Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/6

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/6

NY: Amazon wants to come to New York. This senator may stand in the way.

nytimes.com

Amazon has a market value of hundreds of billions of dollars, the support of New York’s governor and mayor, and an army of lobbyists devoted to its plan to build a second headquarters in New York City. But that plan could be derailed by one man.

KY: Pensions fuel Kentucky’s $54B debt, report finds

apnews.com 

Kentucky is more than $54 billion in debt, with estimated unfunded retirement benefits accounting for more than 80 percent of that figure, according to a report by the state auditor.

TN: Tennessee sexual harassment training video is 5 minutes long

tennessean.com 

Two years after the Tennessee General Assembly began requiring sexual harassment training amid scandals involving two lawmakers, the mandatory online course now amounts to a five-minute video.

VA: Virginia lawmakers pass stricter cellphone law

wtvr.com

Lawmakers in the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate have passed hands-free driving bills allowing a $125 ticket for holding a cellphone while driving. Current law prohibits texting while driving but it is hard to enforce because officers must observe typing on the phone.

MO: Stop Socialism Act proposed in Missouri

stltoday.com

A Republican state senator wants to stop local governments from competing with private businesses. To counter the competition, the lawmaker's Stop Socialism Act would implement a cause of action for those facing “economic detriment” linked to a public body's launch of competing services.

WI: Wisconsin governor, GOP lawmakers vow to block each other's tax-cut plans

jsonline.com

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republicans in control of the state legislature want to cut taxes for average families. But they can't agree on how to do it. Evers and Democratic lawmakers released a plan minutes before Republican lawmakers began advancing their own proposal. 

AR: Arkansas House gives nod to breast-milk bill

arkansasonline.com 

Legislation that would prompt the Arkansas Department of Health to establish standards for the distribution of human breast milk passed the House. 

AL: Alabama senator wants to identify, stop racial profiling

al.com

An Alabama state senator is again proposing a bill to identify and ban the practice of racial profiling by police. Sen. Rodger Smitherman, a Democrat, first introduced a racial profiling bill 15 years ago. He said the issue is probably more important now because of tensions between law enforcement and citizens.

TX: Texas governor sees school safety as a top issue

apnews.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared school safety an “emergency” issue of his second term following one of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings last year near Houston, but the Republican put no dollar amount on the table for schools and made no mention of tightening gun laws. The “emergency” designation allows legislation to be fast-tracked.

NJ, PA: New Jersey, Pennsylvania fight back against Trump over gambling

nj.com

Online gambling in New Jersey has become a $350 million business since the federal government gave its OK eight years ago, but now the Justice Department is threatening to shut it down.  New Jersey and Pennsylvania attorneys general wrote to the agency saying the “about face is wrong and raises significant concerns in our states.”

DE: University of Delaware asks legislature for free tuition for low-income students

delawareonline.com

University of Delaware officials want state taxpayers to cover tuition costs for in-state students whose families earn less than $75,000 a year. The university asked lawmakers to increase funding to the school by $22.5 million over four years — covering tuition costs for some 550 local students a year.

CO: Colorado legislature considers regulating plastic straws

thedenverchannel.com 

A bill being considered by the Colorado legislature could change the way plastic straws are used in restaurants and businesses in the state. The proposal would prohibit establishments from handing out straws with drinks unless the customer specifically requests one. 

UT: Utah Supreme Court to hear legal challenge to medical cannabis law

sltrib.com 

The Utah Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case filed by state voters challenging the legislature’s decision to replace voter-approved Proposition 2 with an alternative medical-cannabis law. The plaintiffs have asked the state’s highest court to declare the special session and the replacement bill unconstitutional.

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