What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/25

US: It could cost up to $70 to visit these national parks under proposed increase

The National Park Service is considering a steep increase in entrance fees at 17 of its most popular parks, mostly in the West, to address a backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects. Visitors to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion and other national parks would be charged $70 per vehicle, up from $30 for a weekly pass. At others, the hike is nearly triple, from $25 to $70.

CA: California judicial panel urges end to cash bail for criminal defendants

A panel appointed by California’s chief justice said the state’s current system of requiring suspects to post bail to obtain their freedom prior to trial compromises public safety. According to the report, release should depend on an individual’s likelihood to commit new crimes and not on his or her financial resources.

IL: Open letter alleges rampant sexual harassment in Illinois politics 

An open letter outlining rampant sexual harassment in Illinois politics got signatures from more than 160 women and men demanding better. “Every industry has its own version of the casting couch,” the letter reads. “Illinois politics is no exception.” State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz filed a resolution urging lawmakers in Springfield to address the culture that allows such incidents.

NY: New York governor vetoes bill that would have legalized some pocket knives

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have legalized a classification of pocket knives known as gravity knives, which are currently illegal under a law that advocates say is disproportionately used against minorities. It was the second straight year that the New York Legislature had overwhelmingly approved such a measure, only to have it stopped at the governor’s desk.

IN: Indiana works to have high-speed internet in all schools within 2 years

Indiana is partnering with EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit focused on upgrading internet access in every public school classroom, to increase and improve high-speed internet in schools across the state.

MD: Growth in Maryland opioid fatalities comes almost entirely from fentanyl-related deaths

Maryland saw a sharp spike in fentanyl-related deaths in the first half of this year, with fatalities from heroin and prescription opioids appearing to level off after years of steady increases.

NV: After mass shooting, Nevada mayor considers creating a ‘crisis fund 

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says she’s exploring the creation of a “crisis fund” that would have money in it to offset the impact of a disaster such as the recent mass shooting that killed 58 people in the Nevada city. The shooting occurred in Clark County’s jurisdiction, but the county did not have a mechanism or process in place for people to donate in the shooting’s aftermath.

GA: Georgia seeing uptick in tax fraud, getting better at fighting it

Despite major data breaches such as the one at Equifax, tax agencies — including the Georgia Department of Revenue — are reporting increasing success in the war to stop fraudulent returns from turning into big money for crooks.

SD: Achievement gaps, poverty put South Dakota kids of color at disadvantage

South Dakota children of color are more likely to face poverty and underperform in school compared with their white peers, according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

OH: Ohio House bill reduces penalty to $25 for not disclosing gun in car

The threat of punishment for failing to tell a law enforcement officer that you are carrying a gun would get a lot less worrisome under a bill that passed the Ohio House this week.

NM: New Mexico state colleges suffering from low attendance, high loan defaults

New Mexico's state colleges and universities are suffering financially because they can't keep raising tuition in the impoverished state without making higher education unaffordable, according to a study commissioned by the state Legislature. The schools are already consuming too much state funding and need to get more efficient and seek federal and philanthropic funds, the study concluded.

IA: Iowa Supreme Court halts key provisions of abortion law

The Iowa Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of disputed provisions in a new state law that requires women to wait a minimum of three days before they can obtain an abortion.

Evolving Doctors Top State Stories 10/24