What We're Reading: Top State Stories 11/28

Top State Stories 11/28

CO: As Congress stalls, Colorado prepares to cancel children’s health insurance 

The agency that manages Colorado’s version of the Children’s Health Insurance Program has begun sending letters to families that are currently covered and notifying them that their kids’ health insurance could end Jan. 31 if Congress doesn’t act. Federal funding for the health insurance program expired last month. 

NH: New Hampshire’s medical examiner’s office faces work overload amid opioid crisis 

The workload of the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office has exploded because of the opioid crisis, forcing medical examiners to drop a long-standing policy of performing an autopsy on every suspected drug death in the state. 

ID: Female Idaho lawmakers call for sexual harassment training 

Fourteen female lawmakers have signed a letter to Idaho legislative leadership requesting mandatory sexual harassment training in the Statehouse. House Speaker Scott Bedke, a Republican, said training is already being planned for the start of the 2018 legislative session. 

FL: Textbook challenges grow in Florida under new law 

Under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature this year, any school district resident — regardless of whether they have a child in school — can now challenge material as pornographic, biased, inaccurate or a violation of state law and get a hearing before an outside mediator. 

AZ: Arizona law would ban that masked man 

A proposed Arizona law could send you to prison for a year or more if you wear a mask in public. Masks and costumes would be a felony at civil protests, political events or even any “public event.” 

CA: California Supreme Court rules for farmworkers, upholds binding mediation 

The California Supreme Court, overturning a lower court ruling, upheld a 2002 law that permits the state to order farmers and unions to reach binding contracts. The Legislature passed the law after determining that farmers were refusing to negotiate with unionized workers. 

NJ, PA: How legal marijuana in New Jersey could disrupt Pennsylvania’s medical program  

With the election of Democrat Phil Murphy as governor, New Jersey is almost certain to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use within a year, creating a cannabis market that could be worth $1 billion a year and generate an annual $300 million for the state’s tax coffers. And that means Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, set to launch in the first quarter of 2018 and offering only oil-based products, may find itself outmaneuvered. 

SD: Former South Dakota lawmaker accused of harassment by ex-lobbyist 

A former South Dakota lobbyist says an ex-lawmaker should be denied a state appointment because of inappropriate comments he made to her in 2012. 

ND: North Dakota teachers to rewrite academic standards 

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction is soliciting help from educators across the state in rewriting standards for science, health, the arts and early learning. 

ME: Reported claims of sex harassment in Maine on the decline 

The number of sexual harassment claims filed with Maine’s human rights panel has been dropping for more than a decade, from a high of 170 in 2000-01 to 58 in 2016-17. 

NV: Police body cameras made officers in Nevada city less likely to use force 

A group of police officers who wore body cameras experienced a 37 percent reduction in use-of-force incidents and complaints filed against them, according to a yearlong study by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Officers wearing the cameras also issued 6.8 percent more citations and made 5.2 percent more arrests than officers without cameras, the study found. 

DC: A sign of gentrification? Advocates question morality, utility of D.C.’s cleanups of homeless camps 

Twice a week, five city offices coordinate to clear homeless encampments across Washington, D.C., as part of Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “comprehensive strategy to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring.” But advocates say the city’s encampment cleaning — which records show cost taxpayers more than $172,000 in a three-month span — does little more than punish residents who have nowhere else to go. 

GA: Georgia 2018: Secretary of State calls for ‘clean’ adoption bill 

Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp waded into a prickly political battle when he called on lawmakers to pass a measure to modernize Georgia’s adoption laws without a controversial “religious liberty” provision and pledged to quickly sign it into law if elected governor.

Historic Preservation Violence Against Teachers