What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/3
US: State attorneys general seek more beds for drug treatment
A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general for 38 states and Washington, D.C, called on Congress to allow Medicaid funding to flow to larger drug treatment centers, potentially expanding the number of addicts who can get help as the nation grapples with an overdose crisis.
KS: School funding still inadequate and unfair, Kansas Supreme Court rules
The Kansas Supreme Court said the Legislature’s latest efforts to provide adequate and fair funding for schools still falls short of requirements under the state constitution. The decision will send the issue back to the Legislature with orders to add more funding to school district budgets statewide next year.
FL: Florida governor declares state of emergency to help Puerto Rico recovery
Republican Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in every Florida county to help the state provide services to Puerto Ricans fleeing the island after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
CA: California bullet train costs up $1.7B for key segment
The California bullet train project, already mired by major delays and rising costs, is facing $1.7 billion in cost overruns on a 119-mile segment under construction through the Central Valley, a 27 percent jump over the original estimate. The increase reflects difficulties officials have encountered, including buying land, moving underground utilities and negotiating agreements with freight railroads.
IA: Iowa's three-day wait for abortions is legal, judge says
Iowa's controversial three-day waiting period for abortions has been upheld by a Polk County judge. In ruling against Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the American Civil Liberties Union, Judge Jeffrey Farrell said the law, passed last spring, is legal because it does not place an "undue burden" on a woman's right to abortion.
PA: Natural gas drillers spent more than $60M to woo Pennsylvania Legislature
Despite dozens of proposals to tax natural-gas drilling companies, Pennsylvania remains the only major gas-producing state without a severance tax. The companies and industry groups spent at least $46.6 million on lobbying since 2010 and $14.5 million on political donations — many of the latter going to legislative leaders who control the flow of bills and the heads of committees that regulate their business.
HI: With thousands of Hawaiians waiting, housing agency produced no homes
The state agency charged with providing homesteads for Native Hawaiians produced no new housing units during the year that ended June 30, and closed out the fiscal year with $30 million in unspent federal housing funds. Meanwhile the number of eligible beneficiaries waiting for residential leases totals more than 22,000 statewide.
NV: Juvenile immigration case backlog grows in Nevada
Nevada is doing better processing immigration cases involving minors than the nation as a whole, but nearly a quarter of all such cases filed in the state since 2009 are still pending, according to federal data.
MN: Supreme Court won’t hear Minnesota sex offender case
The U.S. Supreme Court said it won’t review Minnesota’s civil commitment program for sex offenders. An attorney for the system’s more than 700 residents argued the program, which allows people who are deemed sexually dangerous to be committed to a treatment facility indefinitely, violates their rights because it amounts to a life sentence.
OK: Majority of Oklahoma foster homes violate health/safety requirement
Seventeen of Oklahoma's 22 foster group homes were in violation of at least one state health and safety requirement, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
UT: Utah wrestles with whether to wipe old ‘porn czar’ law from the books
Utah legislators are moving to erase from statute the state’s long-dormant “obscenity and pornography complaints ombudsman” — popularly dubbed the porn czar — that once generated international jokes. But the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he may try instead to revive that office with a wider scope, allowing residents to seek legal guidance from the state on many issues.