana products for thousands who take part in the strictly regulated state program. 

US: Gray wolves just won another battle to stay on the endangered species list

A federal appeals court ruled against the Interior Department’s decision to strip protections from a regional population of endangered gray wolves and allow states to openly hunt them. The court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the authority to group wolves in the western Great Lakes region into a segment as it did in 2011, but does not have the power to simply remove them from the endangered species list without considering the move’s impact on the entire species of gray wolves in their range.

NJ: State workers in New Jersey to get back pay for government shutdown

Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation that will give state workers back pay for the time they missed during New Jersey's July government shutdown. Between 30,000 and 35,000 state employees deemed nonessential to government operations lost one to three days of work during the shutdown.

TX: Texas has more kids eligible for free summer meals. Why is the state feeding fewer?

After peaking in 2013, the number of students who received free summer meals at Texas schools dropped last summer. No one seems to know exactly why, but one possible reason is lack of transportation.

HI: Hawaii OKs plan for solar farm linked with batteries on Kauai

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved a contract to build the largest solar farm connected to a battery system in the state. The facility will be able to dispatch the stored energy to help the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative ramp up to meet power needs during the afternoon and evening peaks, and reduce the utility’s reliance on oil-fired plants for nighttime power generation.

MN: PTSD patients can now buy Minnesota’s medical marijuana

Minnesota residents suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder can now start buying medical marijuana, under the latest expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program.

OK: Some Oklahomans worried about state's plan to reduce insurance costs

Oklahoma is seeking permission from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to set up a reinsurance fund that would act as a backstop for the individual market. But some Oklahomans worry the state's plan could end up burdening the public.

CA: Covered California premiums will rise, and Anthem Blue Cross cuts coverage

Monthly premiums for California health insurance plans sold under the Affordable Care Act will rise by an average of 12.5 percent next year. About 10 percent of people enrolled through Covered California will also have to look for a new plan because Anthem Blue Cross plans to end its coverage in most of the state.

CO: Colorado city considers immigrant legal defense fund 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is preparing an executive order that would step up the Colorado city’s resistance to Trump administration’s immigration policies and create an immigrant legal defense fund. The new fund, which would use donations to provide grants to nonprofits that aid immigrants facing deportation, would operate through the end of President Trump’s term. 

Rural Veterans Hispanic Exodus