What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/17

Top State Stories 10/17

NY: New York will allow for fast-track certification of teachers from Puerto Rico

With New York schools bracing for an influx of students displaced by Hurricane Maria, the state Board of Regents is set to approve a temporary certification process for teachers coming from Puerto Rico. Under the change, those certified could begin teaching this school year. Teachers also could begin the process of meeting state standards for permanent certification.

TX: Reported rapes increased at several Texas universities in 2016

Reported on-campus rapes increased in 2016 at several Texas universities, including the University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and Southern Methodist University, according to recently released data. Officials attributed the higher numbers to greater awareness and more victims willing to come forward.

GA: So far, so good for debut of new paper-ballot machines in Georgia

More than a dozen Georgia voters have used new paper-ballot voting machines with no reported problems, the first step of a new pilot program to test the machines in the state. The program for now is a one-off effort meant to demonstrate alternatives to Georgia’s current system, which is almost entirely electronic, has no paper trail, and is universally acknowledged by experts to be vulnerable to security risks and buggy software.

MO: Watchdog group says Missouri’s Kansas City airport deliberately shabby

As city officials campaign for next month’s ballot proposition to approve creation of a new single-terminal Kansas City International Airport, a Missouri citizens group charges officials are deliberately letting the old airport go to seed. The city’s aviation department is authorized to sell $240 million in bonds and there’s an extra $100 million in a rainy day fund that also has not been used. Meanwhile, lightbulbs are out and the toilets don’t work.

CA: California governor vetoes required paid pregnancy leave for teachers, school employees

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a measure that would have required California schools to give teachers six weeks of paid time off for pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriages or other reproductive health issues. Currently, teachers who want to take time during a pregnancy have to use vacation or sick days, or forfeit pay.

NE: More than 700K travelers watched eclipse in Nebraska, tourism officials say

The Nebraska Tourism Commission estimates more than 708,000 people traveled to watch the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse in Nebraska, and about 87 percent of those people came from out of state.

CO: Marijuana legalization led to fall in overdose deaths in Colorado, study finds

Opioid-related deaths fell by more than 6 percent in the two years after Colorado’s first recreational marijuana shops opened, according to new research published in the American Journal of Public Health

WY: Wyoming wild horse roundup continues amid dispute

A roundup of wild horses continues in the desert of southwestern Wyoming after a judge declined to stop it during a lawsuit over how the animals are counted. 

NV: Defibrillators delivered by drones could save lives in Nevada

A drone delivery service has announced a new partnership with a Nevada ambulance company to send out defibrillators and other emergency equipment by air during responses to cardiac arrest.

IN: Indiana lawmaker doubles down as his proposal to license journalists gets cold reception

An Indiana Republican state representative has drafted a bill that would require professional journalists to be licensed by state police, but members of his own party aren’t embracing the proposal.

MA: State lab in Massachusetts withheld breathalyzer tests: report

The head of a Massachusetts crime lab office was fired after investigators found that staff withheld exculpatory evidence from defense lawyers in thousands of drunken-driving cases since 2011.

PA: ACLU: Marijuana arrests on the rise in Pennsylvania

Marijuana arrests have been climbing steadily in Pennsylvania over the past seven years, pointing to a law enforcement crackdown that has disproportionately targeted African-Americans, according to a new analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union.

OK: Teacher hiring in Oklahoma City cumbersome: report

Oklahoma City Public Schools face "significant challenges" that hinder efforts to recruit and retain teachers and support principals, according to a consulting firm assisting the district. School board members meeting earlier this month learned the district is losing qualified teaching candidates to other districts because of a lengthy and often cumbersome hiring process that can take from four to six weeks to complete.

Dockless Bike-Share Utilities for Immigrants