What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/14

TX: At Texas Capitol, sexual harassment victims must fend for themselves

As sexual misconduct accusations pile up against men in power across the country, interviews by the Texas Tribune with more than two dozen current and former lawmakers and legislative aides indicate sexual harassment not only is pervasive at the Texas Capitol but also regularly goes unchecked. Most of those interviewed described how men at the Capitol — some of them lawmakers — engaged in a wide range of harassment, including degrading comments and gestures, groping and unwanted sexual advances.

KY: As coal falls, a digital revolution begins in Appalachia

In Eastern Kentucky, in the heart of rural Appalachia and amid the coal-dust remnants of the Industrial Revolution, a nascent digital revolution is taking shape.

CT: Connecticut state Supreme Court hears Sandy Hook gun case

The Connecticut state Supreme Court begins arguments in a lawsuit by the victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre against the manufacturer of the weapon used in the shooting. Families of nine victims who were killed and a teacher who survived the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre filed the lawsuit in January 2015 seeking to hold Remington Outdoor Co. liable, arguing it marketed the AR-15 to the public even though it knew the weapon was designed for military use.

KS: Disabled Kansans’ ballots tossed because voters didn’t write their names

The ballots of 23 Sedgwick County voters were tossed out under a Kansas state law that requires disabled voters to sign their own mail-in ballot envelopes. County commissioners, acting as the canvassing board for last week’s election, reluctantly signed off on the decision to toss out the ballots.

WI: Wisconsin governor eliminates state’s minimum hunting age

Children of any age can now hunt in Wisconsin, after Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that eliminates the state's minimum age. The new law allows children of any age to participate in a mentored hunt and allows mentor and student to carry their own weapons.

PA: New Pennsylvania law boosts in-state solar

The new provision prohibits out-of-state solar power from qualifying for renewable-energy credits. Under a 2004 Pennsylvania law, by 2021, a portion of electricity consumed in the state must come from solar sources, but power produced from solar installations in more than a dozen nearby states had qualified for Pennsylvania solar credits, causing a glut of solar credits and a fall in prices.

CO: Colorado lawmakers call for protection against sexual harassment

Top lawmakers in Colorado have begun a bipartisan push to change how to prevent and report sexual harassment in the state Llegislature as one of their own faces allegations he made sexual advances toward another lawmaker.

NV: Federal immigration decision may hurt Nevada tourism workers

Many workers in the Nevada gaming and tourism industry may have to leave the country if the White House ends temporary protected status for foreign nationals such as Salvadorians. Temporary protected status is an immigration classification for people whose lives might be in danger if they returned to their home countries.

OH: Ohio Democratic staffer resigns after 'inappropriate conduct'

The chief of staff for Ohio Senate Democrats was asked to resign after "inappropriate conduct toward staff" came to light.

ME: Why delivering babies is draining Maine’s small hospitals

In Maine’s most rural areas, obstetrics closures are an early warning symptom that small hospitals can’t continue to provide a wide array of specialty services while maintaining a healthy bottom line.

HI: Honolulu police clearing backlog of sexual assault kits

The Honolulu Police Department says that by the end of November it will clear a backlog of nearly 1,400 sexual assault evidence kits, some dating back more than two decades. A legislative audit led by the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office last year revealed the extent of the backlogs at Hawaii’s police departments, where DNA evidence collected from sexual assaults has languished on shelves for years.

VA: Study urges Virginia to take a different approach to compensating state employees

Virginia should consider a different approach to compensating state employees, according to a new legislative study that says work force pay needs to be an annual priority to ensure that agencies can recruit and retain talent, especially in jobs with high turnover and non-competitive salaries.

AZ: Arizona firm overbilled VA by tens of millions

A Phoenix-based company that oversees about half of the private medical care for America's veterans, in Arizona and 27 other states, overbilled the government by tens of millions of dollars, according to an audit. An investigation started based on anonymous comments by employees on a website.

Statehouse Sexual Harassment Drug Overdoses