What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/17
CA: California auditors want details on local jails' partnerships with federal immigration agencies
The investigation by California state auditors will include an accounting of federal dollars paid to the law enforcement agencies and whether local or state funds are also used to subsidize the detention of those who are believed to be in the U.S. illegally.
FL: Don't count on feds right after hurricane, FEMA chief tells Florida leaders
FEMA had a warning for local Florida governments at the annual Governor’s Conference on Hurricanes: Don’t count on Uncle Sam to be there immediately after the next natural disaster. “If you’re waiting on FEMA to run your commodities, that’s not the solution,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long said.
NC: Thousands of North Carolina teachers march for higher pay, education spending
Downtown Raleigh filled with thousands of teachers who marched to the state legislature to demand that lawmakers do more to raise teacher pay and education spending in North Carolina. More than 1 million public school students had the day off because schools couldn't find enough substitute teachers to keep schools open for classes.
MS: Mississippi civil rights sites vie to become national park
A group from the National Parks Service traversed Mississippi to host listening sessions to determine where a new national park with civil-rights significance would go. Last May, Congress passed a law requiring the U.S. secretary of the interior to study at least five locales in Mississippi significant to the Civil Rights Movement.
VA: Virginia jail death investigator closing cases, but information isn't public
A new state jail death investigator reviewing cases has closed 17 cases without making the information about the cases public. The cases have been discussed only in closed sessions. Twenty-one inmates have died in Virginia jail custody this year, according to Board of Corrections data.
CO: Colorado city passes assault weapons ban
The Boulder City Council has unanimously passed a ban on assault weapons despite a threat of legal action from the Mountain States Legal Foundation. The ordinance prohibits the sale and possession of assault weapons in the Colorado city and also bans high-capacity magazines and bump stocks.
NV, UT: Utah, Nevada attorneys general plans to sue Purdue Pharma
Utah and Nevada are planning to file suit against Purdue Pharma, one of the world’s largest opioid manufacturers, for the high rates of addiction and overdoses in those states. In recent years those overdoses have killed about two dozen Utahns a month. Florida, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina and North Dakota filed similar lawsuits earlier this week.
OH: Ohio Senate takes up two gun bills backed by governor
An Ohio Senate panel discussed a trio of gun bills, including the “red flag” legislation backed by Republican Gov. John Kasich that brought the father of a Parkland, Florida, shooting victim to testify in support of stricter gun laws.
MO: Missouri legislature moves to block child brides
Missouri could soon shed the label as the easiest place in the country for a 15-year-old to get married. The Missouri House voted day to attach an amendment to a Senate bill to establish a minimum age for marriage at 16 and to prohibit marriage between a minor and anyone 21 or older.
LA: Bulletproof backpacks likely coming to Louisiana schools
Louisiana schoolchildren will be allowed to carry bulletproof backpacks to class, under a bill expected to become law. The Senate gave the proposal final passage. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to sign the measure.
TN: Nashville city council calls for Tennessee governor to veto sanctuary city ban
The Nashville Metro Council has called on Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to veto a bill that would ban sanctuary cities in Tennessee. The bill would require local law enforcement to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests to hold immigrants who entered the country illegally.
MN: Minnesota governor vetoes abortion ultrasound bill
The measure vetoed by Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton would have required doctors to ask women seeking an abortion if they wanted to first view images from an ultrasound scan. The governor said he rejected the legislation because it interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.
RI: Rhode Island projects $32 million budget surplus
The $3.9 billion in Rhode Island state revenues estimated earlier this month is $65.1 million higher than budgeted, but spending is projected to be $53.4 million over target, according to the office’s third-quarter report. The surplus also reflects re-appropriations and funds from last year.