Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/1

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/1

UT: Utah bans beer at karaoke, ax-throwing businesses

sltrib.com

Beer will not be allowed at a karaoke business in Salt Lake City or an ax-throwing venue in Ogden, because neither fits the definition of a recreational amenity, under a new Utah law. The law lists specific businesses that can have recreational beer licenses.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court restores former governor's appointments

jsonline.com

Fifteen people appointed by former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, are back in their state positions following a decision by the state Supreme Court in a lawsuit challenging action taken by GOP lawmakers to limit the power of incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

MN: Minnesota House backs gun control plans over GOP objections

apnews.com

The Minnesota House advanced legislation to expand criminal background check requirements for all gun transfers, and to allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from people deemed an imminent threat to themselves or others.

NY: After backlash, New York City withholds online voter information

nytimes.com

Bowing to fierce criticism from elected officials and privacy advocates, the New York City Board of Elections has removed the voter enrollment books that it had posted online, which had included every registered voter’s full name, party affiliation and home address. Officials said the online publication was necessary given changes to election law at the state level.

CT: Connecticut to ask towns to share teacher pension costs

courant.com

Connecticut Democratic lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont plan to have cities and towns share in the cost of public school teachers’ pensions. Local leaders criticized the idea, saying it would cost municipalities a combined $73 million a year and would lead to property tax increases.

TX: Texas stops sharing death row inmate’s final statements

apnews.com

Texas prison officials abruptly halted the practice of sharing death row inmates’ final written statements after a lawmaker expressed outrage over the state relaying the last words of an avowed racist executed for the 1998 dragging death of a black man.

ND, WA: North Dakota, Washington state at odds over oil train rules

apnews.com

North Dakota officials are pressuring the state of Washington to back off from legislation requiring oil shipped by rail to have more of its volatile gases removed, urging Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to veto the bill and threatening a lawsuit over worries it could hamper the energy industry of the nation’s No. 2 crude producer.

CA: California’s canine blood banks harvest from caged dogs

latimes.com

California’s two canine blood banks each use hundreds of dogs, which are kept caged in donor colonies, for the sole purpose of drawing their blood every 10 to 14 days. Animal welfare groups have accused these facilities of mistreating the donor dogs, but those claims are difficult to verify given the secrecy in which the blood banks operate.

IA: Iowa lawmakers block funds for transgender transition care

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa lawmakers passed legislation to allow government entities to opt out of using public insurance dollars, including Medicaid, to pay for transition-related surgeries. If signed, the law would effectively overrule the Iowa Supreme Court’s March decision that said the state should pay for transition care.

NC: North Carolina educator protest prompts pay raise proposal

charlotteobserver.com

North Carolina lawmakers announced plans to give school employees pay raises this year and to restore extra pay for educators who have advanced degrees. The announcement came a day ahead of a protest that’s expected to bring thousands of educators to the capital city of Raleigh.

VA: Virginia governor signs cellphone ban for drivers in work zones

wtop.com

Driving in a Virginia work zone while holding a cellphone will now be against the law. Violators will face a $250 fine. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed the bill adding the new, broader anti-distracted-driving restriction to Virginia’s existing ban on texting while driving anywhere in the state.

NM: Patriot groups seek to overturn New Mexico state laws

apnews.com

Self-proclaimed patriot groups in New Mexico have initiated long-shot efforts at overturning progressive-minded state laws by referendum. Efforts are under way to initiate a 2020 referendum on newly approved laws aimed at protecting wildlife, creating a state university affiliate in Mexico and renaming Columbus Day to honor Native Americans.

NE: Nebraska moves to raise e-cig age to 19 instead of to 21

apnews.com

Nebraska lawmakers advanced a bill to set the minimum legal age to use electronic cigarettes at 19. Senators advanced the bill after rejecting an attempt to increase the minimum age to 21.

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