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

WI: Wisconsin governor signs bill clearing way for copper and gold mining

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has approved a measure that repeals a nearly two-decade-old Wisconsin law that essentially barred companies from extracting minerals besides iron because of pollution concerns. The decision hands a win to business groups over environmental opponents.

US: Shared-parenting bills may reshape custody battles

Legislatures in more than 20 states are considering bills that would encourage shared parenting or make it a legal presumption — even when parents disagree. The legal push follows years of lobbying by fathers’ rights advocates who say men feel alienated from their children and overburdened by child-support obligations.

CA: In California, mixed results for regulations meant to help stop fires

The wildfires that raced across the hills of Southern California this week have tested the tough regulations California communities put in place to contain widespread destruction of homes in seasonal fires. But as some fires continued to roar out of control, fire officials say rules like requiring homeowners to clear flammable bush near their houses have been of mixed success.

VA: Virginia governor wants option of undergraduate teaching degree to address shortage

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants Virginia colleges and universities to offer the option of an undergraduate degree in teaching — rather than a five-year master's program — to help fill what he calls "a severe and growing shortage of qualified teachers."

IA: Iowa budget could see another $45 million to $90 million in spending cuts

When the Iowa Legislature returns in January, lawmakers will likely be faced with making $45 million to $90 million in budget cuts for the fiscal year that ends June 30. The grim news came after a revenue forecast for the current budget year that is less than was forecast earlier in the year, when the Legislature developed its budget.

NE: Nebraska juvenile facilities confined youths alone 2,400 times during last year

In the state’s first attempt to collect information about room confinement practices, a new Nebraska report says state juvenile facilities confined youths alone in their rooms nearly 2,400 times during the past year. Research shows that confining juveniles alone can exacerbate mental illness and the risk of suicide, and also increase a youth’s risk to reoffend.

PA: Pennsylvania expands coverage for in-home nursing care

In perhaps the biggest change in Pennsylvania's $30 billion Medicaid program since 2015, insurers will be paid to manage Medicaid's long-term care services, with a financial incentive to get enrollees the nursing care and services they need in a home, where it is half as expensive as a nursing home.

RI: Rhode Island city wants to make firehouses ‘safe stations’ for opioid sufferers

Under a new program in Rhode Island, firefighters at Providence’s 12 fire stations will begin working with the Providence Center to connect anyone who comes there with substance-abuse treatment and counseling.

WY: 2017 eclipse helped boost Wyoming’s economy by $63 million

About 99,000 out-of-state visitors said they went to Wyoming in late August solely to view the eclipse, according to a new report from the state tourism office, far below the projections of up to 500,000 eclipse visitors floated in the months leading up to the event. Another 100,000 people described the eclipse as an important factor in their trip.

MA: Thirteen states sue over Massachusetts egg law

The law, set to take effect in 2022, will mandate all pork, veal, and eggs farmed — and sold — in Massachusetts come from pigs, calves and laying hens not confined to tight quarters. The 13 states say the statute violates the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among states.

CO: Colorado city receives first application for a social marijuana use license

Entrepreneurs who plan to open a coffee shop in a gritty industrial area of Denver have applied to the Colorado city for a license to allow social marijuana use at their business. The prospective bring-your-own cannabis coffee shop would allow on-site vaping and consumption of edibles, but not marijuana smoking.

CT: Report faults Connecticut pesticide enforcement

There has been a “dramatic decline” in state inspections and enforcement of pesticides misuse and abuse in recent years, according to a new report by Connecticut’s Council on Environmental Quality. More than 12,000 pesticides are registered for use and about 10,000 people are certified by the state to apply pesticides.

Puppy Sales No Parking