Top State Stories 9/9
OK: Oklahoma pension fund reports .2M cyber theft
The FBI is investigating a cybertheft of .2 million from the state’s pension fund for retired Oklahoma highway troopers, state agents, park rangers and other law enforcement officers. The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System posted an announcement online about the investigation 10 days after the money went missing.
US: Share of women seeking out-of-state abortions increases
At least 276,000 women terminated their pregnancies outside their home state between 2012 and 2017, according to an Associated Press analysis of data collected from state reports and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
FL: Assault weapons ban could cost Florida millions in taxes
If Floridians approve a constitutional amendment next year to block possession of assault weapons, the state could lose as much as .9 million in tax revenue. But the amount likely would be smaller because money lost in taxes from gun sales would be balanced out with other purchases that can be taxed.
HI: Medical marijuana profits have yet to light up in Hawaii
Two years after Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened on Maui, the legal pot industry has yet to achieve profitability. While gross sales have been growing, with .3 million in statewide sales and 293 pounds of cannabis sold in July, up from .6 million and 203 pounds in January, the dispensaries are still waiting for a return on their investment.
MS: Mississippi: Veggie burgers must be clearly labeled
Mississippi officials are considering new rules that would let companies continue to use food-labeling terms such as “veggie burger” and “vegan bacon” if the terms are prominently displayed so consumers understand the products are not meat.
AZ: Inmate attorneys ask feds to take control of Arizona’s prison health care system
Lawyers representing Arizona inmates want the federal government to oversee the state’s inmate health care system, saying Arizona officials have failed incarcerated men and women for years. The state has repeatedly failed to meet performance measures required by a 2014 settlement to a class action lawsuit.
WY: Storing nuclear waste would net Wyoming only M annually
Wyoming lawmakers are exploring the possible construction of a nuclear waste storage facility within state borders. But the potential payments from the federal government — at just million a year — might not be worth the political battle ahead to make the proposal happen.
NJ: New Jersey facing a .2B public-worker pension time bomb
In the waning days of his administration, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, cut how much the pension system should expect to earn on investments from 7.65% to 7% a year. The result is a .2 billion budget time bomb for the state.
MN: Minnesota considers alternatives to prison for pregnant women and mothers
Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said the agency is looking at alternative release options for pregnant women and mothers of young children. The agency is working with advocates to craft a proposal that could be brought to the governor and legislature next year, he said.
WI: Sports gambling inches closer to Wisconsin, but remains uncertain
While some Wisconsin lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are open to the idea, which could bring more tax revenue to state coffers, placing a legal wager in Wisconsin could be years away and involve a series of complex measures to change the state’s constitution and potentially renegotiate compacts with tribal nations.
MA: Massachusetts governor pushing bill to overhaul housing zoning rules
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker wants to let cities and towns in Massachusetts adopt zoning rules related to housing by a simple majority vote of their governing body, rather than the required two-thirds supermajority. Baker says the change would help communities produce more housing, including denser housing in downtowns.
NE: Nebraska floods strain state emergency agency
Nebraska state emergency officials who faced record floods this summer are now scrambling to boost their ranks with more workers to help residents recover and rebuild their communities. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency plans to hire 17 employees in the coming months, increasing its staff from 41 to 58 workers.
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