What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/14

GA: Plan to scrap Georgia’s electronic voting machines moves forward

A proposal to replace Georgia’s electronic voting machines passed a subcommittee despite concerns that the legislation doesn’t go far enough to safeguard elections. The measure calls for the state to begin using a new voting system with paper ballots in time for the 2020 presidential election. 

WY: Wyoming ‘stand your ground’ bill reaches governor’s desk

A “stand your ground” self-defense bill has been sent to Republican Gov. Matt Mead, who must now decide whether to veto it. The legislation is meant to strengthen and clarify Wyoming’s self-defense laws, but critics worry about restrictions the bill would place on law enforcement and novel legal mechanisms that would be introduced to state statute.

NY: Ex-aide to New York governor found guilty in corruption trial

Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and solicitation of bribes. Federal prosecutors accused Percoco, Cuomo’s longtime confidant, of accepting more than $300,000 in bribes from three executives from two companies with state business. 

IL: Illinois governor vetoes bill to license gun shops

Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation that would have put in place a new state licensing system for gun shops, saying it would be “crushing” to small retailers and impose “burdensome regulations.” The governor said the proposal would create bureaucracy that doesn't really keep communities safer. 

CA: Trump administration signals fight with California over pollution from cars

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt indicated he’s ready to battle California over the amount of allowable emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from tailpipes. California has vowed to follow Obama-era regulations that would force automakers to cut emissions by one-third for new cars sold between 2022 and 2025. 

DE: Delaware state workers not completing mandatory sexual harassment training

Hundreds of Delaware state employees have not completed the training or even acknowledged receiving a copy of the state's newest policy barring such behavior, according to a new report. Training intended to prevent sexual harassment among state workers became mandatory last year under an executive order issued by Democratic Gov. John Carney. 

FL: Private voucher schools in Florida still free to hire teachers without degrees

Florida private schools that take state scholarships are still free to do what public schools cannot — hire teachers who haven’t earned bachelor’s degrees — under a new law signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott. 

NV: Nevada governor creates a school safety task force

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, has announced that he will create a task force to recommend a series of school safety initiatives for inclusion in the final state budget prepared on his watch. He announced the move in the aftermath of the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school last month that left 17 dead. 

MI: Sexual assault prevention bills face growing opposition in Michigan

The Michigan Senate has delayed plans to begin debating sexual assault prevention legislation amid intense lobbying from university, local government and business groups who fear the sweeping package could spark a wave of expensive and difficult litigation.  

CO: Marijuana legalization helped Colorado county’s economy, study says

A new report from researchers at Colorado State University-Pueblo finds that the marijuana industry provided a net positive economic benefit of $35 million to Pueblo County in 2016, even when accounting for demands on law enforcement and social services. The report estimates the net impact will rise to nearly $100 million a year by 2021. 

IA: Iowa Senate votes to extend statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims

The Iowa Senate voted to extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse. The provision extends the statute from four years after discovery to 25 years if the discovery was made after the age of 18. 

CT: Connecticut Legislature has the votes to override housing veto

The General Assembly dealt a blow to Connecticut Democratic Gov. Daniel Malloy’s housing agenda after legislators voted narrowly to override his veto of a bill that loosens the state’s affordable housing standards.

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