Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/22

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/22

NC: New election ordered for fraud-tainted North Carolina race

nytimes.com

The North Carolina Board of Elections ordered a new contest in the 9th Congressional District after the Republican candidate, confronted by evidence that his campaign had financed an illegal voter-turnout effort, called for a new vote. It was a startling conclusion to a case that has convulsed the state since November.

AK: Alaska coast could be stranded by loss of state ferry service

adn.com

Alaska state ferries would stop running Oct. 1 under sweeping budget cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. If ferry service ends without a replacement, coastal communities from Kodiak to Ketchikan will be left without surface access to the North American road network.

MI: Michigan governor’s new environmental order leaves 'polluter panels' in place — for now

freep.com

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reorganized the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, after her first attempt was rejected by the Republican-controlled legislature. The new plan leaves in place — for the time being — two industry-dominated review panels derided by environmental critics as "polluter panels."

MA: Massachusetts still short $8B on transportation funding, report says

bostonglobe.com

The Massachusetts transportation system needs an $8.4 billion infusion of new spending over the next 10 years to adequately fund repairs, according to a new report from a Boston-based business organization. The report concludes that the state will likely need to raise new transportation revenue to maintain the state’s highways, bridges, tunnels and public transit.

LA: Louisiana Medicaid beefs up eligibility checks

theadvocate.com

Thousands of Louisiana Medicaid recipients may no longer qualify for the health care program for the poor, unless they have evidence that proves they still meet the state’s eligibility requirements. It’s part of the Louisiana Department of Health’s efforts to clean up the state’s Medicaid rolls amid concerns about potential waste in the program.

ME: Maine governor says benefits outweigh drawbacks of transmission line

pressherald.com

Holding a cube of solid carbon to signify the benefits of renewable energy, Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills detailed the benefits of Central Maine Power Co.’s controversial proposal to build a 145-mile transmission line to carry hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts, a day after she agreed to back the plan.

CA: White House cuts off talks with California over fuel standards

cnn.com

The Trump administration has cut off talks with California over vehicle emission standards, setting up another high-profile legal showdown. This time, the dispute is over California's authority to set its own auto emission standards that are stricter than the Trump administration's proposal.

FL: Florida governor wants access to Canadian prescription drugs

miamiherald.com

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he wants to give patients access to cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, making Florida the latest state to try to import medications to reduce rising health care costs.

CT: Audit shows lax enforcement in Connecticut water quality

courant.com

An audit found bewildering gaps in Connecticut’s public health agency’s oversight of water quality. Public water systems complied with only half of violation orders issued from 2012 to 2016, and of the violations that were addressed, nearly 20 percent were long overdue.

SD: South Dakota hasn't provided required Medicaid coverage for some abortions for 25 years

argusleader.com

A federal investigation found that South Dakota has been violating a federal law regulating abortions for Medicaid recipients since 1994. South Dakota is the only state not complying with the federal law requiring states to provide Medicaid coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest.

IA: Iowa appeals ag-gag law that a federal judge ruled unconstitutional

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa is appealing a federal court ruling that says the state's ag-gag law is unconstitutional, based on free-speech violations. In 2012, the Iowa legislature passed the Agricultural Production Facility Fraud law, making it a crime for journalists and advocacy groups to go undercover at meatpacking plants, livestock confinements, puppy mills and other ag-related operations to investigate working conditions, animal welfare, food safety and environmental hazards.

SC: South Carolina joins drilling opposition, despite Trump support

bloomberg.com

Most voters in South Carolina support President Donald Trump, but there’s at least one area where state leaders are ditching the president to join rival Democrats: a fight against oil exploration off the Atlantic coast.

TN: Tennessee governor proposes more funding for school safety officers

tennessean.com

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee wants to add safety resource officers to schools. He is asking for another $30 million to be placed into the school safety grant fund, created last year, to address about 500 schools statewide that do not have a campus resource officer.

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