Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/14

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/14

AR, UT: Arkansas, Utah lawmakers approve 18-week abortion bans

apnews.com

Lawmakers in Arkansas and Utah sent their governors legislation banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, moving the states closer to enacting bans that could be among the strictest in the country.

WA: Presidential tax return requirement passes Washington Senate

apnews.com

The bill, inspired by President Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, would require candidates to release five years of returns before they could appear on either the primary or general election ballot in Washington state.

CA: ICE is tracking immigrants with the help of California sanctuary cities, court records show

latimes.com

Civil rights groups in California want police and sheriffs’ departments to stop sending license plate scanner information to a national private database, saying new public documents show federal immigration agents are using the system in breach of sanctuary state and city laws.

NE: Nebraska bill targets human trafficking of adults, minors

apnews.com

Nebraska lawmakers are considering another effort to clamp down on human trafficking by increasing, and in some cases eliminating, the statute of limitations for the crime. A bill presented to the legislature’s Judiciary Committee would increase the statute of limitations for labor or sex trafficking of an adult and abolish it if the victim was a minor.

MO: Bible studies in a public high school? It could happen in Missouri

stltoday.com

Missouri lawmakers gave initial approval to a controversial plan allowing public school districts to offer elective courses on the Bible. Following the lead of at least five other states that are considering similar proposals, the House voted in favor of allowing the literary basis for the Christian religion to have a place in taxpayer-funded high schools.

MD: Maryland set to add 'X' gender designation to driver's licenses

baltimoresun.com

Marylanders who don't identify as either male or female could decline to identify a gender on their driver's licenses starting in October under a bill the General Assembly approved.

TX: Texas Senate seeks to tap billions from rainy day fund

statesman.com

Aiming to cover lingering expenses related to Hurricane Harvey and add additional safety measures at schools, Texas state senators approved spending more than $4 billion from the state rainy day fund as part of a stop-gap spending measure.

AK: Alaska poised to let people use marijuana at certain stores

apnews.com

Alaska is poised to become the first state in the nation with statewide rules allowing people to use marijuana at certain stores where they buy it. Rules governing the use of marijuana at authorized stores will take effect April 11.

TN: Tennessee lawmakers propose to support families caring for kids with disabilities

tennessean.com

Tennessee legislators filed a bill amendment that could help create a pathway to Medicaid services for children who have a long-term disability or complex medical needs who live at home with their families and are not currently on Medicaid.

FL: In landslide vote, Florida House agrees to end ban on smoking medical marijuana

miamiherald.com

The Florida bill allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days as recommended by their qualified doctor.

KY: Kentucky lawmakers poised to cut taxes by $105M for banks, others

kentucky.com

Kentucky legislators appear ready to approve a tax bill that would cut revenue by $105 million, largely for banks, even as the state struggles to find money to pay down its $37 billion pension debt.

CO: Colorado Senate approves hospital price transparency bill

denverpost.com

Colorado’s Senate has tentatively endorsed legislation requiring hospitals to disclose many of their expenditures to the state to help lower health care costs. Another vote will send the bill to the House, which has approved it, to consider Senate amendments.

GA: New statewide voting machines approved by Georgia Senate

ajc.com

The majority-Republican Georgia Senate approved a new statewide voting system that combines touchscreens and paper ballots. Democrats say the new voting method will be just as vulnerable to hacking and computer errors as the state’s current electronic voting machines.

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