Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/19

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/19

GA: Judge asked to stop Georgia’s new touchscreen-and-paper voting system

ajc.com

Voters who want paper ballots filled out by hand asked a federal judge to prevent Georgia from using the $107 million voting system the state just bought. This comes a day after the judge ruled that voters must use some type of paper ballots next year.

MA: More kids in Massachusetts are ingesting marijuana products, officials say

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts health care officials are seeing a sharp increase in calls to the state’s poison control center about children 5 and under ingesting marijuana products such as brownies and gummies and ending up in the emergency room. Calls nearly tripled in the first seven months after pot shops opened in November.

FL: Florida’s guardianship system riddled with conflicts of interest, critics say

orlandosentinel.com

Experts say Florida’s guardianship program that protects the most vulnerable adults is flawed by committees relied upon to help judges decide the fitness of potential wards. They’re often made up of people with existing ties to the guardianship industry, despite statutes meant to prevent conflicts of interest.

TN: Court rejects Tennessee’s attempts to block public records

tennessean.com

In a significant First Amendment win, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled the state wrongly kept routine public records from multiple agencies secret. The court strengthened the state's public records laws and said public documents stay public even when they are ensnared in an ongoing criminal investigation.

OH: Ohio AG: mentally unfit have concealed carry permits

news5cleveland.com

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, said state courts have deemed more than 100 people mentally unfit, but that they still have permits to carry concealed weapons. He said officials need to start enforcing the laws that already exist.

KY: Kentucky officials: More than 1k teachers violated labor laws

kentucky.com

An investigation by Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration found that 1,074 teachers violated state law when they participated in a “sick out” during this year’s legislative session over concerns about their pension benefits. No penalties will be assessed for the violations, an official said.

TX, NM: Trump administration's asylum rule allowed to stand in Texas, New Mexico

texastribune.org

Asylum-seeking migrants who cross into Texas or New Mexico can be barred from receiving asylum protection if they passed through another country before arriving at the U.S. border, a federal court ruled.

CA: Intentional power shutoffs could put Californians in peril

latimes.com

Power outages could become more commonplace and prolonged as California utility companies expand their use of intentional shutoffs to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires. Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Californians could find themselves in increasingly dire situations.

WI: Wisconsin aiming to eliminate carbon-based fuel by 2050

jsonline.com

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order aimed at eliminating the use of carbon-based fuel in Wisconsin by 2050 — an idea Republican lawmakers rejected this year. It creates an office that will be responsible for carrying out the goal and putting the state on a track to achieve the 2015 Paris climate accord.

IL: Sexual assault victims in Illinois will be able to track evidence in their cases

chicagotribune.com

Sexual assault victims in Illinois will soon be able to track the progress of their rape kit evidence through the stages of processing, using a statewide online tracking system for sexual assault cases. It was one of a package of public safety bills Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law.

OK: Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation seeks congressional delegate

apnews.com

The newly elected chief of the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation plans to appoint the tribe’s first-ever delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is outlined in a nearly 200-year-old treaty with the federal government.

SC: Hate crimes up 70% in South Carolina

thestate.com

Federal statistics show hate crimes in South Carolina are increasing and highlight the fact that the state doesn't have a hate crime law. Georgia, Wyoming and Arkansas are the only other states without such laws.

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