Top State Stories 7/2
WY: Wyoming’s incarceration rate is rising
While incarceration rates have dropped nationwide, Wyoming’s have headed in the other direction. Attorneys attribute the growth in the prison population to changes in state law, more severe sentences, and drug addicts who violate probation or parole.
HI: Fewer women applying to be judges in Hawaii
The rate at which women apply for judicial openings in Hawaii has slowed in recent years, prompting questions about why more are not seeking the jobs. From 2012 through 2016, men applied at more than double the rate women, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser analysis, and that gap has increased since then.
NE: Nebraska’s immigration court backlog among longest in U.S.
The backlog of immigration cases in Nebraska leaves Bassel El-Kasaby, a veteran immigration lawyer, without answers when clients ask how long it might take for them to learn whether they can stay in the United States. The Omaha Immigration Court’s “unreal” waiting list — more than 9,000 pending cases — creates a legal purgatory of sorts, he said.
CA: California pot retailers: State rules could destroy millions of dollars in pot
All marijuana sold in California by state licensed firms now will be required to undergo new testing for quality and toxins. Retailers warn they face financial hardship because they will have to destroy tens of millions of dollars’ worth of untested product still on their shelves.
NJ: New Jersey passes B budget
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders came to a deal on a $37.4 billion budget that hikes taxes on the wealthy and some businesses.
SC: South Carolina gas taxes rise another 2 cents a gallon
South Carolina motorists started paying a little more at the pump, but the extra cost will continue historically high levels of spending on road work.
MA: Massachusetts state police probe intensifies
At least 17 Massachusetts troopers linked to overtime abuse and under suspicion for payroll fraud have retired in recent months, locking in generous pensions and cashing out unused benefits and perks.
TX: Texas ranchers: Border crisis is exaggerated
Over the course of the 2000s, the number of apprehensions at the border has declined precipitously, from more than 1 million in 2005 to fewer than 400,000 in 2017, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. Many Rio Grande Valley residents have farmed land along the border fence for decades, and they say they don’t worry about a crisis at the Texas border.
RI: Rhode Island squid fishermen fear wind power
Rhode Island fishermen say a patch of the Atlantic Ocean south of Martha’s Vineyard is among the best places around to catch squid. They are also the same waters in which a developer selected by Massachusetts plans to install up to a hundred giant wind turbines that would supply clean, renewable energy to the state.
ID: Environmental groups challenge Idaho spruce removal
An environmental group is challenging one of the largest-ever projects to remove juniper trees in Idaho. The Western Watersheds Project contends the federal project benefits mainly cattle and sheep grazing at the expense of sage grouse habitat.
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