Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/12

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/12

WA: Some Washington sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws

apnews.com

Sheriffs in a dozen Washington counties say they won’t enforce the state’s sweeping new restrictions on semi-automatic rifles until the courts decide whether they are constitutional. Voters approved the statewide initiative in November, but gun rights groups have sued.

CA: Gavin Newsom expanding size, role of California governor's office

latimes.com

California’s 40th governor is beginning his tenure with a flurry of ideas and enough cushion in the state budget to afford a large inner circle of advisers and aides to help carry out big promises, such as creating a single-payer health care system, universal preschool and addressing the state’s housing crisis.

AK: Alaska House remains unorganized about a month into session

apnews.com

Most Alaska House members have been eligible to collect more than $8,000 each in allowances since the legislative session started, even though the House has conducted little business without a majority. The 40-member House has 23 Republicans but just 20 of them have aligned with the GOP caucus.

AL: Judge finds Alabama prisons 'deliberately indifferent’ to isolated inmates

al.com

A federal judge ruled that the Alabama Department of Corrections fails to adequately evaluate the mental health of inmates isolated in segregation cells, causing a risk of serious harm, and that the agency is “deliberately indifferent” to that failure. 

NV: Gun background check bill set to pass in Nevada

reviewjournal.com

Background checks on private gun sales in Nevada would start in 2020 under a bill introduced in the Senate with majority support of the legislature. The bill could be approved by both houses and signed into law by the governor this week.

OK: Oklahoma House passes first abortion-related bill of the session

tulsaworld.com

A bill from Oklahoma Rep. Jon Echols, a Republican, would strip Medicaid eligibility from providers of "services relating to pregnancy or termination of pregnancy" who do not report evidence of the rape of a minor.

NM: 330 more migrants taken into custody at remote New Mexico port of entry

abqjournal.com

Another group of migrants, this one made up of 330 adults and children, was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents in southern New Mexico. This is the 28th group of over 100 people apprehended since October in this area alone, officials said.

MS: Mississippi sues federal government over river flooding

apnews.com

The state of Mississippi is suing the federal government, claiming a dam complex in Louisiana that keeps the Mississippi River from changing course is harming state land. The suit seeks at least $25 million in damages and touches on one of the most sensitive engineering questions in the nation.

AZ: Arizona passes bill altering teaching of non-English speaking students

azcentral.com

Arizona lawmakers are overhauling an oft-debated state law that requires non-English speaking students to sit through four hours of language instruction each day. Researchers say the law has resulted in unintended segregation in Arizona's schools. The Senate and House unanimously approved the bill that awaits approval from Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. 

IA: Iowa's city debt surpasses $6B; aging infrastructure a key factor

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa’s city government debt last year surpassed the $6 billion mark for the first time in state history. The state’s aging sewers, roadways and other critical infrastructure are driving the upward trend, the data show. But changes in Iowa’s property tax laws and spiking costs in raw materials, such as steel and concrete, also are likely contributing factors, advocates said.

TX: Thousands of Texans shocked by surprise medical bills

texastribune.org

Thousands of Texans seeking government help with surprise medical bills were hit with another shock last year: a clogged-up consumer protection bureaucracy. A massive backlog that began last summer left state regulators unable to provide timely help to the thousands of Texans who requested mediation from the Texas Department of Insurance.

GA: Georgia House passes bill for local power companies to sell internet

ajc.com

The Georgia House voted unanimously to expand internet access in rural areas by allowing local electricity cooperatives to sell online service. The legislation would permit Georgia’s 41 electric membership corporations to offer high-speed internet service as well as power.

FL: Parkland families push petitions for 2020 ban on assault weapons in Florida

miamiherald.com

Unlikely to convince a conservative state government to ban assault weapons, the families of slain Parkland students are turning to the voters. Relatives of some of the 17 people killed in the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High gathered with activists to submit the first of what they hope will be more than 1 million petitions signed in a push to force a 2020 ballot question.

ND: North Dakota House to consider updating breastfeeding law

bismarcktribune.com

A North Dakota House bill would remove requirements that women breastfeed in a “discreet and modest manner” while in public, language that bill proponents said is up to each person's interpretation. It received a "do not pass" recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee. About a fifth of the chamber's 94 members are women.

Utah Limits Voter-Approved Medicaid Expansion Pharmacy Benefit Managers
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