What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/19

Top State Stories 4/19

MD: ‘No means no’ measure on sexual assault becomes law in Maryland

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill that says sexual assault victims no longer will need to prove that they physically fought back against their attackers for the incident to be characterized as rape.

AZ: Arizona governor signs 'Blue Lives Matter' bill

The bill, signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, creates tougher penalties for assaulting a police officer — even if the officer is off duty.

US: Rising seas could push some U.S. migration to areas far from coast

Rising sea levels caused by climate change may drive U.S. coastal residents to areas far from the seaboard, a new study says. Even landlocked states such as Arizona and Wyoming could see significant increases in population by 2100, and may be unprepared to handle the surge.

AK: Alaska considers using a raffle to pay for education

The Alaska Senate is considering gambling to pay for some of the state’s education costs by creating a raffle that residents can enter using the checks they get from the state’s endowed Permanent Fund.

CA: Organizers temporarily halt effort to make California its own country

The backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to let California leave the U.S., otherwise known as Calexit, have stopped gathering petition signatures. They intend to try again, however, with a retooled proposal for next year’s ballot.  

ME: Maine governor says he will veto assisted suicide bill

Republican Gov. Paul LePage said he will veto a bill moving through the Legislature that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients hasten their deaths.

ND: North Dakota lawmakers give final approval to voter ID bill

The bill, awaiting action by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, would let the ballots of voters who don’t bring valid identification to the polls be set aside until the voters produced ID.

AL: Alabama Senate passes bill protecting faith-based adoption policies

The bill would protect the state licenses of faith-based child adoption agencies in Alabama that choose not to place children with same-sex couples.

FL: Bid to strengthen Florida ethics laws dies

Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran says a push to give Florida some of the toughest ethics laws in the nation is dead for this year’s session, and he’s blaming his colleagues in the Senate for showing “zero interest.”

NC: Budget hole projected if $1 billion tax-cut plan passes North Carolina Legislature

The North Carolina Senate’s proposal to cut $1 billion in taxes over the next two years will quickly lead to budget shortfalls, the General Assembly’s researchers calculate. By the budget year that starts on July 1, 2021, there would be a $598.9 million gap.

KS: Kansas volunteer firefighters say they need additional funding

Ninety percent of Kansas firefighters are volunteers, and they say they need more funding as shrinking rural communities can no longer provide the tax money to support them. The state spends about $300,000 on firefighting, less than almost any other state.

WI: Wisconsin lawmakers push bill authorizing robot deliveries

Two Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to persuade their colleagues to approve a bill that would allow delivery robots to traverse the state's sidewalks and crosswalks.

Trump Administration Pushes Changes to Visa Program Employing Ex-Offenders