Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/8

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/8

PR: An ‘abandoned’ hospital: Puerto Rico waits as Washington bickers

nytimes.com

Puerto Rican leaders say the delay to repairing a deteriorated Vieques hospital and thousands of other stalled projects is a reflection of unequal treatment from the White House and Congress, which last week failed to pass disaster relief legislation because of a dispute over how much money to send the island.

TX: Texas may owe feds $223M after illegally decreasing special education funding

texastribune.org

A major flaw in the way Texas spends money on kids with disabilities might lose the state almost a quarter of its annual special education grant. Texas lawmakers could still spend the $111.6 million needed this year to avoid a federal penalty for 2019 — but the budget is well on its way to being decided.

OK: Oklahoma page program resumes following assault allegation

apnews.com

Legislative pages are returning to the Oklahoma Capitol, but male and female pages will no longer serve together following an allegation of sexual assault.

MO: Missouri Senate votes to excuse people 75 and older from jury duty

stltoday.com

Older residents of Missouri could be excused from jury duty under legislation passed by the state Senate. The bill would allow anyone age 75 or older to ask a court to get out of jury duty.

AR: Arkansas lawmakers weigh monument protection bill

apnews.com

Arkansas lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal to remove or alter any military or historical monument on public property, including those honoring the Confederacy, unless a state commission agrees to the changes.

NJ: More than 1.4M in New Jersey get water from lead-laced systems

nj.com

People across New Jersey are getting their drinking water from systems that are dealing with high levels of lead, NJ Advance Media found. The affected water systems range from major systems that serve hundreds of thousands of people in multiple towns to tiny systems that service just dozens.

IL: Illinois governor signs bill raising smoking age to 21

chicagotribune.com

The measure signed into law by Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker will raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21 statewide.

HI: Legal immigrant sues Hawaii for right to carry firearm

thegardenisland.com

A United Kingdom citizen who is a permanent legal resident of the United States is challenging Hawaii gun laws. Attorneys representing Andrew Roberts, a Honolulu resident and director for the Hawaii Firearms Coalition, filed a federal lawsuit alleging a state law prohibiting non-U.S. citizens from getting gun licenses is unconstitutional.

MA: In Massachusetts’ broken foster care system, some kids can’t find a bed for the night

bostonglobe.com

The opioid epidemic continues to splinter families and overwhelm Massachusetts’ child protection system. Facing this deluge of need, the Department of Children and Families has been unable to recruit and retain enough foster parents to shelter all the abused and neglected children without a safe home.

NM: New Mexico AG says sheriffs must enforce gun law

abqjournal.com

Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, is warning sheriffs and police chiefs throughout New Mexico that they risk legal liability if they refuse to enforce the state’s new background checks law for gun sales. The law takes effect this summer.

MN: Minnesota advances bill to allow driver's licenses for immigrants in US illegally

startribune.com

The vote was a victory for the Democratic-led Minnesota House and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who have made it a top priority for this session. But it faces strong opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, where some conservatives see it as an invitation to illegal immigration and possibly even fraudulent voting.

WY: New initiative aims to clean oilfield water for use in Wyoming, other arid states

trib.com

Agriculture leaders recently launched an initiative to clean oilfield wastewater for use in Wyoming and other arid Western states, hoping to reduce the region’s carbon footprint and improve the lives of ranchers and farmers.

CO: Colorado exemption allows industry to pollute without permit

apnews.com

Using a decades-old exemption, Colorado public health officials routinely allow oil and gas companies to begin drilling and fracking without obtaining federally required permits that limit the amount of pollution they can discharge into the air.

Babies in Foster Care Census 2020
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