What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/15

US: U.S. students stage massive walkout to protest gun violence

From Maine to Hawaii, tens of thousands of students walked out of their classrooms to demand action on gun violence and school safety. Students around the nation joined the youth-led surge of activism set off by the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

CT: GOP lawmakers call for ‘transparency’ on Connecticut prison health care

Lawmakers called for the release of a report that could offer insight into specific problems following eight deaths in Connecticut’s prison system. The correction commissioner has said the secret report might reveal his department’s legal strategy in future litigation and is therefore exempt from public disclosure. 

SC: South Carolina law limits environmental challenges to development permits

The bill signed by South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster would limit the public's ability to challenge business or industrial development permits on environmental grounds. 

IN: Indiana legislative session ends in chaos, unintentional death of several bills

Indiana lawmakers failed to meet a midnight deadline, causing the unintentional death of a handful of bills and setting off a round of finger-pointing. The casualties included two of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s priorities: a funding boost for school security and a plan to encourage and regulate driverless vehicles. 

CO: Colorado lawmakers to invest $7 million in school safety

Colorado lawmakers will take $7 million in “extra” education money they’ve been wrangling over and put it toward bills that improve school safety. One such bill would provide grants to schools that want to buy radio technology that allows more direct communication with emergency responders. 

OH: Court blocks Ohio’s Down syndrome abortion ban

A federal judge blocked an Ohio law that would ban abortions when a woman’s reason for the procedure is a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. 

DC: D.C. mayor, reversing course, signs law creating publicly financed campaigns

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, has signed a law that will create publicly financed elections, reversing her previous opposition to a plan that advocates say will help curb money’s influence in politics. 

SD: Grocers ask judges in South Dakota case to keep food stamp payments secret

An industry group that represents grocers asked the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the release of more than a decade’s worth of records to a South Dakota newspaper that show how much retailers have been paid each year in the food stamp program. 

CA: State lawmaker unveils proposal to preserve net neutrality in California

A net neutrality bill in California would bar broadband companies from interfering with a customer’s internet access based on the nature of the content or type of service. It also would prevent providers from varying speeds between websites or charging customers additional fees for their services to reach more people. 

DE: Delaware bill would outlaw underage marriages

A bill introduced in the Delaware House would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to get hitched, regardless of whether their parents approve.

AR: Arkansas judge halts marijuana-farm permits

An Arkansas circuit judge stopped the state from issuing its first five medical marijuana growing permits, casting uncertainty over the future of the new industry. 

KY: Half the Kentucky House backed bill weakening gay rights

Kentucky lawmakers rewrote a bill that would have given churches and religious organizations the right to ignore civil-rights protections offered by Lexington and several other Kentucky cities to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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