Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/16

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/16

FL: Federal judge refuses to give more time on Florida recount

tampabay.com

Democrats suffered two major defeats as a judge refused to extend vote-counting deadlines in the U.S. Senate race in Florida that's headed for a hand recount and rejected their request to obtain names of every voter whose mail ballot had a signature mismatch.

GA: A judge’s order scrambles unsettled Georgia race for governor

ajc.com

Georgia elections officials scrambled to count a cache of potentially more than 1,000 ballots that were previously rejected as they raced to comply with the latest federal ruling in the too-close-to-call contest for governor.

NC: North Carolina lawmakers to investigate governor’s pipeline fund

newsobserver.com

North Carolina lawmakers voted to hire private investigators to look into whether Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration improperly issued a state permit to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline this year on condition of securing a $57.8 million contribution from the energy consortium that’s building the natural gas pipeline.

NV: Nevada marijuana tax collections set new record 

lasvegassun.com

Marijuana tax revenue at the retail and wholesale levels generated $8.1 million in August, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation. That tops the previous record, set in July, and is $3.2 million higher than the same month in 2017.

UT: Marijuana backers threaten to sue over church involvement in Utah legislation 

sltrib.com

Medical marijuana advocates say they are exploring legal action challenging the Utah legislature’s move to replace Proposition 2 “at the behest” of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although voters this month approved the medical cannabis initiative, lawmakers are expected to meet the church in a special session to overwrite the measure. 

OR: Clamping down on offshore corporate tax avoidance could net Oregon $376M

theworldlink.com

Large multinational corporations would have a harder time shielding their profits from Oregon taxes if the state reinstated a law it discarded in the 1980s. Once again requiring the complete reporting of corporate profits could net Oregon an additional $376 million in revenue, according to a new report by the left-leaning Oregon Center for Public Policy.

NY: Voting in New York poised for overhaul

timesunion.com

Voting on the weekend could be coming in 2020 for New Yorkers. An overhaul of the state's election procedures is expected to be one of the consequences of the Democratic takeover of the state Senate, which will likely be more receptive to proposed reforms that had passed the Democratic-controlled state Assembly, including early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and a single legislative primary date.

NJ: New Jersey races to $600M in sports bets made since June

apnews.com

New Jersey's red-hot sports betting market blew past the half-billion dollar mark in October, with nearly $600 million worth of bets having been made in just four and a half months. Figures released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show gamblers wagered $260 million on sports in October, bringing the total to $597 million since mid-June.

PA: Pennsylvania union files suit over policy arming teachers at school

apnews.com

A Pennsylvania teachers union filed suit seeking to overturn a new policy that allows teachers and other employees to carry firearms in school. The Tamaqua Area School District in September was the first in the state to enact a policy arming teachers, saying it was intended to “preserve a safe school environment for students and staff.”

IL: Billionaire Illinois governor-elect won’t take salary 

chicagotribune.com

Billionaire Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat who pumped a record $171.5 million of his personal fortune into his winning campaign for Illinois governor, will forgo his state salary, his staff said. Outgoing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, a former private equity investor, also has not taken his state salary during his lone term.

MO: Guns OK in Missouri Capitol, governor says

stltoday.com

Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is poised to allow visitors to bring guns into the Missouri Capitol if they have a concealed carry permit. Parson’s GOP predecessor, Eric Greitens, temporarily barred most visitors and employees from bringing concealed firearms into the Capitol.

DC: D.C. implements law to buy buildings to keep them affordable

wamu.org

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat,  said that she is implementing a decade-old law that allows the city to buy residential buildings that are put up for sale in order to ensure that they remain affordable for tenants.

CA: Evacuation orders were slow to arrive in California town

latimes.com

It’s unclear how much a different evacuation strategy would have changed the outcome of the fire that consumed Paradise, California. The blaze, which killed at least 56 people, was fueled by intense wind gusts of up to 52 mph and record-dry vegetation in an area notoriously vulnerable to fires and windblown embers.

MD: Maryland appeals partisan gerrymandering decision to Supreme Court

washingtonpost.com

Maryland’s attorney general appealed to the Supreme Court a ruling that threw out the state’s congressional voting map and ordered officials to redraw lines before the 2020 election.

OH: Ohio agency awarded no-bid contract to help end no-bid contracts

dispatch.com

The Ohio Department of Administrative Services improperly awarded a no-bid contract in hiring a consultant to help clean up its procurement practices — including the granting of unbid contracts.

TX: Toxic herbicide found in Texas drinking water, report finds

texastribune.org

Nearly 500 water utilities across Texas tested positive for atrazine — a weed killer — which can lead to harmful health effects, according to a new report. The Environmental Working Group also found that utilities are testing water during times when the herbicide isn't being used as much — and that they may be lowballing the results.

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