Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/26

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/26

WI: Wisconsin governor wants to freeze voucher enrollment, suspend charter creation

jsonline.com

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is seeking to undo expansions of private voucher schools and independent charter schools passed by Republicans over the last decade. Aides say the proposals are an attempt to reduce property taxes and stabilize what the Democratic governor sees as two parallel systems of education in Wisconsin.

CO: Colorado Democrats seek to let Denver, other cities raise the minimum wage

denverpost.com

A Colorado House bill would overturn a decades-old state law that prevents cities and counties across the state from setting their own minimum wage. Dozens of local officials in places like Denver and Boulder are saying their residents can’t make ends meet on Colorado’s current hourly minimum of $11.10 an hour.

AL: Alabama governor to announce gas tax plan for roads

al.com

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey is close to announcing a plan to increase funding for Alabama roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Deficiencies in county roads and bridges have been one of the main problems cited by supporters of an increase in the state gasoline tax, which hasn’t changed since 1992.

NY: Dismissed child abuse charges can still cost New Yorkers jobs

nytimes.com

Every state maintains a registry which can help track serial child abusers. But in New York, it is especially easy to get on the database and arduous to be removed, amounting to a blacklist for many jobs even when allegations are unfounded. 

TX: Federal judge directs more Texas counties to halt voter citizenship review efforts

texastribune.org

As part of an ongoing flurry of litigation in federal court over Texas' bungled citizenship review of its voter rolls, a federal judge told a handful of counties they may not — for now — purge registered voters or send them letters demanding proof of citizenship.

KS: Kansas will disclose details about foster system’s missing children

apnews.com

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly pledged to give legislators and the general public more information about children who run away or go missing from the state’s foster care system, starting with a daily count. The Democratic governor announced the launch of a website that will provide statistics about missing foster children.

NM: New Mexico House passes justice and parole changes

apnews.com

The New Mexico House has passed two criminal justice bills aimed at reducing recidivism and better integrating prison inmates back into society. One would create a framework for counseling and addiction treatment to help prison inmates make the transition back to their communities. A second bill would require parole after 30 years of incarceration for life sentences unless the state Parole Board decides otherwise.

NC: North Carolina governor asks for school bond, Medicaid expansion

charlotteobserver.com

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper proposed billions of dollars for school construction and Medicaid expansion in his State of the State speech. This session, Democrats have added enough seats in the Republican-controlled General Assembly to uphold the Democratic governor’s vetoes.

AR: Arkansas lawmakers back limited use of herbicide dicamba

apnews.com

Arkansas lawmakers have endorsed a proposal to allow limited use of an herbicide that was banned following complaints that it drifted onto nearby crops and caused widespread damage. Arkansas enacted the ban last year after receiving nearly 1,000 complaints.

MN: Google seeks tax breaks for $600M data center in Minnesota

mprnews.org

Google's plan to build a $600 million data center in the central Minnesota city of Becker is drawing support from both renewable energy advocates and local government officials fretting the impending closure of a large, coal-fired power plant. Google is seeking local tax breaks that could save it up to $15 million. A state bill would provide $20.1 million in bonding for infrastructure improvements.

MA: Six ‘red flag’ orders to remove firearms have been issued in Massachusetts

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts judges have issued a half-dozen orders stripping firearms from people identified as being dangers to themselves or others since a new so-called red-flag law passed last summer, state court officials said.

HI: Hawaii lawmakers consider fines for trespassing hikers who need rescue

staradvertiser.com

A bill that would require public safety agencies to seek reimbursement from hikers who are rescued while trespassing on public trails is making its way through the Hawaii legislature. Democratic state Sen. Mike Gabbard introduced the bill that would impose fines of $500 to $1,000 in addition to search and rescue costs.

WA: Washington state to sue over Trump’s new abortion policy

apnews.com

Washington state Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he will sue to challenge President Donald Trump’s policy setting up new obstacles for women seeking abortions, calling it “a transparent attack on Planned Parenthood” that would severely impair access to many types of medical care, especially for low-income women in rural areas.

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