What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/12

NE: Nebraska first state to add all prescription drugs to daily monitoring system

The change made Nebraska the first state in the nation to require daily logging of all prescription drugs. The database, known as the prescription drug monitoring program, previously required reporting of drugs that were most likely to be abused, among them pain pills and some anti-anxiety medications.

PA: Pennsylvania to require voting machines with paper backup

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf ordered Pennsylvania counties that plan to replace their electronic voting systems to buy machines that leave a paper trail — a safeguard against hacking — but his budget doesn’t include any money to fund the replacement of the state’s aging, increasingly vulnerable fleet.

CA: California pensions facing hit as charter schools consider leaving

One of California’s largest charter school organizations is exploring whether it wants to withdraw from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, raising alarms among unions and public pension officials who fear a gradual weakening of the $345 billion fund. Aspire Public Schools operates 36 schools in California.

NV: Nevada wants out of federal health exchange

Nevada's Silver State Health Insurance Exchange took the first step to exiting the federal system and building its own exchange. An official with the Nevada exchange said the change is needed because the federal exchange is raising its premium rates dramatically.

NY: Sale of Weinstein company delayed by New York attorney general lawsuit

The fire sale of the Weinstein Company hit a last-minute snag when New York state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit against the studio and its founders alleging that they repeatedly violated state and city laws barring gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion.

LA: Governor’s tax plan wouldn't close Louisiana's $1 billion budget gap

Even if Louisiana lawmakers fully enacted the tax plan offered by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, it would only cover about three-fourths of Louisiana's $994 million budget gap that opens up July 1, according to figures the Legislative Fiscal Office provided.

KY: Kentucky rushes to remake Medicaid as other states prepare to follow

With approval from the Trump administration fresh in hand, Kentucky is rushing to roll out its first-in-the-nation plan to require many Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or train for a job — even as critics mount a legal challenge to stop it on the grounds that it violates the basic tenets of the program.

GA: State revenue jumps as Georgians prepay taxes ahead of federal changes

Georgia income tax collections shot up $359 million in January as the Department of Revenue took in payments ahead of the new federal tax law. Overall state revenue jumped 16.7 percent over January 2017.

FL: Florida lawmakers consider restricting access to voter information

A bill introduced in the Florida House would keep information about voters from the news media, researchers and the general public — but not political parties or committees.

DE: Delaware lawmakers want answers on rising special education costs

Lawmakers tasked with crafting the state budget are seeking more detail about why Delaware’s special education student population has grown by 22 percent over the last five years to about 21,550 students — nearly four times the growth rate of the overall student population. Meeting the needs of those students is now one of the leading cost drivers for the state Department of Education.

MA: Massachusetts bill would bar companies from citing religious exemptions

The Massachusetts proposal would prevent corporations from claiming religious exemptions from state anti-discrimination laws. The bill is in part a reaction to the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that enabled the Christian-owned Hobby Lobby chain to be exempt from a federal mandate to offer contraceptives as part of its employee health care plans.

HI: Hawaii emergency, tourism officials join in crisis reporting effort

Whenever there is a potential crisis, the Hawaii Tourism Authority — which was caught flat-footed after last month’s false missile alert — soon will be expected to compile a daily report with input from county visitor bureaus that will be linked to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s website. Information could include damage reports, hotel vacancies and available visitor industry resources. 

WI: Wisconsin lawmakers consider regulations for horseshoes used by Amish

After complaints about studded horseshoes tearing up freshly paved county highways, legislators in Wisconsin are considering a bill to ban them during summer months.

Daylight Savings Time State Earmarks