What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/31

NC: North Carolina governor signs bill repealing and replacing bathroom law

North Carolina lawmakers retreated from the state’s controversial law that restricted which public restrooms transgender people can use, repealing it in the face of economic pressure in favor of a new bill that gay rights groups attacked as discriminatory.

US: Senate votes to let states defund clinics that perform abortions

Senate Republicans voted to undo an Obama administration rule preventing states from blocking funding for family planning clinics that also provide abortions.

US: VW agrees to pay $157 million to 10 states over rigged diesels

Volkswagen AG has agreed to spend an additional $157 million to settle lawsuits that were filed by 10 states over its rigging of diesel cars to cheat U.S. emission standards. The payments will be split among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, whose attorneys general have agreed to drop litigation against the German automaker.

KS: Kansas governor vetoes expansion of Medicaid

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed a bill that would have extended the state's health coverage for the poor to more than 150,000 Kansans, setting up a likely showdown with the Legislature. He said that an expansion would result in uncontrollable costs for the state.

MT: Montana Senate backs cigarette tax increase

The proposal would increase the price of a package of cigarettes in Montana by $1.50, and use the money to help pay for raises for health care workers who take care of the elderly and disabled in their homes. It would also for the first time charge a tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products.

WA: Washington Senate approves $1 billion for school construction, renovation

Washington state senators passed a two-year construction budget that puts more money toward updating schools, mental health facilities and state water services. About $1.1 billion is expected to go toward constructing, renovating and modernizing K-12 education facilities.

TX: Texas Senate approves scaled-back school voucher plan

The Texas Senate approved a plan offering state funding to children attending private and religious schools — but only after slashing its potential cost by limiting the number of eligible families and exempting rural areas, which opponents argue can least afford to lose students.

CA: Lawmaker wants to kick private immigrant detention centers out of California

A California state senator has introduced a bill that would prohibit cities and counties from entering into or renewing contracts with private companies to detain immigrants who face deportation.

IA: Iowa lawmakers consider making most 911 calls confidential

A bill moving through the Iowa Legislature would declare that audio, video and transcripts of 911 calls involving injured victims of crimes or accidents are confidential medical records and exempt from the Iowa open records law. Any calls involving juveniles would automatically be confidential.

GA: Eminent domain bill opens condemned land to private development in Georgia

Georgia lawmakers voted to allow local governments to seize blighted property for economic development, altering eminent domain reforms passed more than a decade ago.

ND: North Dakota governor’s veto on bonuses for staff is sustained

Republican Gov. Doug Burgum won his first veto fight with the North Dakota Legislature when the Senate sustained his veto of a bill that would have limited a governor's ability to set salary bonuses for staff.

WV: West Virginia Senate rejects repeal of motorcycle helmet law

Senators voted against a bill that would have allowed experienced motorcycle drivers and riders over age 21 to decide whether they wanted to wear helmets, which current West Virginia law requires.

NV: Nevada bill would require lawyers for minors during police interviews

A bill before the Nevada Assembly would require an attorney to always be present when a juvenile is interviewed by a peace officer. Existing Nevada law informs juvenile suspects in criminal investigations that they have the right to an attorney.


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