What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/17

Top State Stories 2/17

IN: Indiana House OKs gas tax increase

The Indiana House approved a 10-cent increase to the gasoline tax, part of a plan to raise an estimated $1.2 billion a year targeted for road upkeep and construction. The bill also would add an extra $15 registration fee on every vehicle and a $150 fee for electric vehicles.

FL: Federal appeals court rejects Florida’s ‘Docs vs. Glocks’ law

A controversial Florida law that restricted doctors from asking patients about firearm ownership violates medical professionals’ constitutional right to free speech, a federal appeals court has ruled.

IA: Iowa House moves to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers 

The Iowa House sent the Senate a bill that would prohibit public sector workers from collectively negotiating over health insurance, extra pay and several other issues covered by current law.

GA: Georgia Senate expands access, slashes potency of medical marijuana

The Georgia Senate voted to open the state’s medical marijuana registry to patients who have autism and to roll back the amount of THC allowed in medical cannabis oil in the state.

MD: Bill pits bears against bees as Maryland lawmakers seek to protect hives

As Maryland officials debate how to defend bees and their honey against a growing bear population, a group of lawmakers is pushing to extend the same level of protection to bees that is now given to calves, goats, chickens and other animals.

AR: Arkansas governor signs maternity-leave bill into law

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a measure that will allow new mothers who work for state agencies in Arkansas to dip into a pool of unused sick leave donated by other employees.

NC: North Carolina House backs constitutional limit on eminent domain

The North Carolina House approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban the use of eminent domain in cases where government seizes property only to sell it to a private developer, instead requiring that all property seized be for “public use.”

D.C.: Eight weeks of paid leave for new parents about to become law in D.C.

A bill offering workers in the District of Columbia some of the most generous paid leave benefits in the nation will become law, barring last-minute intervention from Congress. The bill guarantees up to eight weeks of paid time off to new parents, six weeks to workers caring for ailing family members and two weeks of personal sick time.

NY: New York state cybersecurity regulation to take effect March 1

New York announced final regulations requiring banks and insurers to meet minimum cybersecurity standards and report breaches to state regulators as part of an effort to combat a surge in cybercrime and limit damages to consumers.

SC: Pension fix heads to South Carolina House

The plan would raise the amount deducted from the paychecks of South Carolina’s public sector workers for their retirement to 9 percent of their wages, up from 8.7 percent. House budget writers also are considering putting $160 million into the system, to be used to pay up to half of the higher contributions public sector employers will have to make.

VA: Virginia legislators want to squeeze more revenue from liquor funds

Faced with a $1.26 billion revenue shortfall and a commitment to give state employees a raise, the Virginia General Assembly has fallen back on a reliable strategy for finding money: take it from the state's liquor monopoly.

NM: New Mexico Democrats’ budget plan includes tax proposals

Top-ranking Democrats in the New Mexico House said they will forge ahead with a budget-balancing plan that hinges on increased taxes on vehicle sales, health care providers, online retailers and commercial trucking.

ND: North Dakota governor kicked off Senate floor for wearing jeans

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum is well-known for wearing more casual attire than most politicians. But the North Dakota Senate's sergeant-at-arms, charged with enforcing various legislative rules, asked him to step off the floor of the Senate, where jeans aren’t allowed.

Virginia Poised to Lead on Risk Analysis of State Pension Investments Gender Pay Gap