What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/24

Top State Stories 8/24

TX: Federal judge again tosses out Texas voter ID law

A federal judge rejected changes signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this summer as not only lacking but also potentially chilling to Texas voters because of new criminal penalties. The new version didn't expand the list of acceptable photo identifications — meaning gun licenses remained sufficient proof to vote, but not college student IDs.

US: Nine states commit to carbon emission cuts

The nine states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which caps carbon dioxide pollution in the Northeast, announced that they plan to reduce the carbon pollution cap by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. 

AL: Drugs drive surge in white women in Alabama prisons

The number of women incarcerated in Alabama prisons increased by two-thirds between 2002 and 2013.  Tough sentencing for drug crimes may account for much of the growth, which was driven almost entirely by a surge in the number of white women behind bars.

NV: Legal marijuana could cut into liquor sales in Nevada

A study from a New York-based investment firm finds that in three of the first four states to start legal recreational pot sales, an increasing number of consumers are choosing weed over alcohol. How recreational marijuana sales will affect local alcohol sales in Nevada remains to be seen.

WA: Please go fishing, Washington state says after farmed Atlantic salmon escape

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging the public to catch as many of the fish as possible, with no limit on size or number. As many as 5,000 fish may have escaped from the floating pen, which had some 3 million pounds of Atlantic salmon in it when it imploded Saturday.

CO: Colorado town passes strict oil, gas rules as tension over drilling rises

City leaders in Thornton, Colorado, have approved a set of oil and gas regulations that exceed what the state requires of energy-extraction firms, setting the stage for potential legal challenges as tensions between Front Range communities and drilling companies mount.

UT: Utah treasurer warns against scam website

State Treasurer David Damschen is warning residents not to fall for a fake website that invites Utahns to enter their names to search for unclaimed property they might be entitled to and then trying to scam them into paying a monthly fee.

IN: Police groups argue against repealing Indiana gun permit law

Several police organizations are arguing against a proposal that would have Indiana join a dozen other states that don’t require a license to carry a handgun in public.

GA: Big pensions on the rise in Georgia retirement systems

The number of Georgia retired university employees, teachers and state employees receiving pensions of more than $100,000 a year has more than doubled in the past six years, according to retirement system records. Baby boomers reached retirement age in droves during the period.

MO: Missouri governor says state drivers’ licenses OK for flying, but confusion reigns

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said that Missourians will be able to board airplanes using their current state-issued driver’s licenses in January. But the Republican chief executive’s own administration says it hasn’t yet launched the process to actually make that happen so that the state is in compliance with the federal REAL ID law.

IA: Iowa watchdog agency to end nursing home visits

Blaming deep budget cuts, the Iowa agency that advocates for the elderly and people with disabilities in Iowa nursing homes has eliminated virtually all staff visits to those facilities.

SD: South Dakota panel won't recommend raising bar for repealing voter-approved laws

A legislative task force rejected a proposal to make it tougher for South Dakota lawmakers to gut voter-approved laws. The decision comes six months after the Legislature using an emergency clause voted to repeal a campaign finance and ethics law narrowly approved by voters in 2016.

PA: Pennsylvania throws historically black university $30M lifeline

Pennsylvania’s state university system extended a lifeline to struggling Cheyney University, agreeing to forgive more than $30 million in loans if the school can achieve and maintain a balanced budget over the next four years. The measure comes as the nation’s oldest historically black university faces serious financial woes and plummeting enrollment.

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