By: - January 28, 2015 12:00 am

FL: Governor pledges $5 billion over 20 years for Florida Everglades

Republican Gov. Rick Scott proposed an initial $150 million for the Everglades in this year’s budget, with an equal amount going to protect undeveloped land, including panther habitat.

CA: California fails to track $13 billion in mental health funds

State and county officials cannot show how billions of dollars collected through a voter-approved tax on millionaires are being spent or whether the related programs have helped people with mental illness as voters intended, a state watchdog commission reported.

US: States move to make citizenship exams a classroom aid

At a time when resistance to standardized testing is growing, some educators worry that the new requirement passed in Arizona and possibly coming to other states will rob teachers of instructional time and will encourage rote memorization rather than a more robust discussion of civic involvement.

VA: Seclusion and restraint limits in public schools pass out of Virginia Senate

In response to what one lawmaker deemed “horror stories,” the Virginia state Senate voted to regulate the use of seclusion and restraint of public school children.

ID: Idaho teacher pension system gets high marks for solvency

Nationally, teacher pension programs are headed on a downward spiral, toward crisis. But Idaho’s system is relatively sound.

AR: Governor’s budget hikes funding for public schools, Medicaid

Arkansas’ public schools, prisons and Medicaid program would receive boosts in funding while most other state agencies would see a small cut under a $5.2 billion budget Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson presented to lawmakers.

HI: State senator proposes updating Hawaii’s energy goal to 100 percent renewable by 2040

The current Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative has a goal of 40 percent renewable by 2030.

TX: State auditor sees weaknesses in agency contracting

State agencies struggle with shopping for a vendor and monitoring that vendor’s performance, the Texas State Auditor’s office said in a new report on contracting.  A controversial $110 million deal between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and an Austin software provider has made contracting a hot issue this legislative session.

DE: Bill would strip felon state employees of pension

A Delaware legislator is proposing a bill that would revoke state employees’ pensions if they are convicted of a felony.

CO: Colorado lawmakers to debate a ‘death with dignity’ law

Colorado could join five other states with laws that allow terminally ill patients to end their lives, if a proposed bill is adopted.

ME: LePage administration, no-smoking advocates clash on cuts

Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration says the $20 million cut from anti-smoking programs will allow the state to maintain reimbursement rates for primary care doctors who work with MaineCare patients. Public health advocates say the move could decimate a program that allocates money from the 1998 State Tobacco Settlement to smoking prevention.

VT: Gov. Shumlin: Pot smoking days are long over

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin says his days of smoking marijuana are over, even if the Vermont Legislature votes to legalize the drug. Shumlin, 58, stopped using marijuana as he grew into adulthood, he said.

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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.