What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/27

WI: Two-thirds of Medicaid-covered children not getting required tests for lead poisoning in Wisconsin

Less than a third of Wisconsin children on Medicaid were tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2 last year, despite a federal requirement that all such children get the testing, according to a new state report.

MO: Missouri auditor calls for more tracking of tax breaks

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway said the state doesn’t do a good job of tracking the impact of tax breaks that sometimes are pitched as a way to spur the economy. She added that after lawmakers pass new tax exemptions, the state rarely monitors the actual fiscal impact.

KS: Kansas House Dems to get more sexual harassment training amid new claims

All Kansas House Democrats will receive sexual harassment prevention training in December after multiple women stepped forward with allegations of harassment at the Kansas Capitol and the wider world of Kansas politics. House Minority Leader Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, said that if a determination is made that a Democratic lawmaker committed sexual harassment, the lawmaker will be stripped of committee assignments and other privileges.

PR: Neither states nor nations, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands face rocky storm recoveries

Even though both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were decimated by the hurricanes, they couldn’t call the United Nations — an expert in disaster relief — for help. The islands are U.S. territories with their own governors but no voting representation in Congress, so they must turn to the United States in times of need, even if they aren’t on many Americans’ radar. And that’s been hard.

OH: You still must disclose HIV before having sex in Ohio

Ruling it did not violate free speech rights, the Ohio Supreme Court Thursday upheld the state’s HIV disclosure law that makes it a crime for persons with the virus to engage in sexual conduct without notifying partners.

KY: Three historic Kentucky coal towns consider merging into one

Three small cities in Eastern Kentucky are feeling their way toward a possible historic merger as they try to cope with aging infrastructure, scant tax bases and revenue lost because of the sharp downturn in the coal industry.

NY: Women's group launches sexual harassment hotline, website for New York government workers

The National Organization for Women's New York chapter is launching a hotline and web portal for men and women who work or have worked in New York government to report instances of sexual harassment.

OK: Oklahoma Senate pushes budget plan with gas and oil production tax hike

The Oklahoma State Senate sent a message to the House: In a remarkable if not unprecedented move, the Senate approved by voice vote a resolution calling on the House, which must originate revenue bills, to put an increase in the gross production tax into the package that failed in the House Wednesday and to pass the whole thing immediately. The tax is imposed on extracted resources such as oil and gas.

DC: Results mixed for D.C. public schools' extended school year program

Washington, D.C.’s public school system tried something new last year: a longer school year at some elementary and middle schools. The goal was to add classroom time for students who can often forget what they’ve learned during summer months. But data from the system shows that once school ended for everybody else, the extended year kids stopped coming, too.

AZ: Medicaid expansion challenge heads to Arizona Supreme Court

The Arizona Supreme Court heard arguments on Republican lawmakers' challenge of a hospital assessment that funds the state's Medicaid expansion. The court challenge, if successful, could jeopardize health care for 400,000 low-income Arizonans who gained insurance coverage under the Medicaid expansion.

MT: Ultra-potent opioids hit Montana

Deadly, ultra-potent opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil have made appearances in Montana overdoses for the first time. The drugs are so potent they can cause a fatal overdose through skin contact or inadvertent inhalation, raising a new risk for law enforcement and other first responders.

IA: At Iowa human services agency, staffing has dropped while caseloads have risen

The number of front-line child abuse staffers at Iowa’s Department of Human Services has declined in the past 15 years, caseloads have risen and state funding has failed to keep pace with inflation, a Des Moines Register review of state data shows.

AK: State commission recommends slashing Alaska lawmakers’ salaries, expense checks

The four members of the Alaska State Officers Compensation Commission voted to propose slashing legislators' $50,400 annual salary by 10 percent, to $45,360. They also voted to recommend replacing lawmakers' special system of per diem, which pays more than $200 for daily lodging and meal expenses, with the less-generous system used by state agency employees.

In Opioid Declaration, Trump Promises to Speed Medicaid Waivers for More Beds Preventing Evictions
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