Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/26

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/26

VT: New corrections rule keeps most Vermont inmate records under wraps

vtdigger.org

A panel of lawmakers approved a new rule that clarifies what records Vermont inmates can obtain from their own case files but blocks public access to prisoner grievances and almost all other offender records.

ME: Maine governor has paid about half of inaugural bills

apnews.com

The inaugural committee for Maine’s governor has told state ethics commissioners that it has paid about half the billed costs for her inauguration as officials consider whether late donations violated state law. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ campaign told state ethics staff that her nearly $200,000 inaugural bill at the Augusta Civic Center was about $63,000 higher than originally quoted. 

WI: Wisconsin and local officials beef up election security

jsonline.com

In July 2016, "Russian government cyber actors" scanned Wisconsin's online defenses twice, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Federal officials continue to warn about Russia's ongoing effort to interfere in elections. This has led Wisconsin elections officials to put an emphasis on securing voting information.

SC: South Carolina abolishes new common law marriages

postandcourier.com

Common law marriage — the legal framework that has allowed longtime couples to be considered married even without a license — will no longer be recognized in South Carolina. The state Supreme Court decision means South Carolina joins the vast majority of states that have already done away with the practice, though existing common law marriages will still be recognized.

ND: North Dakota funeral directors hope for more consistent pay for indigent burials

bismarcktribune.com

In North Dakota, counties pay funeral directors to bury the poor, and the pay can range from $1,500 to $4,500 depending on the county. Funeral directors hope a new system of multicounty social service zones will bring more consistency, so they don't lose money when the payments don't cover their costs.

IA: Trump's trade war: Iowa farm bailout payments will range between $40 and $79 an acre

desmoinesregister.com

Depending on where Iowa farmers live, they could receive between $40 and $79 an acre in the latest round of federal payments, designed to soften the blow from an ongoing trade war with China. Nationally, farmers could receive between $15 to $150 an acre for crops grown this year, U.S. Agriculture Department officials said.

NY: A plan to make cycling safer on New York City streets

nytimes.com

Earlier this summer, three cyclists in New York City were killed in just over a week. Their deaths made 2019 more deadly for cyclists than all last year. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was facing an “emergency” and promised to address it. Then three more cyclist deaths were reported.

SD: Hundreds of women leave South Dakota for abortions

argusleader.com

South Dakota's abortion numbers have decreased by 55% over the past decade to reach a historic low last year, but that doesn't account for the hundreds of South Dakotans finding providers out of state.

CO: Following federal announcement, Colorado lawmakers propose moving land management staff

denverpost.com

Three state lawmakers are proposing that Colorado follow in the federal government’s footsteps and relocate about 190 land management employees to Grand Junction. U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced earlier this month that 27 Bureau of Land Management jobs are headed to the Western Colorado city.

UT: Following Utah, states explore strategies for advancing outdoor recreation

sltrib.com

A new Outdoor Recreation Learning Network, modeled after a Utah program launched by the National Governors Association, will help states leverage their outdoor resources to promote economic development. The national network will be sponsored by REI Co-op, the Outdoor Industry Association and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable.

GA: Georgia authorities make gang crackdowns a top priority

ajc.com

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and the state’s top law enforcement authorities have detailed plans that would have a new statewide gang database up and running by year’s end. They also want more training to help prosecutors bring criminal charges against gang members.

NM: New Mexico Supreme Court will hear case on staggered elections

apnews.com

The election-date changes recently approved by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, and legislators initially would cut short or lengthen some terms by two years. District attorneys say their elections should remain on the presidential cycle unless a constitutional amendment is approved by the legislature and a statewide vote.

MN: Minnesota police board stresses sex assault response in training

mprnews.org

People preparing to serve in Minnesota law enforcement will face new expectations about how to approach cases of suspected sexual assault after a regulatory board voted to revise training guidelines.

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