What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/11

IL: Cook County, Illinois, soda tax nears repeal

The penny-an-ounce soda tax in Cook County, Illinois, is headed for repeal after commissioners overwhelmingly signaled their intent to do away with it, marking a big win for soda companies and store owners after both sides spent millions of dollars to sway public opinion on the issue.

CA: California wildfires destroying pot farms just before legal sales begin in state

This week’s wildfires in Northern California have destroyed at least seven marijuana farms just months before the state begins licensing legal sales of cannabis.

NY: 10% of New York City public school students were homeless last year

More than 111,500 public school students in New York City schools were homeless during the last academic year, a 6 percent increase over the year before, according to newly released state data.

IN: Analysis of Indiana liquor stores shows higher rate of underage sales

Liquor stores in Indiana improperly sold to minors at twice the rate of convenience stores and three times the rate of pharmacies and big box retailers, according to an Indianapolis Star analysis. The findings erode a core liquor store argument — that they are able to keep booze out of the hands of minors — widely accepted by lawmakers who hold the fate of cold beer and Sunday alcohol sales in their hands.

VT: Vermont to boost cybersecurity preparedness

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed an executive order to create a 10-person cybersecurity advisory team to improve federal and state partnerships to assess digital risks, raise awareness among Vermonters, and attract a top-notch cybersecurity workforce.

TX: Texas comptroller: Harvey cleanup will hurt, but won't slow economy

Texas' lead financial officer says the cleanup costs of Hurricane Harvey will strain the state's budget with a serious hit but won't hurt the economy in the long run.

KY: Kentucky must pay up for relatives providing foster care after Supreme Court refuses case

After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling, Kentucky must begin paying the growing number of relatives who are providing free foster care for children the same as they do licensed foster families.

WA: Washington state sues over Trump birth control coverage rules

The attorney general of Washington state has filed a lawsuit challenging last week’s move by the Trump administration to allow businesses and nonprofits to deny insurance coverage of women’s birth control. Massachusetts and California have filed similar suits.

CO: Colorado city to provide tenants facing eviction with financial aid

Denver will start offering up to six months of rent and utility assistance to low- and moderate-income residents facing potential eviction, economic pressures or other crises that could lead to the loss of a home. The housing initiative is one of three the Colorado city announced this week.

KS: More than 70 foster children missing in Kansas

More than 70 foster children are missing in Kansas, the companies running the state’s foster care system said.  Lawmakers were concerned that Kansas Department for Children and Families officials appeared unaware that three sisters have been missing from a northeast Kansas foster home since Aug. 26.

ND: Dakota Access Pipeline has increased North Dakota tax revenue by $6M a month

The Dakota Access Pipeline has boosted North Dakota’s tax revenue by $18 million in its first three months of operation, according to an analysis by the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.

MA: Massachusetts moves to prepare social workers to fight opioids

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled what he called a first-in-the-nation set of educational core principles for social workers on the front lines of the battle against opioid addiction, which has claimed thousands of lives in Massachusetts. The agreement comes two years after Massachusetts became the first state to require that medical and dental schools train students in substance misuse prevention.

IA: 911 emergency texting is now available across much of Iowa

By the end of the year, every emergency call center in Iowa will be able to accept some 911 emergency reports via text message. 

Chicago Just Repealed Its Brand New Soda Tax Mobile Health Clinics