What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/15

SD: South Dakota internet tax ruling poised for Supreme Court review

South Dakota’s highest court ruled that companies selling wares over the internet can’t be forced to collect the state’s 4.5 percent tax on purchases, laying the groundwork for a U.S. Supreme Court appeal that could change law across the country. A decision forcing online retailers to collect such taxes could be worth billions in revenue to state and local governments.

CA: California could soon bar the expansion of immigrant detention centers

California lawmakers have approved legislation to counter the potential expansion of immigrant detention facilities under the Trump administration. The bill, which now heads to the desk of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, would prohibit any city, county or law enforcement agency from entering into a contract with the federal government or a private company to detain immigrants, unless it already has done so by January 2018.

DC: D.C.’s mayor wants to make it easier for arrestees to seal court records

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, wants to make it easier for people arrested by police to shield their records, proposing sweeping changes to limit what employers, loan officers, landlords and the public can learn about a person’s criminal background.

TX: Texas draws criticism for requiring disaster food stamp applications be filed in home counties

Advocates for poor and moderate-income Texans are urging state officials to reconsider requiring that Hurricane Harvey victims return to their home counties to apply for federal disaster food relief. Emergency food stamps to buy free groceries and hot meals should be issued to Texans displaced by the storms and flooding, even if they're temporarily far from home, the advocates say.

GA: Georgia governor pledges not to ‘over ask’ the feds for Irma aid

Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, said it’s still too early to determine a cost estimate for Hurricane Irma, which forced him to declare a state of emergency for all 159 Georgia counties.

AK: Alaska emergency rooms start sharing information, with focus on those who use them the most

Across Alaska, hospitals are being outfitted with a new computer program that will let emergency departments share information about patients in hopes of addressing costs, care and opioid prescriptions for those who use emergency rooms the most. In 2016, about 1 in 7 Alaskans visited an ER.

CO: Colorado governor calls special session to fix pot tax error

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, called Colorado lawmakers back to the Capitol to fix a bill-drafting error that has been costing Denver-based institutions hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in marijuana revenue. The rewrite of the state’s marijuana tax mistakenly blocked the organizations from collecting recreational pot taxes that they had levied before the bill took effect July 1.

NV: Nevada prisons report big increase in overtime

Nevada prison employees racked up nearly a quarter more in overtime in the fiscal year that ended in June compared with the year before, costing the state $3 million more in overtime and compensatory pay costs.

HI: Hawaii fell short in school plan for autistic child, court rules

Hawaii should have offered an autistic child services better tailored to his needs when it proposed moving him to public school rather than continuing to pay his private-school tuition, an appeals court ruled.

UT: Utah governor says changes to DUI law can wait until next year

Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, has backed off plans to call a special legislative session to alter Utah’s toughest-in-the-nation drunken driving law. But he said he’d like to see several changes next year, including lighter penalties for those who barely exceed the new 0.05 percent blood alcohol limit for impairment and perhaps delaying the law’s effective date until two or three other states pass similar legislation.

FL: Florida education leaders seek $21.4B for schools next year

The Florida Board of Education approved a 2018-19 budget request that includes a $200 per-student boost in the K-12 system, increased funding for the 28 state colleges and construction money for public schools, colleges and universities.

MO: Missouri lawmakers fail to restore cuts to care for disabled

About 8,300 disabled and elderly Missouri residents will remain without personal-care services after lawmakers refused to override a gubernatorial veto of a bill that would have restored funding for in-home and nursing services. Senate and House leaders said they have asked colleagues to develop a plan in the next three weeks to undo the cuts.

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