What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/19
OR: Oregon House approves 10-year ban on ‘fracking’
Lawmakers voted to prohibit the process, which injects high-pressure liquids into underground rock to extract oil and gas. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.
GA: Anti-abortion ‘heartbeat bill’ clears Georgia Senate panel
A Georgia Senate panel approved a proposal that would ban most abortions after six weeks. If it passes, it would be among the strictest abortion laws in the country.
CO: Colorado governor signs national popular vote bill into law
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill that makes Colorado one of a dozen states committed to giving its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide.
NV: Nevada considers technology to scan cellphones after crashes
Most states ban texting behind the wheel, but a legislative proposal could make Nevada one of the first states to allow police to use a contentious technology to find out if a person was using a cellphone during a car crash.
MN: In class-action settlement, Minnesota prisoners win access to hepatitis C drugs
Minnesota prisoners with chronic hepatitis C infections must be provided with highly effective but costly antiviral drugs following a class-action lawsuit settlement.
HI: Excessive prison time still a mess for Hawaii inmates
Hawaii has a problem of inmates being held beyond their scheduled release dates, according to defense attorneys who say long-standing deficiencies with tracking inmates have yet to be resolved. The state faces multiple lawsuits over the issue.
RI: Rhode Island Medicaid tax targets many of state’s biggest employers
Nearly 200 Rhode Island employers have 50 or more workers enrolled in Medicaid and at least 10 have more than 300 workers enrolled in that government health insurance program. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed to charge large companies a 10-percent tax (up to $1,500 each worker) on the wages of each employee receiving Medicaid.
TX: Texas governor backs bail reform bill that would give him more control
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has thrown his weight behind a bill to overhaul Texas’ bail system that would give him control over the creation of a risk-assessment tool to be used in bail decisions.
TN: Tennessee Medicaid program launches new application system
After five years and $400 million, Tennessee finally launched its Medicaid application program, potentially transforming how some of the state’s most vulnerable residents obtain medical coverage and other benefits.
OH: Ohio governor proposes raising age limit for buying tobacco
The age limit for buying tobacco products in Ohio could change from 18 to 21 under a proposal from the governor.
FL: Florida’s shift on medical marijuana encouraged by millions in political donations
Florida’s licensed cannabis corporations and their executives have given at least $2.5 million in political contributions to state lawmakers and political parties.
AR: Term limits proposed again for Arkansas lawmakers
The Arkansas Term Limits ballot committee filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit state lawmakers to serving a maximum of 10 years in the legislature.
CA: Small California city overrun by thousands of tourists declares ‘public safety crisis’
Hillsides blanketed in brightly colored flowers are often a blissful, at times even calming, sight. But for one small city in Southern California, the idyllic scenes have become a chaotic nightmare: The “Poppy Apocalypse.” The harbingers of destruction? Tens of thousands of flower-crazed tourists.