What We're Reading: Top State Stories 10/19

Top State Stories 10/19

NY: New York City’s libraries will forgive all children’s fines

New York City’s three library systems will forgive all fines for children 17 and under and unblock their library cards. The one-time amnesty is being underwritten by the JBP Foundation, a philanthropy that supports civic causes, which will make up $2.25 million of the shortfall in revenue from the forgiven fines. 

MD: Maryland to offer online shopping tool for common medical procedures

The Maryland Health Care Commission, the state’s independent regulatory agency, is unveiling a website on which people scheduling a hip replacement, knee replacement, hysterectomy or vaginal delivery can see price differences among various providers for the same procedure. 

GA: Georgia board to review Kennesaw State’s handling of cheerleader protest

The Georgia Board of Regents will conduct a special review of how Kennesaw State University handled the decision by five African-American cheerleaders to kneel during the national anthem in silent protest of police misconduct and racial inequality. 

NC: Settlement proposed in North Carolina transgender bathroom lawsuit

Transgender people would be allowed to use public restrooms in North Carolina that match their gender identity under a settlement agreement filed this week that aims to resolve the federal lawsuit over the state’s widely criticized bathroom law.

OK: Oklahoma lawmakers’ performance could trigger pay cut

Oklahoma lawmakers might be in for a pay cut next year. The head of the board in charge of setting legislator salaries says Oklahomans are “disappointed” with the Legislature because it has not figured out how to fill a $215 million budget hole. The board will meet again soon to talk about lowering the compensation, he said. 

OR: Oregon sues to obtain stats on DACA arrests

Oregon has joined nine other states in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for failing to release public information detailing the detention and deportation of immigrants. The lawsuit claims that federal agencies have failed to respond to requests within a 30-day statutory deadline and are unlawfully withholding the records regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

FL: Florida private schools rake in nearly $1B in state scholarships with little oversight

Private schools in Florida will collect nearly $1 billion in state-backed scholarships this year through a system so weakly regulated that some schools hire teachers without college degrees, hold classes in aging strip malls and falsify fire-safety and health records.

NJ: New Jersey state parks' quirky yurts are going away

The large, cylindrical canvas tents with skylights and plenty of standing room rented for about $40 a night at five state parks in New Jersey. But officials say they were simply too hard to maintain. They will be replaced by small, rustic cabins complete with bunks, windows, a kitchen table and wood stove. No word yet on how much they will rent for.

VA: Virginia Board of Corrections has yet to begin reviewing jail deaths, 110 days after it became law

Although 110 days have passed since the state Board of Corrections became legally responsible for overseeing jail death investigations, the newly reconstituted board has yet to launch a single probe. At least 16 people have died in jails across Virginia since July 1, when a law spurred by outrage over the still-unexplained death of a 24-year-old man at a Portsmouth jail two years ago took effect. 

MT: Montana gets more time to comply with Real ID

The federal government gave Montana a one-year extension to comply with the Real ID law. Without it, Montanans could not use a state driver's license to board a commercial airplane or enter a federal building next year. 

PA: First medical marijuana grower gets green light in Pennsylvania

A licensed grower and processor of medical marijuana is the first to be deemed fully operational in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, which Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration expects to start selling products in retail dispensaries next year. The state expects 11 other licensed grower-processors to be operational in the coming weeks.

TX: Federal judge rules teen immigrant held in Texas has right to abortion access

A federal judge ruled that a pregnant teenager under federal custody has the right to access abortion services in Texas. Jane Doe, as she's referred to in court filings, had been denied medical services, according to a lawsuit filed on her behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Attracting Amazon Insurance Fraud