What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/2
FL: New Florida law will provide certificates for miscarriages
Florida will become the first state to issue what's essentially a birth certificate to women who've had miscarriages, an idea that received broad bipartisan support despite concerns from the National Organization for Women that it was an attempt to define life for fetuses that couldn't survive outside the womb.
TX: For daily fantasy sports sites, legal limbo in Texas set to continue
A bill that would have affirmed the legality of some popular fantasy sports sites in Texas died this legislative session, continuing a murky legal landscape for players in the state. In a nonbinding opinion in January 2016, Attorney General Ken Paxton equated paid fantasy sports sites to online gambling, which is illegal, arguing that they involve “partial chance.”
NJ: New Jersey governor signs executive order to beef up cybersecurity
Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order that takes authority over information technology away from all cabinet-level departments and confers it on New Jersey’s chief technology officer, whom the governor appointed last year.
KS: Kansas Legislature approves bill allowing public hospitals to ban guns
Under a Kansas law passed in 2013, public hospitals would be forced to allow concealed handguns starting in July unless they put certain security measures in place. But legislators have voted to let public hospitals continue to be exempted from the law, sending the proposal to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.
CT: Connecticut experiments with court advocates for abused animals
Many states have victim's advocates or child advocates, people in the judicial system who represent those affected by crime or abuse. Now, Connecticut has created legal advocates for abused animals, an experiment being watched across the nation for signs of success.
NV: Court order could stall July start of recreational marijuana sales in Nevada
A group of alcohol distributors are demanding that they have exclusive rights to transport marijuana for the industry’s first 18 months in Nevada, and a district judge in Carson City validated their concerns, with an order that prevents the state from issuing any recreational marijuana distribution licenses before the matter is resolved.
CA: California lawmakers advance bill to eliminate daylight saving time
The Assembly sent the Senate a bill that would ask voters to repeal the 1949 initiative establishing daylight saving time in California. The measure would allow the Legislature, with a two-thirds vote, to switch the dates it takes effect, get rid of it altogether, or, with federal approval, move to daylight saving time year-round.
AZ: Arizona sees rapid increase in opioid related deaths
Faced with an average of two deaths a day, Arizona’s top health official is looking for ways to curb the abuse of opioids. That could involve getting doctors to find alternative relief for patients with chronic pain — including possibly recommending the use of medical marijuana.
CO: New Colorado law regulates driverless vehicles
The new law, Colorado’s first on driverless vehicles, wasn’t meant to delve into the nitty-gritty of how they should operate on the state’s roads. Rather, it’s focused on creating a process that allows for autonomous vehicles to be tested safely.
ME: Visa delays force Maine hospitality businesses to scale back
Maine’s hospitality sector is facing the toughest labor market in recent memory, a situation made worse by the federal government’s delay in granting visas for seasonal foreign workers who many businesses rely on to fill jobs during the summer tourism season.
WI: Wisconsin governor signs bill to loosen well rules
Republican Gov. Scott Walker has privately signed controversial legislation to let farms and businesses keep their existing large-scale wells without added oversight from Wisconsin regulators.
SD: New texting program in South Dakota allows anonymous drug tips
Under a new statewide program, South Dakotans can now tip off law enforcement to illegal drug use by sending an anonymous text message. The anonymous tip will be sent in an email to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for follow-up, and the Division of Criminal Investigation will see every tip.