Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/18

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/18

CA: California eyes $1.7 billion penalty for PG&E in two deadly wildfires

sacbee.com

California regulators proposed a $1.7 billion settlement with PG&E over the disastrous 2017 and 2018 wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission staff proposed the deal as part of a settlement agreement with the troubled utility.

VA: Virginia governor proposes tax hikes on tobacco products, motor fuels

richmond.com

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is proposing a two-year state budget with big tax increases on tobacco products and motor vehicle fuels, but he wants to use the money to lower health insurance premiums, end annual vehicle inspections and cut vehicle registration fees in half.

MI: Michigan sues opioid makers under law against drug dealing

detroitnews.com

Michigan is the first state in the nation to file suit against drug companies under a state drug dealer law — the 1994 Michigan Drug Dealer Liability Act — that is usually reserved for street-level drug operations. The lawsuit seeks more than $1 billion from AmerisourceBergen, CardinalHealth, Walgreens and McKesson.

DC: In latest spending bill, Congress still won't allow D.C. pot sales

wamu.org

Any hopes that the District of Columbia may soon legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use are being put on hold again. As part of a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill Congress was expected to pass, it will continue to prohibit the District from passing any bill legalizing or regulating marijuana sales.

NM: Hard times for a hot commodity, the prized New Mexico chile

nytimes.com

Years of drought, erratic weather and other stresses are taking their toll on the peppers that are central to New Mexico’s economy and identity. Excessive heat, a symptom of climate change felt across the Southwest, can blister the chiles' fragile skin and interrupt the growth cycle.

CA: California law mandating women on company boards has big effect

wsj.com

California last year passed a law requiring corporate boards to include female directors. What happened? Companies added them in droves. Ninety-three California-based members of the Russell 3,000 public companies had all-male boards when the law was passed; only 17 do now.

IL: Illinois governor threatens crackdown on ‘bad actors’ who affect medical pot availability

chicagotribune.com

Responding to growing concerns over shortages and price gouging involving medical cannabis, Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration warned that he will crack down on any “bad actors” who may violate laws meant to protect patients.

NJ: New Jersey lawmakers pass bill banning hairstyle discrimination

nj.com

New Jersey lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban discrimination based on the style or texture of someone’s hair. The measure was introduced after a New Jersey high school wrestler was forced by a referee to choose between forfeiting his match or cutting his dreadlocks and competing. 

OK: Oklahoma appeals opioid verdict claiming $465M award is not enough

oklahoman.com

Contending that a $465 million verdict awarded against opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson will be insufficient to fully abate the state's opioid epidemic, the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court seeking authority to come back and ask for more later.

MA, NH: Married couple plead guilty to voting in New Hampshire and Massachusetts

apnews.com

A married couple pleaded guilty to knowingly voting in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and were handed suspended jail sentences. They are barred from voting in New Hampshire. The guilty pleas are part of a campaign by the state to crack down on voter fraud since the state hired an investigator in 2017 to enforce voting laws.

NV: Nevada governor proposes major changes to state tax incentives

thenevadaindependent.com

Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak promised major changes to Nevada’s system for tax incentives, saying the state needs to focus on quality, higher-wage jobs over quantity.

UT: Universal background check gun bill resurfaces in Utah

sltrib.com

After unsuccessfully championing a bill during the 2019 legislative session that would require universal background checks for most gun sales in Utah, Democratic state Rep. Brian King brought together a group of gun safety advocates to announce his intention to run the legislation again in the upcoming session.

WI: Wisconsin DOJ appeals voter purge ruling

wpr.org

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has appealed a judge's order that the state remove up to 234,000 names from its voter rolls.

WA: Washington attorney general sues Trump administration over courthouse arrests

seattletimes.com

Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration, saying immigration arrests at courthouses violate individuals’ constitutional right to access courthouses and states’ right to operate their justice systems without federal interference.

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