What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/20

Top State Stories 10/20

PR: Puerto Rico: A perfect storm of failures and weeks without light

Four weeks after Hurricane Maria, 80 percent of Puerto Rico still does not have electricity. Industry experts said poor planning, a slow response by power officials and Puerto Rico’s dire financial straits had led to a situation that would be unfathomable in the continental United States.

US: Governors urge Congress to stabilize state health markets

 A bipartisan group of 10 governors is calling on Congress to vote on a deal to stabilize Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, insurance markets. They wrote that Congress should at least fund payments to insurers through 2019.

NC: North Carolina Republicans stung by court rulings aim to change judges

Frustrated by judges overturning their legislation, North Carolina’s Republican lawmakers have taken steps to try to change the composition of the bench.

NM: New Mexico judge orders release of clergy sex abuse records

Hundreds of pages of court records related to sexual abuse allegations against clergy members are being made public in response to an order from a New Mexico judge, marking the largest disclosure of such records since alleged victims began suing the Archdiocese of Santa Fe nearly three decades ago.

NV: Nevada city may do away with ban on pet sales

In Las Vegas, Nevada, city officials are considering walking back a 2016 move to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and potbellied pigs, amid concerns it hurts businesses that do not obtain animals from so-called “puppy mills.”

CA: After California wildfires, officials expect state's largest debris-removal effort ever

With evacuation orders in Northern California being lifted, a small army of insurance adjusters and crews certified to haul hazardous materials will start assessing property losses. In an effort to expedite reconstruction, local community leaders are calling on county officials and state and federal regulatory agencies to relax building permit requirements and environmental rules such as a mandatory 10-day notice before removing debris laden with asbestos.

AK: Alaska tribes, state sign historic document on tribal child welfare

Under the agreement, Alaska tribes initially will be allowed to take on small, specific roles such as finding relatives of Native children or supervising visits with children. Eventually some tribes will take on most if not all child welfare duties, including investigations of reports of child abuse and neglect, foster care, working with troubled parents, and adoptions.

NH: New Hampshire Medicaid funds to be used for gender reassignment surgeries

Submitted by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the approved change eliminates a provision of the rules that stipulates “sex change operations shall be non-covered.”

ME: Most Maine professionals no longer get a free pass on jury duty

The jury duty exemptions for all Maine professionals, such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, sheriffs, judges and lawyers, except for the governor and active duty members of the military, will end Nov. 1. The state law exempting these professionals has been in place since 1985.

MA: Massachusetts health exchange rates to jump

The Massachusetts Health Connector and Division of Insurance announced the state is moving forward with higher rates after President Donald Trump’s decision to end certain federal insurance subsidies.

CO: Colorado city launches dockless bike-share program

Aurora, one of Colorado’s largest cities, launched a bike-share permit program in October that has already attracted two companies, and the city is open to adding other providers. Aurora sought interest from bike-share companies with dockless programs instead of focusing on a traditional, docked program.

NY: Uber tops spending on lobbying in New York state

Between January and June of this year, Uber spent $1.8 million on lobbying, making it the top spender on lobbyists and lobbying expenses in New York state. The ride-hailing company had been advocating to allow ride-hailing apps to operate outside of New York City, which in April was enacted in the state budget.

MI: Michigan Senate votes unanimously to end driver responsibility fees, but forgives only some debt

Without any debate, the Michigan state Senate passed a measure to eliminate the fees and forgive millions of dollars owed by Michiganders. But newer debts that are less than 6 years old would not be forgiven.

Sanctuary State Attracting Amazon