Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/11

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/11

CA: California governor to pull National Guard from border with Mexico

latimes.com

As a second partial government shutdown looms in Washington over border discussions, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom will order the removal of roughly 360 National Guard members from California’s southern boundary with Mexico, repudiating President Donald Trump’s characterization of a recent influx of Central American refugees and migrants as a national security crisis.

VA: Virginia Democrat backs off impeachment against lieutenant governor

washingtonpost.com

A Virginia Democrat backed off plans to introduce an impeachment bill targeting Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, saying “additional conversations” are needed. Virginia Democratic lawmakers had begun circulating a draft resolution over the weekend to begin impeachment proceedings against Fairfax over allegations of sexual assault that have been leveled against him by two women.

CO: Teachers strike begins in Colorado capital for first time in 25 years

denverpost.com

Educators at Denver’s 160 public schools were set to initiate the city’s first teachers strike in 25 years after Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis declined to intervene in their compensation dispute and contract talks with district leaders fell apart. Denver Public Schools officials announced that the district’s schools will remain open Monday.

MO: Missouri is pushing eligible people off Medicaid to save money, critics charge

stltoday.com

Tens of thousands of Medicaid enrollees, mostly children, were dropped by Missouri and neighboring Tennessee last year as both states stepped up efforts to verify members’ eligibility. State health officials say several factors, including the improved economy, are behind last year’s drop, but advocates for the poor think the states’ efforts to weed out residents who are improperly enrolled, or the difficulty of re-enrolling, caused it. 

OH: Ohio lawmakers to address radioactive road deicer

cleveland.com

Ohio Department of Transportation snowplows had been spreading AquaSalina, a deicing solution, on the state’s roadways for years when an environmental group last year obtained an unreleased Ohio Department of Natural Resources report that found high levels of radioactivity in the product.

KY: Kentucky Supreme Court asked to overturn Marsy's Law vote

kentucky.com

The Kentucky Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn statewide election results from November that would grant new constitutional rights to crime victims. Although 63 percent of Kentucky voters approved Marsy's Law, the lengthy and complex language did not appear on the ballot or in state-paid newspaper advertisements in advance of the election.

SD: Halfway through legislative session, 1 in 10 South Dakota bills are empty shells

argusleader.com

Senate Bill 87 has fewer than 10 words: "The Legislature shall pursue opportunities to enhance the state." It's one of 46 similar one-sentence bills filed in the South Dakota legislature this session. These so-called vehicle bills offer sweeping statements to support education, advance healthcare and expand economic growth without explanation of how those things will happen. 

NC: ICE increases arrests after North Carolina sheriffs withdraw support

charlotteobserver.com

After North Carolina’s largest counties cut ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency said it’s been forced to adopt a “new normal”: one that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of immigrants. Since December, newly elected sheriffs have reversed a policy that notifies ICE about the legal status of inmates in county jails. 

FL: Florida lawmakers revive push to ban 'sanctuary cities'

orlandosentinel.com

Florida lawmakers are again considering a sweeping anti-“sanctuary” bill that would prohibit local governments from withholding information from federal immigration officials and require jails to hold inmates suspected of being in the country illegally.

TX: Texas lawmakers poised to tap $15B reserve fund

texastribune.org

As the Texas legislature debates costly investments in property tax reduction and public schools, and with big bills coming due for retired teachers pensions and Hurricane Harvey recovery, the state’s reserve fund is taking center stage in budget negotiations.

NE: Despite fierce weather, Nebraska avoids climate change plan

apnews.com

Nebraska hasn’t created a formal plan to confront the local impact of more extreme weather. A lawmaker has filed a measure asking the University of Nebraska to develop a plan for adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change. University officials would submit it to lawmakers and the governor by Dec. 15, 2020.

NY: National liberal groups back 'fusion voting' in New York

timesunion.com

Leaders of 19 liberal organizations, including leading national grassroots groups, are calling for New York to keep its unique "fusion voting" system, which allows candidates to run on multiple political party ballot lines.

TN: Bill would set electric scooter rules in Tennessee, hampering cities

tennessean.com

A bipartisan bill introduced in Tennessee would set general safety requirements for electric scooters, as they continue to swarm cities across the state. But the legislation, if approved, could have sweeping implications for cities such as Nashville that have sought to regulate scooters on their own, potentially preempting their efforts.

CT: Connecticut could soon have a plastic bag ban

courant.com

Connecticut lawmakers are coming under increasing pressure to pass legislation prohibiting or phasing out single-use plastic shopping bags, with retailers now advocating a ban and communities across the state already taking local action. The plastics industry continues to argue against any bag ban.

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