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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/10

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/10

CA: New California labor law takes effect in January; the lawsuits are already starting

sacbee.com

A new law that dictates which California workers must receive full employment benefits takes effect Jan. 1, but the latest battle over it is playing out in courts. On one side are groups seeking to roll back the law, arguing it will interfere with their ability to earn a living as independent contractors. On the other side are advocates who wrote the law to provide more security for gig workers.

WA: Despite Washington's sanctuary law, some local officials still cooperate with ICE

crosscut.com

Despite federal court decisions making it clear that state and local officials have no authority to arrest or detain people for immigration purposes, the practice has continued in some areas of Washington. More than six months after a new law went into effect, the legislation is making an uneven impact on jail operations.

PA: Pennsylvania warns county over defying voting machine edict

apnews.com

A Pennsylvania county is being told it would lose out on millions of dollars in aid and almost certainly be sued by the state if it refuses to buy new voting machines before Dec. 31, county officials said.

MI: Michigan pot shoppers spend $1.6M in first week

mlive.com

Long lines, heavy demand, temporary shortages and purchase limits highlighted the first week of recreational marijuana sales in Michigan when a handful of licensed businesses rang up $1.63 million in sales. That translates to nearly $270,414 in tax revenue for Michigan.

NH: Program will allow New Hampshire state employees to take infants to work

apnews.com

Starting in January, New Hampshire state employees will be able to take part in a program that will allow them to take their infant children to work, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said in an executive order. The program will be based on programs in several other states, including Arizona, Vermont and Washington.

ID: Study finds 22% of Idaho teens consider suicide

apnews.com

A biennial state survey of Idaho youth shows fewer teens say they are being bullied, smoking cigarettes or having sex, but the number of kids who have seriously considered suicide remains at a 10-year high. Nearly 40% of students reported they feel sad or hopeless, while about 22% of students reported that they had seriously considered suicide.

VT: Vermont state auditor: OneCare whistleblower allegations are a ‘big deal’

vtdigger.org

The Vermont state auditor says a whistleblower’s claims that OneCare Vermont misled regulators are a “big deal” and should be investigated. A False Claims Act case filed with the U.S. Attorney’s office alleges that OneCare, a private company, claimed systems for analyzing patient information were reliable, even though they were aware that the data had serious deficiencies.

VA: Virginia governor unveils plan to reduce racial disparities in maternal mortality

richmond.com 

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s budget proposal will include a $22 million investment to boost health care access and support for new moms and babies, as well as to reduce the racial disparity in the state’s maternal mortality rate.

NJ: Immigrants in country illegally could soon get New Jersey driver’s licenses

nj.com

A bill that would allow immigrants living in the country illegally to obtain New Jersey driver’s licenses is quickly advancing through the legislature during the lame duck session. It cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee in a 4-2 vote along party lines. It heads to the Assembly floor with the backing of top Democrats and support of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

AZ: U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arizona lawsuit against Sackler family

azcentral.com

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit the Arizona attorney general filed earlier this year against the family behind opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma. Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, said he was disappointed the state cannot take its claims directly to the Supreme Court but said he respected the justices' decision.

NV: Marijuana testing data points to lab shopping in Nevada

reviewjournal.com

When it comes to marijuana testing labs in Nevada, results may vary — wildly — according to an analysis of state data conducted by a Washington-based scientist. In one case, a marijuana testing lab did not fail a single product that it screened in 14 of the 17 months analyzed.

OH: Ohio bill aims to fill insurance coverage gaps in mental health

cleveland.com

New Ohio Senate legislation would prohibit health insurers from requiring “fail first” provisions, under which patients must first try their insurers’ preferred — and often generic, older and less effective — alternative drugs prior to receiving coverage for the therapy prescribed by their doctor.

LA: Secret balloting to pick the next Louisiana Senate leader is unconstitutional, group says

theadvocate.com

The secret balloting process the Louisiana Senate intends to use next month would hide members’ votes for Senate president and is unconstitutional and should be repealed, the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana said in a new commentary. The Baton Rouge government policy research group argues the secret process violates the state Constitution and Louisiana’s open meetings law.

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