Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/21

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/21

FL: Court rules Florida can't stop poor felons from voting

tampabay.com

Florida must allow felons to vote if they can’t afford to pay back their court-ordered fees, fines and restitution, a federal judge ruled. The decision puts pressure on state and county officials to come up with a way of determining when poverty makes such payments impossible. 

CO: Organizers of Colorado Senate president recall petition hand in 4 signatures

denverpost.com

Colorado’s season of failed attempts to recall elected Democrats ended when organizers seeking to oust state Senate President Leroy Garcia handed in a tiny fraction of the signatures they needed to force a recall election. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said that the petitioners handed in just four signatures of the over 13,000 they needed.

NY: Early voting comes to New York

timesunion.com

Local elections this fall will serve as a test run for New York state’s adoption of early voting, which was authorized earlier this year by state lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It will be required for all future municipal, state and federal elections.

DC: Court denies injunction against District of Columbia’s no-bid sports gambling contract

washingtonpost.com

A District of Columbia Superior Court judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction that would have blocked a no-bid contract with a Greek gaming company to manage the city’s planned foray into online sports betting.

OH: Ohio State wants lawmakers to ban betting on the Buckeyes

dispatch.com

Ohio’s flagship public university and its four-year brethren are asking lawmakers to prohibit betting on football and other collegiate sports as the state moves to authorize sports wagering.

ME: Slow rollout in marijuana sales costs Maine revenue and jobs

pressherald.com

Three years after legalizing adult-use marijuana, Maine is still waiting for retail shops. Consultants say the economy paid the price as dollars and expertise went elsewhere.

WA: Washington marijuana legalization leads to policing challenges with K-9s, informants

spokesman.com

A Washington State University study did not determine whether marijuana legalization has affected crime rates. But it did find some interesting side effects, such as the need to replace drug-detection canines that had been trained to sniff marijuana, and an increased difficulty in finding confidential informants.

AK: Alaska communities that levy sales taxes launch plan to collect for online purchases

adn.com

If successful, the arrangement would result in millions of dollars in extra tax revenue for local governments and eliminate an incentive for Alaskans to buy online instead of at local shops. There are 106 sales tax jurisdictions in Alaska, in places as varied as Ketchikan, Kotzebue and Kenai.

LA: Challenge of Louisiana abortion rules survives, for now

apnews.com

A federal appeals court rejected the state of Louisiana’s request that it toss out a lawsuit challenging a broad array of Louisiana abortion regulations. But the ruling also said abortion rights advocates lack standing to pursue many of their claims.

WI: Separation of powers case could set Wisconsin apart

madison.com

When the Wisconsin Supreme Court decides a major separation of powers case stemming from last December’s lame-duck legislative session, the outcome could result in a constitutional legal doctrine scholars say would be substantially different than other states. In December, the Republican legislature passed a law that curbed the authority of the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general.

KS: People in the emptying parts of rural Kansas insist ‘we’re not going to let them die’

kcur.org

Rural Kansas has a storied past, but decades of population decline stand poised to turn many once-vibrant places into ghost towns. The struggle for survival reveals itself in emptied Main Streets, shuttered factories and tired-looking neighborhoods dominated by houses built before World War II.

MN: Minnesota prisons are logging record amounts of overtime, and it’s wearing workers down

twincities.com

Minnesota prisons are coping with a chronic staff shortage by frequently asking — and often forcing — workers to pull double shifts. While prison officials say it’s necessary to cover vital posts, some officers say it contributes to burnout among the department’s ranks. 

CA: California moves left with legislation, tries to pave way for nation

apnews.com

The Democrats who rule California took on homegrown tech giants Uber and Lyft over their workforces, convinced some of the world's biggest automakers to buck the president on fuel emissions and passed a law that could change college sports nationwide. On issues big and small California this year has marched further left and tried to pull the rest of the country with it.

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