Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/15

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/15

MD: Maryland could miss tax payments over shutdown

baltimoresun.com

As a partial shutdown of the federal government continues, Maryland could soon be missing out on tax collections. The comptroller’s office estimated that 172,000 Marylanders are affected, including federal employees and contractors who aren’t being paid. Those workers typically receive $778 million every two weeks, and pay $57.5 million in state and local income tax.

CO: Colorado city helps federal workers pay mortgage

denverpost.com

Starting this week, Denver homeowners who have suffered furloughs and other work changes thanks to the government shutdown can apply for a city grant to pay their mortgages. The Colorado city will give up to two months of mortgage payments, for a maximum of $5,000, through the program.

NV: Nevada governor seeks aid to college students in shutdown

reviewjournal.com

At the urging of Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education are set to vote on a measure that would direct the presidents of state higher-education institutions to either temporarily defer tuition and fees for the upcoming spring semester and waive late penalties for students affected by the government shutdown.

AR: Arkansas to issue February food stamps early due to shutdown

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas residents eligible to receive food stamps will be able to get their February benefits early because of the partial federal government shutdown, officials said.

TX: Firing football coaches in Texas could cost almost $7M

texastribune.org

The payouts to the fired coaches come at a time when many Texas colleges continue to raise tuition and fees, in part to compensate for declining support from the state legislature. At two of the three schools, the football programs spent more money than they earned last fiscal year, requiring other university funds to cover the difference.

UT: Utah budget director making long-term plans amid shutdown

sltrib.com

Utah’s budget director, Kristen Cox, said her office is making longer-term plans for maintaining public services without support from Washington. Federal funding for many programs — including nutrition services and defense — will expire in February, putting the state on the hook to spend its rainy day balances, appropriate funding or allow services to lapse.

CA: First strike in decades affects half a million California students

latimes.com

Los Angeles teachers went on strike for the first time in 30 years. About 31,000 members of the teachers union had agreed to walk out to try to win smaller class sizes, more support staff at schools and better pay in the California city.

OR: Oregon bill requires permit to buy gun

apnews.com

A bill set to appear in the legislature this year would require Oregonians to obtain a permit before buying a gun, limit the amount of ammunition a person could buy, outlaw magazines with a capacity of more than five rounds, and create gun locking and storage requirements.

GA: Georgia Senate limits window for bringing sexual harassment claims

ajc.com

On the first day of the 2019 legislative session, Georgia senators passed rules making it less likely that lawmakers will investigate allegations of sexual harassment against their colleagues. Under the resolution, those who believe they’ve been harassed by a senator or staffer must to bring their allegations forward within two years. Previously, there had been no time limit.

SC: South Carolina teacher shortage worsens

postandcourier.com

More new teachers quit the profession and more veteran educators retired in South Carolina, accelerating an annual exodus. State lawmakers have vowed to make fixing schools and narrowing the shortage a top priority.

MA: Massachusetts court: Police can make drugged driving arrests based on observations

bostonglobe.com

If you’re acting loopy during a traffic stop and your car smells like pot, Massachusetts police can arrest you for driving under the influence of marijuana, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled. The decision comes as the state’s retail marijuana industry, launched in November, is booming.

WI: Wisconsin’s lame-duck lawsuits could prove costly

jsonline.com

The lame-duck laws in Wisconsin gave legislators the power to more easily intervene in cases with their own lawyers. Lawmakers could bring their own attorneys into cases even as litigants challenge the validity of the law that gives them the ability to hire outside attorneys.

KY: In race to overturn Roe v. Wade, Kentucky Republicans want to be first

courier-journal.com

Undeterred by costs of litigation, Kentucky lawmakers say they will push a fetal heartbeat measure certain to face an immediate legal challenge if enacted. A Senate bill bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, around six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant, which opponents say amounts to an unconstitutional ban on abortion.

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