What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/29

US: Trump administration targets ‘sanctuary’ cities in latest wave of immigration arrests

The Trump administration has arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in cities that are hostile to its deportation crackdown, the latest salvo in a growing battle over sanctuary jurisdictions. Federal officials said “Operation Safe City” specifically targeted some of the fiercest opponents of President Trump’s immigration policies, including New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Washington.

IL: Illinois governor signs controversial abortion bill

The bill signed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner expands state-funded coverage of abortions for low-income residents on Medicaid and state employees. The measure also would keep abortions legal in Illinois if the U.S. Supreme Court follows President Donald Trump’s call to overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortions legal 44 years ago.

IA: Iowa’s proposed Medicaid cut could signal new GOP strategy

Iowa is seeking permission from the Trump administration to cut a key benefit for all its Medicaid recipients, a move that could foreshadow other state-level efforts to change the safety net program after Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Iowa proposal would cut retroactive payments for poor or disabled residents for medical needs incurred up to three months before they registered for or re-enrolled in Medicaid.

CT: As talks continue, Connecticut governor vetoes budget bill 

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, vetoed a Republican budget bill, saying it cut too deeply and would essentially guarantee the city of Hartford’s bankruptcy. The state remains in its longest budget impasse in history.

ND: Pipeline developer sends North Dakota $15M toward security costs 

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of the Dakota Access pipeline, sent North Dakota $15 million to help pay law enforcement bills related to months of sometimes violent protests over the project’s construction.

PA: Pennsylvania Supreme Court opens door to school funding overhaul

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reinstated a lawsuit challenging the state’s school funding system, a victory for struggling districts long seeking relief from what they say is an unjust structure that relies too heavily on property taxes and doesn’t meet schools’ needs.

WI: Wisconsin clears less than 5 percent of backlogged rape kits

Wisconsin authorities have more than 6,300 rape kits that were kept in local police storage rooms or hospitals and never sent to state crime labs. More than 4,000 of the kits — including more than 1,000 involving possible child victims — are now scheduled for testing.

TX: New Texas law criminalizes drones near industrial animal farms

A new Texas law makes it illegal to fly drones over "concentrated animal feeding operations" such as large poultry, pig or cattle farms. Activists have in the past used the drones to call attention to problems at the industrial farms.

MD: Judge orders Maryland officials to open dozens of psychiatric beds

A Baltimore circuit judge is holding top Maryland health officials in contempt of court, ordering them to open dozens of beds at state psychiatric hospitals by the end of the year. He said the Department of Health, which is responsible for treating mentally ill defendants, hasn’t been doing its job and its evaluation and treatment system is “in a shambles.”

DE: Delaware governor asks state workers to help control ‘unstainable’ health care costs

Democratic Gov. John Carney is calling on Delaware’s state workers to help control the ballooning cost of health care, which now accounts for nearly a third of the entire state budget. He urged them to make better health plan choices, opt for preventative screenings, use preferred providers and undertake lifestyle changes that include exercise and a healthier diet.

ME: Maine State Police use drones to investigate crash sites

To get to crash scenes faster, police in Maine are using cameras mounted on remote-controlled drones to snap photos, along with software that stitches the digital images together.

MI: Michigan House speaker pushes driver debt forgiveness plan

Michigan House Speaker Tom Leonard, a Republican, announced a bipartisan plan to repeal “driver responsibility fees,” or extra fees some drivers must pay in addition to a traffic ticket. More than 300,000 Michigan drivers owe nearly $600 million collectively to the state due to such fees, according to the state Department of Treasury.

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