Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/22

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/22

US: In 3 states, two-thirds of statehouse races were uncontested

apnews.com

In some states, one political party dominates even without a lift from gerrymandering. The most extreme examples are Hawaii, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, all of which have legislatures controlled by Democrats. 

WI: Wisconsin governor moves to exit Obamacare suit after judge blocks lame-duck laws

jsonline.com

A Dane County judge blocked a series of laws that limited the powers of Wisconsin’s governor and attorney general. Within hours, the two Democrats used the decision to try to get Wisconsin out of a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act that their Republican predecessors joined. 

CA: California mayors push governor for more funding to address homelessness

latimes.com

Mayors from 11 large California cities lobbied Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, asking for hundreds of millions in additional funding to combat homelessness in their communities.

CO: Democratic support for death penalty repeal softens in Colorado

denverpost.com

An expected debate and vote on repealing the death penalty has been delayed in the Colorado Senate amid questions about whether it has the votes to pass — one of the first cracks to show among the Democrats who control both legislative chambers.

TX: Texas officials say it would cost $1 billion to cool prisons 

texastribune.org

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has put a hefty $1 billion price tag on the proposed installation of air conditioning in all uncooled prisons. But skeptical lawmakers note thatthe department has a history of greatly overestimating cooling costs.

LA: Louisiana lawmakers to consider ‘do-not-sell’ gun self-registry 

nola.com

A voluntary “do-not-sell” gun list in Louisiana would block people who fear they’re suicidal from buying a gun, while making it a crime to knowingly sell them a firearm. The bill is known as “Donna’s Law” after a New Orleans woman who killed herself with a gun last year.

FL: Florida House advances school security bill that would allow armed teachers

tampabay.com

The bill would allow school districts to let teachers voluntarily participate in Florida’s armed guardian program if they pass a rigorous background check and complete required training.

GA: New investigation targets lost Georgia absentee ballot requests

ajc.com

Georgia’s Republican secretary of state is opening a new investigation into allegations by the Democratic party that 4,700 absentee ballot requests went missing before November's election.

MI: Michigan bill would lower drunken-driving limit to 0.05

apnews.com

Michigan would become the second state to lower its drunken-driving limit to a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent, down from 0.08 percent – the limit in 48 other states.

MT: Montana Legislature endorses bill to reduce taxes on Social Security

apnews.com

The bill would exempt from taxes the first $30,000 in Social Security income for a single person and $60,000 for a couple. Current exemptions were set in 1983 and have not been adjusted for inflation since.

VT: Vermont Senate approves 24-hour waiting period for handgun transfers

burlingtonfreepress.com

In Vermont, a background check is required to sell a handgun. The state Senate just approved a bill that would also require the seller to wait 24 hours before handing over the handgun. 

MA: These are the hidden titans of Massachusetts marijuana

bostonglobe.com

In Massachusetts, no firm is legally permitted to own — or control — more than three stores that sell recreational pot. But two large firms are threatening the state’s promise to make the marijuana marketplace a fair one in which diversity of ownership is prized and small players have a chance.

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