Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/15

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/15

AL: Alabama overwhelmingly passes abortion bill

al.com

The Alabama Senate voted 25-6 to pass a bill that would almost totally ban abortion in the state and make it a felony for a doctor to perform one. The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who could sign it into law.

GA: Feds: Georgia insurance commissioner used fraud to fund campaign

ajc.com

Georgia’s insurance commissioner has been indicted on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. The proceeds of the alleged schemes earned him millions, some of which he used for his campaign for statewide office, according to the grand jury indictment against the former insurance lobbyist.

TX: Texas House votes to raise legal smoking age to 21

texastribune.org

If the bill becomes law, Texas would become the 14th state to raise the legal tobacco purchasing age to 21 and the third to include military exemptions. The stricter age restriction would apply to tobacco products such as cigarettes, as well as e-cigarette products.

MI: Republicans in Michigan House, Senate pass anti-abortion bills

freep.com

On straight party-line votes, Michigan Republicans passed measures that would criminalize an abortion procedure that is performed in the second trimester. But Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has pledged to veto any bills that restrict access to abortion.

FL: Florida may create prostitution registry for pimps and johns

tampabay.com

To deter pimps and johns, Florida lawmakers voted to create the “Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database,” which lists the names, addresses and color photographs of people who are convicted or plead no contest to soliciting prostitution.

ME: Maine Senate reverses course, ends religious exemption for vaccines

pressherald.com

The Maine Senate voted 18-17 to remove religious exemptions from the state’s school vaccination law, reversing a vote taken last week and setting the bill to significantly strengthen childhood vaccination requirements on a course for final approval.

IL: Bipartisan bill would hike fines for violating move-over law in Illinois

chicagotribune.com

After two Illinois State Police troopers died in roadside collisions this year, Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his state police director are joining a bipartisan group of lawmakers in backing legislation that would hike penalties for drivers who don’t slow down or move over for vehicles on the side of the road.

ND: North Dakota lawsuit against opioid producers dismissed

bismarcktribune.com

The North Dakota lawsuit filed by the state attorney general aimed to hold big pharma accountable for the impact of the opioid epidemic. It claimed Purdue Pharma spurred the opioid epidemic through "an aggressive and successful marketing campaign."

NY: New York lawmakers consider expanding access to public information

timesunion.com

Efforts to expand access to public information collected by law enforcement are gaining traction in the New York Capitol. Legislation advanced by a Senate committee would prevent law enforcement agencies from automatically rejecting freedom of information requests for records involved in a judicial proceeding.

MO: Missouri on verge of making hearing aids more accessible to poor people

stltoday.com

Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to a proposal that would help people who are deaf or hard of hearing access hearing aids. The bill creates a hearing aid distribution program that will provide financial assistance for those earning less than the federal poverty level.

MN: Minnesota gun control proposals hit obstacle in conference committee

startribune.com

Two gun-control measures deemed a top priority by Minnesota Democratic lawmakers this session — to expand criminal background checks to private gun sales and create a “red flag” law — were dealt an all-but-fatal blow after they failed to advance on a party-line vote in a joint conference committee. 

MA: Massachusetts governor pledges major reforms for troubled foster care system

bostonglobe.com

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced a plan to boost the number of social workers who communicate directly with foster families in Massachusetts, hire 11 additional employees to recruit more foster families, and offer new training for foster families who are struggling to care for severely traumatized children.

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