Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/12

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/12

NJ: New Jersey is pushing one of the strictest plastics bans in the U.S. Is it enough?

northjersey.com

New Jersey has taken the first steps towards enacting the strongest ban on plastics in the nation. But it still only tackles a portion of New Jersey's plastic problem. Plastic bottles, lids, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, foam packaging and dozens of other everyday plastics still make up the bulk of what's found on beaches and river fronts.

TX: How the U.S. decision to sell oil to the world is overwhelming Texas

texastribune.org

In late 2015, Congress cut a deal to lift 40-year-old restrictions on the export of crude oil. That opened the floodgates to an unprecedented drilling boom in Texas’s Permian Basin that is great for business. But it’s polluting the air, overwhelming communities and threatening the planet.

CA: Trump defies California senators with 9th Circuit judge nominations

sacbee.com

Among the thorny issues the California-based federal appeals court has tackled or could decide on are the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program for undocumented young people brought to the country as children and the president’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries.

FL: Week-long voter registration extension request for Florida denied

miamiherald.com

A federal judge rejected the Florida Democratic Party’s lawsuit requesting a week-long extension of the voter registration deadline. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, had extended the deadline for one day in the wake of Hurricane Michael, but the Democrats said one day was insufficient and confusing.

AL: The camp in Alabama bringing outer space to the blind

wired.com

If you want to be an astronaut, you must have 20/20 vision. That’s a huge barrier for blind children in Alabama who dream of going to space, but it doesn't mean they can’t get a small taste of what it's like to go out into the cosmos.

TN: Federal judge blocks Tennessee’s lethal injection method

apnews.com

A federal judge ordered Tennessee not to proceed with plans to execute Edmund Zagorski by lethal injection after it refused his request to die in the electric chair.

PA: Self-driving car testing approved in Pennsylvania

mashable.com

Pennsylvania is opening its roads to self-driving cars. The state authorized its first self-driving car company to test on state roads this week. Aurora, the company working with China's Byton vehicles, clinched the first authorization with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

AR: Arkansas Supreme Court upholds revised voter ID law

apnews.com

Arkansas’ highest court upheld a voter ID law that is nearly identical to a restriction struck down by the court four years ago.

MA: Massachusetts’ highest court upholds motels for homeless as last resort

bostonglobe.com

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state can continue to use taxpayer-funded motel rooms solely as housing of last resort for homeless families, reversing a lower court mandate that expanded the set of circumstances when motel rooms had to be used.

WI: Wisconsin jury awards $780K to two transgender women at state university denied insurance

madison.com

A jury in Wisconsin awarded $479,500 to a state university employee and $301,000 to a graduate student at the school after a federal judge found a state ban on insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery to be sex discrimination.

ND: North Dakota regulators dismiss complaint against proposed oil refinery near national park

inforum.com  

North Dakota utility regulators agreed that plans for an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park are out of their hands. The Public Service Commission dismissed a complaint filed by environmental groups challenging a refinery in western North Dakota.

CT: Study finds Connecticut foreclosures still historically high

ctpost.com

In Connecticut, nearly 3,150 properties were either under default, foreclosure or auction in the second quarter of this year, down about 9 percent from the second quarter but still running nearly 30 percent above the average foreclosure rate prior to the recession. 

NV: Nevada attorney general asks high court to nix execution-drug ruling

reviewjournal.com

The Nevada attorney general’s office wants the Nevada Supreme Court to wave off a lower court judge’s ruling that blocks the state from using the sedative midazolam in capital punishment — essentially halting executions for the foreseeable future.

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