What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/6
MI: Number of absentee ballots sought by Michiganders up
If the numbers hold, the turnout for Michigan’s upcoming primary election could far exceed the last gubernatorial election year in 2014. So far, the number of absentee ballots sent out to voters is up by more than 200,000 this year over 2014, and the number of absentee ballots returned is already up by more than 100,000 over the same period.
NE: Nebraska governor holds firm on death penalty
Nebraska Catholic bishops have joined Pope Francis in calling for the elimination of the death penalty where it is still in effect, and are pushing to stop the scheduled execution this month of condemned prisoner Carey Dean Moore. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who is Catholic, says the execution will go forward.
PA: Pennsylvania bishop to release names of accused clergy
The bishop of Pittsburgh’s Roman Catholic diocese said he will release the names of any members of his clergy who are accused in a Pennsylvania state grand jury report of sexual misconduct with a minor.
TN: 'In God We Trust' motto required to be displayed in all Tennessee public schools
The Tennessee state legislature passed a bill in March that requires the motto "In God We Trust" be prominently displayed in every public school in the state. The new school year is starting.
LA: Louisiana trying to extend foster care program until age 21
Louisiana started a modest expansion of the foster care program last month, paying for students to finish high school, rather than immediately cutting off aid when a child turns 18. Now, state officials want to find a way to care for all foster children until they turn 21.
CT: Change is coming for Connecticut’s human service providers
It is a time of reckoning for Connecticut’s private, nonprofit social services. After two decades of flat or reduced funding from its chief client — state government — community-based agencies are struggling to retain both their programs and the low-paid staff who deliver care for thousands of poor, disabled and mentally-ill adults and children.
NM: New Mexico law combines local elections to attract more voters
A new law will put most nonpartisan local elections in New Mexico on the same ballot, combining them into one larger election, which backers hope will get more voters to participate.
ID: Idaho court rules undocumented workers are entitled to disability payments
An unauthorized immigrant hurt on the job is entitled to permanent disability payments under state law, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled. Immigration status alone is not a reason to deny the payments, the court found.
MA: Massachusetts governor reverses inadvertent ban on horse racing
After inadvertently allowing horse racing and simulcasting to become illegal, the Massachusetts Legislature rushed a bill to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk, allowing the state’s three racetracks to begin operating again.
MD: Maryland asks Supreme Court to protect cross on public land
Maryland’s attorney general has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve a controversial cross-shaped memorial on public land, weighing in for the first time about the future of the Peace Cross that honors those killed in World War I.
FL: Florida Democrats force poll of all lawmakers on ‘stand your ground’
Democrats in the Florida Legislature reached the 20 percent goal to force a poll of members on the question of an unusual election-year special session to change the "stand your ground" self-defense law.
ME: Maine House speaker calls for lawmaker to resign over alleged misconduct with students
Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon said she has asked fellow Democrat state Rep. Dillon Bates of Westbrook to resign his seat in the Legislature, citing allegations in a published report that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with several female students.