Top State Stories 5/30
MO: Embattled Missouri governor resigns
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, said he is stepping down in the face of an impeachment effort, an adverse judicial ruling and multiple criminal investigations. Greitens’ decision means that Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, also a Republican, will become governor.
AR: U.S. Supreme Court allows Arkansas to enforce abortion restrictions
If the law stands, Arkansas would be the only state where women would not have access to a pair of drugs that end pregnancies: mifepristone, which makes it difficult for a fetus to attach to the uterine wall, and misoprostol, which causes the body to expel it, similar to a miscarriage.
PR: Harvard study estimates thousands died in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria
A new Harvard study published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that at least 4,645 deaths can be linked to the hurricane and its immediate aftermath, making the storm far deadlier than previously thought. Official estimates have placed the number of dead at 64.
MI: Michigan Senate OKs bills extending time for sex abuse victims to sue
The legislation passed by the Michigan Senate would allow more time for child sexual abuse victims to take legal action against their abusers. The bills now advance to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk, where they would be the first to become law following the fallout from a former Michigan State University sports doctor’s sexual assaults against girl and women athletes.
CA: Illegal pot grows found in California parks, forests
Citing new scientific evidence of “catastrophic” impacts on California’s forests and wildlife, law enforcement officials announced a new crackdown on illegal marijuana growing sites statewide that they say are run by Mexican drug cartels. The recent discovery that banned pesticides at the sites are polluting water and poisoning endangered species pushed authorities to act, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said.
NC: Anti-abortion clinics and Christian hunting clubs get money in North Carolina budget
The new North Carolina budget unveiled by Republican legislators would send hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to religious groups, including more than $1 million to pro-life pregnancy clinics. Other grants include a quarter of a million dollars for an outdoors group that combines Bible studies with hunting trips, as well as $100,000 to build a YMCA in an influential legislator’s district.
SC: South Carolina police tactics put innocent bystanders in danger
Many South Carolina law enforcement agencies are relying on vague or subjective high-speed chase policies, legitimizing dangerous pursuits. Even when it appears a policy has been violated, police chiefs and sheriffs defend the chases as necessary, and their officers are rarely punished.
RI: Rhode Island Senate approves life sentences in overdose deaths
Senators responded to the plea of a heartbroken mother by passing a bill that allows a life-in-prison sentence for anyone who sells, delivers or distributes an illegal drug that leads to a fatal overdose. Rhode Island’s bill passed over the objections of addiction treatment professionals, mental health advocates and civil liberties groups who say longer prison sentences will only make it harder to combat drug overdose deaths.
VT: Vermont dairy is in crisis after years of bad prices
The developing crisis for dairy farming in Vermont has seen the number of farms drop 27 percent from 1,015 in 2010 to 739 today. The business has helped to define the state for generations, and generates $2.2 billion in economic activity, according to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.
VA: Virginia Senate appears primed to expand Medicaid
The Virginia Senate appears to have enough votes to break through years of Republican intransigence and expand Medicaid to 400,000 low-income residents as part of a budget vote.
WI: Wisconsin lawmakers got $164,000 in travel and perks last year from outside groups
Business groups, ideological organizations and others paid more than ,000 last year for Wisconsin legislators to travel and speak — in some cases overseas. Fifty legislators had their meals, lodging, airfare and other travel costs covered by outside groups, or received payments for speaking or other services, according to an analysis of financial disclosure by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.
LA: Louisiana House advances sales tax bill
The Louisiana House agreed to advance revenue-raising bills meant to soften the “fiscal cliff” the state faces when temporary tax measures expire June 30. The vote in favor of keeping one-third of an expiring sales tax hike to generate $370 million was significant, as the last special session collapsed after the chamber repeatedly rejected a similar proposal.
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