What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/22

Editor's Note: This page has been updated 9/25 to correct a story about Massachusetts and Atlantic time.

AZ: Federal judge rules Arizona doesn’t have to reveal execution drug sources

Arizona does not have to reveal who provides its execution drugs, a U.S. district judge ruled in a lawsuit arguing that the information would help the public determine whether the death penalty is carried out humanely and promote confidence in the criminal justice system.

HI: Hawaii official describes North Korea attack scenarios

If there’s a ballistic missile strike from North Korea, Hawaii will be faced with thousands of casualties, thermal radiation, severe damage to critical infrastructure, widespread structural fires and other chaos, the administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said. While an attack isn’t likely, the official said, it’s a threat Hawaii can’t ignore.

CA: University of California to help Berkeley pay security costs for controversial speakers

The University of California will chip in at least $300,000 to help UC Berkeley pay security costs for controversial speakers, an unprecedented step as criticism mounts over the financial toll the events are taking on the campus.

FL: Florida sets up rules for new medical marijuana licenses

The new Florida rule outsources the evaluation of applications for medical marijuana vendors to outside experts, requires “blind testing” of the applications and includes a detailed application form. Those are all departures from earlier regulations that spawned a series of legal and administrative challenges.

MA: Massachusetts panel: Change to Atlantic time would bring state benefits

Shifting all of Massachusetts to Atlantic time year-round could result in a better economy, less crime and a healthier workforce, a state commission said.

GA: Georgia opens its first office for female veterans

Georgia’s first female veterans office has officially opened in Atlanta, a nod by officials to one of the state’s fastest-growing segments of veterans.

CO: Colorado hospitals owed millions from the state

Hospitals across Colorado are waiting on millions of dollars in reimbursements after the state Medicaid department went live with a new technology system six months ago, the situation growing so dire that hospital officials say they are concerned they will have to start turning away needy patients.

TN: Tuition-free community college program shows results in Tennessee

Students in Tennessee Promise, the nation's first statewide program for tuition-free community and technical college, are outperforming their peers in their persistence, completion rates and other success measures, an official told the Tennessee Board of Regents.

ME: Proposed marijuana rules in Maine would let adults buy online and at drive-thrus

A proposal from the Maine Legislature’s marijuana committee would allow licensed retail stores to sell pot to customers online and at drive-up windows if they show identification to prove they are at least 21 years old.

MD: Maryland proposes $9B plan to relieve traffic congestion

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, proposed an ambitious $9 billion public-private partnership to add new traffic lanes around the traffic-clogged U.S. capital region and assume control of a highway operated by the federal government.

TX: New Texas law requires freestanding ERs to clearly disclose insurance networks 

Freestanding emergency rooms in Texas might charge hefty ER prices even though they may look like urgent care clinics. A new Texas state law requires them to disclose on their websites and in writing to patients which, if any, insurance networks they’ve joined.

DC: D.C. failing to crack down on abandoned buildings, report finds

The Washington, D.C., agency in charge of code enforcement did not strictly regulate unoccupied or derelict buildings, and frequently granted exemptions from those rules that did not appear to be justified, a city audit found. Such shortcomings resulted in lost money for the district, because vacant and blighted properties are supposed to be taxed at a higher rate and be subject to fines.

Private Trees Discrimination in Medicaid?
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