What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/26

Top State Stories 9/26

US: Violent crimes and murders increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says

Violent crime increased in the United States for a second consecutive year in 2016, remaining near historically low levels but pushed upward in part by an uptick in killings in some major cities, according to new FBI statistics.

CT: In dire straits, Connecticut nears 90 days without budget

Connecticut is the only state in the country that has not enacted a budget for this year. Now the state is barreling toward a key deadline Oct. 1, when an executive order on state spending calls for more painful reductions.

IN: Federal judge permanently blocks Indiana abortion limits

A federal judge permanently struck down provisions of an Indiana law passed last year that would have banned abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities and required that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

GA: Lawmakers begin talks about how to replace Georgia’s aging vote system

Just as federal officials began acknowledging which 21 states Russian-backed hackers targeted ahead of last year’s presidential election, Georgia lawmakers began to weigh in on how to replace Georgia’s aging and potentially vulnerable election system.

CA: Coffee sold in California could carry cancer warning label

A nonprofit wants coffee manufacturers, distributors and retailers to post ominous warnings about a cancer-causing chemical stewing in every brew. The group claims Starbucks and about 90 other companies, including grocery stores and retail shops, are failing to follow a California law requiring warning signs about hazardous chemicals.

TX: New state law aims to reduce number of child brides in Texas

A new law in Texas prohibits anyone under 16 from getting married and requires judicial consent for those under 18. The state has one of the highest child marriage rates in the country, behind West Virginia, Nevada and Arkansas.

OH: Two colleges apply to test medical marijuana in Ohio

Central State University and Hocking College both applied to test medical marijuana in Ohio — potentially resolving long-standing fears that no public institution would take the risk.

CO: Colorado’s revenge porn law results in few convictions

A Colorado law designed to punish people for posting intimate photos of former lovers or spouses on the internet without their consent has resulted in nearly 200 charges since it was passed three years ago, but securing convictions and guilty pleas has been a challenge.

OR: Oregon pension managers shift to age-based investment funds

Oregon’s public pension managers are replacing a one-size-fits-all investment approach with one that will insulate older workers from market volatility as they near retirement, while giving younger workers a more aggressive, growth-oriented investment mix.

KS: Kansas facing a worker shortage

Companies that employ thousands may face a choice in the not-so-distant future: Keep jobs in Kansas or move them elsewhere. The state is thirsty for skilled workers, but it can’t find enough, and as baby boomers grow older and retire, the shortage becomes more urgent each year.

AK: Alaska’s finances are great, report says

A new report from an outside accounting group declares that Alaska's finances are the best in the nation, even as Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, says that the state's two primary savings accounts will be empty in just over 18 months. The dueling perspectives highlight the conundrum that Alaska's elected officials have faced for the past two years: the state has billions of dollars in accessible reserves, yet lacks the political consensus to use them in a sustainable way.

KY: Price tag for Kentucky’s ailing pensions could hit $5.4B over next two years

Kentucky’s General Assembly will need to find an estimated $5.4 billion to fund the pension systems for state workers and school teachers in the next two-year state budget. That would be a hefty funding increase and a painful squeeze for a state General Fund that also is expected to pay for education, prisons, social services and other state programs.

NC: As North Carolina pollution concerns grow, so do budget cuts

Just days after North Carolina environmental regulators began looking into a potentially hazardous pollutant in one of the state’s biggest rivers, state lawmakers cut their funding. In the new budget they passed June 22, legislators ordered the state Department of Environmental Quality to cut $1.8 million over the next two years.

U.S. Justice Department Weighs In On Campus Free Speech Lawsuit Off-Label Drugs