What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/9

US: Lawmakers around the U.S. push for restrictions on voting

As President Donald Trump hurls unfounded allegations of colossal fraud in last fall's election, lawmakers in at least 20 mostly Republican-led states are pushing to make it harder to register or to vote.

NC: Judges temporarily block North Carolina confirmation hearings for governor’s nominees

A trio of state judges has sided at least temporarily with North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in his fight against a Republican-backed attempt to curtail his powers by requiring legislative confirmation of cabinet appointments.

AR: Arkansas governor signs tax exemption for military pensions

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation that will exempt military retirement benefits from state income taxes and cut the excise tax on soft-drink syrup. To offset the tax cuts, the measure will increase Arkansas’ sales tax on candy and soft drinks, levy income taxes on unemployment compensation and impose a sales tax on certain digital products.

IL: Illinois Senate looking at higher sales tax on food, drugs

Senators are considering dropping Illinois’ overall sales tax rate from 6.25 to 5.75 percent, but apply it to a broader range of goods including food, drugs and medical supplies. In addition, services would be taxed at 5.75 percent, including car repairs, landscaping, laundry, and cable and satellite.

NJ: Declaw cats? New Jersey could be first state to ban it

Declawing, often undertaken to prevent cats from shredding furniture or injuring humans or other pets, is already banned in several California cities and in nearly 20 countries. A bill similar to the one New Jersey lawmakers are considering died in New York last year.

CT: Connecticut governor proposes allowing cities to tax hospital property

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy is seeking $700 million in labor savings and would allow Connecticut cities and towns to tax hospital properties for the first time in order to help close a $1.7 billion deficit while also helping cities facing fiscal troubles.

PA: Pennsylvania Senate passes controversial abortion ban

The measure, which now goes to the House, would ban abortions after 20 weeks in Pennsylvania, except in medical emergencies, as opposed to 24 weeks under current law.

OH: Ohio lawmakers propose photos for food stamp cards

Many Ohioans who receive food stamps would have their photos on the program's electronic benefit transfer cards under legislation backed by Ohio House and Senate Republicans. The goal: to deter people from using other people’s cards.

IA: Iowa bill would freeze minimum wage at $7.25, rescind local increases

Iowa lawmakers are debating whether to freeze the state’s minimum wage at $7.25, strip away the ability of local counties and cities to set their own wage limit, and bar local governments from addressing a host of other labor issues.

KS: Kansas bill would require more details — printed in specific type — about abortion providers

The bill would require that women seeking an abortion in Kansas be given details about an abortion provider's medical credentials, malpractice insurance and any past disciplinary action — and that they be printed in a specific 12-point font.

OK: Oklahoma revenue rise in January reverses 20-month downturn

Receipts to Oklahoma’s state treasury in January totaled about $990 million, $5.1 million more than January 2016. That’s largely a result of rising oil and natural gas tax revenue. Receipts for the past 12 months are about $712 million less than the previous 12-month period.

GA: Georgia bill would require ‘noncitizen’ driver’s licenses for legal residents

Hundreds of thousands of legal Georgia residents who are not U.S. citizens would have their driver’s licenses branded with the term “noncitizen” under a bill that passed a House committee.

TN: Tennessee bill would offer a sales tax holiday for guns

The House bill calls for a "Second Amendment sales tax holiday" in Tennessee on the first weekend of September each year. 

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