What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/25

Top State Stories 9/25

US: Department of Homeland Security tells states about Russian hacking during 2016 election

The Department of Homeland Security contacted election officials in 21 states to notify them that they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 election campaign.

FL: Florida toll suspension cost $3 million a day

More than $45 million in revenue is believed to have been lost when Florida suspended highway toll collections to help speed evacuations and relief efforts for Hurricane Irma, Florida’s Turnpike system estimates.

AK: Alaska governor proposes tax hike to shrink budget deficit

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, announced his latest tax proposal aimed at shrinking Alaska's $2.5 billion deficit: a 1.5 percent tax on wages that stops at $2,200, or roughly $150,000 in income. The plan would raise an estimated $300 million.

CA: University of California tuition hike pays for faculty pensions

A big chunk of the University of California’s first in-state tuition hike in seven years — perhaps tens of millions of dollars — will go to pay for the faculty’s increasingly generous retirements. The number of UC retirees collecting six-figure pensions has increased 60 percent since 2012.

RI: Rhode Island's Legislature has more lawyers than nearly any law firm in the state

The Rhode Island General Assembly pays 55 lawyers more than $3 million to advise its 113 part-time lawmakers.

PA: Vape tax dooms dozens of shops across Pennsylvania

An estimated 400 stores dedicated to vaping products had opened by mid-2016 in Pennsylvania, but more than a quarter of them have closed in the last year, largely because of a 40 percent state tax on vaping products, according to estimates by the Pennsylvania Vape Association.

ND: In parched North Dakota, cloud-seeding irks some farmers

Some North Dakota growers are trying to end a state cloud-seeding program that's been around for generations, saying it may be making the drought worse. They cite satellite images of clouds dissipating after being seeded and statistics over two decades that they say show less rainfall in counties that cloud-seed than surrounding ones that don't.

CT: Connecticut soon may have one of highest cigarette taxes

Democrats in Connecticut want a 45-cent-per-pack increase in its cigarette tax, a move that would put the state tied with New York for the highest smokers' tax in the nation.

MI: Concealed-carry gun debate gains traction in Michigan Legislature

Three bills have been introduced that would close a loophole in Michigan law that prohibited people from carrying concealed weapons into gun-free zones like schools and bars, but allows them to carry their weapons openly in those areas.

OH: Why do poor, black kids continue to do worse on Ohio’s standardized tests?

Even as Ohio students have improved their performance on state tests, bad news regarding a poverty-related achievement gap is splattered across the latest state report cards.

KS: Kansas court rules mobile home owners can be treated differently

Owners of mobile homes can be treated differently than owners of other housing in a community, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled. At issue was an ordinance by the city of Maize designed to phase out all pre-1976 mobile homes and restrict newer mobile and manufactured housing to licensed parks. 

WY: Prison inmates train mustangs in Wyoming

As part of an agriculture program at a minimum-security Wyoming prison, inmates spend time in the fresh air working on the farm and learning job skills. That includes training wild horses.

Off-Label Drugs Private Trees