By: - December 15, 2014 12:00 am

TX: State law could short-circuit battery breakthrough

Battery storage could revolutionize the state’s electrical grid, making it more reliable and friendlier to renewable energy. The problem? It is likely to require a fundamental change in state law.

WA: Broken prison labor program
Washington Correctional Industries generates up to $70 million in sales a year, ranking as the nation’s fourth-largest prison labor program. But the program has cost taxpayers millions of dollars, charged exorbitant markups to state agencies to make up for losses, and taken jobs from private businesses that can’t compete with cheap prison labor, a newspaper investigation has found.

MS: In Mississippi, education money gap grows to .5B
Mississippi legislators have spent $1.5 billion less on education that what’s required under state law, forcing many school districts to raise property taxes, an Associated Press review has found.

CA: Immigrants can soon seek driver’s licenses

State officials are encouraging more than a million undocumented immigrants living in California to step forward and apply for licenses.

DE: Del. may be on road to legalizing marijuana
Delaware legislators will consider the decriminalization of marijuana during next year’s legislative session.

KY: Business leaders ask for an audit of Kentucky Retirement Systems

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has asked for a performance audit of the Kentucky Retirement Systems, citing the “significant threat” posed by $13.9 billion in unfunded state pension obligations.

OH: Hot tub party prompts suspensions for state hearing officers

Five state workers’ compensation hearing officers have received five-day suspensions after they attended a hot tub party last year hosted by attorneys who represent clients before them.

WV: New GOP majority eyes repeal of state’s prevailing wage law

Some Republican lawmakers hope to roll back West Virginia’s longstanding prevailing wage law when the new GOP majority convenes in the upcoming legislative session.

FL: State senators relaunch bill to overhaul local pension plans

The measure would allow cities with faltering pension funds to use additional insurance premium tax revenues to shore up their accounts.

MA: Patrick shifts on transfer of workers to union

Seven months before Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick agreed to transfer 500 state workers into a public employees union, his legal team successfully blocked a similar union effort by arguing it would be contrary to law. Now, Patrick is arguing that extending union protection to another 500 workers is warranted.

ND: North Dakota remains only a dabbler in the lottery business
North Dakota is ambivalent about its lottery, offering only a limited selection of games and making less money relative to its population than other states with lotteries.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.