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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/26

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/26

US: 17 states sue over Trump Endangered Species Act rollback

washingtonpost.com

Attorneys general in 17 states have sued the Trump administration over rule changes that substantially weakened how Endangered Species Act protections are considered and enforced. The rules were changed as part of President Donald Trump’s effort to scale back government regulations on corporations, including the oil and gas industry, that want to drill on protected land.

NY, CT: New York, Connecticut governors discuss regional moves on vaping, marijuana

courant.com

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, both Democrats, joined forces to push for a uniform regional approach to regulating vaping, which has exploded in popularity but has also led to a rash of health problems across the country. The two governors also talked about legalizing recreational marijuana, which neither state has done.

MI: Flavored vape ban faces new challenge from Michigan GOP lawmakers

freep.com

Two Republican lawmakers are taking aim at Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to ban flavored vape products. Rep. Steven Johnson’s bill would stop the health department from banning the sale of flavored vapes that have a nicotine level of 2% or less. And Rep. Beau LaFave’s bill would prohibit the state from implementing rules that limit the production, sale or use of vaping products.

MN: Governor says Minnesota will adopt tougher emissions standards for cars and trucks

startribune.com

Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, said Minnesota will follow California and adopt stricter emissions standards for cars, trucks and SUVs, even as the Trump administration moves to invalidate those standards. Minnesota would become the 15th state to adopt California’s fuel-efficiency laws, which are under challenge by the Trump administration.

AZ: Bedbug infestation leads to shutdown of Arizona state building

azcentral.com

A bedbug infestation has forced the temporary closure of an Arizona Department of Economic Security office in Surprise, an agency spokeswoman said. But the closure — in effect through Sept. 30— may have come too late to stop the pests from spreading beyond the building.

NE: Nebraska senators ask for public’s input on property taxes

omaha.com

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, did not attend the property tax town hall, but he’s made it clear that he opposes any tax hikes, or tax shifts, to lower property taxes. True tax relief, the governor has said, only comes via reduced spending.

NM: Appeals court will decide future for jaguar habitat in New Mexico

apnews.com

A federal appeals court will decide whether tens of thousands of acres in New Mexico should be reserved as critical habitat for the endangered jaguar. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver heard arguments from lawyers representing farmers and ranchers wary of setting aside such a large expanse for the cats.

GA: Many farmers oppose Georgia’s strict hemp growing rules

ajc.com

Since Georgia lawmakers legalized hemp farming earlier this year, more than 70 people have submitted public comments to the state Department of Agriculture, almost all of them expressing concerns about the state’s proposed regulations, according to records obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

VA: Police in Virginia's most populous county turn to body cameras

insidenova.com

Starting next May, Fairfax County police will spend three years equipping 1,210 officers with body-worn cameras that will help police gather evidence and resolve allegations of officer misconduct. A study found high support for the idea among residents despite a $4.3 million cost in the first year.

TX: Storm Imelda cited in release of almost 100,000 pounds of air pollutants in Texas

houstonchronicle.com

The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda, which dumped as much as 43 inches of rain in some areas of Southeast Texas, contributed to the release of tens of thousands of pounds of toxic air pollutants from area chemical plants and refineries, state records show.

MA: Massachusetts vape shops facing financial ruin

bostonglobe.com

Dozens of vaping shops in Massachusetts are in danger of going under because of a four-month ban on the sale of vaping fluids, cartridges and accessories imposed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. While many convenience stores and other retailers offer vaping products — as do marijuana dispensaries — some businesses rely almost exclusively on them for their revenue.

UT: Utah County to pay $2.6 million settlement in voting rights case

sltrib.com

Seven years after the Navajo Nation first brought suit against Utah’s San Juan County under the Voting Rights Act, the landmark case appears to be over. The San Juan County Commission voted unanimously to pay $2.6 million in plaintiff’s fees to Navajo Nation attorneys over the next eight years.

NY: He didn't abuse his daughter. New York officials took her away anyway.

nytimes.com

In New York and 11 other states, if a mother is accused of abuse or neglect but the father is not, and he is not married to her, he must prove that he is a parent in his own right — otherwise he will not have a say in whether the child will be relinquished.

Immigration Dip U.S. House Approves Bill Allowing Banks to Help Marijuana Businesses
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