What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/9

Top State Stories 6/9

NY: Child marriage is sharply curtailed by New York Legislature

The New York Assembly voted to abolish marriage for 14- to 16-year-olds and to allow 17-year-olds to wed only with both judicial and parental consent. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called ending child marriage a priority and is expected to sign the measure into law.

HI: Hawaii becomes first state to enact legislation aligning with Paris Agreement

Democratic Gov. David Ige has signed legislation supporting the Paris Agreement, making Hawaii the first state to enact measures to implement parts of the international accord to combat climate change.

ID: Idaho high court: Unmarried gay partner has no custody right

The Idaho Supreme Court has denied custody and visitation rights to a gay woman who raised a child with her former partner, reflecting state laws that have not been updated since same-sex marriage became legal in 2014.

TX: Appeals court weighs Texas voting law limiting language interpreters

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over an obscure provision in the Texas Election Code that critics say makes it harder for Texans not proficient in English to get assistance while voting. The provision allows voters to select an interpreter to help them communicate with an election officer and translate the ballot, but the interpreter must be registered to vote in the same county.

ME: Maine Senate votes to change voter-approved wage law

The Senate took the first steps toward restoring a mechanism that allows tipped workers to be paid at a lower rate than other hourly workers. The mechanism, called a tip credit, was removed under a law Maine voters approved last fall that calls for tiered increases to the state’s minimum wage.

LA: Louisiana House backs parole option for juvenile killers

Louisiana prison inmates who committed murder as juveniles will be given a chance at parole after 25 years. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 struck down automatic no-parole life sentences for juveniles, and the proposal's supporters said Louisiana would be hit with costly federal lawsuits if the Legislature did not change the law.

PA: Pennsylvania Legislature sends governor plan to reduce pension costs

The Legislature approved a bill that would shift at least some benefits for future state and public school employees into 401(k)-style plans. The goal is to create a system that will relieve Pennsylvania taxpayers of the entire liability for funding public-employee pensions.

US: Worker-friendly rules scrapped by U.S. Labor Department

In the first step of what is expected to be a broader effort to reinstate policies that favor employers, the U.S. Department of Labor rescinded guidance, issued last year under President Barack Obama, that held franchise companies as well as franchisees liable for wage and hour violations.

MO: Missouri city moves closer to local prescription drug monitoring program

With Missouri the only place in the country without a statewide prescription drug monitoring program, Springfield and a group of other cities and counties in the state are moving to start a local program.

OK: Tobacco companies sue to block Oklahoma's new cigarette fee

The country's two largest tobacco companies joined local Oklahoma business owners in a lawsuit aimed at blocking a new $1.50-per-pack fee on cigarettes. If the Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down the fee, the result could be an instant multimillion-dollar hole in the state budget lawmakers adopted last month.

MD: Opioids, alcohol, other drugs killed more Marylanders in 2016 than ever before

Overdoses killed 2,089 people in Maryland in 2016, an increase of 66 percent from the previous year. The statewide death toll climbed for the sixth straight year, as heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid use surged among all age, racial and regional groups, and deadlier combinations of the three narcotics were appearing more frequently on the streets.

VA: Another 1,250 rape kits to be tested in Virginia

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said an additional 1,247 untested rape kits will be screened for evidence, part of a $3.4 million effort to clear a backlog of several thousand rape kits that have languished in local police departments for years.

US: Rising rent-wage gap leaves millions priced out of apartments, report says

There is nowhere in the U.S. where someone working a full-time minimum wage job could afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment, according to a new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Birth Certificates Climate Change