What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/23
CA: Nearly 2K Californians will get up to $1,200 a month through new basic income program
Nearly 2,000 Californians could receive monthly cash payments between $600 to $1,200 as part of the nation’s first state-funded guaranteed basic income program, the state’s social services department announced.
TN: Tennessee lawmakers consider exceptions to strict abortion ban
Just months after one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws took effect in Tennessee, Republican lawmakers are considering bills to provide exceptions, including for saving the life of the patient in a deadly pregnancy.
GA: State misses food assistance payments to countless Georgians
State officials are pledging to clear a massive backlog of food assistance applications by Thanksgiving, as Georgians who rely on the benefits say the state is failing to pay them on time.
NJ: Name changes in New Jersey now private under governor’s order to benefit transgender residents
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered that name changes in New Jersey will be kept confidential in the state in an action he said is meant to protect transgender residents.
NY: New ethics rules in New York scramble state turkey giveaway
The New York Democratic Party hurriedly bought and helped distribute roughly 4,000 turkeys over the past few days after New York's new ethics rules derailed what had been a November rite of passage for governors in New York to oversee the distribution of the donated birds.
TX: Texas Supreme Court says Harris County can include 2,100 late-cast ballots
The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s largest county can include about 2,100 ballots cast during an extra hour of Election Day voting. But the state’s highest civil court also ordered Harris County to determine whether those late-cast ballots would affect the outcome of any races — and keep alive Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton’s challenge to counting them.
MN: Small Minnesota town may become focus of abortion fight
Prinsburg, a town of 500 people on the western prairie of Minnesota, is considering an ordinance that would allow residents to sue abortion providers. Although the town doesn't have an abortion clinic, the proposed ordinance also would allow lawsuits against companies that provide abortion drugs by mail.
HI: Hawaii sent at least 10 foster children to an abusive home at the center of a drug ring
Hawaii Child Welfare Services may have had no reason not to approve Yvonne and Paul Caitano as foster parents. In 2018, the idyllic picture of a loving couple was shattered by accusations of abuse, raising questions about when state social workers got wind that something was amiss in a household taking in so many foster children.
SD: More South Dakota turkeys lost to avian flu
The number of South Dakota commercial poultry flocks lost to avian flu has reached 45 with 1.86 million birds dead including many turkeys. Only Minnesota has lost more flocks.
DC: District of Columbia faces disability rights lawsuit over bike lane designs
A lawsuit filed by two disabled women accuses the District of Columbia of adopting protected bike lane designs that make it harder for them to find safe parking in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
MD: Maryland state law could help fill vacant Baltimore homes
Baltimore may use a 2019 Maryland law to reclaim thousands of vacant "ghost homes" with large delinquent tax or utility bills that make them impossible to sell.
KS: Kansas lawmakers consider cut to Social Security benefit taxes
Kansas legislators want to use a projected budget surplus to cut or eliminate the state’s tax on Social Security benefits, which they say is driving retirees out of the state. Kansas is carrying a record surplus of $2 billion this year.
WI: Top Wisconsin Republicans call for lowering income taxes on wealthiest residents
The Republican leaders of the Wisconsin legislature said they want to use a record budget surplus to enact "transformational, once-in-a-generation tax changes," including lowering tax rates for the state's wealthiest residents. But the proposal is likely a non-starter with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
DE: Court dismisses challenge to Delaware law banning gun ownership under age 21
A Delaware Chancery Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging state legislation passed this spring that prohibits most people under the age of 21 from purchasing or owning a firearm.
OH: Ohio Supreme Court puts brakes on taxing NASCAR
The Ohio Supreme Court put the brakes on the state's attempts to tax NASCAR for fans watching races and buying licensed merchandise here.