US: Thirty-nine states have budget surpluses — and cities want the cash
As states reap the benefits of an expanding national economy, some like Ohio are placing their surpluses in rainy-day funds. But cities that have suffered because of cuts since the recession say it is time for states to loosen up the purse strings.
LA: Louisiana bars banks from M deal because of gun policies
Louisiana officials have blocked two of the nation’s largest banks from involvement in a million road financing plan because they have policies restricting gun sales by their commercial customers.
US: Water shortage declaration looms for Colorado River
Federal water managers are imploring Western states to do more now to cut water use or face an unprecedented “shortage” declaration next year, as the Colorado River comes under strain from population growth and a climate shift to hotter, drier conditions.
CA: California rejects proposal for state-chartered banks in marijuana industry
A state lawmaker proposed that California could license special, privately-financed banks that would issue checks to marijuana businesses to pay rent, vendors, and state and local taxes. But a legislative analysis said the proposal faced “significant obstacles,” including the fact that it does not guarantee state banks protection from federal law enforcement.
DE: Delaware forced to release details on voting machine bids
Delaware voters are getting a rare opportunity to examine details about the new voting machines that will be used for the 2020 presidential election — weeks before the state finalizes a contract to buy them. That sneak peek comes courtesy of a watchdog group that received the records after successfully suing the state.
MS: Mississippi governor to call special session on infrastructure funding
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, said he plans to call the Legislature into special session next week to deal with road and bridge funding. Alternatives under discussion include use of internet sales taxes or creation of a state lottery.
IL: Illinois to impose tougher penalty for texting while driving
People caught texting while driving will face stiffer penalties under a new Illinois law, starting next July. They will be issued a moving violation that will go on their driving record.
OK: Oklahoma legislators back state Veterans Affairs
Some of the top state legislators overseeing the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs are siding with the agency, criticizing a recent state audit and asking auditors to turn over documents to them in two days.
ME: Maine votes to release campaign cash, despite budget typo
The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices voted to authorize up to .5 million in payments to candidates that had been held up in the Legislature because of a typographical error.
NY: New York governor sets minimum indoor tanning age at 18
The measure signed by Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using indoor tanning booths. Cuomo says the new law will help to save lives by limiting teens’ exposure to the dangers of indoor tanning.
TX: Second major Texas city passes paid sick leave measure
The San Antonio City Council voted to allow San Antonio workers to accrue up to 64 hours of paid sick leave each year. In doing so, San Antonio became the second major Texas city, after Austin, to pass such an ordinance.
AK: Alaska websites probed by Chinese hackers during governor’s trade mission
The firm, Recorded Future, named the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and other state departments among the targeted networks. It suggested the hacking was an attempt to give China an upper hand in negotiations over a gas pipeline partnership with Alaska.
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