Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/11

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/11

WI: Groups file lawsuit seeking to void laws passed in Wisconsin's lame-duck session

jsonline.com

Liberal-leaning groups and advocates for people with disabilities are asking a Dane County judge to invalidate new Wisconsin laws that have shifted key powers from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul to the Republican-controlled legislature. They argue lawmakers illegally convened a legislative session to take up the Republican-authored bills.

NJ: The biggest war on plastic is in New Jersey

northjersey.com

The global push to ban everyday plastic products that litter oceans and waterways has no greater fight in the United States in 2019 than in New Jersey, where the most far-reaching set of plastics regulations in the nation is slowly making its way through Trenton. Manufacturers and retailers are gearing up to defeat a bill that would ban plastic bags, foam containers and plastic straws.

MD: Maryland long-time Senate president vows to fight prostate cancer, continue work

washingtonpost.com

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. announced he is battling prostate cancer and would be undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Two people who spoke to Miller before the announcement described the cancer in interviews as “advanced” and “aggressive.”

FL: Florida governor unveils sweeping environmental plan to fix state’s troubled waters

tampabay.com

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled measures to clean up Florida's troubled waters, including spending $2.5 billion and launching more aggressive policies to address algae choking Lake Okeechobee. The new governor, who angered environmentalists on the campaign trail by dismissing climate change as a significant threat, also promised to establish a resiliency office to address looming dangers.

WA: Washington state finds quirky solution to people stealing ‘420’ and ‘69’ milepost signs

seattletimes.com

The Washington state Department of Transportation has replaced some mile-marker signs with the numbers 68.9 or 419.9, or removed mileposts 69 and 420 altogether, to combat thefts.

KS: Kansas lawmakers inclined toward hemp to save family farms

kansas.com

Ideally, hemp could energize younger Kansans who don’t want to take over family farms that struggle to keep up with large-scale producers of conventional crops like wheat and corn. Tapping the potential of hemp as a crop would take some significant changes in Kansas law because it’s currently illegal except for a test program. Now, it’s legal federally.

NC: Netflix snubs North Carolina due to anti-gay bill

hollywoodreporter.com

Netflix has opted to film its upcoming North Carolina-set series “OBX,” a coming-of-age drama set in a fictional town in the state's Outer Banks, in South Carolina instead because of North Carolina's anti-gay law. While much of the “bathroom bill” law has been repealed, remnants remain — and that was enough to persuade Netflix to film elsewhere.

CA: California governor unveils a $209B budget to boost schools, health care

latimes.com

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a $209-billion budget that boosts funding for California’s public schools and health care programs and includes significant one-time spending to combat the state’s homelessness epidemic and prepare for future natural disasters.

GA: Georgia agency mistakenly shares families’ info with nonprofit

ajc.com

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services shared the personal information of nearly 350,000 families with a local nonprofit’s holiday gift program. Federal law prohibits the sharing of medical information, including the source of someone’s health care or insurance.

CO: Colorado governor wants full-day kindergarten by the fall

denverpost.com

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, called on state lawmakers in his first State of the State address to fulfill one of his campaign promises and find the money for statewide full-day kindergarten by fall. Polis also said he is establishing a new executive office to focus on saving Coloradans money on health care.

TN: Tennessee legislator, accused of sexual misconduct against teens, will chair education subcommittee

tennessean.com

Despite calls from protesters — and the previous House speaker — for his resignation, a Tennessee state representative accused of inappropriate sexual conduct against multiple teens has been named chairman of the education administration subcommittee.

MA: Massachusetts lawmakers look to tackle school funding formula in new session

bostonglobe.com

In Massachusetts, the legislative session is beginning with renewed momentum to overhaul the state’s troubled, 26-year-old school funding formula, which critics say now perpetuates inequality in education by shortchanging some communities and favoring others. Efforts to rewrite the formula collapsed late in the last session.

KY: Sex with animals is no joke, senator says. But it's legal in Kentucky.

courier-journal.com

A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a measure that would outlaw sex with animals in the state. Kentucky is one of five states where bestiality is legal.

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