Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/29

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/29

GA: In Georgia, charges filed in Atlanta ransomware case

ajc.com

Authorities on Wednesday charged two Iranian citizens in the ransomware cyberattack that hobbled the city of Atlanta’s computer network in March. The federal indictment outlines the pair’s massive nationwide scheme to breach computer networks of local governments, health care systems and other public entities.

ND: North Dakota could spend snow days in virtual classrooms

bismarcktribune.com

What began as a class project has led to a bill to be presented in the upcoming North Dakota legislative session. Teachers are required to teach a minimum of 180 days a year. Cancellations often cause districts to hold make-up days. Having virtual classrooms would allow teachers to fulfill those days.

CA: Despite fire, California utility decided not to power down

apnews.com

In a new filing with California regulators, Pacific Gas & Electric said it determined Nov. 8 that weather conditions were no longer dangerous enough to warrant a massive power shut off — a decision it made as a massive fire was tearing through a Northern California town.

OR: Oregon governor pitches $23.6B budget

oregonlive.com

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, issued her policy and fiscal agenda for the next two years, saying she expects to focus in the next six months on negotiating a massive tax increase to improve public schools. She said more than $2 billion was needed for K-12 and higher education.

TX: Almost 600K Texas kids risk not counting in census

dallasnews.com

About 7.4 million children live in Texas, but many are likely to go uncounted in the 2020 U.S. census. If that happens, Texas could miss out on millions of dollars in federal funding for public programs.

MD: How Chinese immigrant won race in Maryland

washingtonpost.com

As a first-generation Asian-American running for a seat in the Maryland legislature, Democrat Lily Qi felt disconnected from the party establishment. So Qi turned to the large Asian-American immigrant community in her district, using local Chinese-language newspapers and the messaging app WeChat.

RI: Rhode Island secretary of state suggests early voting

apnews.com

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, a Democrat, said the demand for mail ballots in the recent election shows the need to allow for early voting. Voting in person would avoid errors that plague mail-in ballots. Gorbea said nearly 11,000 “emergency mail ballots” were returned within 20 days of the election, up from nearly 5,000 in 2014.

AK: Alaska Native tribes sue opioid makers

adn.com

A coalition of Alaska Native tribes has filed suit against the pharmaceutical industry, accusing drug companies of fueling a widespread addiction epidemic that is costing members their lives. The five tribes join more than 60 tribal communities nationwide in suing for funds to fight the crisis. 

NY: Limits on outside income could shake up New York legislature

timesunion.com

Some Democratic lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo have proposed fighting corruption by limiting the amount of money state legislators can earn in addition to their state wages.  A proposed constitutional amendment capping outside income at 15 percent of the base legislative salary of $79,500 has renewed life heading into the 2019 legislative session.

TN: In Tennessee, suicides continue to climb

knoxnews.com

Last year, at least 1,163 Tennesseans killed themselves, a rate 20 percent higher than the nation. Stigma and access to mental health services remain issues. Suicides among Tennessee's 10- to 19-year-olds hit an all-time high in 2016, with 65 suicides — up from 37 a decade ago.

MI: Michigan Republicans take aim at bills OK’d by voters

detroitnews.com

Michigan Senate Republicans took the action over objections from Democrats, who argued the lame-duck maneuvers may be unconstitutional and undermine the will of voters who signed petitions for the initiatives. The measures now head to the House.

NM: New Mexico court considers allowing unauthorized immigrants to practice law

nmindepth.com

If New Mexico's Supreme Court rules in favor of the proposal, the state would join a handful of others, including New York and California, that allow undocumented immigrants to practice law after passing a bar exam.

WI: Adult smoking in Wisconsin drops, state officials say

madison.com

Adults who smoke in Wisconsin are becoming fewer and fewer. New 2017 data from the state Department of Health Services shows 16 percent of adults smoke, the lowest percentage since statistics have been gathered by the department.

NC: North Carolina lawmakers want to boost incentives to job creators

newsobserver.com

A North Carolina bill would boost the amount of money that the state could offer “high-paying companies” to locate or expand there. The bill would allow the state’s Department of Commerce to offer companies up to $16,000 for every job created, up from $6,500 a job.

AZ: Syphilis outbreak declared for women and babies in Arizona

ktar.com

This year, eight Arizona babies have died from the sexually transmitted disease, doubling the total from 2017 and quadrupling the number from two years ago. The state’s interim chief epidemiologist, Eugene Livar, said abstinence is the best way to prevent contracting syphilis.

IA: 58 inmates suing over porn ban in Iowa's prisons

desmoinesregister.com

Fifty-eight Iowa inmates are suing the state, seeking $25,000 each in damages, claiming they have been denied a constitutional right to pornography in the state's prison system. The plaintiffs are male inmates at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility.

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