Top State Stories 9/27
MS: Federal DOJ to file charges against Jackson, Mississippi, in safe water case
The U.S. Department of Justice Environmental and Natural Resources Division sent a letter to the City of Jackson, Mississippi, stating the agency is “prepared to file action” against the city over violations of the federal Safe Water Drinking Act.
CA: California governor signs bill banning ‘barbaric’ toxicity testing on dogs and cats
California will ban the testing of pesticides, chemical substances and other products on cats and dogs, under a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. The law, which exempts medical and federally required testing from the ban, goes into effect Jan. 1.
MA: Massachusetts governor declines to criticize Florida counterpart who shipped immigrants to his state
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker declined to directly criticize his Florida counterpart, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, for his decision to fly roughly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, saying he has no interest in joining “Republicans and Democrats that are running for president tee off on each other.”
NY: New York governor vows ‘crackdown’ on unemployment fraud
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that state officials will seek repayment – and in some cases make referral to law enforcement — after a state Department of Labor investigation revealed an additional $11 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance payouts.
AL: Alabama prison system reports work stoppage after group calls for inmate strike
The Alabama Department of Corrections said it has received reports of inmate work stoppages at all the major prisons in the state after a prison reform organization called for a strike.
HI: Hawaii lawmakers are drafting bill to create more ways to charge serious felonies
State lawmakers in Hawaii are working on a bill that would give prosecutors more than one way to charge serious felonies after a state Supreme Court ruled that preliminary hearings are not a lawful method for charging major crimes, including murder, robbery and sex assault.
OH: Ohio’s overhaul of aging unemployment benefits computer system on hold after company officials indicted
A long-anticipated overhaul of the nearly two-decades-old computer system used by Ohio’s unemployment benefits office is on hold after federal officials indicted top officials with the company hired to replace it.
WI: Wisconsin ramps up suicide prevention efforts after state’s rate surpasses national rate
Wisconsin will use federal funding to focus on suicide prevention efforts among the state’s two most vulnerable populations — rural men aged 25-64 and girls 10-19.
IN: Indiana tax collections are M ahead of budget
Less than a quarter into the new fiscal year, Indiana has collected hundreds of millions more in taxes than expected. Through August, Indiana collected $353 million more than budgeted.
KS: Kansas Democrats float plan to lower property taxes
The plan includes reducing Kansas residential property assessment rates, financing a statewide property tax reduction fund and raising residential property exemptions.
ID: University of Idaho issues memo warning that promoting abortion is against state law
The University of Idaho has warned its employees not to provide reproductive health counseling, including abortion, to their students or they may risk losing their jobs or criminal prosecution. According to the memo, state law prohibits university employees from promoting, counseling or referring someone for an abortion.
NM: New Mexico’s repeat child abuse among worst in nation, report finds
More than 40% of children in New Mexico, who had a substantiated serious injury from physical abuse or neglect in fiscal year 2022, came from families who had a prior involvement with the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department in the preceding 12 months, according to new state data.
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