Top State Stories 7/19
US: State lawmakers accused of misconduct run again
An Associated Press review finds that 25 state lawmakers who have been accused of sexual misconduct are running for re-election or another office this year. Of those, 15 have already advanced to the Nov. 6 general election. Seven did not even face a challenger in their primary.
CA: Court strikes measure to divide California
The California Supreme Court decided to remove from the November ballot a measure aimed at dividing California into three states. The court said it acted “because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity.”
NY: New York to fund cybersecurity for voting systems
New York will begin soliciting contracts from companies that will assess the cybersecurity risks of the state’s voting systems and help improve internet firewalls for county boards of elections. The initiative, part of a million earmark in the 2019 budget, was announced by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
US: Big drug companies influence states’ Medicaid cost-controls to reap profits
Around the country, drug companies are working to influence state Medicaid drug cost controls to keep their profits flowing. Meanwhile, the cost of Medicaid is ballooning and prescription drug costs are helping drive the increase.
OR: Oregon to vote on anti-‘sanctuary state’ ballot measure
Voters will decide the future of Oregon’s long-standing “sanctuary state” status on the November ballot. The initiative aims to remove a 31-year-old statute prohibiting Oregon law enforcement agencies from arresting individuals whose only crime is violating federal immigration law.
IA: Iowa candidates cannot use campaign money for child care, board rules
Candidates running for office in Iowa cannot use campaign money to pay for child care, according to the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board. The ethics board said current law prohibits it and any changes would be “a policy decision best left to the Legislature.”
PA: Pennsylvania court strikes law ending cash assistance
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a law that eliminated a cash assistance program for the poor. A coalition had sued the state over the 2012 ending of the program, which had supported about 60,000 people — many disabled — with a month.
TN: Tennesseans sport Confederate flag license plates in record numbers
The number of Tennesseans now displaying Confederate battle flag license plates is higher than at any other point in the last decade, according to state data. At the end of fiscal 2018, 3,273 of the plates were active.
MA: Massachusetts budget won’t include immigration provisions
Massachusetts legislative leaders slashed from their billion state budget proposal a provision that would have prohibited state law enforcement officers from acting as agents of federal immigration authorities.
OK: Oklahoma marijuana regs may go too far
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, a Republican, advised the state Board of Health to repeal some of the rules it approved a week ago, which have attracted two lawsuits so far. Hunter said the board overstepped its authority with rules requiring dispensaries to hire a pharmacist and prohibiting the sale of smokable products.
AR: Arkansas governor calls for legislator to resign
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson called for fellow Republican state Rep. Mickey Gates to resign in the face of criminal charges of failure to pay state income taxes. Hutchinson is the third member of the GOP to call for Gates’ resignation.
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