Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/18

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/18

CA: Trump plans to revoke key California environmental power after getting spurned over auto deal

latimes.com

President Donald Trump is expected to revoke a decades-old rule that empowers California to set tougher car pollution standards than those required by the federal government — putting the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a path to years of fighting in court.

NM: New Mexico announces plan for free college

nytimes.com

In one of the boldest state-led efforts to expand access to higher education, New Mexico is unveiling a plan to make tuition at its public colleges and universities free for all state residents, regardless of family income. Nearly half of the states have guaranteed free two- or four-year public college to some students. 

MA: Massachusetts congressional delegation says tariffs are hurting lobster industry

apnews.com

Members of Massachusetts’ all-Democratic congressional delegation are pressing federal officials to find new export markets for the American lobster industry. The group says the Trump administration’s trade war with China — and China’s 25% tariffs on imported American lobsters — are hurting local lobster companies, leaving them vulnerable to competition from Canada.

FL: Bill would repeal Florida constitutional amendment process that ‘ran amok’

miamiherald.com

In a sweeping indictment of the work of the constitutional review panel controlled by former Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s appointees, a key Florida Senate committee advanced a proposal that will ask voters in November 2020 to remove the Constitution Revision Commission from the state’s top legal document.

CO: Colorado is first state prepared to fight fires at night

kunc.org

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control has trained two pilots so far this year to fly over fire sites with night vision goggles. A ground team helps guide them. There are costs and hazards involved, but the move could help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

TX: Texas now tracks hateful rhetoric online

houstonchronicle.com

The Texas Department of Public Safety has started monitoring racist and incendiary rhetoric online, such as that used by the suspected El Paso shooter, in the hopes of preventing violent attacks in the future.

UT: Utah lawmakers approve $1M for census preparations

sltrib.com

Six months after refusing to set aside any money for promoting a complete and accurate count in next year’s census, Utah lawmakers have changed their minds. The legislature appropriated $1 million to pay for promotional and outreach efforts for the census during a one-day special session. 

SD: South Dakota governor: Recent weather a 'slow-rolling natural disaster of epic proportions'

argusleader.com

South Dakota's weather events this year, beginning with the bomb cyclone pummeling South Dakota with snow in March followed by rain every few weeks, has cumulatively become "the largest natural disaster our state has ever seen," Republican Gov. Kristi Noem said.

VA: Virginia governor calls for carbon-free electricity by 2050

richmond.com

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam called on state agencies and public institutions to create a plan that will make Virginia's electric grid solely dependent on carbon-free sources like wind, solar and nuclear energy.

PA: Here’s what Pennsylvania is doing to address climate change — and why politics is making it difficult

inquirer.com

As the federal government under President Donald Trump has worked to roll back environmental protections and individual states have taken dramatic steps to combat climate change, Pennsylvania this year unveiled a sweeping plan to reduce the state’s carbon footprint.

IA, CA: California AG bans taxpayer-funded travel to Iowa over transgender surgery restrictions

desmoinesregister.com

California has banned taxpayer-funded travel to Iowa because of the state's new law restricting health care for transgender Iowans seeking transition-related care.

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