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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/6

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/6

KS: No one read emails on Medicaid fraud, says Kansas IG

cjonline.com

Kansas’ Medicaid inspector general revealed an audit showing nobody in state government read nearly 100 emails alleging fraud, waste and abuse in state-administered health programs from August 2017 to January, and that at least 42 were subsequently found to have merit.

HI: Hawaii’s homegrown teachers step up to the plate as efforts target teacher shortage

staradvertiser.com

The first cadre of new teachers in the “Grow Our Own” initiative is stepping to the front of Hawaii classrooms. The University of Hawaii program, started in January 2018, aims to turn people who are already working on campus into full-fledged teachers in 18 months.

NC: North Carolina is first Southern state to ban state-funded ‘conversion’ therapy

religionnews.com

North Carolina has become the first Southern state to ban public funding of “conversion” therapy for minors, used to “cure” same-sex orientations and transgender identities. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order halted state funding for any provider using such techniques.

TX: With a new vacancy on the Texas Supreme Court, attention turns to diversity concerns

texastribune.org

As attention nationwide turns increasingly to inclusivity and representation in the highest branches of government, the Texas Supreme Court has become less diverse over the last decade. After picking two white men, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott now will have a third opportunity to appoint a judge to the state's highest civil court.

LA: Louisiana selects four companies to manage care for Medicaid enrollees

the advocate.com

The Louisiana Department of Health has picked four companies to receive multi-billion-dollar contracts to manage care for the state’s 1.7 million residents covered by the Medicaid expansion.

MT: After Montana elections administrators voice concern, new voter system won't roll out until 2021

billingsgazette.com

Montana's Secretary of State is backing away from plans to implement a new election system before 2020 after elections administrators around the state raised concerns about the aggressive timeline. The 2020 elections are expected to see the highest voter turnout in Montana history.

IL: Illinois officials spending millions to safeguard 2020 election

chicagotribune.com

Three years after Illinois’ voter registration database was infiltrated by Russian hackers, state and local officials are spending millions to upgrade the cyber defenses protecting voters and their ballots leading up to the 2020 election.

TN: Hundreds in Tennessee have violated new ‘hands-free’ cellphone law

tennesseean.com

Hundreds of Tennessee drivers were fined in July under the state's newly implemented distracted driving law that makes it illegal to hold a phone while driving, and state officials say they plan to ramp up enforcement further.

UT: Even with Trump’s support, Utah ‘red flag’ law may not pass

deseretnews.com

The Utah legislator who sponsored a failed "red flag" law to get guns away from someone threatening to harm themselves or others said even President Donald Trump's support for the policy "doesn't seal the deal." There’s a feeling in the state that such shootings couldn’t happen in Utah.

AZ: Report: High-interest lenders have circumvented Arizona’s ban by moving to auto-title loans

azcentral.com

High-interest lenders have circumvented an Arizona ban on payday loans by migrating to auto-title loans. Such loans can keep consumers mired in debt with interest rates of up to 204% a year.

CO: Colorado may have just set a new all-time hottest temperature

denverpost.com

A reading of 115 degrees was observed at the John Martin Dam, near Lamar, in southeast Colorado in July. Colorado’s current all-time hottest temperature on record is 114 degrees, which was set in 1954 and 1933.

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