Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/1

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/1

NJ: New Jersey legislature votes for $15 minimum wage by 2024

nj.com

The Democratic-controlled New Jersey legislature gave approval to a historic minimum wage increase to $15 an hour over five years, with a $1.15 raise coming this July. The votes seal the deal reached by legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

AL: Alabama sheriffs urge lawmakers to get them out of the jail food business

al.com

The Alabama Sheriffs Association has written two draft bills aimed at resolving long-standing issues related to the feeding of inmates in county jails. The state Senate bill would end the practice of some sheriffs pocketing any leftover money intended to pay for jail food.

CA: Talks to avoid a messy legal fight over California’s emissions rules appear stalled

latimes.com

Talks between the Trump administration and California over rules requiring automakers to steadily decrease car emissions are no closer to reaching a deal than when they began months ago, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle.

FL: Florida governor orders up new curriculum standards for schools to replace Common Core

miamiherald.com

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to create new Florida curriculum standards that would eliminate “the vestiges of Common Core.”

NY: Federal government to seize more control over New York City public housing

nytimes.com

The federal government seized more control over the New York City Housing Authority, reaching an agreement with the city intended to correct years of mismanagement that prosecutors said had exposed hundreds of thousands of residents to lead paint and other health hazards. 

MN: Most licensed Minnesota teachers are staying out of the classroom

startribune.com

School districts throughout Minnesota are having trouble filling teaching positions, even though fewer than half the state’s licensed teachers are working in the public schools, according to a report issued by the teacher licensing board. A high percentage of young teachers are leaving classrooms within the first couple of years, studies found.

CO: Colorado sex education bill advances after lengthy debate

denverpost.com

After more than 10 hours of debate, Democrats on a Colorado House committee approved a sexual education bill that would remove a sex-ed waiver for public charter schools, fund a grant program for schools that lack the resources to teach human sexuality, and expand upon the LGBT-relationship portion of the curriculum requirements.

MA: Massachusetts Senate bans nondisclosure clauses

apnews.com

Aiming to curb sexual harassment, the Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously to adopt a rule prohibiting nondisclosure clauses from being included in employment contracts or enforced against senators and staff members, despite the Massachusetts House overwhelmingly voting against a similar ban recently.

AR: Arkansas court rules city can’t enforce LGBT protections

apnews.com

The Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously reversed a lower court ruling to allow Fayetteville to continue enforcing its anti-discrimination ordinance, while the city challenged the constitutionality of a 2015 law preventing cities and counties from enacting protections not covered by state law. Arkansas’ civil rights law doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.

VT: Vermont employees can bring babies to work

burlingtonfreepress.com

Vermont employees can now bring infants to the office under a new policy announced by Democratic Gov. Phil Scott's administration. Infants must be older than six weeks and younger than six months — and their welcome can be revoked if they cause “prolonged distractions.”

RI: Providence Journal sues Rhode Island secretary of state for access to full voter database

providencejournal.com

The suit alleged Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea violated the state’s open-records law by denying the newspaper’s request for a digital copy of the state’s voter database, with full names and birth dates of each voter.

KS: Court orders Kansas to disclose records on discarded ballots

cjonline.com

A Johnson County District Court judge ruled in favor of a voting rights advocate seeking records about hundreds of ballots that were tossed in the August primary. District Judge David Hauber ruled the refusal to provide names was a violation of the Kansas Open Records Act.

MO: Bail will go down in Missouri courts under new reform plan

stltoday.com

The chief justice of Missouri’s highest court announced plans to restrict courts from charging defendants bail as a condition of their release before trial. Current rules allow courts to charge amounts that can be out of reach, leaving the accused to wait in jail for their trial.

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