Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/18

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/18

UT: Amid shutdown, Utah governor calls for giving more power to states

politico.com 

“If we accept that federal shutdowns are likely to continue to occur, then we should consider long-term strategies to mitigate their scope and severity — including the return to a robust federalism that leaves more policymaking power to the states,” Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wrote in a Politico op-ed.

WI: Judge eliminates early voting limits approved by GOP in Wisconsin

jsonline.com

Moving swiftly, a federal judge struck down limits on early voting that Wisconsin Republican lawmakers approved last month in a lame-duck session. U.S. District Judge James Peterson concluded the new limits are invalid because they so closely mirror ones he struck down as unconstitutional in 2016.

OK: Oklahoma Senate leader files bills to grant governor authority to appoint five agency heads

newsok.com 

Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt would be given the authority to appoint five of the state's top agency directors under a series of bills filed by state Senate leader Greg Treat, also a Republican.

WA: Washington state wants to add firefighters and training academy to beef up wildfire response

seattletimes.com

Citing the devastation and expense of fighting Washington’s wildland blazes, the state public lands commissioner proposed a 10-year plan to prevent and respond to wildfires. The proposal would add 30 full-time and 40 seasonal wildland firefighters to the agency.  

FL: Governor tasks Florida legislature with dropping ban on smoking medical marijuana

miamiherald.com

If Florida’s prohibition on smoking medical marijuana isn’t dropped by mid-March, GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’ll drop the state’s appeal of a court decision that says banning it violates a constitutional amendment.  

ND: Officials strongly object to bill that would allow guns in North Dakota schools

bismarcktribune.com

As controversial gun bills start winding their way through the North Dakota legislature, one bill that would allow concealed carry permit holders to bring guns onto school property and to public gatherings has school officials in opposition.

MA: Massachusetts governor proposes legalizing sports betting

bostonglobe.com

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said he will file legislation to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts at casinos and through online-only games. The proposal comes as several other states have also moved to permit sports wagering in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that allowed the practice to expand widely beyond Nevada.

IL: Illinois governor signs law requiring state licensing of gun dealers

chicagotribune.com 

The measure signed by Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives the state more oversight over firearms dealers, putting him at odds with opponents of stricter gun laws. The Illinois State Rifle Association threatened to challenge the new law in court.

MT: Montana bill would again attempt to regulate accuracy of election materials

helenair.com

A state legislator is trying to clarify what kind of information can go on the campaign flyers sure to fill mailboxes across Montana during the 2020 election cycle.

AR: Bill would partially undo Arkansas minimum-wage increase

arkansasonline.com

A minimum-wage increase passed by more than two-thirds of Arkansas voters in November would be partially undone by legislation filed by Republican state Sen. Bob Ballinger. The bill would exempt anyone under 18 from the state's minimum wage, as well as anyone employed at a school, preschool, college, nonprofit or business with fewer than 50 employees.  

NJ: New Jersey governor, legislature reach deal to hike minimum wage to $15

nj.com

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and lawmakers have reached a highly anticipated agreement to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour for most workers by 2024. Some classes of workers, including those employed by small businesses with five or fewer employees, would have to wait longer.

OR: Oregon lawmakers want more school meal options

statesmanjournal.com

Several Oregon legislators want to expand options further, with the ultimate goal of ensuring all students have free breakfast and lunch. But the legislators' task will become more difficult as federal rollbacks reduce nutritional standards and the cost of providing meals reaches into the millions.

MN: Shutdown places unique stresses on federal prison workers in Minnesota

startribune.com

Among the 5,500 Minnesotans affected are hundreds of Federal Bureau of Prisons employees who missed their first paycheck. Union leaders say if the deadlock continues, the shutdown could drive out entry-level officers, many of whom make less than $20 an hour.

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