What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/6

Top State Stories 11/6

MA: Massachusetts becomes first state to ban bump stocks

  It will become unlawful to possess bump stocks, devices that can be attached to a semiautomatic firearm to increase its firing speed, in 90 days in Massachusetts. The state's new law makes it illegal to buy, sell or offer the devices. Such a device was used in the Las Vegas mass shooting last month, prompting calls nationally for legislative action. 

US: Sexual misconduct charges rock statehouses across the country

  Statehouses from Boston to Sacramento have been rocked by an onslaught of sexual misconduct allegations, creating unprecedented pressure on state legislative leaders to take immediate action. Amid a flood of recent testimonials from female legislators, staff and lobbyists, a portrait is fast emerging of male-dominated state capitol cultures rife with sexual harassment and bereft of protections for victims, where complaints from women frequently languish — or are outright ignored. 

VA: Virginia’s uneven recovery mirrors its growing political divide

The averages may say that Virginia’s job growth almost tracks the nation’s recovery. But those overall numbers are driven by large urban counties, especially in the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. Those differences matter because the divide between job winners and losers mirrors Virginia’s growing political divide. 

LA: Louisiana's prosecutors move to deny parole for young prisoners serving life sentences

Louisiana's prosecutors believe about one-third of prisoners serving life for murders they committed as juveniles should be denied a chance to seek parole, despite criticism from advocates that this disregards U.S. Supreme Court rulings that a life behind bars for those who kill at a young age should be "rare" and “uncommon."

ME: Maine governor vetoes voter-approved recreational marijuana

  In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage said the law would set up a bifurcated system of recreational and medical sales — which are legal in Maine — of marijuana in the state. He vetoed a bill approved by voters nearly a year ago. 

KY: Speaker of Kentucky House of Representatives resigns over sexual harassment allegations

  Republican Jeff Hoover resigned his post as speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives Sunday, a day after defiantly rejecting calls to step down by Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, and others who said they were disgusted by allegations of sexual harassment against Hoover and three other GOP lawmakers.

NV: Bundy trial begins in Nevada

The ability of the federal government to enforce its own land policies in the West will be tested as a trial begins this week of a Nevada rancher accused of leading a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents in a dispute over cattle grazing.

PA: Pennsylvania governor lets bill become law that weakens teacher protections

  Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will allow a bill to become law that weakens teacher seniority protections and gives Pennsylvania school districts more flexibility in their rationale for making layoffs.

VT: New health payment system expected to reach 122,000 Vermonters

  Ten hospitals in Vermont have agreed to take financial responsibility for health care spending for certain patients in their area. The spending will be measured against a set target. 

IL: GOP legislative leader wants sexual harassment hotline in Illinois

  Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin plans to introduce legislation to create a hotline where callers can report sexual harassment. Lawmakers are back in Springfield this week, and on the agenda is House Speaker Michael Madigan's bill that would require sexual harassment training for legislative employees and lobbyists. 

CA: Insurers make billions off Medicaid in California during ‘Obamacare’ expansion

Medicaid insurers in California made $5.4 billion in profits from 2014 to 2016, in part because the state paid higher rates during the inaugural years of the nation’s Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Last year, they made more money than all Medicaid insurers combined in 34 other states with managed care plans.

OH: Republicans join effort to abolish death penalty in Ohio

  With another execution looming next week in Ohio, a Democratic lawmaker is pushing a bill that would eliminate the death penalty in the Buckeye State. Two Republicans have co-sponsored the bill.

NJ: Companies stand to make millions from broken New Jersey water systems

  Three New Jersey towns neglected their water and sewer systems for decades. Now voters in High Bridge, Long Hill and West Milford will choose whether to sell the systems to private corporations and give up local control — or to borrow large amounts of money to make the repairs themselves.

Women in Statehouses Addicted Doctors