What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/27
HI: Hawaii hemp growers have to destroy their plants because of high THC levels
More than half of the hemp crops cultivated in Hawaii over the past year as part of the state’s industrial hemp pilot program have tested hot, meaning their levels of THC, the chemical that makes people high, were above the federal limit for hemp.
MO: Federal judge considering whether to pause Missouri’s 8-week abortion ban
A federal judge will consider whether to temporarily block parts of Missouri’s new abortion law, including a ban on abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy, from going into effect. The Planned Parenthood division that runs Missouri’s sole abortion clinic in St. Louis filed a legal challenge to block the law.
OR, WA: Grocery workers from Oregon, Washington poised to strike
Grocery workers from across Oregon and southwest Washington have voted to approve a strike if negotiations with four of the region’s largest supermarket chains deadlock. The union represents more than 20,000 grocery workers in the region.
NC: North Carolina court will review death row cases for racial bias
North Carolina's highest court is hearing from six inmates who say they ended up on death row because of racism — and because a law meant to protect them was repealed.
CA: California Supreme Court backs greater access to police misconduct cases
The California Supreme Court decided unanimously that law enforcement agencies may alert prosecutors that a deputy who is slated to testify in a criminal case has a history of misconduct. California law has long protected the confidentiality of police personnel records, and law enforcement unions have sought to keep those records private.
GA: Cyberattack ‘crippling’ for Georgia courts
Courthouses across Georgia are still reeling from the cyberattack early this summer that infiltrated the state judicial system’s computer network. With no electronic access to criminal cases and traffic citations, some clerks are keeping track the old-fashioned way — with paper records.
OK: Oklahoma governor says 'the people spoke' on permitless carry
Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said Oklahomans weighed in on whether the state should allow people to carry firearms without a permit when they elected him as governor and elected their state lawmakers. The governor’s comments come as several groups opposed to the law scramble to collect enough signatures to delay its Nov. 1 implementation.
CT: Opioid verdict in Oklahoma has implications for Connecticut suit
The guilty verdict in Oklahoma’s opioid lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson has ramifications for Connecticut’s lawsuit against Stamford-based drugmaker Purdue Pharma. Connecticut’s suit also alleges that Purdue engaged in deceptive marketing and ignored the harm its drugs were causing.
WI: Immunization rates in Wisconsin schools continue slide
According to new data from the Wisconsin Health Department, 91.9% of students met immunization requirements, a decrease of 0.4 percentage points from the previous year. For some diseases like measles, the immunization rate needs to be closer to 95% to protect the medically vulnerable.
MN: Minnesota governor wants state to be ready to roll on legal marijuana
Legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use in Minnesota still faces a big hurdle in the Republican-controlled Senate, but that hasn’t stopped Gov. Tim Walz from preparing for its potential passage. The Democrat said he has directed relevant state agencies to be ready next year to implement the law if a bill ends up reaching his desk.
NY: Desegregation plan: Close all gifted programs in New York
A group of selective schools and programs geared to New York City students labeled gifted and talented is filled mostly with white and Asian children. The rest of the system is open to all students and is predominantly black and Hispanic. Now, a high-level panel appointed by Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that the city do away with most of these programs in an effort to desegregate the system.
FL: Florida education chief demands shakeup of organization that helps disabled people
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, a Republican, has threatened a criminal investigation into a state organization that helps Floridians with disabilities, after learning about potential misuse of millions of dollars and alleged “incompetence” on the part of its leadership.
NM: New Mexico’s new energy law prompts legal challenge
A coalition of environmental and consumer advocacy groups contend language within the law signed by New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this year erodes the state’s ability to regulate utilities and puts electric customers at risk of having to pay unchecked costs.