Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/23

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/23

TX: More than 4,900 migrant kids are living in Texas shelters

texastribune.org

As of July 18, Texas’ 35 state-licensed shelters had permission to accommodate up to 6,286 children. With 4,937 kids living in them, that means they’re at 78% capacity.

GA: Plan approved to spend Georgia tax money on rural internet lines

ajc.com

Georgia has finalized a plan to spend the public’s money on subsidies for high-speed internet lines, laying the foundation for broadband expansion in rural areas. Whether it will work remains to be seen.

WI: Wisconsin asks municipalities to test for contamination from 'forever' chemicals

jsonline.com

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources asked 125 municipal wastewater treatment systems to begin investigating for the presence of a group of chemical contaminants that pose health hazards to humans. The facilities would sample and analyze water flowing in and out of their treatment systems for perfluorinated compounds, commonly known as PFAS, according to the DNR. 

KS: In Kansas child welfare system, concerns over LGBTQ youth

hutchnews.com

New guidelines from the Kansas Department for Children and Families that direct child placement agencies to place LGBTQ youths in homes that respect the children’s gender identities. The guidelines, issued under the administration of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, clash with legislation passed in 2018 that allows child placement agencies to refuse service to gay couples because of firmly held religious beliefs.

WA: Washington state is expanding its inmate wildfire crews

king5.com

Despite a wet July, Washington is preparing for a busy late summer, and perhaps early fall wildfire season. As a result, the state is training additional prison inmates to potentially respond to wildfires. To qualify, an inmate must have less than four years remaining on their sentence.

NY: Rethinking the Regents exams in New York

timesunion.com 

Taking "the Regents," one of the oldest academic exam systems in the country, has been a rite of passage for high school students in New York for generations. That may soon change as the state Board of Regents considers scrapping the high school Regents exam requirement as part of an effort to improve the state's graduation rates and better define the significance of a New York high school diploma.

UT: United Utah party wants to impose term limits on state elected leaders

sltrib.com

Twelve consecutive years in office would be the new maximum for state lawmakers under a proposed ballot initiative planned by the United Utah Party. The party pitches itself as a centrist alternative to the state’s Republican and Democratic organizations.

KY: Kentucky House passes governor’s pension-relief bill in a close vote

courier-journal.com

Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's bill to provide pension relief to regional universities, health departments and other "quasi-governmental agencies" passed a crucial test when the House approved the plan 52-46. It now goes to the Senate.

MN: Minnesota officials kick off working group on deadly police encounters

startribune.com

The Minnesota working group is part of an effort to help officers and lawmakers grapple with a spate of fatal encounters sparking community protests, lawsuits, and a re-examination of law enforcement practices nationwide. The 16-person group will convene three public hearings to generate a report recommending policy changes by February 2020, when the Minnesota legislature convenes.

MA: Massachusetts lawmakers mostly followed governor’s lead on drug costs

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts legislators reached a compromise that gives the administration of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker more power to require pharmaceutical companies to negotiate discounts for particularly expensive drugs. It also allows the administration to set a proposed value for a drug, and to hold a public hearing about that value.

OH: Proposed Ohio ballot issue requiring background checks for most gun sales shoots ahead

cleveland.com

Backers of a proposed citizen-initiated law to require background checks for most gun sales in Ohio have gotten the green light to start collecting petition signatures to, ultimately, place the measure on the statewide ballot. 

NM: New Mexico governor removes education secretary

apnews.com

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has removed the head of the state’s Public Education Department while expressing dissatisfaction with efforts to implement sweeping education reforms.

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