What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/8

NV: Nevada triples funding for New Year's Eve security in Las Vegas

Nevada lawmakers have approved $357,000 to fund New Year’s Eve security in Las Vegas, about triple the amount spent last year. The money will support a record 358 Nevada National Guard troops to be stationed at several spots throughout the celebration.

MI: Police, firefighters win battle over retirement benefits in Michigan

Firefighter and police officer unions celebrated a victory at the Michigan Capitol as Republican legislators scaled back a local government retirement reform package critics feared could slash promised benefits for public workers.

OK: Oklahoma state revenues up 12 percent

Oklahoma state tax revenues for November were up more than 12 percent over the same month last year, marking the eighth consecutive month that state tax revenues have experienced year-over-year growth.

KY: Pension plans will need nearly $800 million more next year, Kentucky Retirement Systems says

The three plans that provide pension and health benefits for state government retirees will need $477 million more next year, and $317 million more will be needed from local governments and school districts in Kentucky for the pension and health benefits of their employees.

NJ: New Jersey looks to make ‘drunken droning’ a crime

A bill approved by the New Jersey Senate would make operating a drone under the influence of alcohol a disorderly person offense, which carries a sentence of up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. It also would make using a drone to hunt wildlife and endanger people or property a similar offense.

DE: Delaware considering safe heroin injection sites, pushing for ‘Obamacare’ extension

In an effort to slow overdose deaths, Delaware health officials say they may follow the lead of some European and U.S. cities by providing safe places for heroin users to get high. The state may also seek an extension of the deadline for signups under the Affordable Care Act, from Dec. 15 to Jan. 1.

CA: Key California environmental law not a barrier to development, new state report says

The study, which covered five years ending in 2016, examined how state transportation, housing, parks and other projects were handled under the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires developers to disclose and often lessen their project’s effect on the environment before proceeding with construction. The study found that 1 percent of projects required detailed analyses under the law and less than 1 percent of them were sued.

MT: Federal court upholds Montana ban on political endorsements for judges

A federal appeals court has upheld a Montana law that says judicial candidates cannot seek, accept or use political endorsements in their campaigns. A candidate for justice of the peace had challenged the rule, saying it violated his right First Amendment rights.

NM: New Mexico scales back heavily criticized Medicaid cuts

New Mexico’s state Human Services Department is walking back cuts to Medicaid widely opposed by hospitals, advocates for the poor and some doctors, but it has not abandoned the proposals entirely — still leaving some patients facing higher costs for health care in the coming years.

IA: Iowa’s unfunded pension liabilities rise to nearly $7 billion

The unfunded liability of Iowa's largest public employees' pension fund has increased to almost $7 billion amid recent actuarial changes that reflect lowered expectations for future investment gains.

WY: Wyoming's homeless population continues to grow

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Wyoming has increased each year since 2014, despite moderate economic growth. But the number of homeless families, chronically homeless individuals and homeless veterans showed a decrease from 2016.

OH: Ohio grants $10M for new ways to fight opioid scourge

Ohio awarded $10 million in grants to six companies and a university that have come up with innovative scientific ideas to address the national opioid epidemic.

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