What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/7

Top State Stories 11/7

US: GOP tax proposal to eliminate second home mortgage deduction affects certain states

A proposal to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction for second homes could have a significant impact on certain areas of the country where vacation and second homes make up a disproportionate chunk of the local housing market. According to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, homes classified as "for seasonal, occasional or recreational use" tend to be clustered along the coasts and in mountainous areas.

KY: FBI confirms it is reviewing sexual harassment allegations in Kentucky Capitol

The Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged that it is looking into details surrounding a sexual harassment scandal in the Kentucky Capitol that led to Republican Rep. Jeff Hoover’s resignation as speaker of the House of Representatives.

NJ: Is Trump withholding $4M from New Jersey due to sanctuary cities?

New Jersey's Democratic lawmakers are accusing President Donald Trump's administration of withholding $4 million in promised local law enforcement funds after several municipalities said they would not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The funds are due the state and its localities under a program that provides funds for training, personnel and equipment to fight crime and terrorism.

GA: Official: Georgia teacher pension to cost at least $351M more

With only two months to go before the start of the 2018 legislative session, the administration of Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, is finding that propping up Georgia’s teacher pension system is making its job difficult as it seeks to write a balanced budget.

IA: Cyber thieves used 'pretty clever' tactic to steal Iowa pension benefits

Investigators are still trying to determine how cyber thieves stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension benefits from retired Iowa public employees, but it's likely they first obtained Social Security numbers and birth dates from other sources, says a computer security expert.

DE: In Delaware, 1 in 6 adults struggle to read

Exacerbating the fact that half of Delaware's third-graders struggle to read is another startling statistic: Nearly 1 in 6 adults are considered "functionally illiterate."

FL: Florida Senate budget chief out for now as harassment probe begins

Florida State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Republican, was removed temporarily as chairman of the Senate’s top budget committee Monday as an investigation into sexual harassment claims against him gets under way. Latvala, a candidate for governor, has been anonymously accused by seven lobbyists and former staffers of touching them inappropriately or making lewd comments, according to a Politico report. Latvala has vehemently denied the allegations.

IL: Illinois reviews $15 million in tax breaks for Sears

Sears is waiting on the state of Illinois, which has yet to decide whether the department store chain has lived up to the terms of an agreement inked six years ago to give it millions of dollars in tax credits. Not getting the credits, worth $15.3 million in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, 2016, would be another blow for a company that just last month had to tap a $200 million credit line.

AZ: First performance-based funds help Arizona’s richest school districts most

Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, and the Arizona Legislature this year committed $38 million to a new program to reward high-performing schools. The big winners: The state's richest district and charter schools.

CA: California hasn’t cracked down on anti-vaccination doctors

The number of children with medical exemptions to California’s tough 2015 inoculation law tripled last year, and dozens of complaints against physicians have been filed with the Medical Board of California. But the way the state addresses medical exemptions has created a challenge for officials because it leaves the decision of whether a child should be allowed to skip vaccines fully up to the doctor.

WI: Opioid dispensing drops in Wisconsin, overdose deaths rise

Opioid overdose deaths continue to go up in Wisconsin even though fewer opioids are being dispensed, according to state records.

TX: With no state-approved textbooks, Texas ethnic studies teachers make do

The Texas State Board of Education will vote on whether to approve two ethnic studies textbooks — a Mexican-American studies textbook and a Jewish Holocaust memoir — submitted in response to a board request last November to offer approved texts aligned to the statewide curriculum. Last year, the board rejected a different Mexican-American studies textbook proposal that advocates and academics decried as error-ridden and racist.

SD: Voters may see cannabis, tobacco tax on next year’s South Dakota ballot

South Dakota voters won’t have the chance to legalize physician-assisted suicide or recreational marijuana in 2018, but they could decide whether to allow patients to use cannabis medically — plus a raft of other proposals on next year’s Election Day.

Pot Lounges Women in Statehouses