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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/30

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/30

NC: Democrats challenge North Carolina’s congressional districts

newsobserver.com

After getting many of the North Carolina districts used to elect state legislators overturned as unconstitutional earlier this month, Democrats now have their sights on a new target: the state’s 13 congressional districts.

CA: In California, local governments take lead on vaping bans

sacbee.com

California lawmakers this year punted on banning flavored tobacco products and the governor says the state doesn’t have the authority to ban vaping products. So, when it comes to vaping bans, local governments are taking the lead.

AK: Governor thrusts Alaska into a leading national role as he takes on union procedures

adn.com

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s order establishing new “opt-in” procedures for state workers joining unions puts Alaska on track to become the first state to enforce a clause in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 Janus decision that says employees must consent to pay union dues before the dues are deducted from paychecks, observers said.

TN: As Tennessee seeks Medicaid block grant, critics raise question: Is it legal?

tennessean.com

If Tennessee successfully negotiates with the federal government an overhaul of its Medicaid program to receive funding through a block grant, it could become the first state in the nation to do so. But the "if" is significant, and one that could hinge on the fundamental question of whether such a funding mechanism is legal.

VT: Who in Vermont gets the best-paid teachers? Often, the most affluent kids

vtdigger.org

The best-paid Vermont teachers are generally found in the districts with the lowest concentrations of poverty, according to data VTDigger analyzed from the Agency of Education on average teacher salaries and student poverty in every public school in the state.

ME: Maine restaurant workers are finding the marijuana industry ‘much more appealing’

bangordailynews.com

As restaurant owners in Portland and beyond struggle with a back-of-house labor shortage that they say threatens their business model, a wave of cooks responsible for elevating the Maine food scene over the last decade are finding better wages, less stressful work environments and greater opportunities for advancement in cannabis.

IA: Iowa police department now using gun-mounted cameras

kcrg.com

A police department in Iowa became the first in the state to use cameras that will go on all of their handguns. It's just one piece of new technology they are hoping will help in what can be high-stress situations.

SC: Lawmaker calls on South Carolina to ban vaping products

thestate.com

A Democratic South Carolina politician is calling for a temporary ban on e-cigarette — or “vape” — products after an outbreak of hundreds of cases of lung injuries associated with their use popped up across the United States.

MN: Minnesota was underpaid ‘millions’ in settlement with tobacco companies

twincities.com

Minnesota has been underpaid millions in its two-decade-old settlement with tobacco companies, a county district court ruled. The state was awarded $6.5 billion in damages, roughly twice what it would have received under the joint settlement.

VA: Virginia made most of its execution process secret. Now news outlets are suing.

pilotonline.com

After witnesses to Ricky Gray’s execution reported prison officials took an unusually long time to place IV lines for the chemicals that killed the convicted murder, Virginia moved to shield that process from view, a move several news organizations are now challenging in court.

DE: Delaware lawmakers draft bill banning flavored e-cigs, vape shops plan fight back

delawareonline.com

Delaware lawmakers plan to introduce legislation to ban the flavored liquids used in e-cigarettes and other vape products. A coalition of Delaware vape shop owners says that would bankrupt their businesses, drive customers back to traditional cigarettes and, with the rise of an internet black market, do little to stop people from vaping. 

NJ: New Jersey attorney general blocks ICE agreements with county jails

northjersey.com

The New Jersey attorney general took another step to limit local law enforcement's cooperation with federal immigration officials, intensifying a showdown with two South Jersey sheriffs.

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