What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/7

Top State Stories 9/7

US: Attorneys general from 15 states, D.C. sue to save DACA

The lawsuit argues that winding down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would damage states because DACA beneficiaries pay taxes, go to state universities and contribute in other ways, and that phasing out the program would jeopardize their ability to do those things.

VT: Vermont sends letters seeking 6 percent tax from online shoppers

About 20,000 Vermonters are receiving letters asking them to double-check their tax returns for the last three years to see if they have crossed the border to shop in New Hampshire or ordered items from an online retailer that doesn’t charge sales tax.

US: State regulators want more funds for ACA insurers

A bipartisan group of state insurance commissioners urged a Senate panel to guarantee at least two more years of funding for subsidies to insurers that participate in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to abolish the payments.

KY: Kentucky's last abortion clinic begins federal court fight to stay open

Kentucky's last abortion clinic took its case to federal court, arguing that enforcement actions by the governor's administration are meant to shut it down and deny women access to abortions in the state.

CA: Southern California freeway to be named for Obama

State lawmakers in California have approved a plan to name a stretch of freeway in the Los Angeles area for former President Barack Obama.

UT: Utah considers pilot project to tax miles traveled rather than gas

The Utah Department of Transportation wants to start a pilot project, perhaps as soon as next year, with something like a hundred volunteers to test charging residents for every mile they drive. Oregon has conducted three pilot projects on mileage taxes since 2006. Other states conducting them, or planning them now, include California, Colorado, Hawaii and Washington.

TN: Tennessee task force urges opioid prescription limits

A legislative task force released its recommendations on combating Tennessee's opioid epidemic, including adding 25 agents to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in the next year and imposing more limits on the number of controlled drugs prescribed in emergency rooms and by health care professionals. Currently there is a 30-day pill limit.

LA: Louisiana court agrees to stop jailing poor over unpaid fines

A final settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit filed over a Louisiana city's jailing of poor people who fail to pay fines. The settlement requires the Bogalusa City Court and Judge Robert Black to determine whether a defendant's failure to pay a penalty is intentional. It also says a defendant cannot be jailed for being unable to pay.

MO: Missouri offers lump-sum pension payouts to former workers

For former Missouri state workers, the move could mean exchanging a monthly pension check from the state for a lump sum payment worth about 60 percent of their normal retirement annuity. For the state, it could clear the books of an estimated $7 million in annual costs and help shore up a pension system that is operating at about 69 percent of full funding.

ID: Cost for botched Idaho school internet contract likely to hit $40M

Idaho has repaid the Federal Communications Commission $3.5 million to cover federal funds that went to the Idaho Education Network, a botched statewide school broadband contract. The payment was part of a settlement with the federal agency over claims that the state misused more than $14 million in federal money by putting it toward the illegally awarded contract.

MD: Maryland board approves $61M in cuts to state budget

Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved a scaled-back version of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan to trim the state’s budget to help prepare for future shortfalls. The three-member panel voted to reduce state spending by $61 million for the current fiscal year, but it dropped a request to eliminate $6.35 million, mostly in grants for revenue-hungry jurisdictions.

WI: Wisconsin AG spends $83k on promotional items

Newly released records show Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has spent about $83,000 on promotional items during his term, including bags, pistol cases and candy, according to invoices obtained by The Associated Press.

Top State Stories 9/8 Underage Drinking