What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/23

TX: Trump commission sought Hispanic surnames on Texas voter lists 

President Donald Trump’s voting commission asked every state and the District of Columbia for detailed voter registration data, but in Texas’ case it took an additional step: It asked to see Texas records that identify all voters with Hispanic surnames, newly released documents show. 

KY: Lawsuit charges that drugmaker flooded Kentucky with 477 pain pills for every resident 

A drug wholesaler flooded Kentucky counties with millions of prescription painkillers even as overdose deaths were on the rise, Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear charged in a lawsuit filed in Franklin Circuit Court. 

PA: Pennsylvania court orders new congressional map due to gerrymandering 

Pennsylvania’s top court threw out the state’s congressional map, ruling that Republican legislators unlawfully sought partisan advantage, and gave them three weeks to rework it in a decision that could boost Democratic chances of retaking the U.S. House of Representatives. 

WI: Judge: Wisconsin lawmaker should have provided electronic copies of open records 

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that a state legislator should have provided a journalist with electronic copies of records that he had requested. The journalist asked for electronic copies of more than 1,500 pages of records related to state policies on water after Republican state Rep. Scott Krug initially offered to make copies of them for a per-page fee. 

AL: Bill to eliminate marriage licenses moving quickly in Alabama Legislature 

A bill to eliminate marriage licenses and end the requirement for a marriage ceremony in Alabama is on the move in the state Legislature. Some probate judges in the state had stopped issuing marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. 

VT: Vermont becomes 1st state to legalize marijuana through Legislature 

Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s signature makes his the first state to approve recreational marijuana legislatively. Eight other states plus the District of Columbia have passed marijuana legalization measures via ballot initiative. Nationwide, 70 million people — more than 1 in 5 Americans — now live in legal marijuana states. 

CA: Trump versus California: One year into his presidency, tensions rise 

The new federal tax law, which sharply limits deductions used extensively in California, and GOP threats to curb Medicaid spending continue to pose billion-dollar risks for millions of the state's residents and to its budget. The state also expects to clash with administration efforts to curb immigration, both legal and illegal, expand offshore oil drilling and punish states that have legalized marijuana. 

WV: West Virginia House passes textbook flexibility bill 

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed to the state Senate a bill advertised as providing county boards of education more flexibility in choosing print and electronic textbooks and other instructional materials. 

FL: Opioid bill advances in Florida House despite doctors’ worries 

A bill designed to stem the epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses was approved by a Florida House committee, despite objections from some doctors that a provision limiting the length of some prescriptions is impractical. 

LA: Louisiana governor unveils doomsday budget that guts education, health care funding 

Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has unveiled a doomsday budget that would gut the popular Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, deeply cut mental health and other health care programs and eliminate funding for some local government services, among other efforts to cut $1 billion ahead of the looming budget shortfall. "This is what falling off the cliff looks like," Edwards said. 

TN: Tennessee governor unveils $30 million plan to combat opioid crisis 

Educating children, making overdose-reversing drugs available to all Tennessee state troopers and adding hundreds of prison beds to treat those fighting opioid addiction are part of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and legislative leaders' $30 million proposal to combat the epidemic. More than 1,600 residents died from drug overdoses in 2016. 

NM: Border barriers in New Mexico to be replaced 

The Trump administration announced it was preparing to replace existing vehicle barriers along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico that officials call "an area of high illegal entry." Federal officials say the area remains an active route for human smuggling and drug trafficking. 

IA: Iowa bill would make it illegal to carry gun in business with sign banning weapons 

An Iowa lawmaker has introduced a bill that would make it a crime for people carrying a gun to enter a building that has a sign posted banning dangerous weapons. The measure has drawn opposition from Second Amendment advocates.

Gender Pay Gap in Iowa #MeToo and Affirmative Consent