What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/4
TX: Texas bans chaplains from its execution chamber
Texas has banned all prison chaplains from its execution chamber, days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state was violating an inmate's rights by not allowing a Buddhist chaplain into the death chamber with him.
LA: More than 30K removed from Louisiana Medicaid rolls
More than 30,000 people in Louisiana have been booted from the Medicaid program after an upgraded state computer check determined they earn too much to receive the taxpayer-financed health insurance.
MD: Thousands of asbestos lawsuits may move into mediation in Maryland
In the waning days of the Maryland General Assembly session, lawmakers are considering creating a new state office to mediate thousands of lawsuits from workers who have been sickened by asbestos exposure.
GA: Medical marijuana sales made legal in Georgia, but obstacles remain
Medical marijuana sales are coming to Georgia eventually, but a bill that lawmakers passed contains substantial hurdles before the state’s 8,400 registered patients can buy the drug.
MA: Massachusetts prisons start offering medication to treat addiction
For the first time, Massachusetts prisons are providing a medication to treat opioid addiction to newly arriving inmates, as the state launches a groundbreaking program established by legislation passed last year.
NM: Teacher salaries, school funding get boosts in New Mexico
New Mexico’s Democratic governor signed bills to provide greater resources to low-income students, extend learning time, raise minimum teacher salaries and allow many elementary schools to add five weeks to the calendar year.
ND: North Dakota lawmakers vote to seal DUI records after 7 years
North Dakota's Senate and House have voted to seal the court records of convicted drunken drivers if they aren't charged with another DUI or any other crime for seven years.
CT: Connecticut legislative candidate loses bid to use public funds for child care
The all-male Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission voted unanimously to uphold a prohibition on the personal use of public election grants that includes child care expenses.
CO: Bill overhauling oil and gas regulations heads to Colorado governor
A contentious bill headed to Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ desk would make protecting public health and safety and the environment a priority when considering oil and gas projects. It also would allow the state’s cities and counties to regulate oil and gas development under their planning and land-use powers.
WI: Wisconsin voters OK 75% of school district referendum requests
Wisconsin voters approved nearly $770 million in additional funding for school districts in Tuesday’s election. Overall, three-quarters of district referendum questions passed, continuing a trend of strong voter support for increasing local property taxes to offset years of flat state support for public K-12 schools.
HI: Hawaii considers reforming bail system called unfair to poor
Hawaii lawmakers are considering allowing defendants accused of nonviolent offenses to be released on bail without paying cash up front. Instead, defendants could sign a promissory note and commit to showing up for trial.
VT: Health commissioner says decriminalizing buprenorphine is a good idea — but not in Vermont
Vermont’s top health official is pushing back on efforts to allow possession of a popular opioid treatment drug without a prescription, a proposal he said would get his “slam dunk” support in any other state.
NE: Nebraska governor decries proposed tax on soda, bottled water
Standing in a supermarket produce aisle, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, joined representatives of the grocery and soft drink industries in decrying as "regressive" a proposal to tax soda pop, bottled water and some junk food in exchange for lower property taxes.