What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/24

CO: Colorado bill would prohibit public school teachers from striking 

Two Republican state lawmakers have introduced a bill seeking to prohibit Colorado teachers from striking and make it so they would face firing, fines or even jail time if they do so anyway. 

IN: Planned Parenthood sues Indiana over new abortion rules 

A new Indiana law that requires medical providers who treat women for complications arising from abortions to report detailed patient information to the state "imposes unique and burdensome obligations" that are unconstitutional, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. It seeks to block two of the state law's provisions. 

CA: Rent control measure on its way to California ballot

By repealing a 1995 California law, the ballot initiative would give cities and counties the ability to strengthen existing rent control policies or pass new laws. Single-family homes, condos and duplexes are currently exempt from rent control laws.

NY: New York governor announces bill to ban plastic bags statewide

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York to join California and Hawaii by banning plastic bags. Cuomo’s proposal comes a little more than a year after he blocked a 5-cent surcharge that New York City had sought to place on single-use plastic bags.

VA: Pumpkin patches vs. ropes courses: Virginia county battles farmers over agritourism

The owners of a financially struggling farm in Northern Virginia want to build a ropes course in a semirural area that also includes palatial homes and increasingly clogged roads. But they’re locked in a court battle that could set a legal precedent for other localities, potentially reining in the state’s booming agriculture tourism industry.

ME: Maine towns allowed to ban sex offenders from parks, fields

Maine towns will be able to ban sex offenders from any state or municipal park, athletic field or recreational facility serving children. A new law allows municipalities to prohibit sex offenders from coming within 750 feet of such property. 

VT: Many police agencies in Vermont stop using license plate readers

The Vermont State Police and 17 other law enforcement agencies have stopped using automated license plate readers, resulting in a steep decline in the amount of data collected about vehicles on Vermont’s roads. The number of working license plate readers fell from 69 in the beginning of 2017 to 41 at the end of 2017.

TN: Tennessee bill to end emissions testing may take years to gain federal approval

A Tennessee bill that attempts to end mandatory vehicle emissions testing is scheduled for a final floor vote in the state Senate. But while the bill is expected to pass, it could take three or more years to develop alternatives to the testing program, used to lower air pollution, and also win approval among federal regulators.

MN: Minnesota lawmakers considering changes to harassment policy

Victims of workplace sexual harassment at the Minnesota Capitol could find it easier to take formal action against their harassers under a proposal making its way through the state House.

NC: North Carolina leaders think more nurses, counselors could make schools safer

Support is building among state leaders to try to make North Carolina schools safer by hiring more counselors, psychologists, nurses and social workers to target the mental health needs of students.

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