What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/3

ID: Idaho's worst flu season in years claims 13 lives

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has received five new reports in one week of Idahoans who died from an influenza-related illness, bringing the season total to 13 deaths. Idaho health officials have seen more influenza-related deaths at this point in the season than in the same time frame in the previous seven seasons.

IL: Illinois suspends tax break for health firm

Illinois has suspended a tax credit agreement with Outcome Health — worth an estimated $6.1 million over a decade — in the wake of allegations that the tech company misled investors and advertisers. Outcome Health entered into its tax break agreement in November 2016, with a requirement to add at least 175 new full-time jobs in 2017 and 2018.

NM: New Mexico top court blocks 10 vetoed bills

The New Mexico state Supreme Court has temporarily blocked 10 bills passed during last year's legislative session from becoming law, granting a stay sought by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. Legislative leaders had sued to stop the governor’s vetoes, claiming they are invalid — either because she acted too late or failed her constitutional duty to explain her objections.

VT: Vermont lawmakers take up pot debate this week

Vermont lawmakers are expecting to resume the debate about whether the state should become the first in the country to legalize the recreational use of marijuana through an act of a legislative body in the opening days of the 2018 legislative session.

FL: Florida bill would prevent local restrictions on vacation rentals

As Orange County and Orlando look into allowing short-term home rentals under some conditions, a bill filed in the Florida Legislature might take that choice away from them entirely.

MO: Legislature’s panel recommends gas tax hike vote in Missouri

A panel set up by Missouri lawmakers wants voters to raise the state's gasoline tax by a dime to help maintain one of the nation's most extensive highway networks. Republican state Rep. Kevin Corlew said the 10-cent boost, as well as a 12-cent increase for diesel, would raise an estimated $430 million in revenue for road projects each year.

LA: Major changes needed at Louisiana School for the Deaf, board member says

The Louisiana School for the Deaf, which is undergoing a review amid poor performance, needs an overhaul, a member of the state's top school board said, adding that the school pales in comparison to schools for the deaf elsewhere.

WY: Wyoming oil and gas lease revenues jump 800 percent in 2017

Revenue from leasing land to oil and gas companies in Wyoming jumped by more than 800 percent from 2016 to 2017. The bidding war for state and federal leases has been driven by the rising price of oil and a new presidential administration that has encouraged energy development.

CA: As fish disappear, Trump administration seeks to pump more California water south

The Trump administration is taking steps to pump more water through the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of California despite fresh documentation of the estuary’s declining fish populations. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced it is looking to bring more water to the agricultural districts that belong to the federal government’s Central Valley Project.

WI: Wisconsin lawmakers propose re-establishing Conservation Corps program

Young people would be able to earn money for college by working on conservation projects under a bipartisan bill making its way through the Wisconsin Legislature.

DE: New state offensive in EPA pollution battle

Delaware intends to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over what state officials say is its failure to regulate the air pollution that drifts in from smokestacks in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The state is demanding that federal regulators require power plants in those upwind states to run "existing pollution control equipment when the plants are in operation."

PA: Pennsylvania agencies fielded hundreds of sex misconduct complaints

Pennsylvania state government agencies fielded 339 reports of alleged sexual harassment over a recent five-year period. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration provided the breakdown for agencies under his jurisdiction as two state government officials resigned amid allegations by women of misconduct in the workplace.

IA: Iowans cautioned about state tax impacts for college savings plans

State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is urging Iowans to be cautious as officials review the impact of the new federal tax reform bill on Iowa 529 college savings plans, which have assets of over $5 billion held by thousands of parents, grandparents and others.

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