What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/29

Top State Stories 11/29

WI: Wisconsin Legislature's sexual harassment investigations won't be released to the public 

The top Republican and Democrat in the Wisconsin Assembly have vowed to ensure there would be no sexual harassment in their body but said they would always oppose releasing the results of investigations into such allegations. 

MO: Missouri licenses get waiver from “REAL ID” law 

Missouri residents will be able to board airplanes and enter federal installations using their current driver’s licenses and identification cards following a decision by the federal government. The Missouri Department of Revenue said the state has been granted a nearly yearlong waiver to begin complying with the federal REAL ID law. Without the waiver, airports could have turned away Missourians attempting to board planes using their IDs beginning in January. 

CA: California lawmakers sharply critical of Assembly harassment policies 

A legislative panel decried the California State Assembly’s system for examining misconduct as riddled with flaws and designed to shield lawmakers who behave badly. Five women offered emotional testimony around harassment they’ve experienced or witnessed, including claims against lawmakers, and explained that women are afraid to risk their careers by coming forward. 

DC: D.C. leaders hope revamped apprenticeships can bring more residents to the middle class 

City officials hope a growing apprenticeship program in Washington, D.C., will plug a widening gap between affluent and poorer residents. They view apprenticeships as a way to help the district’s more than 25,000 unemployed residents — who are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic — secure well-paying jobs as a pathway into the middle class. 

AZ: Bill would allow lane-splitting for Arizona motorcycles 

Arizona would join California in legalizing lane-splitting by motorcycles under a proposed bill to be considered in January. Many state officials opposed the practice as dangerous, though a 2015 California study found it is "relatively safe" at speeds under 50 mph.

NY: New York hospital illegally charged dozens of sex assault victims for rape kits 

The Brooklyn Hospital Center billed dozens of sexual assault victims for forensic rape exams that are supposed to be free, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The hospital has agreed to pay back the affected patients in full and institute a policy that prevents such improper billing of sexual assault victims, Schneiderman said. 

VT: Vermont reports lagging tax revenue 

State finance officials say personal tax income revenues have fallen about $6.4 million below target through the end of October, dampening Vermont’s general fund. 

NE: Nebraska Democratic Party is preparing a code of conduct that penalizes sexual harassment 

The Nebraska Democratic Party is considering a code of conduct that says party leaders are not to sexually harass or assault people. The party’s first code of conduct would allow for the removal of party leaders who commit harassment or assault. It also could make it easier for the party to deny resources to Democratic candidates who have done so. 

IA: Iowa governor defends privatized Medicaid after weeks of changes 

Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, defended Iowa's privatized Medicaid program after state officials announced that some Medicaid recipients again will see a change in their coverage options. 

MA: Amid reports of harassment, Massachusetts Senate leader says his office has only two complaints 

One case involved a Massachusetts Senate staffer who complained about a visitor to the Statehouse. The other case involved a Senate intern accused of harassment, he said. 

MD: Marylanders days away from being able to legally buy medical marijuana 

Nearly five years after state lawmakers legalized marijuana for medical use, this week marks the official launch in Maryland of an industry that is worth billions nationwide. In all, 14 growers, 12 processors and nine dispensaries have been licensed by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. About 15,000 Marylanders have signed up in the hope of becoming patients, with 8,500 already certified to buy medical cannabis, according to the commission. 

NC: DMV workers wasted almost $100,000, North Carolina audit says 

Over the last three years, two North Carolina DMV workers wasted nearly $100,000 of taxpayer money, according to a new report that outlines how they racked up bills taking unauthorized trips with state vehicles. 

ND: Ballot measure petition seeks full legalization of marijuana in North Dakota 

An effort to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in North Dakota is underway. The petition calls for the “full legalization of marijuana,” meaning those over the age of 21 could use, possess, grow and distribute it for any purpose. Anyone previously convicted of a crime that’s legalized by the measure would have their records expunged. 

LA: Louisiana stares down budget hole as temporary taxes near expiration 

Louisiana lawmakers are scrambling to find a long-term fix for a looming fiscal crisis and avoid deep spending cuts before $1 billion in temporary tax measures expire next year.

Foreclosure Starts Historic Preservation