Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/26

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/26

AL: Alabama revisits Ten Commandments, hoping for help from Kavanaugh

nytimes.com

Alabama voters will consider a constitutional amendment in November that would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed in schools and other public property across the state. If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, supporters hope a conservative majority will rule in favor of such displays when the inevitable legal challenge goes before the Supreme Court.

WY: Wyoming lawmakers consider charging hikers, bikers for using trails

wyofile.com

Wyoming lawmakers are considering a first-of-its-kind fundraising measure: Charge hikers, bikers, horseback riders and others for using trails. A mandatory $10 annual permit fee paid by users of non-motorized, “natural-surface” trails would support public-land trail systems, advocates say.

MT: Judge restores energy lease on Montana land sacred to tribes

apnews.com

A federal judge reinstated an oil and gas lease on land near Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana, land considered sacred to some tribes in the United States and Canada — a ruling that could test the depths of the Trump administration’s support for the energy industry. The Obama administration canceled the nearly 10-square-mile lease in 2016. 

SC: Some South Carolinians who lost work because of Florence can get unemployment

postandcourier.com

Some South Carolinians who were out of work because of Hurricane Florence can apply for unemployment benefits. The assistance ranges from $130 to $326 a week, depending on a person’s income, for up to five months, the Department of Employment and Workforce said. 

NJ: New Jersey cracks down on events hosted by microbreweries

northjersey.com

When New Jersey lawmakers passed a law six years ago allowing microbreweries to serve their products in-house and sell more beer to go, they hoped to give the state’s fledgling craft beer industry a boost. But microbreweries in the state have now become too active, in the eyes of some, prompting the state to crack down on the number of events they can host each year.

US: Democratic attorneys general blast plan to overhaul endangered species protection

apnews.com

Ten Democratic attorneys general are demanding the Trump administration abandon a proposed overhaul of the Endangered Species Act. In comments delivered Tuesday to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, they contended the changes sought by wildlife regulators would “wreak havoc” with one of the nation’s most successful environmental laws.

TX: Texas state senator investigated over suspected sexually explicit texts

statesman.com

The University of Texas is investigating an allegation that state Sen. Charles Schwertner sent a sexually explicit image and text message to a graduate student he met at an on-campus event this summer. Schwertner, a Republican, denied "any knowledge of the allegations" and said he is cooperating.

PA: Panel makes recommendations on Pennsylvania election security

post-gazette.com

An independent election security commission convened by two former federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania is calling on the state Legislature and Congress to help fund the replacement of vulnerable voting machines before the 2019 general election. The commission said Pennsylvania's elections are "under threat" and vulnerable to election manipulation and technical problems.

TN: Appeals court reverses Tennessee coal ash cleanup order

apnews.com

A federal appellate panel overturned an order that would have required the nation’s largest public utility to unearth and remove a massive amount of coal ash at one of its Tennessee power plants.

VA: Virginia suspends policy barring women from wearing tampons when visiting prison inmates

richmond.com

A policy barring women who visit inmates at Virginia prisons from wearing tampons or menstrual cups has been called off. In a memorandum earlier this month the Virginia Department of Corrections said the measures were needed to keep contraband, particularly drugs, from entering prisons.

DC: Mayor backs bill penalizing dealers of synthetic drugs as overdoses spike in D.C.

washingtonpost.com

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, is proposing emergency legislation to crack down on drug dealers amid a spike in synthetic marijuana overdoses. A permanent version of the bill is making its way through the D.C. Council. Over the past two months D.C. fire department medics treated or transported more than 1,600 people for symptoms consistent with synthetic drug overdoses.

CA: Proposed 2020 California ballot initiative seeks to end high-speed rail

apnews.com

California voters in 2008 approved roughly $10 billion in bonds to construct a high-speed train that would take passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than three hours. A proposed 2020 ballot measure would halt funding for high-speed rail, force the state to cease activities on it and use any unspent bond money to retire the debt.

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