Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/16

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/16

MT: Montana Senate endorses Medicaid expansion

billingsgazette.com

The Montana Senate by a 1-vote margin endorsed a bill to continue Medicaid expansion in the state with the addition of work requirements and an expiration date of 2025. It needs to clear a final vote to move back to the House. There, representatives will consider amendments added by the Senate.

DE: Delaware early voting bill could lead to more people casting ballots

delawareonline.com

Delaware is changing how early residents can vote. Legislation, which now goes to Democratic Gov. John Carney, would allow voters to cast their ballots up to 10 days ahead of any general, primary or special election — including the weekend before Election Day.

KS: Kansas governor signs hemp bill

apnews.com

The new Kansas law taking effect later this month replaces a state program for researching hemp and its potential uses with a program for commercial production. Lawmakers authorized the research program last year after federal farm legislation allowed commercial hemp production.

AZ: Border fence construction ramps up in Arizona

azcentral.com

Construction along the Arizona-Mexico border will resume this month with newer, taller fence designs intended to discourage migrants from scaling over or burrowing under border structures. Construction crews will break ground on the replacement of 26 miles of metal barriers near Yuma.

NY: New York aims to curb food waste

timesunion.com

New state requirements for handling excess food could reduce the state’s carbon footprint and help address hunger in New York. Starting in 2022, large food generators — including supermarkets, colleges, hotels and sporting venues — will be required to donate leftover edible food. 

WA: Washington Senate passes bills aimed at helping consumers break out of debt

seattletimes.com

Washington state’s Senate approved a batch of new bills aimed at helping struggling consumers break out of debt in a state known for having some of the most punishing debt-collection laws in the country.

CA: California governor won’t block building in high-fire areas

apnews.com

A desire to live near nature is embedded in California’s ethos, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said as he explained why he doesn’t want to block home building near forested areas at high risk for wildfires. More than 2.7 million Californians live in areas state fire officials say are at a very high hazard for wildfires.

NE: Nebraska advances bill to allow hemp to be grown there again

omaha.com

Industrial hemp could be on its way back to Nebraska fields after almost 80 years. The federal government allowed hemp production in the 1940s, during World War II. At the time, Nebraska was the top-producing state.

CT: Connecticut lawmakers debate ending vaccine exemption for religious reasons

apnews.com

A group of state lawmakers, mostly Republicans, are fighting back against discussions to possibly eliminate a religious exemption to the requirement that Connecticut schoolchildren be vaccinated, arguing it would be unconstitutional.

LA: Support builds for keeping source of Louisiana death penalty drugs secret

nola.com

Louisiana has 72 death-row inmates but hasn’t executed anyone since 2010. The Department of Public Safety and Corrections is struggling to obtain lethal injection drugs for executions in part because Louisiana’s public records laws allow for the disclosure of the manufacturer and pharmacists that supply the substance. 

AR: New laws assist ailing Arkansas firefighters

arkansasonline.com

With a trio of bills signed recently by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas has risen to the nation's forefront in protecting firefighters with cancer, according to firefighter activists.

FL: Florida governor wants controversial speakers to be welcome on university campuses

miamiherald.com

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said all of Florida’s colleges and universities should adopt a resolution similar to the “Chicago principles,” a statement on campus free speech that declares all viewpoints should be allowed.

CO: Colorado lawmakers consider rent control regulations

denverpost.com

A Colorado Senate bill would lift a statewide prohibition against local governments implementing rent-control policies. Backers argue rent-control measures would limit rent increases as the market catches up with population growth.

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