Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/12

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/12

NY: Governor: New York will seek $2B from ‘diabolical’ opioid industry

timesunion.com

The state Department of Financial Services is pursuing legal action against some of the opioid industry's top players, accusing them of defrauding New Yorkers of $2 billion over a decade. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the agency has issued subpoenas and document requests to dozens of opioid-makers, distributors and retailers across the state. 

TX: Texas told cities they couldn’t fund abortion providers. Austin is funding abortion access instead.

texastribune.org

Austin became the first city in the nation to approve public funding to help women access abortion services, setting aside $150,000 to supplement incidental expenses like travel, lodging and child care for women seeking the procedure. The move comes just days after a new Texas law went into effect that prohibits local and state governments from giving taxpayer dollars to abortion providers.

MT: Court strikes down Montana law barring political robocalls

apnews.com

A federal appeals court ruled that Montana can’t ban political robocalls based on their content alone, marking the latest in a string of court decisions against U.S. states that attempt to restrict automated phone calls promoting political campaigns.

WI: Potency of Wisconsin THC cartridges may be higher than claim

apnews.com

A Wisconsin operation that manufactured thousands of vaping cartridges a day may have been packing them with far more THC oil than the packaging claimed, authorities said. The revelation underscores warnings that people who buy vaping products on the street don’t know what they’re getting. 

OH: Ohio State’s trademark request for ‘The’ denied

dispatch.com

The Ohio State University can’t trademark “The.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office turned down the university’s request to trademark “the” in conjunction with the university’s name on items marketed for sale such as T-shirts, baseball caps and hats.

CA: Uber says it is not subject to California gig-worker law

nytimes.com

Uber pushed back against a newly passed California bill that effectively requires companies to reclassify their contract workers as employees, in a sign of the emerging resistance that the measure is prompting across the gig economy. Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said court rulings have found that the drivers’ work is “outside the usual course of Uber’s business.”

MD: Baltimore acknowledges data was destroyed in ransomware attack

baltimoresun.com

Baltimore’s auditor said that information technology department performance data was lost when hackers locked city files in May — the first disclosure of data being destroyed in the attack. Auditor Josh Pasch told the mayor and other top city officials at a meeting of the city’s spending board that without the data, his team has been unable to check some claims the department made about its performance.  

MO: Missouri House speaker hopes to have gun violence proposal ready for debate by January

stltoday.com

The speaker of the Missouri House said a group of Republican lawmakers are working to craft legislation to address gun violence in the state’s largest cities. Rep. Elijah Haahr didn’t disclose names, but said they are researching what other cities have done to reduce gun violence with an eye on bringing a plan to the legislature in January.

MN: Debate over medically assisted suicide returns to Minnesota Capitol

mprnews.com

A Minnesota House committee is hearing legislation that lays out who would be able to seek life-ending medication, providers’ responsibilities and allow immunity for physicians who follow the rules. It would give terminally ill people, who are mentally competent and have less than six months to live, the option to seek and receive a fatal dose of medication.

HI: Hawaii’s largest solar block goes online

staradvertiser.com

The sun was shining brightly in Hawaii as officials welcomed the state’s largest collection of solar farms, a trio of sun-powered projects that will generate enough electricity to light up nearly 18,000 homes. The projects will be responsible for 3% to 4% of Hawaii’s renewable energy goal.

OK: Group accuses Oklahoma governor of using office to promote religion

tulsaworld.com

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt in his official capacity is speaking Sept. 22 at Guts Church in Tulsa, according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The event uses his title to seek attendees. In a letter to Stitt, the Wisconsin-based group said if Stitt wanted to discuss religion, he should do it as a private citizen and not as governor.

NC: North Carolina 9-11 maneuver overrides budget veto

charlotteobserver.com

North Carolina Republican legislators took advantage of Democratic absences on 9-11 to call a vote to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto. Cooper vetoed the budget over its failure to include money for Medicaid expansion. Democrats say many of their members missed the morning session because they were told verbally that there would be no vote on the budget.

NE: Nebraska county OKs sales tax to pay wrongfully convicted

beatricedailysun.com

A Nebraska county that owes more than $30 million to six people wrongfully convicted of murder approved a new half-cent sales tax to help pay the legal judgment, but the former prisoners still will have to wait at least six years to collect the full amount they’re owed. The Gage County Board of Supervisors voted 7-0 to impose the sales tax, which will generate an additional $1.3 million annually to cover the county’s debt.

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