Top State Stories 11/14
NY, VA: Did New York, Virginia overpay for Amazon?
New York and Virginia collectively offered more than billion in incentives to attract the company. Economists have long criticized tax incentives as inefficient and unnecessary and research has shown that incentives play at most a small role in corporate decisions.
NJ: 20K drunken-driving convictions tainted by bad breathalyzer tests in New Jersey
More than 20,000 drunken-driving convictions in New Jersey could be in jeopardy after the state’s highest court ruled that breathalyzer tests used to win those judgments were inadmissible. The ruling does not automatically expunge all the convictions, but defendants tested by the affected breath machines could now seek to challenge their convictions.
PA: ACLU sues over Pennsylvania’s tight absentee ballot deadlines
A new lawsuit challenges Pennsylvania’s absentee ballot deadlines, saying the window between the last day to request a ballot and the deadline to return it is so short that voters cannot vote even though they followed the law. In recent midterm elections, more than 2,000 absentee votes have been rejected for arriving after the deadline.
ID, WA: Retaliatory tariffs from India hurt Idaho, Washington grain prices
Dry pea, lentil and garbanzo prices plunged 40 percent because of retaliatory tariffs imposed by India, the No. 1 customer for those products. Prices haven’t been so low since the early 2000s, hurting profits for farmers in Idaho and other states.
MI: Michigan universities to students: Don’t bring your weed on campus
Young voters were among the biggest supporters of a successful ballot proposal in Michigan to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. But officials at college campuses across the state have said even though weed will officially become legal early next month for people 21 and older, smoking pot will not be tolerated on campus.
NM: New Mexico lawmakers eye justice reform
New Mexico lawmakers considered reforming the state’s criminal justice system as new figures show its prison population has increased.
CO: Denver, Colorado, mulls minimum wage for city employees
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, is interested in setting a minimum wage of an hour for thousands of city employees and other people who work with the city. He said in a news release that he would ask city staffers to “explore increasing starting pay” over several years.
VA: U.S. Supreme Court to take up Virginia redistricting case on racial gerrymandering
The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue of redistricting in Virginia, agreeing to hear an appeal filed by Republican legislators after a lower court’s ruling that 11 state House districts must be redrawn to correct racial gerrymandering. The action does not appear to halt the redistricting process, though, which is underway.
GA: Georgia governor proposes hurricane recovery money, tax break for tree replanting
Georgia lawmakers convened a special session to deal with the effects of Hurricane Michael. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s floor leaders filed legislation to help pay some of the bills. Deal is also proposing a million tax break for farmers and land owners who lost trees during the storm and want to replant.
NC: Lawsuit calls for new 2020 state districts in North Carolina
Common Cause North Carolina and the state Democratic Party are suing for state House and Senate districts to be redrawn, claiming they are partisan gerrymanders that violate the state constitution.
ME: Republican Congressional candidate sues to stop Maine’s ranked-choice vote count
Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin filed a federal lawsuit against Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap in an attempt to stop a tabulation of ranked-choice ballots in his race against Democratic challenger Jared Golden.
OR: Oregon lawmaker under scrutiny for posting home addresses
Ceasefire Oregon has called on the state House to investigate Rep. Bill Post, a Republican, for putting online the phone numbers and home addresses of the chief petitioners of a ballot measure to ban assault weapons.
AL: Trump’s EPA administrator indicted on Alabama ethics charges
Charges include multiple violations of Alabama’s Ethics Act, including soliciting from a principal, lobbyist or subordinate, and receiving money in addition to that received in one’s official capacity, according to the Alabama Ethics Commission.
MS: Mississippi studies marijuana for cutting seizures
A study of whether ingredients extracted from marijuana can reduce seizures in children is moving ahead in Mississippi. The state legislature carved out a narrow exception in state law forbidding marijuana possession to allow the study in 2014, but it had been stalled for more than four years awaiting federal approval.
LA: Louisiana may have paid up to M to ineligible Medicaid recipients
The Louisiana Department of Health may have spent anywhere from .6 million to .5 million more than it should have on Medicaid recipients who are ineligible for the program, according to an audit.
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