What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/27

TX: Texas governor says he won't tap rainy day fund for Harvey until 2019

Houston asked to use Texas' rainy day fund for hurricane recovery, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says the state has plenty of other money and that he won't use the $10 billion fund until the next legislative session, in 2019.

CO: Colorado landfills are illegally handling radioactive waste

Colorado landfills have been illegally burying low-level radioactive waste from the oil and gas industry, state health officials revealed this week. Oil and gas companies in Colorado generate roughly 500,000 tons of solid waste per year, including low-level radioactive waste.

OH: Bill offers Ohio counties 80 percent state funding for new voting machines

As county election boards in Ohio scrounge for parts and cross their fingers that aging equipment will hold on for a few more elections, state legislators have started talking about how to help pay for new voting machines.

MI: Detroit mayor, Michigan House speaker seek major cut in auto insurance costs

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, a Democrat, and House Speaker Tom Leonard, a Republican, have unveiled a sweeping auto insurance reform plan they say would drive down premiums by 20 to 50 percent for most Michigan motorists.

WV: Opioid crisis drives a grim business in West Virginia — body transport

Business is booming for one somber industry in West Virginia: the transportation of dead bodies. The state’s Department of Health and Human Resources paid private contractors $881,620 in fiscal 2017 to shuttle corpses from one place to another — more than double the expense two years before.

CT: Connecticut's capital city at danger of default, credit agency warns

Twice in two weeks, Standard & Poor's has lowered its bond rating for Hartford, Connecticut. The agency says it's increasingly likely the city will default on its debt.

GA: Rural Georgia hospitals see few benefits, so far, from tax credits

Georgia lawmakers thought they’d found a way to help struggling rural hospitals by offering $180 million in tax credits to Georgians willing to donate to them. The state allocated a third of the tax credits for this year and legislators passed a bill increasing incentives to donors, but by mid-September, only a little more than $3 million had been spoken for.

WA: Federal judge allows Washington city’s case against opioid maker to proceed

The city of Everett, Washington, sued Purdue Pharma in January, alleging the company knowingly allowed the pain medication OxyContin to be funneled into the black market and into the city and did nothing to stop it.

ME: Maine lawmakers make case that state’s initiative process is being gamed

Lawmakers on the Maine Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee presented a flow chart showing a dizzying array of out-of-state and overseas entities with ties to a casino referendum on the state’s November ballot.

WI: More drug users (but not drug dealers) getting busted in Wisconsin

There have been more fatal overdoses and felony cases involving drug possession in Wisconsin, but there hasn’t been an increase in arrests of drug dealers statewide. In fact, Wisconsin police are making fewer busts than a decade ago for distributing heroin, methamphetamine and other hard drugs.

CA: Could California ban gasoline cars?

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has expressed interest in banning cars that burn fossil fuels, California’s top climate change regulator said. For years California has pushed automakers to offer cars that produce no emissions, and according to some projections it will need to phase out new fossil fuel-burning vehicles by mid-century to meet its climate goals.

WY: Grizzly bears on the move in Wyoming

A growing number of grizzly bears are moving outside their established habitat and causing more conflicts with humans. Wyoming recorded 223 cases of conflicts between grizzly bears and humans this year outside Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Wind River Indian Reservation. 

Teacher Training Black Immigrants