What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/4

Top State Stories 4/4

TN: Bill allowing armed teachers in Tennessee schools dies in House

Lawmakers killed a bill to arm certain teachers in Tennessee, while another proposal allowing armed, off-duty law enforcement officers to provide security in schools advanced in the House with bipartisan support.

CA: Court leaves California law on DNA collection alone

The California Supreme Court left intact a voter-approved law that requires police to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a felony, sidestepping questions about what it means for the tens of thousands of people who are arrested but never charged or convicted. 

NY: New York governor creates monitor to oversee repairs to city’s public housing 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency at the New York City Housing Authority and ordered an independent monitor be appointed to oversee and expedite repairs to the agency’s deteriorating buildings, where 400,000 New Yorkers live. For years, the authority has been struggling with budgetary troubles and has neglected repairs. 

AK: Alaska House breaks budget logjam, sends spending plan to Senate 

Under the House plan, Alaska would spend $5.5 billion in unrestricted general funds for state agency operations, paying off debts, the state’s retirement system and an estimated $1,600 dividend for each Alaskan. But the budget proposal heads to the Senate with a $700 million hole. 

WI: Wisconsin governor removes most abortion coverage for public workers 

Most abortions for state and local government workers would not be covered by their public insurance plans, under legislation signed by Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The measure prohibits government-provided health insurance plans from paying for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to preserve the life of the woman. 

CO: Colorado lawmaker survives expulsion vote over sexual harassment charges

Republican Colorado state Sen. Randy Baumgardner survived a Democratic push to expel him from office for sexual harassment, with one of his Republican colleagues calling it “a public lynching.” The Senate voted 17-17 in a near party-line vote against a resolution to expel the Republican.

TX: Texas is violating federal voter registration law, judge says

A portion of the federal National Voter Registration Act requires states to give residents the opportunity to register to vote at the same time that they apply for or renew their driver’s licenses. A federal judge has sided with a civil rights group that claimed Texas failed to register residents when they updated their driver’s license information online.

DE: Delaware Legislature considers helping teachers pay student loans

Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, and state lawmakers are hoping to reach teachers struggling to pay education debt with a proposed student-loan assistance program targeted to educators at high-needs schools and those teaching high-demand subject areas.

MA: Massachusetts governor backs disclosure of home energy efficiency grades

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker filed a long-anticipated bill that would make Massachusetts the first state to require home sellers to share energy efficiency grades for their houses with potential buyers, starting in 2021.

ME: Maine Legislature wants to intervene in court case on ranked-choice voting

The Maine Senate voted to authorize its president to ask a court for permission to intervene in a case that could decide whether ranked-choice voting will be used in the June primaries. The Senate is concerned about the 2016 ballot-box law that gave Maine the first-in-the-nation, statewide ranked-choice voting system.

KY: Kentucky businesses fear effects of tax

Veterinarians in Kentucky would charge the state’s 6 percent sales tax when they neuter your dog or cat. Auto repair shops would add the tax to their bill for fixing your car. Taking a suit or dress to the cleaners? Get ready to pay the sales tax for that care and several others. 

IA: Pipeline sabotage bill sent to Iowa governor; sponsor says it would go after 'bad dudes'

Criminal sabotage of Iowa pipelines, telecommunications facilities, water treatment plants and other critical infrastructure could result in long prison sentences and large fines under a measure the Senate sent to Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. 

OH: Ohio youth baseball league raffling off AR-15, other guns

An Ohio youth baseball league is holding a raffle for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and other guns for a fundraiser to reduce registration fees.

Felon Disenfranchisement Treatment Behind Bars