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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/11

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/11

ID: Idaho governor signs Medicaid expansion bill

apnews.com

Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little signed into law a bill approving Medicaid expansion for about 90,000 low-income residents that adds work and other requirements to a voter-approved measure.

FL: Florida to issue 2-millionth permit to carry

miamiherald.com

Florida is close to issuing its 2-millionth concealed weapon permit. Florida already has more current permit-holders than any other state in the country at 1.97 million, and it’s adding about 17,500 each month.

AZ: Arizona becomes first state to match out-of-state work licenses

apnews.com

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, has signed legislation that makes the state the first in the nation to automatically grant occupational licenses to anyone who moves there with an unblemished credential from another state. The action removes a barrier for doctors, manicurists, home inspectors and anyone else who needs a license to do their job.

AR: Arkansas governor to sign anti-'sanctuary cities' bill

apnews.com

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he’ll sign legislation cutting off funding to “sanctuary cities” that don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities despite the Republican’s objections that the measure could open the door to racial profiling.

WA: Corrections officials’ claims to ban books mailed to Washington inmates don’t add up

seattletimes.com

Washington corrections officials faced a backlash after banning nonprofits from mailing used books to prisoners. In defending the ban, the Washington Department of Corrections said it was a necessary step to tamp down on contraband that ended up in inmate hands. But information on those 17 separate instances tells a different story.

MS: As leaders claim economic boom times, some Mississippi workers decry 3% raise

mississippitoday.org

The average salary for a Mississippi state employee lags surrounding states. Matching the average salaries in the four contiguous states would cost an additional $77.3 million.

HI: Hawaii governor having a rough year at the legislature

staradvertiser.com

With the Hawaii legislature entering the final weeks of the 2019 session, this is shaping up to be a notably lousy year for Democratic Gov. David Ige. Lawmakers have declined many of his initiatives, including preschool programs, construction projects, transportation taxes, a scholarship program and a conservation initiative, among others.

KY: Kentucky says it will be first to use 'rapid DNA' to identify rape suspects within hours

courier-journal.com

Law enforcement officials in Kentucky plan to apply a growing technology to testing sexual assault kits, possibly leading to suspect identification within hours — not months. Officials plan to take advantage of what's called "rapid DNA" technology in which machines analyze a forensic sample and can produce a DNA profile within about two hours.

ND: Plan for state checks on marijuana users stalls in North Dakota

thedickinsonpress.com

North Dakota House lawmakers retreated on a proposal allowing authorities to view medical marijuana patients' records as a check on eligibility for concealed weapons licenses. The measure passed but failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to amend a voter eferendum legalizing medical marijuana in 2016.

TX: Texas governor backs sales tax increase

apnews.com

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called for Texas’ first sales tax increase in nearly 30 years as Republican leaders who promised to boost money for classrooms and cut property taxes struggle to achieve both with just weeks in the legislative session left to deliver. The plan would push the sales tax rate to 7.25%, tying Texas with California for highest in the U.S.

TN: Tennessee medical marijuana bills are dead until 2020

tennessean.com

Tennessee lawmakers have abruptly delayed all efforts to legalize medical marijuana until next year, abandoning several bills moments before the topic was expected to be debated for the first time.

OR: After tense hearing, Oregon poised to join national popular vote movement

opb.org

For the first time, a proposal that Oregon honor the national popular vote in presidential contests got a vote on the Senate floor, passing easily. The bill moves on to the House of Representatives, where similar proposals have passed four times since 2007.

AK: Alaska relies on ice. What happens when it can’t be trusted?

nytimes.com

It’s not springtime now in Alaska, it’s “break-up” — the end of safe travel on ice. And in an era of climate change, break-up has been coming too soon, especially this year. The ice has become unpredictable, creating new, sometimes deadly hazards and a host of practical problems that disrupt the rhythms of everyday life.

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