What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/11

Top State Stories 4/11

AL: Alabama’s second female governor takes reins of office

Republican Kay Ivey became Alabama’s second female governor after Republican Gov. Robert Bentley resigned and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors related to using public resources to carry out and conceal an affair with his former top aide.

TX: Texas voter ID law designed to discriminate, federal judge rules

A U.S. district judge Monday again ruled that Republican lawmakers deliberately designed a strict voter ID law to disadvantage minorities and effectively dampen their growing electoral power.

US: Salt from icy roads is contaminating North America’s lakes, scientists say

Salt used to keep roads free of ice is changing the nature of North America's freshwater lakes by raising salt levels. Of 371 lakes reviewed in a new study by environmental scientists, 44 percent showed signs of long-term salinization — an indication that at least 7,770 lakes are at risk of elevated salt levels.

OK: Bill would allow out-of-state carriers to sell health insurance in Oklahoma

The proposal would give Oklahoma residents a chance to buy less expensive health insurance sold by out-of-state carriers. Opponents say those policies might not have the coverage mandates consumers need or expect.

CT: Connecticut governor urges budget cuts to prevent bond rating downgrade

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy said lawmakers must make tough budget decisions because of warnings of possible downgrades by Moody's Investors Services, which sets bond ratings for governments. Connecticut faces a projected deficit of $1.7 billion in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

MD: Maryland rejects more than 4,000 drivers for ride-hailing companies

Maryland has booted more than 4,000 of the state’s ride-hailing drivers off the roads since December 2015 because they failed to meet the state’s screening requirements.

US: Southwest border crossings drop to lowest point in 17 years

Fewer than 12,200 people were apprehended in March, a 64 percent decrease from the same time last year, and the lowest monthly number in at least 17 years — the likely result of President Donald Trump’s aggressive stance on border security, heightened security on the border and a rise in smuggling fees.

KY: Kentucky will likely face a budget shortfall this year

State Budget Director John Chilton warned that Kentucky will likely face a budget shortfall in coming months after tax receipts fell 11.4 percent last month compared to March of last year, a decrease of $99.2 million.

OR: Oregon lawmakers OK bill to ban marijuana merchants from keeping buyers’ information

The Oregon House gave final approval to a bill that bans merchants who sell recreational cannabis from keeping information for more than 48 hours that they collect from identification, such as a driver’s license, that buyers use to prove they are 21 or older.

MO: Proposal would boost ride-hailing companies in Missouri

Transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft now operate in just four Missouri cities, and drivers can only work where they pay application and licensing fees. But under a new proposal, the companies would pay an annual $5,000 fee to the state and be allowed to spread statewide.

IA: Bill to keep many 911 calls secret is blocked in Iowa

The bill would have declared that 911 calls involving injured victims are medical records and exempt from Iowa's open records law. All calls regarding minors also would have been confidential.

Virginia to Pay $7.1M After Manipulating Food Stamp Data Daylight Saving Time