What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/25

DE: 'Red flag' gun bill passes, heads to Delaware governor's desk

The Delaware General Assembly passed the first major gun control legislation of 2018. The Beau Biden Gun Violence Protection Act would allow police to temporarily seize firearms from someone whom a mental health professional deems a danger to themselves or others. 

WA: Opioid crisis costs Washington state $9 billion a year, report says 

A new report states the opioid crisis has cost Washington state billions of dollars in a single year. Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray released the analysis that found that in 2016 the crisis cost the state over $9 billion in fatalities, health care spending, addiction treatment, criminal justice and lost productivity. 

NJ: New Jersey ruling could reignite battle over church-state separation 

A unanimous decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court found that public money could no longer be used by churches, citing a clause in the state constitution expressly forbidding it, a decision that could reverberate beyond New Jersey. Some New Jersey counties provide millions of dollars to churches in the form of historic preservation grants. 

TN: An ICE raid has turned the lives of hundreds of Tennessee kids upside down 

Earlier this month, federal officials conducted the largest raid on a U.S. work site since Postville, Iowa, arresting 97 people at a meat-processing plant in in Bean Station, Tennessee. Once again, kids suffered. 

MA: Massachusetts high court rejects challenge to charter school cap 

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dealt a blow to advocates who have sought to lift the ceiling on the number of charter schools permitted to operate statewide. The high court agreed with a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state’s charter school cap. 

MI: Michigan measure would require locks on opioid prescription bottles 

Michigan Republican and Democratic lawmakers unveiled a bill that would require opioids and other Schedule II drugs to be dispensed in lockable vials, in an effort to deter opioid abuse. Patients would only be able to open the caps through a combination code or biometric recognition system. 

OK: Oklahoma Republican lawmakers reach deal on spending; give teachers a boost 

Majority Republican legislative leaders in Oklahoma have reached an agreement on a spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year that increases overall spending by more than 10 percent. It includes nearly $500 million in new spending for public schools, an increase of nearly 20 percent for education that mostly funded teacher pay hikes and was the subject of statewide teacher walkouts. 

KS: Kansas Legislature considers tax cuts a year after scrapping Brownback’s tax cuts 

Nearly a year after the Kansas Legislature raised taxes and largely ended former Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cut experiment, the state budget has stabilized. Revenue is up, and officials project a surplus of hundreds of millions next year. So, Kansas lawmakers will soon decide on whether to raise the standard deduction, effectively cutting taxes. 

MD: Governor signed ban on Maryland pet stores using ‘puppy mills.’ Store owners are pushing back.

Maryland became the second state in the country to ban retail pet stores from selling puppies and kittens, which animal welfare advocates say will reduce “puppy mills.” Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed the legislation into law despite pushback from pet store owners. 

RI: Activists flood Rhode Island State House as lawmakers take up gun bills 

At least several hundred people crowded the Rhode Island State House rotunda as the push resumed to raise the legal age to buy a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21, and to impose bans on military-style weapons and on carrying guns on school grounds. 

Community College B.A. Care for the Criminally Insane