What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/9

Top State Stories 8/9

MN: Minnesota fights sex trafficking by cracking down on customers

Law enforcement officials and nonprofits across Minnesota are taking aggressive new action to crack down on customers of prostitution — often white, middle-aged and married men — and boosting programs aimed at keeping teens out of the sex trade.

OH: High-tech ideas to fix opioid crisis compete for Ohio grants

A call by Republican Gov. John Kasich for scientific breakthroughs to help solve the opioid crisis in Ohio is drawing interest from dozens of groups with ideas including remote controlled medication dispensers, monitoring devices for addicts, mobile apps and pain-relieving massage gloves.

MD: Maryland delegates weigh matching funds for candidates on a county-by-county basis

Legislation to allow taxpayer-funded campaign financing for state legislative candidates has fallen short in the Maryland General Assembly for over a decade. Now a proposal that would pivot away from a statewide policy in favor of a county-by-county option is garnering favor among delegates eager to expand the public financing of elections at all levels of state government.

AZ: Judge allows new Arizona law limiting citizen initiatives

A new Arizona law making it tougher for residents to put issues on the ballot will take effect Wednesday, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled. A broad coalition of individuals and advocacy groups sued to stop the law, which requires the mechanics of an initiative effort — from the size of the petition paper to the font size of the text — to strictly comply with state rules.

TX: Texas House passes bill restricting insurance coverage of abortion

Texas women would have to pay a separate health insurance premium to get coverage for non-emergency abortions — what an opponent dubbed "rape insurance" — under a bill given initial approval by the Texas House.

WI: Lawsuit could limit authority of Wisconsin agency over large dairy farms

A lawsuit by a farm organization alleges the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources lacks authority in most cases to regulate the practices of large dairy farms, a sector of agriculture under growing scrutiny.

CO: Colorado law will give schools more flexibility to administer over-the-counter medications

Under a Colorado law that goes into effect Wednesday, teachers or school administrators can dispense allergy pills and other over-the-counter medications to students as long as they have been properly trained to do so and have permission from parents.

ME: Maine can enforce law against loud protests

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court ruled that Maine can enforce a law that bars protests that are intentionally loud enough to be heard inside a building. The court said the law was content-neutral and didn’t distinguish between protesters based on their positions on an issue.

OR: Oregon secretary of state tosses teachers union initiative

A tax-related ballot initiative from the state teachers union was thrown out for failing to pertain to a single topic. The measure would have brought a sea change in how Oregon funds its schools by lowering the proportion of votes required to raise corporate taxes in the Legislature and empowering judges to intervene in school funding disputes.

NV: Nevada leads court brief on groundwater usage

Nevada is taking the lead for a 10-state coalition of attorneys general in filing a court brief defending state governments’ ability to regulate groundwater usage. The friend of the court brief was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to review a federal court ruling that Washington has broadly reserved rights to regulate groundwater.

Oregon Becomes Fifth State to Raise Smoking Age to 21 Immigrant Children