A bill to end Maine’s religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccines is headed to the state Senate for a final vote before heading to the governor’s desk. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ administration has backed the bill to end nonmedical vaccine opt-outs by 2021 for schoolchildren, as well as nursery school and health care facility employees.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling for a sweeping review of election systems security and cyber security across Florida in the wake of revelations that Russian hackers infiltrated two counties in 2016. The Washington Post and Politico have reported that Washington County in the Panhandle was one of the affected counties.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, is partnering with a Georgia-based company to test and promote a product that uses 3D imaging and artificial intelligence to detect concealed weapons on people in public spaces. Because the imaging technology identifies objects, rather than people, Reyes said he believes it could be less invasive than, say, facial recognition technology.
The Texas Senate unanimously voted to expand the state's Compassionate Use Program, which currently limits the sale of cannabis oil to some people with intractable epilepsy. The bill approved by the Senate would expand the list to other conditions, including multiple sclerosis, ALS, terminal cancer and autism.
Wisconsin officials desperate to find attorneys for indigent defendants up north have resorted to promoting tourist opportunities for long-haul lawyers — including the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and its big musky, a four-plus-story-high fish. The state pays private lawyers who agree to take cases the public defender can't because of conflicts only $40 an hour — the lowest in the nation.
A Michigan lawmaker wants to give state residents a two-week head start over out-of-staters in making reservations at campgrounds in state parks. Michigan taxpayers at least partially subsidize state parks, reasoned bill sponsor Rep. Steven Johnson, a Republican, so they should get first crack at the primo spots.
Half of Maryland’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2030 under a bill that is set to become law without Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's signature. The General Assembly passed the measure last month, requiring utilities in the state to subsidize solar and wind farms.
Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill allowing for more regulations of short-term rental operators in the state. The new law targets “party houses,” or rentals used for weddings and other large events. Residents have raised complaints after a 2017 law expanded protections for short-term rentals.
The new Colorado law allows employees who believe they are being paid less because of their gender to file a lawsuit within two years. Employers found to have paid someone less because of their gender must pay the amount the employee would have made the previous three years if there had not been discrimination.
Environmentalists and activists arrested for protesting around the Bayou Bridge pipeline have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that allows law enforcement to charge protesters as felons. Detractors say the law infringes on first amendment rights of free speech.
To many residents in suburban areas, the California legislation was a threat — one they felt would have taken power away from local officials, destroyed the character of neighborhoods and allowed development interests to overrun communities with expensive new projects.
Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration says there is no valid appropriation to fund Alaska public schools for the upcoming fiscal year. Lawmakers last year passed legislation approving K-12 funding for the upcoming year, but Attorney General Kevin Clarkson has said it improperly binds the governor and violates a constitutional prohibition against dedicating state revenue.
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a plan to increase fees on prescription drug manufacturers and distributors to pay for a statewide response to the opioid epidemic in Minnesota. The legislation, which passed both chambers with bipartisan support, is expected to raise more than $20 million a year for addiction prevention and treatment.
The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved legislation to pay $50,000 a year out of the state treasury for each year spent in prison to: “innocent persons who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes who through no fault of their own have been uniquely victimized, and are deserving of consideration and remuneration for this miscarriage of justice.”