What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/9

Top State Stories 3/9

DE: Delaware House passes bump stock ban

A proposed ban on bump stocks and a bill to enact stronger penalties for so-called “straw” purchases of firearms passed the Delaware House. The bills are the first of several gun control measures introduced this year to get a floor vote in either chamber of the Legislature.

MS: Mississippi Senate passes ‘guns in schools’ bill

The Mississippi Senate voted to allow guns in the state’s classrooms, agreeing to permit school districts to adopt policies requiring additional training and mental health screenings for employees who want to be armed on campus.

MD: Maryland House approves bill to boost maximum texting-while-driving fine

The Maryland House approved a bill that increases the maximum penalty for using a cellphone while driving to $500, though it was unclear how frequently such large a fine would actually be issued.

MT: Montana’s Medicaid expansion paying for itself

Montana’s Medicaid expansion for health care is paying for itself by bringing in enough economic activity to pay for the state share of the cost, according to a new university study.  The program, started in 2016, ends next year unless state lawmakers vote to continue it.

AR: Arkansas governor signs bill keeping Medicaid expansion

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law legislation to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion, which will impose a work requirement on thousands of participants this year.

ID: Idaho health plan ruled illegal

Federal health care authorities have ruled an Idaho plan to loosen restrictions on health insurance policies is illegal. Republican Gov. Butch Otter had announced plans earlier this year to allow insurers to offer plans that don’t meet all Affordable Care Act standards.

IA: Iowa House again seeks concussion rules for student-athletes

The Iowa House approved legislation aimed at reducing concussions for student-athletes. The House passed similar legislation last year, but it was not approved in the Senate. Democrats and Republicans alike said they hoped this year will be different.

NH: New Hampshire bill to address medical bill ‘surprise’ charges clears House

A proposal to protect New Hampshire consumers from surprise charges on medical bills due to unexpected “out of network” charges cleared the House with overwhelming support and now heads for the Senate.

KY: Kentucky state police try to control when news is reported

A Kentucky State Police spokesman stirred First Amendment controversy when he sent an email to the Mountain Advocate newspaper and a Bell County radio station demanding that they wait for KSP press releases before publishing anything about ongoing investigations.

SD: South Dakota lawmakers restore ballot access bill for third parties

Members of a special joint committee restored a bill designed to open up South Dakota’s ballot for third parties to its original form in hopes of satisfying a federal judge’s order.

CA: California teens are pre-registering to vote, and taking a pass on political parties

California’s relatively new system where 16- and 17-year olds can “pre-register” to vote has been used by 88,700 teenagers during its first 18 months in existence, with most of them declining to identify as Republicans or Democrats.

GA: Domestic violence victims could escape more easily under Georgia bill

Victims of domestic violence would be able to break their leases without an early termination penalty under a bill passed the Georgia House.

UT: Utah lawmakers ban departments for having quotas for tickets or arrests

Utah police agencies may soon be banned from requiring officers to achieve a quota of tickets or arrests, under a bill awaiting Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s signature. In hearings on the bill, former police officers testified that they had been pressured to meet arrest and ticketing quotas by their supervisors.

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