What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/30

FL: Florida governor extends opioid emergency, should free up funding

Republican Gov. Rick Scott extended a public health emergency expected to free up millions of dollars in federal funding to fight Florida’s opioid crisis, hours after a leading Senate Republican called on him to do it.

TX: Harvey delays opening of many Texas schools; some become shelters

With coastal schools sustaining major physical damage and Houston-area and eastern Texas schools bracing for another blow from Harvey this week, no one knows when students will be able to start classes again. School buildings that weathered early parts of the storm are being put to use.

IN: Indiana Supreme Court says it can't force agency to comply with caseload limits

The Indiana Supreme Court's decision stems from a suit brought by a Department of Children's Services family case manager, who argued that she and other workers were handling heavy workloads that put children at risk.

IL: Illinois Senate advances landmark school funding bill

Democrats and Republicans in the Illinois Senate came together to approve legislation revamping how state money is distributed to local schools, ensuring more of the state's education funding is steered toward poorer districts. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to sign the bill into law Thursday.

MS: Supreme Court requests arguments in defense of Confederate emblem on Mississippi flag

The U.S. Supreme Court wants attorneys for Republican Gov. Phil Bryant to submit arguments that defend the Mississippi flag, which is the last to feature the Confederate battle emblem. Last year an African-American attorney sued to have the flag declared an unconstitutional relic of slavery.

WA: Seattle leads nation in home-price growth for 10th straight month

The Seattle market has gotten hotter and hotter with every passing month so far this year, the latest Case-Shiller report shows. Another study finds that only about a quarter of homes in King County, Washington, which includes Seattle, now sell for less than half-a-million dollars.

CT: Connecticut extends deadline for insurers to decide future in health exchange

Uncertainty over federal health insurance policy has forced Connecticut officials to give more time to the two remaining insurers to decide if they will continue selling plans through the state health insurance exchange’s individual marketplace next year.

OK: Oklahoma lawmakers ponder spreading out budget cuts

Oklahoma legislative leaders have asked state agencies how they would handle an across-the-board budget cut to make up for revenue lost because of an unconstitutional cigarette fee. Senate and House fiscal staff asked for hypothetical results of a 3.17-percent budget cut that would total $215 million in a  $6.8 billion budget.

PA: Pennsylvania dips into highway money to pay for schools, troopers

Facing a budget impasse, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is using his executive authority to transfer fuel taxes to Pennsylvania’s general fund to cover state police and public education costs. Last month, the state Senate narrowly passed a bipartisan bill that would raise utility and gas drilling taxes and borrow money, but the House Republican Caucus has not voted on it or another plan.

MA, NH: New Hampshire's ability to handle online lottery sales worries Mass. lottery officials

New Hampshire's legalization of Keno and foray into online gambling could be potentially devastating to the Massachusetts Lottery, which sends its net profits to 351 cities and towns.

NM: New Mexico auditor flags $20M in charter school funds

The New Mexico Public Education Department can’t explain how nearly $20 million intended for administrative support at charter schools was spent over five years. Since 2006, the Public Education Department and school districts that have charter schools have been allowed to withhold 2 percent of each charter school’s program costs to provide administrative assistance to the schools.

Soda Taxes Safety in Sports