What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/5

US: Cash-strapped states brace for Russian hacking fight

With big aid from Congress unlikely, state election managers are searching for money to replace voting equipment, protect databases and train workers in cybersecurity.

WI: Wisconsin governor shows support for new fee for electric, hybrid vehicles

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker said charging more for electric and hybrid cars was a matter of fairness. A $100 annual fee on the vehicles would generate about $8 million a year.

HI: Reforms helping more Hawaii teens stay out of jail

Many of Hawaii’s youthful offenders are avoiding lockup these days as judges and probation officers have begun carefully assessing the individual circumstances of each youth, the risk to the public he or she might pose, and how best to handle the situation. The number of teens sent to the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility plunged from 171 in 2010 to 43 in the fiscal year that ended in June.

IA: Iowa ends overtime for thousands of state workers

Iowa has revoked overtime eligibility for about 2,800 state workers, a move critics say could cripple government services if employees leave for the private sector and better jobs. In all, 167 job classifications, including nurses, public defenders and social workers, can now be required to work more than 40 hours a week without additional pay or comp time.

MD: Maryland’s medical marijuana is finally growing

With 19 companies cleared to grow, process and sell the plant, the seeds of Maryland’s medical marijuana program have literally been planted, four years after the state legalized cannabis for medical use. So far, only one dispensary is licensed in Maryland. About a hundred others have preliminary licenses.

IL: Illinois spent millions on stalled and cancelled university construction projects

Eight years after Illinois approved a massive capital plan for university campuses in the state, half of the largest new projects at state schools never began construction and are now canceled or indefinitely halted.

KY: Kentucky retirements up last month, and so are questions about pensions

State government saw a jump in retirements last month compared to August 2016 and Kentucky Retirement Systems reports it was overwhelmed with requests from state workers to meet with retirement counselors since new recommendations to reform Kentucky's pension systems were released.

WY: Wyoming grapples with Medicaid shortfall

Wyoming faces a shortfall of Medicaid funding that might be as high as $30 million now and is likely to grow in the coming years as the state population ages.

CO: More coal-fired power plants may close in Colorado

Colorado's largest utility wants to close two of its coal-burning units a decade ahead of schedule, saying the move would address public demands for cleaner energy, significantly reduce air pollution, and lower electricity costs.

AK: Across Alaska, commercial marijuana grows sprout near neighborhoods

Pot farms in Anchorage, Willow and Fairbanks have received warnings from Alaska officials after complaints of odiferous air pollution that can violate state safeguards created to control the pungent aroma of flowering cannabis buds. Alaskans voted in 2014 to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. 

FL: Florida universities seek $5.1 billion budget for next year

The Florida Board of Governors has approved a $5.1 billion budget request for the state university system, including a $100 million increase in state performance funding.

Oregon Cancels Medicaid for Thousands After Eligibility Checks Public Restrooms