What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/31

CA: California's goal: an electricity grid moving only clean energy

If approved at the end of the legislative session next month, the proposal would accelerate the adoption of renewable energy by requiring California utilities and other electricity providers to obtain 60 percent of their power from resources such as the sun and wind by 2030. Then it would task regulators with phasing out fossil fuels for the remaining 40 percent by 2045.

TX: Judge temporarily blocks immigration enforcement law

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction of a new Texas law that seeks to outlaw “sanctuary” entities, the common term for governments that don’t enforce federal immigration laws. The judge halted the part of the bill that required jail officials to honor all detainers, and another that prohibits “a pattern or practice that 'materially limits' the enforcement of immigration laws.”

MA: Massachusetts governor's bill would make deadly opioid deals manslaughter

Dealing dangerous drugs that lead to another person's death would be considered manslaughter and be punishable by at least five years in prison, under legislation filed in Massachusetts by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

PA: Pennsylvania governor calls for mandatory blood lead testing for children

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf wants to require all children in Pennsylvania to undergo blood lead testing after a new state report shows only 28 percent of toddlers statewide were tested in 2015.

OR: Thousands evacuated in Oregon wildfires

Wildfires in Oregon are burning an area roughly equivalent to half the state of Rhode Island, affecting air quality throughout the state and forcing the evacuations of more than 4,500 people, fire authorities said.

DE: Delaware seniors face tough choices as state prescription program ends

The Delaware Prescription Assistance Program helped cover prescription and over-the-counter drug costs for low-income Delaware seniors, providing up to $3,000 every year for people on the program. The General Assembly eliminated the $1.6 million program when it passed the budget July 2, after missing the June 30 deadline for the first time in decades.


NJ: New Jersey tells Supreme Court that sports betting ban is unconstitutional

A 25-year-old federal law banning most sports betting is unconstitutional and must be stricken, the state of New Jersey argued in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue in the case the court will hear this fall dates to 2012, when the NFL, NCAA, NBA, Major League Baseball and the NHL filed suit in federal court to stop the potential betting by challenging a New Jersey law that legalized such betting. 

LA: Louisiana nurses sentenced in Medicare scheme

Three nurses employed by a Louisiana home health care company have been sentenced for their role in massive Medicare scam that included $30 million in fraudulent medical reimbursements. 

AZ: Judge tosses Arizona law barring city employer benefits rules

An Arizona judge ruled that a 2016 state law barring towns, cities and counties from requiring employers to provide additional employee benefits is unconstitutional. The decision said the law violates the Voter Protection Act, which forbids the Legislature from modifying voter-passed initiatives unless three-fourths of the lawmakers approve and if the changes "further the purposes" of the initiative.

ME: Maine governor calls for emergency session after feds balk at state food law

The federal government has said a new law enacted this year in Maine that allows municipalities to regulate local food systems, including production, processing, consumption and direct producer-to-consumer exchanges, is unlawful.

WI: Wisconsin lawmakers could place fee on fuel-efficient hybrids to spur road borrowing

Wisconsin could place a new fee on hybrid and electric vehicles and then use the money to finance $100 million or more in loans to build roads, under a concept being discussed by Republican lawmakers.

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