What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/2

Top State Stories 1/2

US: Democrats in high-tax states plot to blunt impact of new tax law 

Governors and legislative leaders in New York, California and other high-cost, high-tax states are considering legal challenges to elements of the newly passed Republican tax overhaul. They also are looking at ways of raising revenue that aren’t penalized by the law and considering changing their state tax codes to allow residents to take advantage of other federal tax breaks — in effect, restoring deductions that the tax law scaled back. 

OH: Ohio Supreme Court wants state’s execution-drug records 

Ohio’s prison system must produce records about lethal drugs it wants shielded from public view for justices on the state Supreme Court to review privately as part of an open records dispute, the court ruled. 

WV: Voter ID law to take effect in West Virginia 

The burden of proof at the polls will be on West Virginia voters starting this year. A law requiring voters to present identification before they can vote takes effect this week. The law was passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2016. 

NC: White supremacists took over a city – now North Carolina is doing more to remember deadly coup 

The North Carolina government is officially recognizing what historians call the only successful coup d’etat in American history, when white supremacists overthrew the Reconstruction-era government in Wilmington in 1898. The state’s Highway Historical Marker Committee has approved a new plaque to be installed in Wilmington in 2018 near a busy intersection, which will tell people about the racist attack that left dozens dead and heralded the start of the Jim Crow era there. 

PA: Pennsylvania patients must choose: Medical marijuana or gun ownership 

The town drunk can buy firearms. So can someone who has been involuntarily placed in a mental hospital for a short stay. But anyone who wants to participate in Pennsylvania’s new program providing medicinal cannabis products to patients suffering from 17 serious health conditions is forbidden from owning a gun. 

MD: No more copays for contraceptives in Maryland 

A new law that took effect in Maryland prohibits insurance companies from charging any copayments for contraceptive procedures and drugs, and mandates that insurance coverage include over-the-counter contraceptives like the morning-after pill. 

NM: New Mexico utility begins to shutter coal-fired plants 

A long-awaited shutdown of coal-fired power plants in New Mexico has begun, another economic blow to the state's energy-dependent San Juan region, already battered by low natural gas prices. 

OR: At a veterans hospital in Oregon, a push for better ratings puts patients at risk, doctors say 

In 2016, administrators at an Oregon veterans hospital began cherry-picking cases against the advice of doctors — turning away complicated patients and admitting only the lowest-risk ones in order to improve metrics, according to multiple interviews with doctors and nurses at the hospital and a review of documents. 

TX: The Texas coastline is slowly disappearing. Here’s how one community copes. 

Texas’ shoreline is experiencing one of the highest rates of land loss of any coastal area in the country thanks to a combination of subsidence, sea level rise and storm surges. In some places, more than 30 feet of shoreline disappears underwater annually. 

NH: New Hampshire governor to endorse lead poisoning prevention bill 

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, is backing a bill that would establish universal lead testing for all 1- and 2-year-olds. It also would gradually reduce the blood lead level that triggers state regulatory action. 

ME: Maine bill calls for ban on signature gathering at polling places 

A Maine bill would virtually ban the gathering of voter signatures at the polling place on Election Day and also push candidates who are on the ballot back away from the polling place. State lawmakers in recent years have lamented the number of citizen-initiated bills — many driven by signatures gathered near polling places — that have been approved by voters, including major changes to marijuana law, voting, taxation and the minimum wage in just the past two years alone. 

KY: Kentucky overuses isolation cells for youths even after girl’s death, report says 

Nearly two years after a 16-year-old girl died alone and unnoticed in an isolation cell, state officials acknowledge that the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice still has serious problems to correct at its seven detention centers. 

CA: Recreational pot sales roll out in California, with celebratory 'blunts' and big crowds 

California has issued dozens of permits for retailers to begin recreational sales this week, expanding a market that is expected to grow to $7 billion annually by 2020. Hundreds of customers — everyone from older people in leisure suits to a young man in pajamas got in line — waited upwards of an hour to buy such things as pre-rolled joints, topical creams and foods infused with marijuana.

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