ND: North Dakota to pay for gay marriage lawyers with abortion fund
Some of the money set aside by North Dakota lawmakers to defend the state against legal challenges to its abortion laws will instead be used to cover attorneys’ fees awarded to lawyers for couples who challenged the state’s gay marriage ban.
NY: New York state OKs minimum wage for fast-food workers
New York state will gradually raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to an hour—the first time any state has set the minimum that high.
TX: Texas school hopes to use online courses to make freshman year free
The Texas State University System is experimenting with using massive open online courses to allow students to effectively fulfill a year’s requirements before paying their first tuition bill, an option aimed at working students and the military among others.
RI: Rhode Island governor sidesteps ‘revolving door’ ban
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo has sidestepped Rhode Island’s “revolving-door” ban by giving former Rep. Donald Lally a job on her staff, and then “loaning” him to the Department of Business Regulation. The ban is designed to keep lawmakers from taking jobs with state agencies within a year after leaving office.
FL: Florida Supreme Court rules judges can’t wear colorful robes
Despite arguments that it doesn’t need to act as the fashion police, the Florida Supreme Court approved a rule that will prevent judges throughout the state from wearing colorful robes or other adornments while presiding over cases.
MI: Politics, scandals and extreme partisanship in Michigan politics
Political insiders say disciplinary hearings for two Michigan legislators highlight the new level of hyperpartisanship in state politics.
KY: Kentucky General Fund receipts up, road tax collections down
Strong personal income and sales tax receipts helped boost Kentucky General Fund tax collections by 7.6 percent to .9 million for August compared to the year before. But a 5.4 percent drop in motor fuels tax collections last month hurt the state’s Road Fund.
WY: Wyoming lacks ‘rainy day’ definition for .8 billion fund
Wyoming has a .8 billion “rainy day fund” set aside to make up for problematic swings in the boom-bust energy economy the state relies on. But the state lacks a real definition for what constitutes a rainy day to access the fund, formally known as the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account.
ID: Idaho court upholds ban on horse racing terminals
Idaho’s highest court says the state must enforce legislation banning lucrative instant horse racing terminals after ruling that Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s veto of the bill was invalid.
VA: Virginia to test 2,000 rape kits
Officials in Virginia will use a .4 million grant to test more than 2,000 rape kits that are connected to unsolved assault cases. Some of the kits are more than 25 years old. Virginia is one of more than 20 states awarded money through Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s million initiative to reduce the inventory of untested kits.
MO: Missouri Legislature to vote on minimum wage hikes
The state House and Senate are expected to vote next week on whether to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of legislation that would block city ordinances that increase the minimum wage to a level greater than the state’s.
UT: Audit blasts million in mismanaged funds at Utah rehab agency
The state agency responsible for helping Utahns with disabilities find work and live independent lives was poorly managed, costing the agency about million, according to a new state audit, which recommended moving the entity to another office where it could receive adequate oversight.
PA: Pennsylvania makes insurers justify rate hikes for widows
In response to a recent study criticizing insurance rate increases for some drivers after the death of a spouse, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is now requiring insurers to provide statistics to document why widows and widowers should pay more to insure their vehicles.
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