Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/15

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/15

FL: Florida governor to recuse himself from certifying the results of his own election

tampabay.com

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott will not participate in the Elections Canvassing Commission Tuesday, relieving him from the chance that he could certify — or not — the results of his U.S. Senate race.

OR: Criminally insane in Oregon commit new crimes at alarming rate

propublica.org

About 35 percent of people found criminally insane in Oregon and then let out of supervised psychiatric treatment were charged with new crimes within three years of being freed by state officials. The frequency of new crimes and violence startled experts who have long hailed Oregon as a leader in balancing the civil rights of patients against the need to protect the community.

IA: Should Iowa restore voting rights to 52,000 felons? Advisory board says yes.

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa felon voter rights should be restored, a legislative advisory board recommended. Iowa and Kentucky are the only remaining states that permanently ban all felons from voting unless the governor individually restores their rights.

NC: North Carolina governor wants $5B more for Florence relief

charlotteobserver.com

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, asked North Carolina’s members of Congress to help secure an additional $5 billion in federal dollars for Hurricane Florence recovery, saying the state will prioritize smart and efficient solutions to a second massive flooding event in two years.

VA: Parts of Virginia-Amazon deal concern critics

wamu.org

The devil is in the details, and ever since Amazon cheerfully announced it is taking half of HQ2 to Northern Virginia, skeptics and critics have found what they say are a few devils buried inside the agreement signed between the Commonwealth and the Seattle-based internet retailer. 

TN: Tennessee issues first-ever statewide report on school safety

tennessean.com

Tennessee’s safety assessment of its schools identified surveillance, as well as vehicle and access control to buildings as areas for improvement. It was issued in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and part of a recommendation from a group formed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

NY: Judge rejects $2B deal to overhaul New York public housing

nytimes.com

A federal judge rejected a sweeping settlement that would have appointed a monitor to oversee the troubled New York City Housing Authority and would have required the city to pump more than $2 billion into repairs at the authority’s deteriorating buildings. The agreement lacked enforcement mechanisms, the judge said, and sidelined Congress.

DC: D.C. Council votes to decriminalize Metro fare evasion 

washingtonpost.com

The District of Columbia Council voted to decriminalize Metro fare evasion in the District, citing concerns over soaring enforcement levels and disproportionate enforcement against African-Americans.

MI: Bill could provide windfall for two Michigan senators

freep.com

Two outgoing Michigan state senators could pocket more than $92,000 from their campaign funds under legislation on track for passage during the legislature’s lame-duck session. The bill, which both voted for, would allow senators who earlier ran for the House to transfer surplus funds from their Senate campaign committees to their inactive and cash-poor House committees to pay off old debts.

MN: County is first in Minnesota to raise tobacco-purchasing age to 21

twincities.com

Otter Tail County became the first county in Minnesota to hike the legal purchasing age for tobacco products from 18 to 21. The new regulations will begin in January, on a phased-in basis.

RI: Rhode Island secretary of state balks at releasing voter database once available 

providencejournal.com

A staffer for Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said a voter database that the office used to provide on the same day it was requested now will take more than two weeks to produce. The office announced last month that it had stopped providing voters’ full dates of birth, a key piece of information in evaluating how accurately the office is maintaining the state’s voter list. 

CO: Colorado prepares to transform its mental health crisis system

coloradosun.com

Colorado created mental health crisis centers, a statewide crisis hotline, mobile crisis teams and five-day stabilization clinics in response to the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. Now state officials say an overhaul is needed. 

GA: Georgia governor’s proposals clear first hurdles in special session

myajc.com

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s tax breaks for tree farmers and airlines, plus his plan to spend $270 million helping to clean up and rebuild southwest Georgia after Hurricane Michael devastated the area, easily passed their first tests.

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