What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/13

NC: Details about public business in North Carolina often remain off-limits

Hundreds of times a year across North Carolina, officials who control everything from taxes to tuition meet behind closed doors to conduct sensitive business on behalf of the public they serve. They’re supposed to keep an account of what happens and provide that account to the public, but that’s often not the case.

IN: Indiana GOP lawmakers make last-minute move to revive gun legislation

Some Republican lawmakers in Indiana are trying to revive legislation that would do away with fees for handgun permits and allow churches with schools to let guns on church property, drawing outrage from some gun control advocates.

MA: 245 Massachusetts State Police troopers earned more than $200k last year

About 12 percent of the Massachusetts state trooper force made more than $200,000 last year, according to a Boston Globe review of payroll data. The allure of big pay for long hours has raised concerns that troopers could be too tired and that State Police could save money by hiring to cut down on overtime.

WY: Grizzly bear hunting regulations proposed in Wyoming

Up to 24 grizzly bears could be killed during this fall’s hunting season if Wyoming’s wildlife commission approves new draft regulations. It would be the first grizzly bear hunting season since bears were placed on the endangered species list in 1975.

TX: Lawyers eager to help Texas counties sue opioid makers

Local governments across Texas have been the focus of a legal feeding frenzy as law firms vie to represent them in lawsuits against drugmakers. The firms say the companies oversold the drugs’ benefits and downplayed the risk for addiction. More than 1,100 Texans died from opioids in 2016.

CT: Connecticut Senate reluctant to endorse nominee who would be state’s first openly gay justice

Republicans say their opposition has nothing to do with state Supreme Court nominee Andrew J. McDonald’s sexual orientation, but rather his role in a legal case that struck down the last vestiges of Connecticut’s capital punishment.

WV: West Virginia governor fires senator’s wife for critical statements

West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice announced that he fired Gayle Manchin, secretary of education and the arts and wife of Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, for releasing a statement that was critical of a bill to eliminate her department.

CA: California transportation agency desperate to fill thousands of new jobs

California's transportation department plans to swell its staff by 10 percent over the next five years, adding 2,000 employees to help it execute projects funded by the state’s new gasoline tax. The agency is trying to cut through some of the state’s civil service rules to fill the jobs on a tight timeline.

NV: Meth may soon kill more Nevadans than opioids

Methamphetamine-related deaths in Nevada have nearly quadrupled since 2008 and are on pace to outnumber opioid-related deaths, according to state data. Spikes in meth are also occurring in Oregon and Washington state as more of it is trafficked over the border from Mexico.

SC: Personal data of South Carolina students exposed for nearly a year

About 3,000 South Carolina college scholarship recipients had their personal information exposed online for nearly a year, state regulators revealed.

WI: Wisconsin governor signs rural school funding bill

Low-spending school districts in Wisconsin would be allowed to increase property taxes without voter approval under a measure signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

MT: Federal judge rules against marriage licenses for Montana polygamists

A polygamous Montana trio sought a marriage license in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage. They filed their lawsuit in federal court after being denied an application for a second marriage license.

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