What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/4

Top State Stories 8/4

WV: West Virginia governor switches political parties, returning to GOP

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he is switching political parties, changing from a Democrat to a Republican — a move that apparently caught almost everyone in his administration and West Virginia politics by surprise.

PA: Pennsylvania treasurer authorizes short-term line of credit

Pennsylvania's treasurer authorized a short-term $750 million line of credit to keep the state's general fund from dipping into negative territory, and said it’s been 25 years since the state had to borrow that much so early in the fiscal year.

CO: Colorado felony stalkers and domestic violence offenders won’t get bail before sentencing

Under a new law that takes effect next week, anyone convicted of felony stalking or being a habitual domestic violence offender in Colorado won’t be able to get bail before sentencing.

CA: California state schools will no longer require placement exams, remedial classes for freshmen

The California state university system plans to drop placement exams in math and English as well as the noncredit remedial courses that more than 25,000 freshmen have been required to take each fall. Instead, the nation’s largest public university system will assess new freshmen for college readiness and course placement by using high school grades, ACT and SAT scores and other measures.

LA: Louisiana regional planning will focus on watersheds flooded in 2016

Louisiana officials are sending hundreds of millions of dollars to areas of the state affected by extreme flooding last year in hopes that long range planning will prevent future disasters.

MD: Maryland probes potential conflicts in grading medical marijuana applications

Maryland medical marijuana regulators are asking companies that received preliminary licenses to grow and process the drug whether they had personal or business connections to the independent experts who graded their applications. The inquiry follows a report in The Washington Post that revealed several ties between evaluators and businesses.

GA: Georgia governor tells state agencies not to ask for more money

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal is warning state agencies that most if not all of the new tax money Georgia will take in next year will likely go to a huge teacher pension bill coming due and to rising school and health care costs, leaving little new spending for anything else.

SD: South Dakota to pay for training on racial disparities in juvenile justice

South Dakota has seen a drop in the number of juveniles being placed in secure detention but has yet to overcome the racial disparity in that population. The Department of Corrections has agreed to foot the bill for a group of criminal justice officials seeking training on racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.

NM: New Mexico autism programs struggle with state funding cuts

New Mexico reduced funding this year by 18 percent for groups with contracts to provide autism services and some groups lost all funding, leaving state officials looking for new ways to fund some programs.

IA: In Iowa courthouses, gun debate comes down to court ruling vs. state law

Tasked with enforcing both a new state law on firearms and a supervisory order from the Iowa Supreme Court on the same topic, county officials across the state say they're working to find where the court's authority ends and the state's begins. 

ME: State budget error costs heavily used Maine mapping agency its funding

The state office that manages, updates and coordinates digital maps and other geospatial data and services lost its funding in Maine’s recent budget process, leaving officials squabbling over who is at fault and scrambling to rectify the oversight.

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