Top State Stories 9/24
US: Farmers across U.S. worry trade war bailout won’t be enough
Farmers across the United States will soon begin receiving government checks as part of a billion-dollar bailout to buoy growers experiencing financial strain from President Donald Trump’s trade disputes with China. But even those poised for big payouts worry it won’t be enough.
PA: Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse sets stage for Capitol showdown
In the wake of a damning report on Catholic clergy abuse, Pennsylvania legislators are considering temporarily setting aside the state’s civil statute of limitations that bars accusers older than 30 from suing over abuse that occurred when they were children.
MA: Massachusetts natural gas explosions show utility system’s shortcomings
Massachusetts gas lines are overseen by a patchwork of bureaucracies and a regulatory system that largely trusts utility companies to police themselves. Safety experts and local leaders say the gas industry needs more rigorous, transparent oversight to avoid more disasters.
TX: Toothless Texas inmates denied dentures
In the Texas prison system, toothless and nearly toothless inmates are routinely denied dentures and instead offered blended food — often pureed cafeteria meals. Sometimes they’re told they can’t get teeth unless they become underweight, at which point dentures might be considered a “medical necessity.”
NH: New Hampshire pot sellers skirt rules to raise money
In theory, and in compliance with state law, New Hampshire’s four medical marijuana dispensaries are owned and run by nonprofits. In practice, the owners have found ways to legally funnel money out of the operations.
NV: Nevada governments on the hook for over million in paid time off
Taxpayers potentially owe almost million to local government employees in Nevada’s two most populous counties for their unused paid time off, financial reports show. Many public employees in the state can stockpile their sick and vacation hours and cash them out at retirement.
AL: Alabama sheriffs begin signing ‘oaths’ to not misuse state jail food funds
Nine Alabama sheriffs have sent the state signed affidavits stating that they will use state jail food funds only to feed inmates. The move was an attempt to put an end to some sheriffs’ practice of pocketing “excess” jail food funds.
NY: New protections proposed for New York salon and spa professionals
Legislation delivered to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo would close a loophole in New York law and ensure that a person can be charged with misdemeanor theft of services for not paying for the work of cosmetologists, barbers, estheticians and nail technicians.
CO: Colorado judges have been hiding lawsuits against lawyers from the public
Dozens of lawsuits filed against lawyers in Colorado — including malpractice cases whose plaintiffs are themselves lawyers — have been hidden from the public for years, keeping secret the details of any alleged misconduct and misdeeds.
AK: Poor trash management and a shortage of wild foods create bear trouble in Alaska
Poor berry crops and struggling salmon runs in some areas may be driving bears to turn to Alaska towns in search of alternatives to the wild food. An apparent rise in young black bear numbers is another factor increasing human-bear conflicts.
CT: Connecticut’s legislative leaders tighten sexual harassment policy in Capitol
Connecticut’s legislative leaders expanded the scope of the General Assembly’s sexual harassment policy and tightened some of its protocols after a recent survey found that nearly a quarter of people who work at the Capitol have experienced sexual harassment.
VA: Virginia’s Medicaid work requirement won’t hit until long after program expands next year
Virginia is gearing up to expand Medicaid eligibility to as many as 400,000 residents in January, but requirements that recipients work and pay premiums could lag two years behind. The timetable is largely up to federal authorities who must grant Virginia a waiver to impose restrictions on the Medicaid program.
MD: New Maryland program staves off huge health insurance increases
The nearly 200,000 people who buy Affordable Care Act policies on Maryland’s health insurance exchange will see lower premiums next year, state officials announced, as Maryland joins a handful of others taking action to calm roiling health insurance markets.
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