Top State Stories 12/2
NJ: New Jersey courts face surge of lawsuits as new sex abuse law takes effect
Law firms have filed nearly 50 civil suits against the Boys Scouts of America, the Catholic Church in New Jersey and other organizations alleging sexual abuse. Some allegations go back decades. A new law went into effect Dec. 1 that vastly expands the amount of time victims of sexual assault will be allowed to bring a lawsuit.
CO: Colorado rethinks dam safety as climate change heightens risk
A climate-driven shift toward extreme storms has compelled Colorado officials to rethink the safety of hundreds of dams across the state that hold water and mine waste, including 27 high-hazard structures near people that already are listed as deficient. State officials are contemplating structural work costing million a year to boost resilience.
OK: With prison staff shortage, Oklahoma looks to hire teenagers as guards
In a little-noticed action, the Oklahoma Board of Corrections passed a set of legislative requests earlier this month that include allowing prisons to hire corrections officials as young as 18. The Department of Corrections has struggled for years to attract and retain workers for the job, which now starts with a salary of just under ,000 a year.
MO: National effort to track police shootings slow to catch on in Missouri
Five years after the Ferguson protests highlighted how little is known about how and when police use deadly force in the United States, only a handful of police agencies in Missouri have submitted data to an FBI program designed to track police shootings.
HI: Hawaii lawmaker asks feds to reimburse state for services to migrants
U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii, a Democrat, is calling on the federal government to fully reimburse Hawaii for the cost of providing nearly million annually in public services to migrants from Micronesia. Under the treaties known as the Compacts of Free Association, citizens from three Micronesian nations are allowed visa-free travel to the United States and its territories.
NY: New York proposal seeks body cameras for state police
Two Democratic New York lawmakers are pushing a bill that would equip state troopers with body cameras and detail when they should record their on-duty interactions. New York is one of only a handful of states where the primary law enforcement agency doesn’t have body or dashboard cameras.
WI: Bills seek to curb Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic
Covering acupuncture for pain under Medicaid and creating guidelines for treating babies born dependent on opioids are among the steps sought in new bills aimed at curbing Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic.
VT: Vermont Democrats seek sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products
A group of Democratic lawmakers is asking the Vermont Department of Taxes to determine whether it can exempt feminine hygiene products from the state’s sales tax. The tax department says changing the regulations could put Vermont out of compliance with a multi-state tax agreement.
AZ: Arizona governor’s administration lacks transparency: report
Under Arizona law, members of Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s administration are supposed to keep records that detail how they go about running the state and make those records available to the public upon request. But when it comes to some of the administration’s most consequential and controversial moves, that hasn’t happened, according to an investigation by The Arizona Republic.
WA: Report says Washington should overhaul gun background checks
A state report recommends Washington create a centralized way to conduct gun-purchase background checks, preferably through the Washington State Patrol. The current decentralized style of conducting background checks is fragmented, potentially confusing and possibly loose enough to let some prohibited people buy guns.
PA: Pennsylvania changed a law suspending driver’s licenses, but it won’t help everyone
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, and state legislators last year passed a law that eliminates driver’s license suspensions for violations unrelated to driving. But the law wasn’t retroactive, preventing countless Pennsylvanians from getting back on the road.
LA: Visiting Louisiana? New Orleans is cracking down on short-term rentals
As stricter rules on short-term rentals take effect in New Orleans, thousands of unlicensed listings in the Louisiana city could disappear from the top platforms that facilitate renting out homes to tourists. The imminent approach of the new rules has brought a surge in applications. The city has issued nearly 620 licenses to residential properties since the beginning of September.
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