What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/26

Top State Stories 4/26

US: Federal judge blocks Trump plan to punish ‘sanctuary cities’

A U.S. district judge in San Francisco imposed a nationwide injunction against President Trump’s attempts to withhold federal funding from local "sanctuary cities" that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

ME: Maine governor threatens veto of budget unless it scraps tax hike imposed by referendum

Republican Gov. Paul LePage vowed to veto any state budget that doesn’t do away with a 3 percent state income tax surcharge on wealthier residents. The surcharge, approved by voters in November, would give Maine the nation’s second-highest marginal state income tax rate.

US: Drug use eclipses alcohol in fatal crashes for the first time

Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, eclipsing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported.

CA: California bills would punish contractors working on border wall

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would force contractors to choose between helping to build President Trump’s border wall and doing business with the state of California. Another bill would require the state to drop its pension investments in any companies involved in the project.

PA: Is Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor mansion worth its cost?

Pennsylvania taxpayers have spent more than $340,000 already this year on the only lieutenant governor’s mansion in the nation — a 2,400-square-foot residence for an official with limited constitutional duties.

IN: Indiana governor signs abortion bill, says he will sign other controversial ones

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill that allows Indiana judges to notify parents if their daughters are seeking an abortion through the court system without the parents' consent. And he said he would sign bills dealing with gun rights and religious freedom.

GA: Georgia governor signs special tax breaks into law

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed one bill that expands tax credits for the gaming and film industries, and another to help pay for renovations at an arts center. Still pending action: a $60 million tax credit program for companies that invest in rural Georgia businesses.

LA: Louisiana governor’s signature tax proposal dies in House

The linchpin of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan to overhaul Louisiana's tax system died in a House committee. Edwards couldn't muster enough votes for his commercial activity tax, even after significantly lowering the amount of money businesses would have to pay.

NJ: New Jersey attorney general wants automatic jail time for gun cases

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino asked the state's court system to add gun possession and other crimes to the list of offenses for which suspects are automatically recommended to be locked up under the state's new bail system.

OH: Ohio House Republicans pull plug on governor’s tax proposal

Majority House Republicans rolled out a new budget plan that would scrap Republican Gov. John Kasich’s proposed cuts in income taxes and an increase in the sales tax. Instead, they recommended spending $170 million to fight Ohio’s opioid crisis and $80 million more schools. 

TX: Texas Senate votes to abolish state refugee agency

Senators voted to shutter Texas’ Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs and the Governor's Advisory Committee on Immigration and Refugees. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott withdrew the state from the federal resettlement program last year in a dispute over Syrian refugees.

WV: West Virginia raises penalty for punishing whistleblowers

The new law will increase the possible fine from $500 to $5,000 for West Virginia government employers who threaten or retaliate against whistleblowers. It also authorizes firing offenders.

HI: Hawaii bill would decriminalize possession of drug paraphernalia

House and Senate negotiators have agreed to a bill that would reduce the penalties for being caught with items such as a marijuana pipe of cigarette rolling papers to no more than $500. The measure is expected to reduce overcrowding in Hawaii’s jails.


Solitary Confinement on Texas Death Row Inhumane: Report Overhauling Probation