The North Carolina House overrode Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of a bill that allows magistrates to opt out of performing same-sex marriages, making the law effective immediately.
The Kansas House voted early Friday to raise the state’s sales tax to 6.5 percent from 6.15 percent starting July 1. Combined with earlier action, the state should be able to cover all but $36 million of a projected budget shortfall. The vote came after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback warned massive budget cuts would occur Monday if lawmakers failed to raise taxes.
Lawmakers approved a $5 billion spending plan for next year that preserves scheduled pay raises for public employees even as it slashes state agency spending by $400 million to help close a multibillion-dollar budget deficit.
The plan would lower Floridians’ cellphone bills, and make back to school shopping and college textbooks less expensive. But the proposed tax cuts fall short of the $700 million that Republican Gov. Rick Scott had sought.
New Jersey lawmakers are moving legislation that would require state colleges to publish a breakdown of student activity fees and allow students to opt-out of paying some entertainment charges. The push was inspired by a 2011 speech by “Jersey Shore” reality TV star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi that cost Rutgers University students $32,000. Snooki advised students to “study hard, but party harder.”
The law will allow faith-based adoption groups in Michigan to refuse to serve prospective parents, like same-sex or unmarried couples, if doing so would violate the groups' religious beliefs. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s action came as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether same-sex marriages should be legal in Michigan and several other states.
Leaders of the Louisiana House and Senate have reached a deal to raise the state’s cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack. The increase would give Louisiana an 86-cent cigarette tax, the country’s 35th highest rate.
The law allows clergy members to refuse to conduct marriages that violate their beliefs. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said that "pastors now have the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights." Critics argue the goal of the measure is to make it difficult for same-sex couples to marry in Texas if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes gay marriages.
Legislators are working on a proposal that would repeal Wisconsin’s alternative minimum tax, which primarily benefits high earners.
Although it carries no legal weight, the Pennsylvania House adopted a resolution urging Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to end what’s effectively a moratorium on the death penalty.
Delaware's first medical marijuana dispensary will open June 26, more than four years after lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Jack Markell first legalized pot for medicinal use.