What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/18

TN: Tennessee lawmakers pass bill to forbid judges from sterilizing inmates

Tennessee lawmakers want to bar judges from using sterilization as a bargaining chip when sentencing offenders. Some legal advocates, including the ACLU of Tennessee, say the practice is already unconstitutional. 

MA: Massachusetts court strikes down state ban on possession of stun guns

The Second Amendment protects civilians possessing stun guns and tasers, the highest court in Massachusetts has decided. The ruling stated that the prohibition in Massachusetts state law is a violation of the Second Amendment. 

AL: ‘It smells like death.’ Alabama endures New York ‘poop train’ 

A stinking trainload of human waste from New York City is stranded in a tiny Alabama town, spreading a stench like a giant backed-up toilet — and the “poop train” is just the latest example of the South being used as a dumping ground for other states’ waste. 

WA: Washington state mulls marijuana home delivery

Washington state is looking at allowing medical marijuana patients to place an order and get cannabis delivered to their home. Supporters say delivery makes it easier for medical marijuana patients to get their medicine. 

RI: Rhode Island loses $1.8 million annually in film tax credits 

Rhode Island's Office of Revenue Analysis has found film and television productions have generated on average 27 cents for every $1 spent in tax revenue since a state tax credit program was enacted in 2005. The study found a modest increase of 94 jobs in the movie industry. 

ME: Maine bill to help low-income families with education costs becomes law 

A $2.1 million bill to help low-income Maine parents pay their higher-education costs passed into law without the signature of Republican Gov. Paul LePage. The funds can be used by parents who are eligible for, but do not receive, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits. 

VT: Vermont lawmakers consider redefining an 'attempt' to commit a crime

Vermont lawmakers are considering lowering the bar for what constitutes an attempted crime in response to an alleged school shooting plot. But the ACLU of Vermont says the current proposal has “significant constitutional problems.” 

NE: NRA praises new Nebraska law exempting gun records from disclosure 

The National Rifle Association praised Nebraska lawmakers for limiting what information about gun owners was accessible under the state's public-records statutes. The bill passed on final reading 47-0 and was signed by Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts. It will go into effect in 90 days.

CA: California police groups shift position on officer discipline records 

Local and national attention on police shootings and misconduct has led some California law enforcement organizations to reconsider their blanket opposition to proposals that would give public access to some internal disciplinary investigations of officers.  

NM: New Mexico tops nation in wind-energy growth 

New Mexico ranked as the nation's fastest-growing state for wind-energy construction last year. The state added enough new turbines to produce 571 megawatts of electricity, growing capacity by 51 percent. 

CO: Colorado governments sue oil and gas companies over climate change 

The city of Boulder and San Miguel and Boulder counties have launched a legal attack on the oil industry, demanding that Suncor Energy and ExxonMobil help pay for impacts of climate change that scientists link to fossil fuels. 

WY: One-fifth of people receiving unemployment insurance from Wyoming don’t live there 

About 20 percent of workers seeking unemployment insurance in Wyoming don’t live in the state, according to March data released by state economists. Many of them came to Wyoming as part of an itinerant workforce, ready to make a living in oil and gas fields, coal mines or related services.

New York Governor to Restore Voting Rights to Parolees Four-Day School Weeks