What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/18
MD: Maryland AG finds history of rampant sexual abuse in Baltimore Catholic diocese
Catholic priests and officials assigned to the Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused and tortured more than 600 people over the past 80 years, and the church helped to cover most of it up, a report from the Maryland attorney general’s office found.
TN: Almost half of new Tennessee child welfare caseworkers quit in first year
The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services faces a challenge of correcting years of systemic staffing woes and increased numbers of children in state foster care. The agency reported a 47.7% turnover rate for first-year case managers in fiscal year 2023, with an overall average turnover rate just above 25%.
CA: California had years of massive budget surpluses. Now it could face a $25B deficit
After back-to-back historic budget surpluses, California analysts projected that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators could be forced to navigate a $25 billion budget deficit next year.
NY: Nearly 800 formerly incarcerated women in New York to sue for sexual assault damages
Through the recently passed Adult Survivors Act, lawsuits on behalf of hundreds of formerly incarcerated women are scheduled to be filed next week against the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision alleging they were sexually assaulted by staff while in custody — and that the agency failed to intervene and stop the abuse.
PA: Shut out of Taylor Swift tickets? Pennsylvania AG wants to hear from you
If you struggled to snag Taylor Swift concert tickets, Pennsylvania Attorney General and Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro wants to help. He tweeted “[music notes] Trouble, trouble, trouble. [music notes] Having trouble using Ticketmaster? Pennsylvanians experiencing problems using the site should submit a complaint to my office.” The line is from a 2012 Swift song.
KY: Was ‘no’ vote on anti-abortion amendment a mandate? Kentucky GOP leaders don’t think so
Ahead of the General Assembly’s 2023 session, Kentucky lawmakers are weighing how much — if at all — they want to loosen the state’s trigger law banning the procedure after voters struck down an anti-abortion access ballot proposal.
VA: Virginia AG to name special counsel after fatal U-Va. shooting
The office of Virginia’s state attorney general said that it will name a special counsel to review how University of Virginia officials assessed the potential threat that Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. posed to the campus in the weeks before he allegedly shot and killed three fellow students.
KS: Kansas Republicans punish members who supported independent governor campaign
The Kansas Republican Party is cracking down on members that supported conservative state Sen. Dennis Pyle in his independent run for governor. Republicans largely pointed the finger at Pyle for Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s narrow loss to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.
MN: THC edibles surge in Minnesota, but safety rules are loose and regulators aren’t ready
Minnesota’s experiment legalizing synthetic-THC edibles was just two weeks away from launching this summer when a key state official confessed to her colleagues that no one really knew whether the products about to hit Minnesota shelves were safe. Minnesota went ahead anyway, yet questions have largely gone unanswered.
OK: Oklahoma executes death row inmate
For the fifth time in 2022, Oklahoma has executed a death row inmate. Richard Stephen Fairchild was pronounced dead by lethal injection. Fairchild was convicted in the 1993 murder of his girlfriend's 3-year-old son, Adam Broomhall.
DE, NJ: Industry group sues Delaware, New Jersey over laws targeting gun companies
A gun industry trade association has sued New Jersey and Delaware seeking to block recently passed state laws authorizing the states' attorneys general to sue gun manufacturers and sellers over gun violence.
MS: Mississippi sets execution date for 21-year death row inmate
The Mississippi Supreme Court granted a motion from the state in the case of Thomas Edwin Loden Jr., a former U.S. Marine Corps recruiter who was convicted in the 2000 rape and killing of a 16-year-old restaurant worker. Loden is to be put to death Dec. 14 at 6 p.m., or as soon as possible within 24 hours of that time.
AR: Appeals court refuses to reconsider temporary block of Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care
A federal appeals court denied Arkansas’s petition to reconsider a district court ruling temporarily blocking the state from enforcing a 2021 law banning gender-affirming care for minors.
CT: Connecticut governor, legislators agree to extend gas tax holiday
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont said he will call the General Assembly into a special session by month’s end to increase funding for pandemic worker bonuses, heating oil assistance and to extend the gas-tax holiday and free bus service.
WA: Washington audit: Governments lack data-driven approach in homelessness response
To make progress on reducing homelessness, local governments need to rely more on data to make decisions and do a better job of monitoring — and correcting — the nonprofits and organizations they contract with, according to a new report by the Washington State Auditor’s Office.
OR, CA: Feds advance largest dam demolition in history
U.S. regulators approved a plan to demolish four dams on a California river and open hundreds of miles of salmon habitat; it would be the largest dam removal and river restoration project in the world when it goes forward. Oregon, California and the entity formed to oversee the project will accept the license transfer and could begin dam removal as early as this summer.