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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/7

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/7

WA: Washington lawmakers approved ambitious plan to fix mental-health system

seattletimes.com

Washington legislators took substantial steps to reshape the mental-health system, including funding for new facilities, legislation to increase the number of qualified workers, and the creation of new types of treatment centers.

OR: Teachers across Oregon to walk out over classroom funding

apnews.com

Tens of thousands of teachers are expected to walk out across Oregon this week, adding to the string of nationwide protests over class sizes and education funding. Oregon schools have some of the highest class-sizes and lowest graduation rates in the United States. 

US: Along the border, local governments step up to address migrant crisis

azcentral.com

As nonprofits struggle to house and care for the number of families released border-wide, city, county and even state governments along the U.S.-Mexico border are starting to take a greater, more direct role in the humanitarian response to their arrival in their communities.

OH: Ohio could be 1st state to allow medical marijuana for depression, insomnia

cincinnati.com

More than half of Ohio’s population could become eligible in June for a medical marijuana card if the state approves five more ailments as qualifying conditions. Among the proposed additions: depression and insomnia, which affect hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.

CO: In 'new era' of oil and gas regulation, Colorado communities write own rules

denverpost.com

Less than three weeks after Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a sweeping bill giving cities and towns in Colorado new powers to regulate oil and gas drilling, communities sitting atop the state’s vast fossil fuel deposits are already looking at how to flex their newfound muscle.

CA: How stricter vaccine laws spared California from a major measles outbreak

latimes.com

California is one of three states that does not allow personal or religious belief exemptions. But California’s law hasn’t been a silver bullet.

VT: Vermont Senate strips personal sick time from paid family leave legislation

vtdigger.org

The Vermont Senate’s paid leave bill would give workers time off to care for newborns and sick family members. But it would not allow employees to take paid time off for their own medical issues.

NV: Nevada lawmakers tackle affordable housing

reviewjournal.com

Facing one of the worst affordable housing shortages in the country, Nevada lawmakers are hoping the 2019 legislature can mark a turning point. Proposals range from direct investment of state dollars to empowering local governments to get involved and stronger tenant protections.

OK: Oklahoma relies on court collections to fund government

tulsaworld.com

Fines, fees and court costs assessed to Oklahoma defendants have grown 27% since fiscal 2007 as state and local government agencies have become increasingly reliant upon them as a revenue source.

NC: North Carolina expects tax payments surplus

apnews.com

North Carolina tax collections are on track for the state to post its highest surplus since the Great Recession. Extraordinary growth in April tax payments means the state ultimately may collect over $700 million above what budget-writers projected last summer.

TN: Tennessee House Speaker's chief of staff resigns amid sexually explicit texts scandal

tennessean.com

The chief of staff for Tennessee's House Speaker quit in light of reports that he had solicited sex in text messages to interns and lobbyists and used illegal drugs in the legislative office building.

CT: Pro-toll lobbying group launches ad blitz in Connecticut

courant.com

In the past three weeks, the road-building industry has pumped more than $700,000 into the effort to sell highway tolls to the public. Move CT Forward, a coalition of labor and construction industry groups, say the money is needed, but critics say tolls would place a heavy burden on motorists.

NE: Nebraska governor blasts proposed sales tax increase on car repairs

apnews.com

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, wants to stop a bill that seeks to lower property taxes by raising other taxes and imposing a sales tax on services including car repairs, haircuts, pop, bottled water and professional lawn care.

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