What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/13

Top State Stories 3/13

US: States scramble for funding to upgrade aging voting machines

Elections officials from Texas to North Dakota, California to Ohio are eager to replace aging machines but are grappling with how to fund next-generation voting equipment. It's a race against time, experts warn, as outdated technology grows increasingly susceptible to potentially critical malfunctions. 

AR: Arkansas governor favors road-bond plan

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he supports legislation that would refer a highway bond proposal to voters in 2018. Approval of the bonds would lead to applying the 6.5 percent state sales tax on the wholesale price of gasoline and diesel.

NM: New Mexico House backs restrictions on solitary confinement

House members voted to prohibit solitary confinement for inmates who are pregnant or under 18 years of age in New Mexico’s prisons and jails. Also under the bill, inmates with a serious mental disability could be held in solitary for up to 48 hours, but only if there’s an imminent threat of physical harm to the inmate or another person.

SD: Despite tight budget, South Dakota teachers, health care providers to see raises

Lawmakers in both houses approved minor raises for South Dakota’s teachers and health care providers, as well as additional health insurance coverage for state employees.

ME: Maine lawmaker proposes seat belt law for dogs; Then the yelping began

A Maine lawmaker proposed requiring dogs to be harnessed or tethered in moving vehicles. No more dogs joyously hanging out the window, jowls and ears flapping in the breeze. Owners were not amused. The bill was withdrawn.

CA: Under California bill, HIV-positive people wouldn't be charged for not disclosing their status to partners

The bill would overturn California law that says HIV-positive people can currently be convicted of felonies if they don't disclose their status to a sexual partner — even if their HIV is under control and their partner doesn't become infected. 

PA: Pennsylvania governor’s early retirement plan aims to balance budget, but savings questioned

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed to help balance the Pennsylvania budget by offering some state workers an incentive to retire early, an approach that has been tried throughout the country. The proposals do not always accomplish their goals.

NJ: What happens if you’re wrongfully convicted in New Jersey?

There were 166 wrongful convictions overturned across the country last year. Now, a bipartisan duo of New Jersey legislators wants a special commission to address wrongful convictions in the Garden State.

KS: Kansas is far off pace of governor’s campaign goal for job growth

Kansas has a long way to go to meet Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s goal of adding 25,000 private-sector jobs a year during his second term. The state lost 2,300 private-sector jobs between January 2016 and January 2017.

WI: Wisconsin state agencies responding more quickly to records requests

Wisconsin state agencies are responding more quickly to public records requests since Republican Gov. Scott Walker ordered improvements a year ago.

Teen Marijuana Use Colorado Moves Toward Lower Medical Pot Plant Limit