What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/18

Top State Stories 10/18

CA: Female lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists speak out on 'pervasive' harassment in California's Capitol

As Hollywood takes a hard look at itself in the wake of the spiraling Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal, the women of California politics are publicly declaring: Us too. More than 140 women — including legislators, Capitol staff, political consultants and lobbyists — are signing a letter calling out the “pervasive” culture of sexual harassment and mistreatment that plagues their industry.

WV: Drug epidemic drives increase in West Virginia foster care numbers, commissioner says

More and more West Virginia children are being placed in foster care because of drug-related issues, and the state is struggling to retain enough child welfare workers to keep up with demand, the head of the Bureau for Children and Families told lawmakers.

FL: Florida Gov. Scott wants to give Jewish schools $1M for security

Gov. Rick Scott wants to set aside $1 million for security at Jewish schools following a wave of threats against Jewish institutions in Florida and across the country.

CO: Colorado woman denied pardon by governor re-enters sanctuary in church

A woman scheduled to be deported to Peru Tuesday instead moved into a Fort Collins, Colorado, church to continue her fight to stay in the United States with her two children — despite a pardon denial by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and an expired stay of removal.

AK: New court ruling could allow independent Alaska governor to run in Democratic primary

A Juneau Superior Court judge struck down an Alaska law that bars independent candidates from contesting partisan primaries, possibly paving the way for Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, to run in the Democratic primary next year. The Alaska Democratic Party had sued to overturn the law, arguing that it unconstitutionally restricted the party's freedom to associate with its favored candidates.

ME: Maine governor meets with state’s sheriffs on immigrant detentions

Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, met with 16 county sheriffs in a closed-door session in an attempt to settle a dispute over holding suspects for federal immigration officials. The governor had told the sheriffs in September that he would use his constitutional power to remove them from office if they would not hold suspects for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ND: Trump edict won't raise North Dakota health insurance rates

Without congressional action, companies offering health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange in North Dakota will absorb the loss of cost-sharing reductions rather than passing the cost to consumers.

GA: Teachers get raises, but some Georgia educators also furloughed

Eight years after the Great Recession ended some Georgia school systems are still facing financial troubles. The good news for teachers is that for the first time since then, most systems passed along state-funded salary hikes lawmakers approved this year. But there are still signs that so-called austerity cuts and other reductions in state funding are causing problems for some districts.

OH: Curbs on payday loans a tough sell to Ohio lawmakers

When Ohio lawmakers pass a law that doesn’t come close to working as planned, they often fix it. Not so much with payday lending regulations approved nine years ago.

AR: Arkansas medical marijuana licensee picks pushed into 2018

An avalanche of applications to grow or sell medical marijuana in Arkansas, and the tedious work of preparing them for final review, mean a final decision of who receives one of the state's coveted pot business licenses won't be made until well into next year, officials said.

MT: Montana to crack down on organized crime

Montana police announced a program to crack down on organized crime in the state, mainly through increased efforts to stop drug trafficking. The state has budgeted $1.7 million for a two-year effort to seize drugs as they move through the state and trace their source.

OR: New Oregon health care tax will to go to voters in January 2018 special election

A special election will be held in January to determine the fate of a multimillion-dollar health care tax that was approved by the Oregon Legislature this year. Opponents say the new taxes on hospitals and insurers ultimately would be shifted to consumers.

OK: Oklahoma cuts funding for child abuse prevention in budget crunch

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced it will cut funding for nine child abuse prevention programs and 25 community health centers as of Nov. 15. The state faces a $215 million budget gap this year after the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax.

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