PA: Pennsylvania Senate borrows $9 million to make payroll
Operating without a budget since July, the Pennsylvania Senate borrowed $9 million last week to pay the salaries and benefits of state senators and staff. School systems and nonprofits have also taken out loans to survive the budget stalemate.
TX: Texas governor hits Dallas over ‘sanctuary’ policies
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott warned the Dallas County sheriff that her approach to dealing with undocumented immigrants who commit crimes “will no longer be tolerated in Texas.” Abbott wrote a letter to the sheriff, a Democrat, in the wake of reports that she planned to free some of the immigrants processed through the Dallas County jail rather than hand them over to federal authorities as requested.
OK: Governor tells Oklahoma agencies to prepare for cuts
Facing falling state revenue amid oil price declines, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin ordered Oklahoma agencies to prepare plans to cut nonessential expenses by 10 percent. Her executive order also placed a moratorium on taxpayer-funded, out-of-state travel for all state employees.
MD: Maryland to require lead tests for all children at ages 1 and 2
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration plans to require that all Maryland 1- and 2-year-olds be tested for lead poisoning, declaring the new rule is needed because thousands of youngsters are at risk for lasting health problems.
MS: Ole Miss removes state flag
The University of Mississippi administration ordered the removal of the state flag, which includes the Confederate battle emblem in its upper left corner, from campus grounds.
VA: ACLU says Virginia should create statewide policy on police body cameras
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia called for a uniform policy for police body cameras. The ACLU said the state’s patchwork of policies is “inconsistent at best, chaotic at worst.”
LA: Tax exemption cost Louisiana $1.1 billion
Louisiana’s severance tax exemption on horizontal drilling for oil and gas cost the state more than $1.1 billion in revenue from fiscal 2010 to 2014, according to a state auditor. Louisiana is the only top producing oil and gas state that allows a severance tax suspension for horizontal wells.
NY: Despite risks, New York governor bets on solar power
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has committed up to $750 million for a giant solar panel factory that New York officials say will be the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The project is the biggest economic development effort Cuomo has undertaken in his five years as governor.
WI: Wisconsin moves closer to votes on eliminating state treasurer
Wisconsin’s Assembly will consider a proposal by Republican legislators to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to eliminate the state treasurer’s office.
UT: To collect back taxes, Utah may force banks to access your account
Utah wants to make it easier to discover and garnish the bank accounts of taxpayers who owe it money by requiring banks and credit unions to turn over targeted customer information.
GA: Georgia launches apprenticeship program to tackle skills gap
The new apprenticeship program is aimed at combating a persistent problem: Even as the state struggles with a stubborn jobless rate, there’s a growing demand for highly skilled workers that remains unmet.
IL: Neighboring states’ lotteries cashing in on Illinois’ inability to pay
With Illinois delaying payouts of more than $600 because of its budget mess, neighboring states are salivating at the chance to boost their own lottery sales. Businesses near borders in Indiana, Kentucky and Iowa say they’ve already noticed a difference.
AZ: Common Core changes closer after Arizona education board vote
The Arizona Board of Education moved a small step closer to meeting Superintendent Diane Douglas’ goal of adopting Arizona-based learning standards when the board voted to allow changes to Common Core-based standards.
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