What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/23

Top State Stories 10/23

US: As monuments to Confederacy disappear, new ones being quietly erected

More than 150 years after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, local officials across the Deep South are removing contentious Confederate monuments from prominent perches in busy town squares and government buildings. Less publicized has been the quiet rise of a new generation of Confederate markers — on private land, in cemeteries and on historic battlefields.

NC: ‘They ... let him lay in there and die.’ Families question North Carolina jail health care

Jail inmates in North Carolina died after they were in noticeably serious physical distress, but remained behind bars for hours or days, records show. Family members want to know why.

AZ: Arizona lawmaker recounts years of sexual harassment at Statehouse

An Arizona lawmaker says she was sexually harassed after her election seven years ago, and things only got worse after she reported it. Republican state Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita of Scottsdale declined to name the two legislators she said were responsible.

CT: Connecticut Democrats, Republicans finally reach budget deal

Months into a budget impasse, lawmakers in Connecticut have reached a budget deal. For Democrats, the compromise included agreeing to changes in binding arbitration and prevailing wage on construction projects — two sacrosanct issues for unions and liberals. Republicans agreed to a tighter spending cap on state expenses — an issue that has been under discussion since 1991.

NY: New York outlaws use of elephants for entertainment

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that outlaws the use of elephants in entertainment acts such as circuses and parades. The bill was passed in June by the New York Legislature after years of charges from animal-welfare groups that elephants used in performances are subjected to inhumane and injurious treatment.

KY: Judge strikes down Kentucky’s social media ban for sex offenders

Kentucky’s registered sex offenders have the constitutional right to use Facebook, Twitter and other online social media, a federal judge ruled Friday.

ND: Drug crime has not gone away since North Dakota's oil boom

Bakken oil may have gone into a downturn in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that drug crime did too. According to crime data from the North Dakota attorney general’s office, there were 1,958 arrests related to amphetamine and methamphetamine use in North Dakota in 2016, up significantly from 2012 when there were 434 arrests related to the drug.

NM: New Mexico commuter train faces calls for shutdown

Low gas prices and reductions in the state workforce are potential factors in a 23 percent ridership decline over five years in a state-owned commuter train linking the New Mexico cities of Belen, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The decline has prompted renewed calls from critics to shut the system down.

IN: Indiana liquor stores spend hundreds of thousands on campaigns, lobbying

Indiana's liquor store industry is outsized by national convenience store chains, big-box stores, grocery stores and pharmacies, but it's not outspent when it comes to money for lobbying and Statehouse campaign contributions, an Indianapolis Star analysis found.

SC: As South Carolina colleges crumble, will legislators dodge repair bill again in 2018?

Legislative attempts to pump money into South Carolina’s struggling state colleges face high hurdles next year, namely from GOP lawmakers and a Republican governor, who say they want to see colleges better manage their spending, not borrow money.

NE: Inmates who use K2 pose special challenges for Nebraska prisons

Nebraska prison wardens are struggling to keep K2, a drug designed to mimic marijuana, out of the prison system. Staffers at Lincoln prisons say that one day earlier this month at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, more than 20 adverse reactions were reported in just hours, requiring emergency responses.

NV: Nevada agencies hide names, salaries of state workers

Nevada agencies have not made public the names and salaries of 349 state employees, including park rangers and game wardens. State officials said the positions are sensitive and the names must be protected, but open government advocates contend that the names of public employees should only be withheld in rare instances.

AK: New opinion from Alaska attorney general supports tribal sovereignty

In a new legal document, Alaska's attorney general says there's no doubt that Alaska's 229 tribes have governmental powers — sovereign powers — over a range of matters that affect their people. Tribal organizations can enter into agreements with other governments to handle certain education programs, child protection, law enforcement and land management, the opinion said.

Mobile Home Parks Sanctuary State