By: - January 20, 2015 12:00 am

OR: State Supreme Court to rule on forced medication for mentally ill defendant

The question is whether a 25-year-old man, charged in the 2011 slaying of the Rainier police chief, should be forcibly medicated to make him mentally competent to assist his lawyers.

KS: Kansas governor urges sin taxes and future slowdown in income tax cuts 

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled a deficit-reducing budget plan that incorporates an increase of more than million in state taxes on liquor, cigarettes and tobacco product sales. He also urged a halt in lowering income tax rates in 2017 if revenue isn’t available. 

NY: Cuomo proposes raising New York’s hourly minimum wage to .50 

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed raising New York’s minimum wage to .50 an hour, the highest among states, and boosting the baseline for hourly pay in New York City to .50. 

WV: Chief justice says West Virginia needs more drug treatment programs 

West Virginia’s drug courts could save million in prison costs by expanding treatment programs, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman told the legislature.

FL: Governor pushing cut in Florida taxes on cellphones, cable TV

Republican Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut nearly million a year in the taxes charged on various communications services, including cable television, cellphones and traditional phone lines. The 3.6 percent tax cut could save the average Floridian more than a year.

ND: North Dakota lawmakers introduce body camera privacy bill

North Dakota legislators have introduced a bill aimed at protecting the privacy of people who interact with police officers wearing body cameras. 

WA: Lawmakers agree on banning openly carried guns in viewing area 

The state House joined the Senate in barring openly carried guns from the chambers’ public viewing areas. A gun-rights leader blames “stupid extremists” for prompting the change and hurting “our cause.” 

HI: Hawaii’s doctor shortage grows

Hawaii’s doctor shortage jumped 20 percent over the past year as more physicians left the field amid a growing demand for medical services. New estimates on physician supply and demand peg the current shortage at 890, and that’s expected to jump as high as 1,500 by 2020.

CA: Brown tackling California’s billion retiree health liability 

California faces an estimated billion unfunded liability for more than 800,000 state employees and their families to provide health coverage once workers retire from civil service and for those who have already retired. 

LA: Louisiana law might illegally lower bar for students with disabilities 

Federal officials have renewed their warnings that a state law intended to aid special education students may run afoul of federal laws. The key feature of the 2014 measure allows teachers and parents to craft alternative paths to a diploma, regardless of how students fare on standardized tests.

NM: Bill would help inmates get Medicaid 

Lawmakers will consider a proposal that would create a formal Medicaid enrollment process for New Mexico jail and prison inmates, of whom 90 percent or more are eligible, according to supporters of the measure. 

NV: Former Facebook president donates to Nevada gun control ballot measure 

Tech tycoon Sean Parker donated ,000 to a controversial gun control initiative being debated in Nevada that would tighten background checks on all gun purchases in the state. 

OH: Ohio’s Kasich hits the road for a balanced budget amendment 

Republican Gov. John Kasich will go to six western states this week—Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming—to urge legislative leaders to support a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

TX: Film incentive program fears guilt by association 

A decade after lawmakers ponied up state money for an incentive program to entice filmmakers to Texas, many in the industry feel the program is just beginning to hit its stride. But as the legislative session gets underway with new lawmakers and leadership, a growing wariness of incentive programs could threaten that progress.

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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.