US: Airbnb pledges to work with cities and pay ‘fair share’ of taxes
After vowing to fight back if cities proposed rules that might curtail its home-sharing service, Airbnb has pledged to cooperate with local governments, including sharing data on hosts and guests who use the service and promising to pay its “fair share” of hotel and tourist taxes in cities that have them.
SC: South Carolina’s revenue growth sets up battle over need for gas-tax hike
Budget forecasters say South Carolina will have an added .2 billion next budget year, setting up a battle between transportation advocates pushing for a gas tax hike and opponents who argue the state doesn’t need to increase taxes to fix its roads.
NC: Coin tosses deciding election deadlocks in North Carolina towns
Winners were picked at random this week for seven deadlocked town council elections across North Carolina. A state law dictates that tie votes in municipal election must be determined “by lot.” County elections officials get to decide how to carry that out.
OH: Ohio anti-smoking campaign aims at veterans
The Ohio Department of Health has launched an anti-tobacco campaign focused on getting veterans to quit, as their smoking rates are significantly higher than the rest of the state’s population. Ohio’s annual bill for health care costs directly attributable to smoking was more than .6 billion last year.
CA, MO: NFL owners vow to exhaust ‘every option’ before letting California, Missouri teams move
NFL owners heard from all three cities—Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis—trying to keep their teams, and recommitted to exhausting “every option” before allowing a team to move to Los Angeles.
SD: Sales tax pitched for K-12 in South Dakota, if needed
A South Dakota task force of legislators and educators is recommending a sales tax hike to help pay for public schools, but only if new money is needed.
MN: Child protection reforms strain Minnesota’s foster care system
Minnesota’s renewed effort to stop child abuse and neglect is straining the foster care system. The number of children placed into foster care has risen dramatically in the past year, and a larger share of them are staying in the system longer.
TX: Texas rail prospects tempt French, Chinese, Japanese
Despite its car-is-king reputation, Texas has emerged as a hot market for international rail firms betting the state is ripe for a boom in high-speed rail projects. A Dallas-Houston high-speed rail line using Japanese trains is furthest along, but French and Chinese rail interests and local officials are also discussing rail projects.
FL: Petitioner wants Medicaid expansion on Florida ballot
A Jacksonville businessman is gathering signatures for a petition for a constitutional amendment that would require Florida to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. About 1.1 million Floridians would have gained Medicaid coverage had the state decided to expand the program.
ME: Maine attorney general sues protester for being too loud
Maine’s attorney general has filed a civil rights lawsuit against an anti-abortion protester who yelled so loudly outside a Portland health facility that his voice could be heard inside. The suit says the man’s yelling violated the civil rights of patients, but his attorney defends it as free speech.
WI: Wisconsin lawmakers introduce rail safety bill in wake of derailments
Wisconsin legislators have introduced a rail safety measure after a weekend in which two trains derailed in the state and spilled oil and chemicals.
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