Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/7

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/7

CA: California utility could go bankrupt over Camp Fire

sacbee.com

Pacific Gas & Electric, the California utility facing billions in potential losses from the Camp Fire and other wildfires that ravaged the state late last year, is reportedly exploring the sale of its natural gas division or a bankruptcy filing as it tries to deal with its staggering financial liabilities.

ME: Former governor’s legal fights cost Maine $900,000

apnews.com

Former Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s legal battles tested the limits of gubernatorial power and cost Maine taxpayers over $900,000 since 2014, according to the Associated Press’ review of a database of state finances.

WI: Teen vaping has become an epidemic, Wisconsin officials warn

jsonline.com

Citing alarming statistics about e-cigarette use among young people, Wisconsin health department issued an advisory aimed at curbing the trend it is labeling an epidemic. E-cigarette use among high school students increased 154 percent between 2014 and 2018, the state Department of Health Services said.

VA: Virginia study could delay sports betting

richmond.com

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is proposing $175,000 for an independent study of gambling options in the state. That could put a hold on measures to legalize sports betting and casinos.

NY: New York now requires changing tables in public men's restrooms

cnn.com

Change is coming to men's restrooms in New York — and it's going to be a big help to fathers all over the state. A new law requires all new or renovated buildings in New York that have bathrooms used by the public to make changing tables available to both men and women.

WA: Washington state bill could ban plastic straws

kxly.com

The Washington state legislature has pre-filed a bill for this session to ban the selling and distributing of single-use plastic straws. The bill, if passed and implemented, would prohibit plastic straw sales and distribution starting July 1, 2020.

VT: Health industry injects big spending in Vermont statehouse lobbying 

vtdigger.org 

As the health care sector’s share of the state economy has grown, the amount spent on lobbying at the statehouse in Vermont since 2011 has also grown. Hospitals, providers, insurers and pharmaceutical companies have spent $1 million or more each of the past eight years, according to data gathered by VTDigger.

MD: Maryland to deal with minimum wage in 2019

washingtonpost.com

Raising the minimum wage, ensuring access to health care and shoring up money for education are among the topics that are expected to dominate the Maryland General Assembly during this year’s 90-day session.

NY: Mug shot searches persist in New York, despite risks

nytimes.com

Many big police departments will not use open-ended mug shot searches because of the chance of a mistaken identification. But New York City detectives turn to them routinely.

SC: Education tops South Carolina priority list in 2019

postandcourier.com

Big changes are coming for South Carolina’s schools — or at least, that’s what will dominate debate in the legislative session, House and Senate leaders say. In the wake of the Post and Courier’s “Minimally Adequate” series, legislators in both parties and both chambers insist education reform is their top priority for 2019.

AK: Alaska officials push to keep earthquake sensors

adn.com

Alaska officials are working to keep in place a statewide seismic network that’s scheduled to be decommissioned next year but is vital for understanding earthquake and tsunami risks in the most seismically active state. The National Science Foundation next year plans to remove more than 150 seismic sensors it installed in Alaska in recent years.

GA, OH, KY: Group of states working to improve foster care laws

wvgazettemail.com

As the nation prepares to change how it provides child welfare services under federal law, states also are working to change their own laws on how they serve the 439,020 youth in foster care in the United States.

NJ: New Jersey law requires middle schoolers to learn finance

nj.com

Middle schoolers in New Jersey will soon be required to take crash courses — or would it be cash courses? — in how to manage finances. The newly signed law mandates the state Board of Education include financial literacy instruction in the curriculum for sixth- through eighth-grade students in public schools beginning in the next school year, which starts in September.

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