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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/21

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/21

TX: Texas' second Supreme Court loss in a death penalty case spurs GOP support for change

texastribune.org

Two key Republican lawmakers have signed on to a Democrat’s bill that would establish a pretrial procedure to determine if capital murder defendants in Texas are intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for the death penalty.

WV: West Virginia teachers end strike

usatoday.com

West Virginia teachers ended their second strike in less than a year after assurances that lawmakers would not tie teacher pay raises to funds for charter schools. Across the state, charity groups scrambled to provide lunches and child care for students during the two-day strike that closed most state schools.

NC: GOP candidate's son says he warned of illegal activity in North Carolina

npr.org

On day three of a hearing meant to get to the bottom of an absentee ballot scheme in the as-yet-undecided U.S. House race in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, Republican Mark Harris' son testified that he warned his father about the political operative at the investigation's center.

WI: Wisconsin governor vetoes GOP tax cut, will include own cut in budget

jsonline.com

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued his first veto, rejecting a Republican plan to cut income taxes for middle-class families by using money leftover in the current state budget. Instead, Evers will include the same size tax cut — 10 percent — in his first two-year budget proposal set to be released next week.

KS: Kansas Senate passes Farm Bureau health-plan bill, dodges Medicaid expansion

cjonline.com

A bid to force debate on Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan for Medicaid expansion was blocked on procedural grounds ahead of Kansas Senate votes to advance a bill that would give Kansas Farm Bureau the exclusive opportunity to offer a basic health benefit plan not subject to standard medical insurance policies.

NM: More New Mexico counties adopt resolutions against gun bills

apnews.com

Two more rural counties in New Mexico have passed resolutions saying they will not require their sheriffs to enforce a series of gun-control proposals that have gone before state lawmakers. Commissioners in San Juan County in the state’s northwest corner and in Eddy County in the southeast have adopted “Second Amendment Sanctuary County” resolutions.

NY: New York plans public hearings on 2020 census

apnews.com

New York state officials have scheduled a series of public hearings to discuss the upcoming federal census and how to ensure all New Yorkers are counted. The state Complete Count Commission, appointed last month, says the first hearing on the 2020 census will be held March 4 in Rochester.

CA: Feds want California to return $2.5B in high-speed rail funding

fortune.com

The U.S. Department of Transportation is canceling a grant to the California High-Speed Rail Project and "actively exploring every legal option" for the return of $2.5 billion already contributed. Gov. Gavin Newson, a Democrat, accused the Trump administration of retaliating for California's leading role in a lawsuit that challenges the administration’s declaration of an emergency at the Mexican border.

FL: Florida likely to ban practice of luring sharks to shore

foxnews.com

Florida is expected later this month to approve a statewide ban on a common practice used by fishermen that involves dumping bloody fish guts off its shoreline to lure sharks. Some fishermen said the ban would penalize those who can't afford to fish from boats.

CT: Connecticut residents would get toll discounts

ctpost.com

A highway tolling system that could raise $800 million a year would include at least 30-percent discounts for Connecticut residents, according to details in Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s budget.

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