Top State Stories 10/17
OR: Oregon gun control measure attracts national attention as one of the strictest in the US
One of the nation’s strictest gun control measures will go before Oregon voters next month. Measure 114 would require a permit to purchase a gun in the state and ban the sale or transfer of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
WA: In Washington, Seattle breaks heat records as wildfires and smoke spread
Seattle broke the record for the hottest temperature this late in the year, as heat-driven wildfires threaten homes in southwest Washington and continue to send smoke across the region.
FL: Florida governor’s migrant flights may continue, records suggest
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration may keep flying migrants from the border to Democratic states using Florida taxpayer money, according to newly released public records.
VA: After Virginia legalized pot, majority of defendants are still Black
A year after Virginia lawmakers legalized recreational marijuana with hopes of lessening racial disparities in enforcement, police in the state are still more likely to arrest Black people than White people for marijuana-related offenses, a Washington Post analysis found.
DE: With Delaware hotels serving as emergency housing, civil rights investigators face new challenges
With thousands of Delawareans relying on hotels and motels for housing during the pandemic, complaint investigators and hotel owners alike faced with a new challenge: At what point does a hotel become a housing provider, and how does that affect what standards the hotel owners are held to?
WI: Wisconsin has record .3B budget surplus
Wisconsin ended its fiscal year June 30 with a record .3 billion budget surplus. The state’s rainy-day fund also hit its highest number in Wisconsin’s history, at .73 billion.
MN: Making buildings greener will be a monumental task for Minnesota
In Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework finalized last month, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s administration has set the goal of slashing emissions from existing buildings by 50% in 13 years. Federal funding will help, but the task still won’t be an easy one.
OK: Finding hospital prices is complicated for Oklahoma patients, despite transparency rule
An Oklahoman review of hospitals’ price estimator tools and downloadable data found that what’s available is a complicated and inconsistent patchwork of information, leaving gaps for Oklahoma consumers to fill in themselves despite a federal transparency rule.
CT: Towns say Connecticut must remain a partner in upgrading school air quality
Since the arrival of coronavirus more than two years ago, state and municipal officials have been jousting over who should pay to upgrade aging air quality control systems in Connecticut’s public schools. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature took a step to give financial help to towns this year, but half of that million is temporary money that expires after 2025.
MO: New Missouri state web portal designed to boost local government transparency
Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is preparing to launch a new feature on the state’s online payroll portal that could shine some light on how cities and counties are spending their tax dollars. The site allows users to see state employee salaries, vendor payments and contract information, as well as information on how federal COVID-19 pandemic rescue funds are being distributed.
CA: Herd of wild horses moves into iconic California destination, fueling debate about the best response
An incident in Mammoth Lakes stands out because it marks a new outgrowth of wild horses in California, and it’s fueling a fresh round of debate about how to respond to the widely revered, yet sometimes nuisance animals.
AK: Alaska school districts face fiscal cliff with high inflation and flat funding
With one-time federal coronavirus funding set to end soon, school administrators across Alaska say they are facing a “slow strangulation” of their budgets by years of flat funding, high inflation and soaring energy costs. The legislature has increased the state’s per-pupil funding formula by just half a percent since 2017 while Alaska’s urban consumer price index has risen by 15.4% over the same period.
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