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  • April 01, 2015

AR: Religious Freedom Restoration Act passes Arkansas House, heads to governor

arkansasonline.com

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said repeatedly he will sign the measure into law despite opponents who have called it discriminatory. The backlash against similar legislation in Indiana has that state's governor seeking to further clarify the law's scope.

VT: Governor calls for an end family homelessness in Vermont

burlingtonfreepress.com

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin announced he will seek to end child and family homelessness by 2020. About 1,500 people in Vermont live without housing on any given night, Shumlin said, and about half of those in emergency homeless shelters are families with children. 

MO: Missouri governor pulls St. Louis County out of new football stadium financing

stltoday.com

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon says county taxpayers will not have to share in the cost of a stadium intended to keep the NFL Rams in St. Louis. The move strips $6 million a year from the financing scheme and raises questions about the financial viability of the $985 million facility.

US: U.S. Supreme Court says states cannot be sued over Medicaid rates

washingtonpost.com

The Supreme Court narrowly ruled that doctors and other health-care providers cannot sue states to bump up Medicaid reimbursement rates they say are unlawfully low.

TX: Contracting overhaul sails through Texas Senate

texastribune.org

The measure would require state agencies to record their contracts with outside vendors in a database run by the comptroller’s office. It would also prohibit state agencies from signing contracts with former state employees for two years after they leave their state jobs — an attempt to limit the revolving door between the private sector and state government.

NY: New York unveils proposed new ethics rules for legislators

nytimes.com

New ethics measures propose that lawmakers convicted of public corruption may have to forfeit their pensions, those who are lawyers would often have to reveal the names of clients, and all legislators would have to verify their whereabouts to collect their daily travel stipend. But watchdog groups say loopholes remain if the measures are enacted.

OH: Ohio death sentences on the decline

cleveland.com

Three people were sentenced to death in Ohio last year, far below years previous when as many as 17 were sentenced to death in a single year -- in both 1995 and 1996, an annual report on capital punishment shows.

MI: Could Michigan be in line for religious freedom backlash?

freep.com

The backlash against Indiana becoming the 20th state to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act could extend to Michigan if similar legislation already in the hopper moves to the front of the line at the state Capitol.

N.C. North Carolina Speaker: Examine fallout before voting on religious freedom bill

newsobserver.com

Republican House Speaker Tim Moore says lawmakers will look closely at the potential economic fallout of an Indiana-like religious freedom law before voting on one for North Carolina. Critics of the proposal include Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

ND: N.D. House committee gives thumbs down on outlawing sexual orientation discrimination

inforum.com

A committee recommended that House members not pass a measure that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation before it comes up for a floor vote. The North Dakota Senate approved the measure last month despite a similar do-not-pass recommendation from a committee.

MA: Massachusetts’ GOP lieutenant governor will officiate at Senate president’s gay wedding

bostonglobe.com

Republican Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who a decade ago sought to ban gay marriage, will officiate at state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg’s wedding to his domestic partner. Rosenberg is a liberal Democrat.

NV: Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, supporters show up at legislature

lasvegassun.com

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who garnered national attention a year ago when he and armed supporters engaged in a showdown with federal authorities, arrived in Carson City with scores of allies to rally behind a bill seeking to reclaim land from the federal government.

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