What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/7

MD: Maryland medical marijuana dispensaries are running out of pot in opening week 

Five of the seven licensed medical marijuana dispensaries that have opened in Maryland since Friday said they have completely or almost run out of flower — the raw part of the marijuana plant that is smoked or vaporized — and have limited supplies of other cannabis products. The other two stores are limiting sales to a small group of preregistered patients. 

CT: Connecticut transportation system at risk of dramatic contraction

Connecticut’s cash-starved transportation program would need to scrap some rail services, drive up fares, suspend 40 percent of planned capital projects, and defer major highway rebuilds to remain solvent over the next five years, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has warned Wall Street. 

NE: Rise in Nebraska's foster care numbers is 'striking' and 'concerning,' official says

A new report shows that foster care numbers in Nebraska have climbed for a second straight year, with 5.1 percent more children across the state in out-of-home care through the child welfare system between July 2016 and this June. Some areas saw much steeper increases — 22.5 percent in the west, 12 percent in the southeast — while numbers held steady in the Omaha area. 

WY: Wyoming governor seeks new funds to offset cuts in federal tax bill

Facing anticipated cuts as a result of the federal tax reform bill, Republican Gov. Matt Mead presented the Wyoming Legislature with a budget that seeks increased funding for several departments. 

CA: Wine country wildfires costliest in California history

October’s wine country wildfires are now the costliest in California history, with insurance claims pegged at $9.4 billion. The latest estimate from the state Insurance Department was released as wildfires continued to burn in Southern California, including a new blaze that erupted early Wednesday in the posh Bel Air section of Los Angeles. 

IL: Illinois ending data program designed to find at-risk kids

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is ending a high-profile program that used computer data mining to identify children at risk for serious injury or death. The agency's top official called the technology unreliable. 

MI: Michigan is 1 of 2 states where lawmakers' finances unknown

Michigan could end up being the only state in the country where legislators pass and reject laws without the public knowing about their personal finances. Forty-seven states now require lawmakers to file some sort of financial disclosure and Vermont will begin mandating it next year. In Idaho, a group of lawmakers recently agreed that elected officials should disclose their financial information and forwarded a proposal to the Legislature for consideration in 2018.

NC: Company tied to rich donor wants to take over low-performing North Carolina school

Two companies, including one tied to a wealthy libertarian donor who helped pass a state law allowing takeover of low-performing North Carolina schools, are trying to win state approval to run one of those schools. 

AK: State commission reverses plan to slash Alaska legislators’ expense checks

An independent commission reversed its proposal to slash Alaska lawmakers' daily expense checks by nearly three-fourths, to $78, instead moving to leave them in place except for when legislators are working from home. The decision means most legislators would get to keep drawing the payments of as much as $295 a day, which can top $35,000 over the course of a year if lawmakers work past their standard 90-day deadline in Juneau. 

MT: Montana officials have a month to address jail crowding — or they'll lose $2M

The Montana Department of Corrections has about a month to get 60 to 70 people out of county jails, or it loses $2 million. That’s because of a footnote lawmakers added to the budget bill late this spring trying to force quick action on the problem. 

IA: Iowa grocers want to quit redeeming empty cans and bottles

If Iowa's grocery stores and the non-alcoholic beverage industry have their way, the state's 5-cent bottle deposit law will be scrapped by the Iowa Legislature and replaced with an expanded statewide recycling program. 

PA: Pennsylvania kids will take fewer tests, given later in the year

Amid a national pushback against standardized tests, the start of the administration of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment will be moved back one week, to April 9. And beginning in 2019, the exam window will move to late April, with districts given greater flexibility in when they choose to give students the exams. The exam window will also shrink from three to two weeks. 

Cyber Aid Foster Kids and College