Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/16

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/16

MN: Minnesota launches new housing benefit for poor seniors and people with disabilities

startribune.com

Thousands of Minnesotans who are poor, elderly or have disabilities will get more assistance for staying in their own homes and avoid becoming homeless under a new program paid for by the state and federal governments. The project would make Minnesota the first state in the nation to fund housing support services under its state Medicaid plan.

NJ: New Jersey judge stops ‘aid in dying’ law

nj.com

A state judge has granted a request to stop New Jersey’s “aid in dying” law from taking effect, preventing any physician from writing a lethal prescription for terminally ill patients to end their lives. State Superior Court Judge Paul Innes granted the temporary restraining order at the request of a physician from Bergen County who opposes the law for religious and professional reasons.

OR: Critics: Oregon courts disaster with new tsunami-zone law

apnews.com

The Oregon legislature repealed a ban on construction of new “critical facilities” such as fire and police stations and schools in tsunami inundation zones. Passage of the bill in June was little noticed during one of the most tumultuous legislative sessions in Oregon history, but it has since been roundly criticized — including by the governor who signed it.

CA: California has the biggest legal marijuana market in the world. Its black market is even bigger.

latimes.com

California is on track to post a record $3.1 billion in licensed cannabis sales this year, solidifying its status as the largest legal marijuana market in the world. But $8.7 billion is expected to be spent in California’s black market next year, as high taxes and a refusal by most cities to allow licensed shops makes it cheaper and easier for people to buy from illicit dealers.

KY: Kentucky lieutenant governor sues governor over dismissal of two staffers

kentucky.com

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton sued Gov. Matt Bevin, a fellow Republican, claiming his administration did not have the authority to dismiss two of her three staffers. Hampton asked the court to declare that she is empowered by law to appoint staff to her office and to block the governor from interfering with her appointment power.

OK: OxyContin maker Purdue agrees to provide research data to Oklahoma university

apnews.com

The maker of the powerful painkiller OxyContin has agreed to provide access to proprietary research and other data to researchers at Oklahoma State University to help them find causes and treatments for drug addiction.

FL: Judge raises new question in Florida felons voting debate

gainesville.com

A court battle focuses on whether Florida felons who've served their time should have to pay financial obligations before voting rights are restored. But a federal judge said he wants both sides to address an issue that hasn’t been dealt with: whether the constitutional amendment voters approved granting voting rights to felons itself is unconstitutional, and what it would mean if it is.

NV: Native American tribe claims nuclear waste can’t be stored on its Nevada land

lasvegassun.com

Most of the land in Nevada falls under the Western Shoshone’s historical claim, including Yucca Mountain, which has been the center of a decades-long argument centered on the long-term storage of the nation’s nuclear waste.http:

AL: Mistake forces Alabama to call off plans to execute triple murderer

al.com

The state of Alabama’s plan to execute a man convicted in a triple murder more than two decades ago is on hold after the belated discovery that he had opted for a new method of execution that has not been developed.

SD: How labor trafficking leaves South Dakota workers with no money, no insurance, no freedom

argusleader.com

Experts suspect hundreds of workers across South Dakota are victims of their employers’ abuse and manipulation and they’re not able to fight back. Their inability to speak up and defend themselves is part of the exploitation.

TX: Plastic bags are killing horses and cows across Texas

texastribune.org

A year after the Texas Supreme Court dealt a death blow to municipal bans on plastic bags, legislative efforts to revive them have fallen flat, and ranchers, city leaders and environmental groups say plastic bag litter is as big a problem as ever. Plastic bags can suffocate and cause fatal digestion blockages in livestock and wild animals. 

KS: Aging technology could slow Kansas services, jeopardize data security

kansascity.com

The technology that makes Kansas government operate is outdated and deteriorating — and the state will have to spend millions to fix it. Old systems could complicate getting a driver's license or paying taxes and could make data vulnerable. The system to determine Medicaid and welfare eligibility is out of compliance with federal security standards, which could affect federal funding. 

WI: Wisconsin to pay liberal group $200,000 to settle Twitter suit against Republicans 

jsonline.com

Wisconsin taxpayers will hand over $200,000 to a liberal organization's lawyers because Republican lawmakers blocked the group on Twitter. State officials agreed to make the payment for One Wisconsin Now's legal bills after a federal judge determined in January that GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Rep. John Nygren had infringed on the group's First Amendment rights.

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