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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/17

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/17

KY: Kentucky governor drops Medicaid work requirements, reversing predecessor

kentucky.com

Former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to impose work requirements and monthly premiums for many Kentucky Medicaid recipients is no more, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear announced.

US: Use of death penalty in U.S. continues to diminish

wsj.com

The number of people sentenced to death dropped this year to the second-lowest level since 1973, as executions have fallen into disuse in all but a handful of states. The number of executions fell to 22, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.

NY: Long lines of immigrants rush to get New York licenses

nytimes.com

On the New York side of the Hudson River, lines outside some Department of Motor Vehicles offices stretched for blocks, as immigrants in the country illegally sought to take advantage of a new state law allowing them to obtain driver’s licenses.

CO: Colorado lawmakers to consider human composting

denverpost.com

A bill coming in 2020 would let Coloradans have their bodies composted and turned into soil after they die instead of being cremated or buried. If approved, Colorado would be just the second state to allow human composting.

AK: Alaska cultural studies class includes de-boning a moose

adn.com

The bloody business served to immerse the World Discovery Seminar program students in Alaska cultural traditions, give them a basic understanding of anatomy and teach them practical life skills.

MO: After voters rejected gas tax hike, Missouri taps general funds for roads

stltoday.com

After reviewing 48 applications for projects from around the state, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, announced $131 million in road, bridge and intersection upgrades, his office said.

MA: ‘Sensitive’ data open to hackers at Massachusetts tax-collection agency: audit

bostonglobe.com

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is leaving the “incredibly sensitive” private data of taxpayers exposed to hackers and has not been prepared to respond to a breach or limit the damage if the agency is hacked, Auditor Suzanne Bump said in a report.

WY: Wyoming GOP backs resolution opposed to new vaccine requirements

trib.com

The Wyoming Department of Health is considering proposed changes to vaccine rules. The most substantive of those changes, officials said, is the addition of the meningococcal vaccine to the required list of inoculations for schoolchildren.

CA: California requires ‘humane’ space for farm animals. The pork industry is suing.

sacbee.com

How much elbow room does a pig need? California voters approved a ballot initiative mandating at least 24 square feet of space for pregnant sows. The National Pork Producers Council has joined the American Farm Bureau in suing California to overturn the initiative.

WI: Wisconsin governor again calls on GOP lawmakers to provide $3M for homeless

jsonline.com

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers made a rare move by calling on Republican lawmakers to act on funding he wants to help people who live outdoors during Wisconsin's harsh winters. Evers, in a letter, called on lawmakers to act on $3.7 million he wants set aside annually to pay for housing grants, homeless shelters and services.

MN: Native American leaders work to overcome mistrust of census in Minnesota

mprnews.org

Native Americans remain one of the most undercounted groups in the census. Much of the tribes’ government funding is dependent on census numbers, so an accurate count is crucial. With so much at stake, tribal officials and other community leaders in Minnesota are taking outreach into their own hands.  

TX: Texans seek to preserve legacy of freedom colonies

houstonchronicle.com

More than 500 “freedom colonies,” established by freed slaves in the years after the Civil War, are scattered across Texas. These communities have had their ups and downs, with some struggling in recent decades.

VA: Virginians favor stricter gun laws, poll shows

washingtonpost.com

By large margins, Virginia voters support requiring background checks on all gun sales (86% to 13%) and passing a “red flag” law to allow guns to be temporarily removed from someone deemed a threat (73% to 23%), according to a poll by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. (The poll’s margin of error is 3.4 percentage points.)

GA: Federal judge allows Georgia voter registration purge

ajc.com

A federal judge allowed Georgia election officials to cancel about 300,000 inactive voters as planned. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones said he will further consider the issue, but in the meantime the voter registration cancellation can move forward.

Importing Prescription Drugs Lead in Public Housing
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