By: - February 23, 2015 12:00 am

CA: State senator says California ‘welfare queen’ law must go

In California, a family that conceives and births an additional child while on welfare is barred from getting an increase in its grant. Now advocates for the poor are mounting their strongest effort yet to repeal the so-called “maximum family grant” rule, a big-ticket spending item that could bleed into state budget talks.

TN: Bill would let Tennessee employers opt out of worker’s comp

State Sen. Mark Green and Rep. Jeremy Durham, both Republicans, are proposing to allow employers to opt out of the state’s workers’ compensation program and design individual plans.

OH: Are oil and gas industry donations tied to Ohio court ruling?

Ohio’s oil and gas industry poured about $1.4 million into the campaign coffers of legislators and other state officials in 2013-2014, including about $8,000 for the justice who wrote a pro-industry ruling that said local governments cannot regulate drilling.

MN: Minnesota lawmakers aim to revamp seniority rules on teacher layoffs

Amid growing pressure to improve educational outcomes, especially for students of color, Minnesota Republicans and now a Democratic-Farmer-Labor lawmaker want to require school districts to consider performance, and not longevity, when deciding which teachers keep or lose their jobs.

CT: Connecticut lawmakers lobby to restore passenger trains

State legislators from the Northwest Hills, northern Fairfield County, eastern Connecticut and the Waterbury-to-Berlin corridor want to bring back passenger train service to areas where it hasn’t run in decades. In most cases, they’re citing economic development opportunities as the reason to modernize older freight tracks to accommodate commuter cars.

WA: Washington state seeks more oversight of oil carried by rail

As the number of trains carrying volatile North Dakota crude oil through Washington grows, railroads are coming under scrutiny.

ND: North Dakota leaders await new oil requirements after West Virginia explosion

Last week’s derailment and explosion of rail cars carrying crude oil in West Virginia is sparking debate in North Dakota over oil train safety.

MO: Questions surround economists who assess Missouri legislation

Many of the economists working for the University of Missouri group that helps lawmakers assess bills have financial ties to organizations with strong ideological leanings — most notably a group founded by conservative campaign contributor Rex Sinquefield.

KS: More Kansas businesses using tax exemption than expected

Far more people than projected are taking advantage of a 2012 provision that eliminated income taxes for owners of certain businesses. The move was designed to spur economic activity, but the state now faces a budget deficit.

TX: For Texas agriculture commissioner, dietary report leaves a bad taste

No Texan should shy away from a T-bone steak or sweet tea based on a federal department’s suggestions, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said in response to a new report on dietary guidelines. The report is calling on Americans to increase their consumption of vegetables and limit intake of sugar and red meat.

AR: Bill would shift funding to roads to offset Arkansas tax loss

A bill that would shift some general revenue totaling nearly $2.8 billion over 10 years to road construction as a way to offset falling fuel-tax revenue won a recommendation from the House Public Transportation Committee.

GA: Georgia bill would protect police dogs, horses

Bad guys who hurt or kill police dogs, horses and other animals used in the line of duty by Georgia law enforcement agencies could be fined as much as $20,000 and jailed for as long as five years under legislation passed by the state Senate.

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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.