What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/21
CA: Crime up in California after justice system changes
An analysis by the Marshall Project and the Los Angeles Times found that California’s crime rates remain near historic lows, but overall crime spiked in 2012 and 2015, the years that followed two major statewide measures aimed at decreasing the number of prisoners. The jumps were driven by increases in property crimes, particularly thefts from motor vehicles.
DE: More money, more problems for Delaware lawmakers
Delaware's revenue outlook is shaping up to be fairly rosy for a second straight year. And that could foreshadow an impending clash between the General Assembly and Democratic Gov. John Carney.
AL: How Alabama contextualized the Confederacy in 2018
Different narratives concerning Alabama's Civil War and Reconstruction history clashed throughout 2018. The tension fueled debates over the public placement of the state's Confederate symbols, but it also started a discussion about how to add context to the painful parts of the past.
NY: New York poised to lose two congressional seats
New York's congressional delegation is likely to shrink in four years. The state is poised to go from 27 members in the House to 25, based on an analysis by Election Data Services of the U.S. Census Bureau's updated population estimates for July 2018. The delegation has shrunk every decade since 1953, when it was 45 members.
OK: Teachers want bulk of Oklahoma’s new school funds
Oklahoma's largest teachers union is seeking $400 million in new annual spending for educator salaries and classroom funding. The state Board of Equalization certified an estimated $612 million in new education funding for the upcoming budget year. The teachers want a pay raise, cost-of-living adjustment and new classroom funding.
KS: Kansas needs to fix child welfare system: report
Kansas must fix a troubled, underfunded child welfare system now or more vulnerable children across the state will suffer. That’s the message from members of a coalition that released a report detailing woes inside the state’s child welfare system — from racial disparities in the children being removed from their homes to kids lingering in state custody too long.
MS: Governor talks Medicaid expansion in Mississippi
Despite longtime public opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has quietly been working in recent months to bring one of the law’s central tenets, Medicaid expansion, to Mississippi.
LA: Louisiana governor: Child care a reasonable campaign expense
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards says he disagrees with the Louisiana ethics board’s decision against allowing campaign funds to pay for a candidate’s child care. He hopes the Board of Ethics will reconsider its opinion. He says child care is a “reasonable expense” associated with running for office.
MD: Governor completes appointments to Maryland redistricting panel
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan selected members of a nonpartisan commission created to redraw Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, a move that complies with a federal court order invalidating the current boundaries — which is being appealed by Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh.
AK: Feds take step to open Alaska wildlife refuge to drilling
The Trump administration took a step to allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, releasing an environmental report that sets the stage for a lease sale next year and development in the 1.6 million acre coastal plain.
PA: Pennsylvania pension funds need new approach, state warns
Pennsylvania needs a new investment office with better strategies to replace the underperforming offices that manage state and public school pension plans, a commission told lawmakers. The retirement systems have a combined deficit of $75 billion.
IA: ‘Obamacare’ enrollment slips in Iowa
The number of Iowans signing up for private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” slipped this fall, but not as much as the program's fans feared. Federal officials reported that 49,376 Iowans enrolled in private insurance plans for 2019. The preliminary numbers were down about 7 percent from 2018.
NE: Winnebago tribal tobacco case in Nebraska to proceed
A federal judge this week denied a request by Nebraska officials to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Winnebago tribal entities challenging the state's attempts to regulate tribal tobacco sales.
OH: Ohio foster care rolls jump 3,500 amid opioid crisis
With Ohio consistently near last in the nation in state funding for child protective services, the number of children entering foster care has exploded — another financial and human cost of the opioid epidemic, according to a new report.