What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/12
MN: Minnesota prisons lengthen solitary stays; more inmates sent to ‘the hole’
Minnesota prisons punished trouble-making inmates with solitary confinement a record 8,281 times last year, according to state Department of Corrections data. And that was before the agency earlier this summer significantly increased how much time inmates can spend in “the hole,” from a maximum of 90 days to 360 days.
NH: New Hampshire governor vetoes bill to create nonpartisan redistricting panel
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, vetoed a bipartisan bill that would create an independent commission to come up with the best way to redraw legislative, congressional and Executive Council districts after the 2020 elections.
MS: How ICE chose the 7 Mississippi food plants to raid
Over more than a decade, hundreds of undocumented workers across the country told federal officials they worked at food processing plants in Mississippi. Unsealed court records provide the first look into how federal authorities planned what officials have described as the largest single-state workplace enforcement action in the country.
NJ: Lead crisis in New Jersey city leads to distribution of bottled water
Responding to reports that filters are not protecting residents from elevated lead levels in their drinking water, Newark and New Jersey officials said they will distribute bottled water to households with old lead pipes after federal officials urged the city to take action “as soon as possible.”
FL: Florida governor asks state’s highest court to rule on felon voting
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the state’s high court to rule on whether convicted felons must pay all fines and fees before getting their voting rights restored in a move that competes with ongoing litigation in federal court on that same question.
OR: Oregon government employees sue to overturn new state pension law
Nine Oregon public employees have sued the state, saying their pension benefits are unfairly reduced by a new law. Lawmakers passed the measure in a bid to rein in the state's unfunded $27 billion pension liability.
IL: Illinois governor signs anti-harassment bill into law
Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a measure that mandates annual sexual harassment training for businesses, a limit to arbitration clauses and new protections for consultants and contractors.
NY: New York governor signs domestic violence, discrimination, knife laws
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed more than a handful of notable new bills into law that range from increasing the number of crimes that can be categorized as domestic violence, to banning discrimination in the workplace based on religious attire or facial hair.
CA: Why some California police refuse to respond to suicide calls
Some small and midsize law enforcement agencies across California have stopped responding to certain calls because of the potential dangers to both officers and the person attempting to end his or her life. They also present a financial liability from lawsuits — especially if the situation turns violent.
MA: Massachusetts region hit hard by opioids embraces jail-based treatment
As western Massachusetts struggles with a dramatic spike in fatal overdoses, officials are embracing a controversial solution: sending men who have not committed any crimes to jails and prisons for court-ordered addiction treatment.
LA: Louisiana governor defends Medicaid contracts
A new round of multi-billion-dollar contracts for managing Louisiana’s Medicaid program is drawing scrutiny from some lawmakers and a planned appeal by the losing bidder. But Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration says the new contracts will provide better care to enrollees.
OK: City to inspect marijuana businesses under Oklahoma law
The explosive growth in the number of marijuana businesses means more work for city code inspectors in Oklahoma. A state law taking effect this month requires cities to certify that marijuana dispensaries and growing, processing and research facilities comply with local zoning laws and safety codes.
AZ: Group backing legal marijuana in Arizona releases ballot measure details
A ballot measure to legalize marijuana in Arizona would allow people 21 and older to have as much as an ounce of the drug, while letting the state decide some important decisions such as potency.