What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/23

MD: Landlords with lead-tainted units could lose right to evict in Maryland

Eviction courts could take on a greater role in the decadeslong effort to prevent lead poisoning under a pending bill in the Maryland Senate that would allow judges to toss out eviction requests from landlords who can’t prove their properties are safe from hazardous paint.

CO: Colorado grants electricity users the right to store energy

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has signed a bill that grants electricity users in the state a new right — the ability to store energy without discrimination in the form of higher rates or excessive barriers in connecting to the grid. Colorado is one of the first states in the country to do so.

MA: Massachusetts bill would ease ways to register voters

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, is pushing legislation that would establish a system that would register eligible residents to vote automatically when they renew their license or apply for MassHealth, the state’s version of Medicaid.

IA: Iowa Senate advances bill for state grants to private school students

Legislation to provide state grants of about $4,000 annually to students enrolling in private schools has cleared an Iowa Senate subcommittee, despite criticism that it would hurt public education and result in taxpayer support for religious-based schools.

ID: Idaho to require personal details of women seeking abortions

Idaho will require abortion providers to report how many times their patients have terminated a pregnancy in the past and other personal information under a law signed by Republican Gov. Butch Otter. Otter also recently approved a law requiring women to be informed that the drug-induced procedures can be halted halfway, though medical groups opposed to the law say that may not be true.

MI: Cyberbullying could become a crime in Michigan

Bullying someone online would become a misdemeanor punishable by 93 days in jail and a $500 fine under a bill passed by the Michigan House. Thirty-eight states already have cyberbullying laws on the books.

DE: Assault weapons ban introduced in Delaware Legislature

A proposed ban on assault weapons was introduced in the Delaware Legislature, the latest and likely most contested bill among a slew of gun control measures being debated by state lawmakers this year.

MI: Pot shop shutdowns move fast, licensing slow in Michigan

A Michigan licensing board has denied or delayed action on the first business applications ever considered under a new commercial medical marijuana law. Meanwhile, state regulators are moving to shut down illegal pot shops across the state.  

CA: California governor wants to keep more youth in juvenile detention, not prison

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget calls for $3.8 million to allow youth offenders longer stays in juvenile justice facilities, a step the Democrat and some advocates say would lead to lower recidivism rates and better outcomes. 

ND: North Dakota to connect all schools to high-speed internet

According to the state’s Information Technology Department, by next summer North Dakota will become the first state to achieve 1-gigabit connectivity for all school districts — an effort expected to improve digital learning.

SC: South Carolina state agency lets employees bring babies to work in new trial program

New parents can now bring their infants to work at the South Carolina Department of Insurance. The program is the first of its kind at a South Carolina cabinet agency. Public and private organizations around the country have instituted similar policies in recent years.

Juveniles in Adult Court Dickey Amendment