What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/19
AZ: Arizona cancels vaccine education after complaints
The state of Arizona has canceled a vaccine education program after complaints from parents who don't immunize their school-age children. A growing number of Arizona children are skipping school-required vaccinations because of parents' beliefs.
CO: Colorado cracks a billion in annual marijuana sales in record time
Marijuana sales in Colorado have exceeded $1 billion as of August of this year, with tax revenue from those sales coming in at $200 million, according to state officials. It’s the earliest point in the year that legal sales have cracked the billion-dollar mark.
CA: California revisits three-strike life sentences
California will reconsider life sentences for up to 4,000 nonviolent third-strike criminals by allowing them to seek parole under a ballot measure approved by voters two years ago. The state will craft new regulations by January to include the repeat offenders in early release provisions.
IL: Black moms in Illinois six times more likely to die from pregnancy-related conditions
Among the deaths found to be pregnancy-related by the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 72 deaths of non-Hispanic black women per 100,000 live births, and 11 deaths of non-Hispanic white women per 100,000 live births. Hispanic women were twice as likely as white women to experience a pregnancy-related death.
MD: Feeling crabby? Maryland has a new license plate for you
For nearly 30 years, Maryland drivers have been able to show their love of the Chesapeake Bay with a specialty license plate featuring a blue heron. Now, in the bay plate’s second redesign, the great blue heron is being displaced by a small blue crustacean – a crab.
NJ: New Jersey voting machines remain 'primitive and hackable'
With less than three weeks to midterm elections in which New Jersey is a congressional battleground, security experts warned the state's voting machines remain vulnerable to hacking. The state plans to replace its 11,000 voting machines with devices that create paper ballots, but they won't be in place on Election Day.
PA: Justice Department investigates Pennsylvania dioceses
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania accused of covering up sex abuse for decades, a significant escalation in scrutiny of the church. The inquiry is believed to be the first statewide investigation by the federal government of the church’s sex abuse problems.
NY: MoviePass is under investigation for securities fraud in New York State
At the direction of New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, a Democrat, MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson is now the subject of a fraud probe in New York State. The probe will examine whether the company misrepresented its financial situation to investors.
LA: Louisiana starts redirecting prison savings to local rehab, training programs
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, is announcing which nonprofits, sheriffs and judges will get extra funding for the rehabilitation and workforce training of prisoners as part of the state's criminal justice overhaul that took place in 2017.
FL: Florida lifts voting restrictions in eight Panhandle counties hit by hurricane
Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order that eases voting restrictions in eight Panhandle counties where election plans have been severely disrupted by Hurricane Michael. Seven of the eight counties are reliably Republican.
SC: South Carolina Democratic superintendent nominee withdraws after past conviction surfaces
The Democratic nominee for South Carolina superintendent of education said he is withdrawing from the race a day after reports emerged that a 2008 felony conviction could prevent him from serving.
DC: DC wrote 86K street-sweeping parking tickets last year
The District of Columbia issued 86,000 street sweeping tickets in 2017 for parking cars on the wrong side of the street during cleanup days — a total of $3.8 million — plus late fees and additional charges when cars are towed. Is it for the ticket revenue?
MI: Michigan medical pot shops slow to complete applications despite looming deadline
Despite an Oct. 31 licensing deadline, medical marijuana business applicants in Michigan aren’t responding in a timely manner to requests for more information, according to the state’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana director.