Top State Stories 8/22
NY: New York allows more crime victims to sue for damages
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed three bills into law letting more New York crime victims seek damages from offenders. One allows domestic violence survivors to sue those who have violated a restraining order; the others expand legal protections to crime victims who may not have been physically harmed.
CO: Colorado presidential electors don’t have to vote for candidate who wins
Colorado’s presidential electors do not have to vote for the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a decision that could have major ramifications for future elections. Colorado’s Democratic secretary of state said the ruling “sets an extremely dangerous precedent.”
IL: Illinois protects immigrants from being evicted
Illinois has become the second state to prohibit landlords from evicting tenants solely because they’re living in the United States illegally, under a measure that Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law. The legislation was modeled after a similar law in California.
U.S. Ransomware attacks testing resolve of U.S. cities
More than 40 municipalities have been the victims of cyberattacks this year, from major cities such as Baltimore and Laredo, Texas, to smaller towns including Lake City, Florida. Beyond the disruptions at local city halls and public libraries, the attacks have serious consequences, with recovery costing millions of dollars.
HI: Top court to hear Native Hawaiian homestead case
Sixty years to the day after Hawaii became a state, attorneys for about 2,700 Native Hawaiians will appear before the state’s highest court to argue that the government has failed in its duty to award homestead lots to Hawaiians.
MA: Massachusetts opioid deaths drop 10%
The number of Massachusetts residents who died of opioid-related overdoses fell nearly 11% in the first six months of 2019, compared to the same period last year, continuing a downward trend that started in 2017. Deaths continued to decline despite the growing presence of illicit fentanyl in the drug supply.
KS: Kansas investigates injection wells after earthquake cluster
Kansas state regulators are analyzing injection well activity after a cluster of 17 earthquakes hit Reno County over five days. The Kansas Corporation Commission has launched an investigation to determine what caused the earthquakes in the area. Investigators are collecting data and analyzing recent injection well activity.
NE: Watchdog warns of ‘alarming’ conditions in Nebraska prison
Nebraska’s largest prison faces “alarming” conditions driven by staffing shortages, record overtime and inmates who are secretly using synthetic drugs and contraband cellphones, according to the state’s watchdog for correctional services.
MN: Minnesota ordered to repay feds improper Medicaid payments
The state Department of Human Services made improper payments to certain Minnesota chemical dependency providers and must return the money to Washington, federal officials said in a formal notice. The state “must immediately cease” the payments, the officials wrote.
ND: North Dakota failed to announce 240k-gallon spill
With the backing of Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, North Dakota is considering ways to improve transparency after acknowledging a 2015 gas plant spill was much larger than initial reports suggested. The spill was reported at 10 gallons, but the state acknowledged 240,000 gallons of liquid natural gas were cleaned up.
FL: Vast majority of Florida felons still owe money, study finds
As voting rights advocacy groups clash with Florida officials in the courts over a law restricting felon voting rights, a preliminary study found that fewer than 1 in 5 felons whose voting rights were restored by the law have paid off court fines, fees and restitution.
MS: Companies targeted in immigration raids received Mississippi grants
Since 2009, Mississippi taxpayers paid nearly $4 million to help two food processing companies targeted in immigration enforcement raids in early August. The companies benefited from incentives awarded to local governments for help with infrastructure improvements, including road construction.
WV: Must West Virginia’s governor live in capital? Suit continues
Can a governor be forced to live in the state capital? A lawsuit seeking to do just that with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican billionaire, was back in court. Justice has drawn frequent criticism from members of both major parties for being absent from the Charleston statehouse.
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