What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/23
IL: Illinois teachers will get pay hike under new law
The minimum annual salary for public school teachers in Illinois will be raised to $40,000 by the 2023-24 school year under a measure Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law that is aimed at making a dent in a statewide teacher shortage. He estimated it will lead to raises for about 8,000 teaching positions.
MA: Massachusetts hospital reports data breach
Massachusetts General Hospital said a data breach in its neurology department has exposed the private information of nearly 10,000 people. The breach, which occurred in June, exposed data about participants in certain research programs, including their names, dates of birth and medical histories.
FL: New petition to legalize recreational pot in Florida goes public
A new effort to legalize recreational pot in Florida is underway. This time, it’s being backed by the medical marijuana industry. The amendment would allow adults 21 or older to have, use, purchase and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and paraphernalia.
MO: Missouri lawmakers signal plan to take on spread of illegal slot machines
After years of inaction by Missouri lawmakers, the push may be on to take aim at the tens of thousands of illegal slot machines popping up in gas stations, taverns and convenience stores across the state. The chairman of a special House committee said he believes Missourians want to unplug the illegal terminals.
UT: Utah Wildlife Board hikes cougar hunting for 4th year
The Utah Wildlife Board has boosted cougar hunting quotas for the fourth year in a row, voting to hike permits for the upcoming season to 690, representing one quarter of the state’s lion population. Critics say that level of hunting pressure is not sustainable.
CT: Connecticut cutting funding to nursing homes with high vacancy rates
Connecticut has targeted nine under-performing nursing homes with large numbers of empty beds for millions of dollars in Medicaid cuts, but the operators, the union, and some lawmakers in the affected areas are pushing back hard, saying the homes should be given a chance to raise occupancy rates.
TX: New Texas law aims to better inform homebuyers of flood risks
Previously, sellers in Texas were only required to disclose whether their home was in a 100-year floodplain. The new law, which goes into effect Sept. 1, expands that disclosure to include whether the home is in a 500-year floodplain, a flood pool, near a reservoir, or has flooded or may flood in a catastrophic event.
NV: Drug companies could be fined by Nevada authorities
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is threatening to levy roughly $20 million in fines on more than two dozen drug manufacturers that have yet to submit cost and profit reports to the state as required by a 2017 law aimed at better understanding the rising costs of treating diabetes.
CA: California pot taxes miss projections
California pulled in $74 million in cannabis excise taxes between April and June, after state officials sharply scaled back tax dollar projections. Government analysts once projected the state would be flooded with tax money — $1 billion annually within a few years of launching the world’s largest legal pot market.
U.S.: Money crunch after Planned Parenthood quits federal program
Planned Parenthood clinics in several states are charging new fees, tapping financial reserves, intensifying fundraising and warning of more unintended pregnancies after its decision to quit a $260 million federal family planning program in an abortion dispute with the Trump administration.
WI: Wisconsin won't get back any of $3.7M in legal bills in gerrymandering case
Democrats who lost a lawsuit over Republican-friendly election maps won't have to help cover Wisconsin's legal bills, a panel of three federal judges ruled. Drawing the maps and defending them in court have cost Wisconsin taxpayers more than $3.7 million since 2011, according to legal bills.
MD: Maryland drug price board has members, but no money to do its work
Maryland officials named members of a new board that’s supposed to investigate high drug prices, but Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has not released the money that’s needed to get the board up and running.
ND: North Dakota court upholds dismissal of pipeline security case
The North Dakota Supreme Court dealt a blow to a state board seeking to prevent a Dakota Access Pipeline security firm from operating in the state without a license, but the legal fight may not be over.