What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/14

CA: California governor is reluctant to spend huge surplus 

California has an $8.8 billion surplus, but Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put $7.6 billion of it into two reserve funds. Brown warned that a recession could be just around the corner, and the state should avoid long-term commitments that it might not be able to afford in a downturn. 

AZ: Fentanyl ingredients traced to Arizona 

Ingredients to make 30 million deadly doses of fentanyl were seized in Southern Arizona after being mailed from China, two federal investigations show. Investigators seized enough ingredients to make more than $600 million worth of the deadly opioid. 

UT: Mormon church releases a memo opposing medical marijuana legalization in Utah 

The Mormon church has released a memo describing what it views as “legal issues” surrounding a ballot initiative in support of medical marijuana in Utah. For instance, lawyers for the church said the initiative would allow some people to grow as many as six marijuana plants. 

TX: A federal lawsuit could open the door to online voter registration in Texas 

Texas has refused to allow online voter registration, which is already in place in the vast majority of states. But Texas could be forced to create at least one narrow avenue for online voter registration after a federal judge ruled the state is violating the National Voter Registration Act. 

KS: New law in Kansas bans police from having sex during traffic stops 

A new Kansas law makes it a crime for police to have sex with people they pull over for traffic violations or detain in criminal investigations. You might think that was illegal already, but Kansas was one of 33 states where consensual sex between police and people in their custody wasn't a crime. 

OK: Oklahoma governor angers gun rights advocates, gay groups in one day 

Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that would have allowed adults to carry handguns without a permit and signed another that permits religious organizations to exclude same-sex couples from adoptions, managing to anger both gun and gay rights groups on the same day. 

VA: Virginia could see extra $400 million from income tax payments; governor urges caution 

Virginia could end the fiscal year with an extra $400 million from a continuing surge in income tax payments in the aftermath of the federal tax law, but finance officials aren’t ready to bank on a windfall they fear could disappear by autumn. 

MO: Some Missouri subdivisions ban political signs but governor could change that 

If signed by Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, a measure Missouri lawmakers approved last week would prohibit deed restrictions, covenants and similar binding agreements that bar the display of political signs. 

WI: Wisconsin governor announces preservation initiative 

Republican Gov. Scott Walker is asking the state Natural Resources Board to quickly approve a land easement of nearly 21,000 acres in northwest Wisconsin. His office says the largely forested landscape is an important habitat for white-tailed deer, black bears, wolves and bobcats. 

CO: Colorado lawmakers struggle to combat sexual harassment at the Capitol 

The #MeToo discussion dominated the Colorado Legislature's 2018 session. But many of the men and women who came forward say not enough has changed, and they wonder where the movement at the Capitol goes from here. 

SC: South Carolina Statehouse effort to undercut bag bans failed this year, but the fight's not over 

The push to prevent South Carolina towns and cities from enacting their own local bans on plastic bags died in the Statehouse. But the fight is not over for the pro-bag lobby, which represents a plastics industry that remains a vital and lucrative part of the state's economy. 

NC: Thousands of North Carolina teachers will march in Raleigh this week 

After months of teacher unrest around the country, the national focus will turn to North Carolina, where thousands of teachers will greet returning state lawmakers by taking to the streets in Raleigh to demand better pay and working conditions. 

CT: Access to AP tests elusive for some Connecticut students 

Across Connecticut, one in 10 students from low-income families will take an Advanced Placement course, compared with one in four students from middle- or high-income homes. And increases in AP enrollment have done little to close these large disparities.

Pedestrian Safety Uncovering Bugs