Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/18

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/18

US: Tornado activity increasing, moving East, study says

apnews.com

Over the past few decades tornadoes have been shifting — decreasing in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas but spinning up more in states along the Mississippi River and farther east, a new study shows. Tornado activity is increasing most in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and parts of Ohio and Michigan.

PA: Pennsylvania Senate leaves Capitol without vote on clergy abuse bill

philly.com

After a marathon day of negotiations, Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate failed to push through a compromise on an emotionally charged bill aimed at helping older victims of clergy abuse gain the right to sue, leaving its fate in limbo as they wrapped up the last voting day of the legislative season.

CA: Utility defends Northern California power cut

sacbee.com

Critics are grumbling about Pacific Gas and Electric’s decision to shut off power last Sunday evening to about 59,000 Californians in the first test of its “public safety power shutoff program,” launched in response to last October’s deadly wine country fires. Cal Fire has blamed most of the fires on downed power lines and other equipment problems.

NE: Seventeen Nebraska state senators argue for Medicaid expansion

journalstar.com

Seventeen state senators argued that voter approval of a Medicaid expansion initiative would bring nearly $600 million in annual federal funding flowing into the state and generate statewide economic growth while extending health care coverage to 90,000 working Nebraskans.

NV: Nevada's famous pimp expected to win legislative election despite death

apnews.com

Nevada's most famous pimp marketed himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican in his race for a heavily GOP Assembly district. And despite being found dead this week, Dennis Hof is poised to be elected to the state legislature in less than three weeks. 

UT: Gold stars on Utah licenses will cost millions, lawmakers told

deseretnews.com

Thanks to a clause that Utah lawmakers approved when they adopted changes under the Department of Homeland Security's Real ID Act, it will now cost Utah taxpayers between $2 million to $3.4 million to affix a single gold star to all drivers' licenses in the state.

IA: Iowa regulators say Dakota Access pipeline may not be covered against an oil spill

desmoinesregister.com

The Iowa Utilities Board is questioning whether the builder of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline has adequate insurance coverage to protect Iowans from potential oil spills.

VT: Vermont Statehouse beset by mold

vpr.net

The Vermont Statehouse is one of the oldest capitol buildings in the country, which makes it a fascinating place for tourists, but a beguiling one for building engineers. “We have to replace rugs, we have to replace books, we have to replace anything where we have surface mold,” the state buildings commissioner said.

MA: Massachusetts Environmental Police ticket-fixing scandal expands

bostonglobe.com

At least two more high-ranking Massachusetts Environmental Police officers helped make traffic citations involving a friend of the agency’s top official disappear, the Boston Globe reported.

TN: Tennessee ordered to stop license suspensions for indigence

apnews.com

A federal judge in Nashville has ordered Tennessee to stop suspending the driver’s licenses of people who are unable to pay traffic fines and court costs. In an order, the judge also instructed the state to allow indigent drivers to get suspended licenses back without fees.

NJ: New Jersey liquor licenses cost an average of $350K

northjersey.com

New Jersey’s notoriously restrictive laws governing who can sell alcohol, which date back to the post-Prohibition era, limit municipalities to one liquor license per 3,000 residents. In places where demand is high, licenses can sell for $1 million or more — if they are available at all.

ND: Ethics policy finalized for North Dakota governor's office

bismarcktribune.com

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum's office has finalized an ethics policy, months after the Republican governor reimbursed about $40,000 to Xcel Energy for events related to a Super Bowl invitation to Minneapolis.

RI: Rhode Island OKs medical marijuana to treat autism

providencejournal.com

The Rhode Island Department of Health approved medical marijuana use for people who suffer from some severe manifestations of autism, most of whom are children. But before doctors can recommend marijuana, the health department has implemented several safeguards.

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