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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/4

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/4

ME: Maine governor signs Medicaid expansion

pressherald.com

Maine’s freshly inaugurated Democratic governor, Janet Mills, signed an executive order to begin implementing Medicaid expansion. More than 70,000 Mainers will be eligible for Medicaid health insurance under the expansion.

OR: Oregon legislature is a ‘hostile workplace,’ investigators say

statesmanjournal.com

Legislative leaders at the Oregon Capitol created a hostile workplace by allowing verbal and physical sexual harassment to continue unabated, according to an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries investigation. The five-month investigation found “substantial evidence” of unlawful discrimination based on sex.

AZ: Arizona teacher shortage intensifies

abc15.com
A survey found 1,547 classrooms in Arizona had no teachers to start the 2018 school year, and that 663 teachers quit within the first month of school. Despite the promise of a 20 percent pay increase by 2020, Arizona public school teachers still rank at or near the bottom when it comes to salaries.

NY: Judge blocks New York City Airbnb law

nytimes.com

A federal judge blocked a recent New York City law intended to crack down on Airbnb and other online home-sharing sites that city officials say have essentially turned residential apartments into illegal hotels and have aggravated the city’s housing shortage.

ID: Idaho governor-elect commits to Medicaid expansion

idahostatesman.com
Idaho Gov.-elect Brad Little, a Republican, said he’s committed to implementing a voter-approved expansion of Medicaid coverage but without what he called “an incentive for people not to work.” About 60,000 low-income Idaho residents could qualify for coverage.

PA: Pennsylvania’s new ‘oversight committee’ triggers legal questions

mcall.com

The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House overwhelmingly voted to expand that chamber’s investigative and subpoena power. The new committee targets the Democratic-controlled governor’s office and three independent offices — attorney general, treasurer and auditor general. After the vote, questions swirled in the capitol’s legal and political circles.

FL: Florida Senate settled harassment case for $900K

miamiherald.com

The Florida Senate paid $900,000 in legal fees to settle a complaint filed by a high-ranking staffer who alleged she was retaliated against for accusing a former senator of sexual harassment, according to documents released by the Senate president. As part of the agreement, the aide, Rachel Perrin Rogers, is resigning.

DC: Among the pressing issues in the nation’s capital: Where to go to the bathroom?

washingtonpost.com

It’s a question as old as civilization that continues to stump cities: Where to go when you need to ... go? The District of Columbia Council has approved a pilot program to erect two new public bathrooms downtown and to offer as much as $2,000 in annual incentives to businesses that open restrooms to all.

IL: Chicago alderman charged in extortion scheme

chicagotribune.com

In Illinois, longtime Chicago Alderman Edward Burke, one of Chicago’s most powerful figures and a vestige of the city’s old Democratic machine, has been charged with attempted extortion for allegedly using his position as alderman to try to steer business to his law firm.

NV: Nevada tax credit plan isn’t working

rgj.com

Nevada lawmakers planned to use taxes on filmmakers to offset some of the $1.2 billion in tax incentives awarded Tesla in 2014. But the scheme isn’t working, according to a review of state financial disclosures. Movie producers expected to flock to the Silver State haven’t shown up. 

CA: California utility sued over wildfire as insurance claims hit billions

sacbee.com

Three major insurance companies are suing Pacific Gas & Electric over the billions of dollars in claims they expect to face from last year’s Camp Fire, the largest and most destructive wildfire in California history. The utility has already acknowledged that problems occurred on a high-voltage transmission tower near the spot where the fire started Nov. 8.

SD: South Dakota lawmakers getting first pay raise in 21 years

argusleader.com

South Dakota legislators headed into the 2019 session are getting their first pay raise in about two decades. State lawmakers will be paid $11,378.80 in 2019, a roughly 90 percent jump from the $6,000 a session they’ve received since 1998. Legislators also get a daily allowance that has increased during that time.

NM: New Mexico halts student testing system

lcsun-news.com
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who took office this year, took steps to replace the current statewide standardized testing system with a pair of executive orders that also calls for removing those exam results from teacher evaluations.

AL: Alabama pension fund now sole owner of local newspaper chain

apnews.com

Alabama’s employee pension fund, with about 350,000 members and some $40 billion in managed assets, has become the sole owner of one of the largest chains of local U.S. newspapers.

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