What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/1

GA: Georgia Senate moves to strip Delta tax break after NRA flap 

A Georgia Senate committee voted to strip a lucrative tax break for Delta Air Lines from a broader tax-cut package, days after the Senate’s leader vowed to “kill” the incentive unless the Atlanta-based airline restored ties with the National Rifle Association, a national gun rights group. 

NJ: New Jersey gun control legislation clears House panel 

New Jersey lawmakers took the first step in a reinvigorated effort to tighten gun laws. The state Assembly Judiciary committee advanced legislation that would restrict magazine size and require background checks among other measures. 

UT: Utah lawmakers vote to restrict lobbying by state employees 

Citing concerns over “entourages” of public employees swarming Utah’s Capitol Hill, a House committee has voted to restrict state employees from lobbying lawmakers and to prohibit state entities from taking a formal position on proposed legislation. The bill would restrict lobbying to executive department heads, campus presidents, the state superintendent or a lone designee chosen by those individuals. 

VA: What Virginia's proposed distracted driving law could mean for drivers 

Virginia may be on its way to completely rewriting its texting-and-driving law – instead replacing it with an expanded distracted-driving law. The proposed law says any use of a cellphone that “substantially diverts the driver's attention from the operation of the motor vehicle is guilty of distracted driving.” 

IN: It's official: You can now buy alcohol at stores on Sunday in Indiana 

Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law a repeal of Indiana's unpopular ban on Sunday carryout alcohol sales, allowing Hoosiers to buy beer, wine and liquor at stores on Sunday for the first time in Indiana history. The new law ends a retail Sunday alcohol sales ban that began in 1816 and was reinstated after Prohibition ended in the 1930s. 

VT: Vermont rethinks gun laws after threat against high school 

A day after the Florida school shooting, Vermont police arrested an 18-year-old male for making threats against his former high school. In response, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, is promising to look at gun-control measures and is rethinking his views on gun ownership. 

MI: Michigan governor signs $176M tax relief bill 

Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said the personal exemption expansion law should save an average family of four more than $100 a year once fully implemented in 2021. Snyder has resisted larger tax cuts due to budget concerns, but he called the new law a responsible way to “give some dollars back to our citizens.” 

HI: Key Hawaii House panels pass bill to allow medically assisted death 

The measure, which is scheduled for a floor vote next week, would allow terminally ill patients in Hawaii to request prescriptions for lethal doses of medication. Supporters touted the addition of two safeguards: removing advanced practice registered nurses as eligible to provide a lethal prescription, and requiring mandatory counseling after two physicians confirm the patient’s diagnosis, prognosis and competence. 

NY: New York governor pushes to regulate political spending on social media 

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing a proposal that would expand New York’s definition of political communication to include paid internet and digital advertisements. It also would require digital companies to keep on file a list of political ads, and to verify that foreign governments aren’t purchasing ads. 

TN: Bill to arm teachers in Tennessee passes first hurdle in Legislature 

A bill that would allow a select number of teachers to carry guns on campuses across Tennessee passed its first hurdle in the state Legislature. The bill will allow one school employee to carry a gun for every 75 students enrolled at the school. 

AL: Alabama lottery bill clears first step, but approval a poor bet 

A bill that proposes a constitutional amendment to allow Alabama to join multi-state lottery games like Powerball won approval in an Alabama Senate committee. Final approval would be a heavy lift, requiring a three-fifths vote in the Senate and House to be put on the ballot for voters. 

OH: Ohio to stop issuing same-day driver’s licenses 

Ohioans will not walk away with their driver’s licenses when they visit Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles deputy registrars beginning July 2. In a bid to increase security and meet new federal standards, new and renewed licenses and ID cards instead will be mailed to Ohioans’ homes after they visit their local BMV office.

Looser Gun Laws ERA Comeback