What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/21
US: Senate health proposal would cut funding to 34 states, new report shows
The latest Senate Republican drive to dismantle the Affordable Care Act would sharply reduce federal spending on health insurance and cause 34 states to lose such funding, according to a new analysis. More than half of the overall cuts in the legislation — named for its primary sponsors, Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — would come from Medicaid.
CA: California sues to stop Trump's border wall
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit alleging that President Donald Trump’s proposal to expedite construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border violates laws aimed at protecting the environment.
MI: Michigan governor approves unlimited super PAC cash
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation that allows Michigan political candidates to raise unlimited money for super political action committees that could then pour unlimited amounts of money back into committees that a candidate creates or that support the candidate.
NY: New York’s bet on new casinos has yet to hit jackpot
This was to be a year of celebration for New York’s booming gambling industry, with gleaming new casinos opening, bettors flocking in and a torrent of new taxes pouring into government coffers. But the reality has been far less glamorous, with underwhelming returns, evidence of industry cannibalization and a new, sharp-edged conflict between the state and a major tribal gambling operation.
KS: Some Kansas children sleep in offices while awaiting foster homes
Children have stayed overnight in the offices of Kansas foster care contractors more than a hundred times over the past year because places able or willing to accept them couldn't be found. The past year is the first time the contractors have ever kept children overnight in offices, the organizations say.
PA: Pennsylvania budget impasse leads to credit downgrade
Standard & Poor’s lowered Pennsylvania’s bond rating a notch, citing the state’s unbalanced budget, its more than $2 billion deficit, and its reliance on one-time financial fixes in negotiating budgets over the last decade. The agency also noted that it believes the stalemate over how to fund the state’s $32 billion spending plan could “extend considerably further.”
WA: Washington state revenue forecast up $288M
Projected revenue for the state of Washington has increased by about $288 million through the middle of 2019, numbers from the state budget office show. The increase was partly due to the state’s economy performing better than expected in June.
TX: Texas continues push to prevent wrongful convictions
A new Texas law regulates the use of jailhouse informants, requires police to record interrogations in serious felony cases, and toughens the rules for police station lineups in securing eyewitness identifications.
LA: Some good news in Louisiana budget: $100M surplus
Louisiana’s chief financial officer said the state government ended the fiscal year June 30 with a surplus of more than $100 million, thanks to higher than expected collections from sales taxes and personal income taxes.
MO: Prosecutor asks Missouri governor’s help in dealing with thousands of traffic tickets
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is asking Republican Gov. Eric Greitens to order the state Attorney General's Office to help prosecute thousands of traffic tickets stuck in legal limbo since Missouri state troopers began patrolling highways in St. Louis in July.
MD: Maryland budget analyst: federal workers, the elderly, struggling families buying less in Trump era
Fearful federal workers, the elderly and struggling families are buying less than expected this year, reducing Maryland’s sales tax receipts by about $72 million. The state’s chief revenue forecaster blamed President Donald Trump’s budget-cutting rhetoric for causing economic trepidation among the state’s large federal workforce.
CO: Colorado Department of Corrections seeks money to lease a private prison
The Colorado Department of Corrections is asking the state to add $11 million to this year’s budget to lease a private prison while it attempts to reopen a closed prison. Critics say the state needs to look for options rather than pour money into more prison beds.
NV: Nevada governor calls for review of gaming, marijuana industry relationship
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, wants the state gaming policy committee to review matters such as rules on allowing marijuana entrepreneurs to finance gaming ventures or casino owners investing in marijuana dispensaries or cultivation operations.