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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/27

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/27

VT: Vermont’s Republican governor backs impeachment inquiry into Trump

vtdigger.org

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has become the first Republican governor to publicly support the House impeachment inquiry into allegations President Donald Trump pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden.

CA: In California, ‘surprise’ billing law is protecting patients, angering doctors

nytimes.com

Three years ago, California passed one of the strongest laws in the country to outlaw surprise medical billing. Now lawmakers who want to ban surprise bills nationally are gravitating toward a California-style approach, making the California experience a key exhibit in the debate.

GA: Georgia ethics panel files complaints against 13 state lawmakers

ajc.com

The Georgia ethics commission announced it had filed complaints against 13 state lawmakers, saying each broke campaign finance laws including, in some cases, not disclosing contributions they received.

KS: Youth suicide in Kansas increased by more than half in a year

ljworld.com

Of the 32 children who died by suicide in Kansas in 2017, seven were 14 years old or younger, according to a report from the Kansas State Child Death Review Board. Eighteen of those children were male, and 14 were female. About two-thirds were receiving or had previously received mental health services.

NY: $250M feud lingers, but Senecas, New York reach small road repair truce

nytimes.com

For years, motorists flying down Interstate 90 southwest of Buffalo, New York, were putting the well-being of their vehicles — and occupants — at risk, as they entered a three-mile dilapidated stretch crossing the Seneca Nation’s tribal lands. But New York and the Senecas announced a truce that will allow road repair.

CO: Colorado Democrats’ legislative agenda came with a big price tag

coloradosun.com

To pass their expansive legislative agenda, the new Democratic majority at the Colorado Capitol spent big. Now budget writers are worried about how to make ends meet. A preliminary estimate shows the legislation approved in the 2019 session will cost an additional $80 million to $100 million in the next budget.  

CT: Connecticut Supreme Court hears arguments in Sandy Hook-Alex Jones case

courant.com

The Connecticut Supreme Court held a wide-ranging hearing with justices questioning everything from whether attorneys for the families of the Sandy Hook victims overreacted to perceived threats by Alex Jones to admonishing Jones’ lawyer for invoking the First Amendment.

KY: Kentucky legislature can’t block appeal to view sex harassment records

kentucky.com

The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld a circuit court’s right to hear an appeal by the Lexington Herald-Leader in its open records battle for documents related to sexual harassment allegations inside the state legislature.

MN: Minnesotans' income grew faster than inflation last year, while inequality expanded slightly

startribune.com

Minnesotans stayed among the nation’s top earners last year, with wage growth that outpaced inflation. But new annual data that the U.S. Census Bureau released also showed that Minnesota is starting to feel more effects from the accelerating retirement of baby boomers and a lower flow of immigrants, constraints on the state’s job base.

OH: Some 61K Ohio households would lose food stamps under Trump’s proposal

dispatch.com

Democrats are ramping up their criticism of a proposed crackdown on food stamp eligibility that would take benefits away from 61,000 Ohio households. It also would remove thousands of children from the federal school lunch program. Democrats say the plan will increase hunger and hurt the neediest and most vulnerable.

OR: Oregon vaping sales plummet amid health crisis

oregonlive.com

Industry data suggests sales of vaping products are down sharply in Oregon amid hundreds of illnesses nationwide and a dozen deaths across the country related to vaping. Oregon’s vaping health issues appear related to products purchased from the legal, recreational sector rather than the black market.

TXTexas governor wants to tap short-staffed program to prevent mass shootings

texastribune.org

Texas Department of Public Safety officials overseeing a program Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tapped to help halt potential mass shootings say staffing shortages and privacy concerns stand in the way of taking more preventive action against such massacres.

MD: Maryland delays issuing medical cannabis licenses after black caucus raises concerns about process

baltimoresun.com

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission delayed issuing more licenses to companies to grow and process medical marijuana after the Legislative Black Caucus raised concerns about the process. Commission Chairman Brian Lopez said members and staff needed more time to review applications.

NV: Nevada city to consider homeless camping ban in public areas

reviewjournal.com

The Las Vegas City Council will consider making it illegal to camp or sleep in public areas in downtown and residential areas if beds are available at the Nevada city’s homeless complex or through nonprofit social services. Officials said the proposed ordinance is meant to target an influx of homeless people that has spurred public health and sanitation concerns.

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