Top State Stories 8/30
CA: As forests go up in smoke, so will California’s climate plan
With recent fires having killed more than 13% of all giant sequoias — a species that grows only in California’s western Sierra — scientists and officials are growing increasingly concerned that the state is nearing a tipping point in which its forests emit more climate-warming carbon dioxide than they absorb.
NC: Seeking ‘reparation’ in North Carolina, Confederate descendants fight statue removal
Saying it’s owed reparations, a pro-Confederate group argued in front of the North Carolina Supreme Court that government officials in Winston-Salem improperly removed a prominent downtown Confederate statue in 2019.
HI: Fewer Native Hawaiian men are going to college. The repercussions may last generations.
Overall college enrollment in Hawaii shrank 20% over the last decade, but the drop was steeper for Native Hawaiian men, with 30% fewer male students enrolled last spring than there were a decade ago.
DE: Delaware is planning for high-capacity buyback program
The Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security is planning a high-capacity firearm magazine buyback program for residents. A new Delaware law made possessing high-capacity magazines illegal and allowed for a limited buyback program.
IN: Indiana leads nation in medical data breaches
Indiana leads the nation in medical data breaches, with more than 80 million records affected since 2009. Much of that came from one massive breach of an insurance company.
MO: New law, less sunlight: Missouri takes down state contract website
Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration shut down access to a website that allows Missourians to track who is winning potentially lucrative state contracts. Officials say a new law is forcing them to remove contract award information from public access for privacy reasons.
MT: Montana lawmakers block religious exemption expansion on vaccines
The legislative committee that oversees the Montana health department voted to delay implementation of the agency’s proposed rule expanding religious exemptions to required vaccines at child care and day care centers.
TN: Tennessee judge must turn trial recordings over to convicted killer
A state appellate court is ordering a Tennessee judge to turn over trial audio recordings he’s kept locked away in his office in a bid to keep the convicted killer he sent to prison from obtaining a copy. In a first-of-its-kind ruling, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that audio recordings of criminal trials are public records under state law.
NJ, NY: New Jersey governor issues strongest rebuke yet of New York City’s congestion pricing toll plan
New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy issued his strongest criticism of New York’s proposed congestion pricing plan that could charge as much as to drive south of 60th Street in Manhattan, calling it “an idea whose time has not come.”
MN: More Minnesotans eligible for food stamps
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program income limits raised this year by the Minnesota legislature are taking effect, which means an additional 1,400 households may be eligible to receive or continue to receive food stamps.
CO: Colorado’s rate of drug overdose deaths nearly doubles in 4-year period
At least 1,881 Coloradans died of drug overdoses in 2021 as fentanyl and methamphetamine continue to push the state’s per-capita overdose rate to the highest level ever recorded, leaving an increasing number of grieving families and friends in its wake.
KS: Kansas wildfire audit laid out solutions 4 years ago, but nothing changed
After years of largely ignoring a legislative audit identifying problems and solutions to wildfire response, Kansas has a new task force set to revive the efforts. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s task force comes after wildfires have grown, both in number and size.
MD: Maryland electric cars fall short of goal
Registered electric vehicles doubled in Maryland over the past two years, but the total number still falls short of the state’s goal as prices for an environmentally friendly car remain high and charging infrastructure lags.
CT: Connecticut businesses spared from unemployment tax hikes, for now
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and legislators spared Connecticut businesses from a special unemployment tax hike next month — and effectively helped them dodge a federal business tax increase in January.
LA: Louisiana set to expand medical marijuana business, allow for new pharmacies
Louisiana’s insular medical marijuana industry — which is seeing a flood of new customers and a spike in sales this year after smokable flower became legal — is set to expand further.
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