What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/31
VA: Virginia Senate approves Medicaid expansion to 400,000 low-income residents
The decision marks a leftward shift in the Virginia Legislature and an enormous win for Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, the pediatrician who ran on expanding access to health care. The House of Delegates still must vote on the Senate’s plan, but it was not expected to have trouble clearing the lower chamber.
LA: Louisiana governor signs bid to ban 15-week abortions
A bid to ban abortions after 15 weeks has become law in Louisiana. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill, which would only take effect if a federal court upholds a similar law in Mississippi. The measure imposes a prison sentence of up to two years for someone who performs the procedure after 15 weeks.
CA: Initiative to regulate dialysis industry qualifies for California's November ballot
A ballot measure that would clamp down on the profits raked in by companies providing dialysis treatment will go before California voters in November. The initiative, sponsored by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers, would cap revenues for dialysis companies at 115 percent of the cost of direct patient care and treatment quality efforts.
MI: Michigan launching $8 million mobility challenge for senior transit
The Michigan grant program for ride-hailing companies, automakers, transit agencies and advocacy groups wants them to develop new mobility options for seniors, handicapped residents and military veterans. The state is expected to issue a request for bids in coming weeks and will give the first round of winning bidders 60 days to launch “innovative” pilot programs.
TX: Following Santa Fe shooting, Texas governor lays out his school safety plan
At the heart of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s proposal is an expansion of Texas’s School Marshal Program, one of two existing programs for arming school personnel. Abbott also raised narrow gun-related proposals, including the tightening of Texas' safe gun storage laws.
ID: Water crisis may result in Idaho special session
A controversy over irrigation water may lead to a special legislative session in Idaho. Farmers say heavy snow melt is causing too much water to be released early when they can't use it, endangering their water allocations later in the year.
MN: Minnesota governor signs $1.5 billion public works borrowing bill despite reservations
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill to fund public construction projects, even though the Democrat said it was “woefully inadequate” for college campuses, aging state buildings and mass transit. The bonding bill will pay for projects ranging from college classrooms and park improvements to highways and sewer systems around the state.
IL: Chicago food truck case goes to Illinois Supreme Court
A food truck owner who has argued for years that Chicago’s restrictions on mobile food vendors are too strict has won a chance to plead her case in front of the Illinois Supreme Court. The rules say food trucks must stay at least 200 feet away from restaurants or other businesses that serve food, including convenience stores.
CO: Colorado transportation agency experiments with ‘smart pavement’
The Colorado Department of Transportation is teaming up with Integrated Roadways, a Kansas City, Missouri-based company, to test a half-mile of “smart pavement” later in the year. The pavement uses sensors and fiber-optic and wireless technology to summon help after an accident.
NM: Fire concerns to close New Mexico wilderness
Federal authorities are restricting access to multiple wilderness areas in northern New Mexico amid potential wildfire concerns. Portions of national forests in neighboring Arizona have already been closed.
US: Wealthier students benefit from art, music over the summer while poor kids miss out
More affluent kids are about twice as likely to visit a museum, art gallery, or historical site or see a play or concert over the summer, as compared with their peers from low-income families. That’s according to a new analysis released this month by the federal government, illustrating disparities in out-of-school experiences, which may be exacerbated by rising income inequality.
SC: South Carolina Lottery won't pay for $34 million worth of tickets mistakenly printed as winners
Thousands of South Carolina lottery players who mistakenly won on Christmas Day because of a computer glitch are getting empty stockings. Lottery commissioners decided not to pay anything on the potential $34 million worth of outstanding tickets that have been in limbo since the game was shut down five months ago.