What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/14

NV: Nevada expands marijuana distribution

Nevada marijuana regulators have decided to start issuing pot distribution licenses to businesses other than liquor wholesalers to keep up with overwhelming demand since legal recreational sales began July 1. 

WY: Wyoming expects lodging tax windfall from eclipse

Several Wyoming towns will experience a 7,000 percent increase in the number of visitors using the online lodging platform Airbnb during the total solar eclipse next week. As Airbnb started collecting lodging taxes this month, the state is in position to reap some of the benefit.  

CT: Connecticut high court lets stand award to student sickened on school trip

The Connecticut Supreme Court said schools have a duty to warn parents and students of potential hazards associated with field trips – in particular, dangerous insect bites – and let stand a $41.7 million verdict to a student who was disabled after developing encephalitis from a tick bite while on a school trip to China.

RI: Investigation reveals danger in Rhode Island group homes

At least four times in the last five months, workers at Rhode Island’s state-regulated group homes took actions that left young people in their care hospitalized, endangered or exploited, a Providence Journal investigation has found. In two cases, group-home employees attempted to cover up slack supervision and management with forged log books or falsified statements, investigators reported.

FL: Florida’s Stand Your Ground change unconstitutional, second Miami judge rules

The ruling adds to an ongoing legal fight over whether Florida lawmakers overstepped their authority when they revised the law to shift the burden to prosecutors, who are now forced to disprove a defendant’s claim of self-defense in hearings mandated before any trial can take place.

SC: Should South Carolina tax prescription drugs, groceries?

South Carolina lawmakers soon will decide whether to continue exempting prescriptions from the state’s sales tax, an exemption that costs the state $518.9 million a year in revenue.

MI: Michigan refunds $21M in false jobless fraud claims

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency made nearly 48,000 false fraud accusations against jobless claimants over a roughly two-year period and is in the process of refunding affected residents more than $20.8 million.

IL: Illinois Senate rejects governor’s school funding veto

The Illinois Senate overturned Gov. Bruce Rauner on public education funding, voting to override his veto despite the Republican governor's contention that his changes would mean millions of dollars more for school districts outside Chicago. But a key hurdle in the House remains before checks can be sent to the state's more than 850 districts.

PA: Spotted lanternfly spreads, threatens Pa. fruit and timber crops

The spotted lanternfly, or Lycorma delicatula, is an insect native to Asia that first arrived in Pennsylvania in 2014. The pest is a potential threat to the state’s $13.1 billion annual production of apples, grapes, peaches and other crops, as well as $16 billion in timber and wood products, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

ND: North Dakota insurers request sharp premium increases for individual plans

Citing increasing costs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota has requested a nearly 24 percent average premium increase for individual insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

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