What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/2

MN: Minnesota rarely sanctions police officers in domestic violence cases

At least 50 Minnesota officers were convicted of crimes stemming from a domestic altercation since 1995, and just four of them lost their state law enforcement licenses, a Star Tribune review of court documents and state licensing records found.

CA: Government jobs sprouting as legal pot looms in California

California is on a hiring binge to fill what eventually will be hundreds of new government positions by 2019 intended to bring order to the legal pot economy, from keeping watch on what’s seeping into streams near cannabis grows to running background checks on storefront sellers who want government licenses. Local governments will add thousands of additional jobs.

OK: Oklahoma approves record emergency teacher certifications

In the first four months of the fiscal year, the Oklahoma State Board of Education has approved 44 percent more emergency teaching certifications than in all of the previous year, a total of 1,674.

NV: Nevada marijuana sales hit $27M in first month

Nevada dispensaries sold $27.1 million of pot in July, almost double what Colorado and Oregon businesses sold in the first months after recreational marijuana was legalized there. Nevada made $10.2 million during the first month of sales, with $6.5 million from industry fees and $3.7 million from tax revenue.

NC: Thousands of North Carolina public workers must now pay for health insurance

In the past, about 60,000 North Carolina public workers have paid nothing for employee-only health plan premiums. But in 2018, they will pay $300 a year — $25 a month — for the same plan, according to the State Treasurer’s Office.

CO: Colorado ban on some marijuana products that look like candy takes effect

A ban on gummy bears and other edible marijuana products shaped like animals, people and fruit takes effect this month in Colorado, a change aimed at decreasing the likelihood small children will mistake the items for a favorite treat.

NH: In light of shortage, certification process extended for New Hampshire school nurses

A New Hampshire legislative committee decided to give nurses another six years to comply with a new licensing and certification requirement for school nurses.

NM: New Mexico cracking down on campaign reporting violations

Accused of failing to collect fines for campaign reporting violations in the past, New Mexico is beginning to crack down on violators who don’t pay up. Fines have quadrupled from last year under Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat who has been in office since December.

AR: Arkansas’ spending for Medicaid up

Driven by enrollment that surged past expectations, spending on Arkansas' expanded Medicaid program grew by almost 24 percent during the fiscal year that ended June 30, surpassing what state officials initially projected by about $200 million.

PA: As state park attendance climbs, Pennsylvania wants to prevent them from being loved to death

Across Pennsylvania, the state park system has seen an explosion of visitors, with attendance at the 121 parks growing from 36.8 million in 2011 to more than 40 million in 2016. Now officials are worried that some parks may have become too popular.

AK: Alaska wants to get rid of minimum wage exemption for people with disabilities

Employers need to apply for a waiver to pay people with disabilities below Alaska's $9.80 an hour minimum wage. Now, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development has proposed doing away with that exemption, which was designed to prompt employers to hire workers they might not employ otherwise.

CT: Connecticut sets a minimum age to marry

Older teens can marry, but now they must have parental permission and go before a judge. That's one of several new Connecticut state laws taking effect this month.

IA, NE: Stagnant farm economy slows growth in Iowa, Nebraska

A stagnant farm economy that has slowed Nebraska and Iowa's income growth to the lowest levels in the nation is also contributing to state budget problems that could linger through next year, officials said.

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