What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/7

  • March 07, 2018

CA: Trump administration sues California over immigrant protections


The Trump administration, seeking to force a defiant California to cooperate with its agenda of stepped-up immigrant deportations, went to federal court to invalidate three state laws — the administration’s most direct challenge yet to the state’s policies.

WV: West Virginia schools reopening after governor signs pay raise bill


West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed into law a 5 percent pay raise for public school teachers and school service personnel that appears to mark the end of the nine-school-day statewide strike.

OR: Oregon first state to enact gun restrictions since Florida attack


Oregon is the first state in the nation to ratify new gun control legislation following the shooting at a Florida high school last month that killed 17. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed the state’s new law to extend bans on firearm ownership to people convicted of domestic violence.

WA: Washington state first to enact net neutrality after FCC ruling


Residents of Washington state are getting so-called net neutrality rules back, with the nation’s first state law that prevents internet service providers from blocking and slowing down content online. The law, signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, is the most sweeping state action so far against new federal rules.

TX: Texas’ primary voting shows early liberal enthusiasm for 2018


Republicans continued to have a clear advantage in the state, with more Texans voting in their primary than in Democrats’. But party leaders sent out a warning call to their own supporters about the growing Democratic engagement.

VA: Virginia Senate passes sanctuary cities bill despite governor’s promised veto


The Virginia Senate has passed a bill aimed at preventing so-called sanctuary cities despite veto promises from Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. The Republican-controlled Senate voted to approve legislation that would ban localities from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

AK: Alaska House proposal would add cash to public defenders’ budget to stave off crisis


An Alaska House committee approved $1 million to hire more of the state attorneys who defend Alaskans too poor to hire their own lawyers, in an effort to avoid gridlock in the state’s criminal justice system. The state’s top public defender warned that without the money, his agency would have to start refusing new cases.

NM: New Mexico demands payment for border wall access


New Mexico land commissioner Aubrey Dunn came to the state’s border with Mexico to demand the U.S. government pay for the right of way for a one-mile stretch where the border barrier was built on state lands. New Mexico is seeking $19,200 for the access road to help fund education.

DC: D.C. bill would allow homeowners to sell houses without giving tenants first bite


The District of Columbia Council gave preliminary approval to legislation allowing homeowners who rent out their homes to sell them without giving their tenants the first opportunity to buy. The bill would drastically overhaul a law designed to protect renters from being pushed out of their homes during redevelopment.

AR: Medicaid expansion funding clears Arkansas Senate


The Arkansas Senate narrowly approved a measure authorizing the use of $8.2 billion in state and federal funds for the state’s Division of Medical Services, including spending authority for the state’s Medicaid expansion, in the coming fiscal year.

UT: Utah legislators approve new material for women to view before an abortion


A Utah bill requiring women considering an abortion to first complete an “information module” that discourages the procedure is headed for Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk. The bill would abandon the state’s current abortion education materials — including a brochure and a lengthy 1980s-era video — in favor of a module viewed on a digital tablet.

MS: Mississippi Senate passes nation’s most restrictive abortion ban


The Mississippi Senate passed a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, bringing the state one step closer to enacting the most restrictive abortion ban in the country. The bill is expected to be returned to the House before it can head to the governor.