By: - December 5, 2019 12:00 am

VA: Virginia governor hits ‘pause’ button on Medicaid work requirements

Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, has directed Virginia’s Medicaid program to “pause” negotiations with the federal government on approval of a work requirement that was central to a political deal that allowed the state to expand eligibility for the program’s health care benefits. Northam cited the Democratic takeover of both chambers of the General Assembly in legislative elections last month.

TX: Texas judge halts private border wall

A local judge in South Texas has ordered supporters of President Donald Trump not to build their planned border wall near the Rio Grande pending a Dec. 17 hearing. A group called We Build The Wall announced on Facebook last month that it had started construction near the riverbank on privately owned land.

WI: Wisconsin governor calls for more funding for mental health, officers in schools

In the wake of a string of violence in Wisconsin schools, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said the state needs to provide more resources for mental and behavioral health for students. Evers said the Republican-led legislature rejected millions in spending he proposed in the current budget to assist troubled students and add more counselors and training at schools.

ME: New federal hemp rules would hurt Maine’s fledgling industry, state official says

State agriculture officials are saying new federal hemp rules would hurt Maine’s rapidly growing hemp industry. The proposed federal rules would require testing of hemp in labs registered with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Maine’s hemp program currently has only one private lab available for testing, and it is not registered with the DEA.

MI: Michigan battles holiday liquor shortage

The shortage traces back to problems with a new warehouse run by one of only three state-authorized distribution companies in Michigan. Store operators have complained that popular holiday products like artisanal vodka and spiced rum have been running out.

NJ: New Jersey moving closer to bans on plastic bags, straws and foam containers after delay

After 15 months in legislative limbo, New Jersey lawmakers appear to be on the verge of enacting one of the nation’s strictest set of restrictions on plastic retail bags, foam food containers and plastic straws. Lawmakers are still debating when the bans would take effect.

MN: Minnesota sues Juul over ads targeting teens as reports of vaping-related injuries swell

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a Democrat, says Juul Labs is largely responsible for teens’ misconception that e-cigarettes are safe and not addictive. Now Minnesota is suing the e-cigarette giant for deceptively marketing to children to get them hooked on nicotine.

CA: California lawmakers fear wildfires will be left out of FCC emergency guidelines

The federal government is working on guidelines to help people keep wireless carrier coverage during emergencies, but California lawmakers worry the agency is prioritizing hurricanes over wildfires, which could leave victims of fires disadvantaged. The FCC is indicating it does not plan to include information specific to the wildfires that have devastated thousands of Californians.

CO: About 1 in 4 mental-health ER visitors in Colorado are by children

Coloradans are frequently visiting hospital emergency rooms for mental health reasons, and many of those visits — about 1 in 4 — are by children, according to new data from the nonprofit Center for Improving Value in Health Care. Anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and panic disorders were the top reasons for the ER visits at all ages.

AL: Families of Alabama inmates describe violent conditions to panel

Family members and advocates of Alabama inmates crowded into a state task force meeting to plead for changes to the state’s criminal justice system and in state prisons that have come under national scrutiny for violent and crowded conditions. Speakers urged an overhaul of conditions, medical care and current sentencing laws.

NH: New Hampshire panel votes against legal marijuana

The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee shelved its marijuana legalization bill — the latest setback for the legalization campaign in the state, which for months has struggled to overcome opposition in the state Senate and the governor’s office.

IA: 20-year-old college student is the youngest woman elected to office in Iowa history

A 20-year-old chemical engineering student at Iowa State University has been elected to the Ames City Council in a runoff, making her the youngest woman elected to any office in state history. Rachel Junck said she wants her first steps to include taking local action to address climate change.

MA: Massachusetts banned vape sales; now business is booming in neighbor states

Along the border in New Hampshire and Maine, sales of nicotine and cannabis vaping products have boomed since Sept. 24, when Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, banned both amid an outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries. 

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.