What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/3

Top State Stories 8/3

CA: California's power to preserve environmental rules is tested

California is confronting the limits of its power to save federal environmental protections as Congress and the Trump administration take aim at a landmark law the state has relied on for decades to clean the air of noxious smog.

MA: Massachusetts governor pushes sales tax holiday, but legislative leaders aren’t interested

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation to designate a tax-free weekend in August in Massachusetts. But with House and State leadership averse to the idea, the state will likely forgo the summer sales tax holiday for the second year in a row.

LA: Louisiana budget balanced with millions tied up in lawsuits

As they scraped together dollars to fill gaps in last year's budget, Louisiana lawmakers relied on nearly $36 million from a state escrow account tied to ongoing tax litigation, dollars that can't be spent while the lawsuits remain unresolved.

MO: Funding slashed for Missouri prison education programs

One day before Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signed off on Missouri’s new budget, he outlined a plan designed to boost education and job training for inmates in the state’s embattled prison system. But the budget he signed shows spending for rehabilitation programs within the Department of Corrections was cut by $1.4 million, with the lion’s share coming in education programs.

NY: New York to crush nearly 2 tons of seized ivory

Nearly two tons of trinkets, statues and jewelry crafted from the tusks of at least 100 slaughtered elephants are heading for a rock crusher in New York City's Central Park to demonstrate the state's commitment to smashing the illegal ivory trade.

HI: Hawaii breaks ground on first public hydrogen vehicle fueling station

The station’s hydrogen will be produced onsite by electrolyzing water, passing an electrical current through water causing it to split into hydrogen and oxygen. Democratic Gov. David Ige said the station would help advance Hawaii’s clean energy goals by enabling the use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the state.

WI: New Wisconsin law requires correctional officers to report suspected child abuse

The measure signed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker requires Wisconsin correctional officers to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement, just as doctors, teachers and day care providers are required to do. The legislation comes as a criminal investigation of the state's juvenile prison complex continues.

NJ: New Jersey gun buyback is largest in state’s history

A statewide gun buyback in three major New Jersey cities brought in 4,775 firearms over two days, authorities said. The program, which offered between $100 and $200 per firearm, no questions asked, was the largest of its kind in state history.

WY: Wyoming budget outlook improves

Wyoming will likely bring in more revenue than previously expected for this fiscal year, according to new figures from the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group. Severance tax revenues are beating projections by 7.6 percent, showing an improvement in the state’s energy economy.

ND: North Dakota anti-prostitution program has few students

Since February, people convicted of buying sex in North Dakota have been eligible for a program to teach them about the harms of sex trafficking. But no one has been sentenced to it yet, in part due to lack of awareness among prosecutors.

MI: EPA approves plan to forgive Flint water debt to Michigan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has green-lighted Michigan’s plans to forgive $20.7 million in past water infrastructure loans owed by the city of Flint to the state.

NE: University of Nebraska announces cost-cutting measures

University of Nebraska officials said they plan to deal with a $49 million budget gap by trimming expenses about $30 million, while raising tuition and increasing enrollment to address the remaining $19 million.

Sales Tax Holidays Rural Veterans