Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/19

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 12/19

TN: Tennessee will continue accepting refugees, governor says; legislative leaders signal disapproval

tennessean.com

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, announced the state will continue to accept refugees, joining only a handful of Republican-led states in doing so as a deadline looms to inform the federal government of the state's stance on resettlement.

NJ: New laws will clear New Jersey criminal records for weed, allow people on parole to vote

nj.com

Some 80,000 people in New Jersey will have their voting rights restored and more will see their criminal records expunged, thanks to two bills Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law.

MI: Michigan recalls vaping products with Vitamin E acetate

mlive.com

Michigan recalled products containing Vitamin E acetate, the banned ingredient suspected of causing 52 lung-related deaths and more than 2,400 hospitalizations nationwide since March. Affected were almost 65,000 cartridges, most of which will be destroyed.

GA: Georgia judge to reconsider arguments against purge of 300K voters

fox5atlanta.com

Lawyers are headed to court Thursday hoping to stop the state of Georgia from removing 309,000 people from the voter rolls. Earlier this week, a federal judge approved the plan but agreed to take it up again. The state is removing the voters from the rolls because they've either moved or failed to cast a ballot in recent elections.

MO: Missouri lawmaker wants to stop playful highway messages 

news-leader.com

Signs along Missouri interstates read: "Camp in the Ozarks ... Not the Left Lane" or "Treat the Road Like a Cat Video ... Share It." But Republican state Rep. Tony Lovasco filed a bill that would prohibit the Missouri Department of Transportation from using the signs to convey anything other than traffic conditions, weather or emergency alerts.

NC: North Carolina school district cracking down on delivered lunches

newsobserver.com

Students in North Carolina’s largest school district are increasingly turning to food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Grubhub to get their meals on campus instead of eating school lunches. But the presence of these delivery people is raising safety and disruption concerns, leading to new rules to restrict deliveries.

NV: Nevada accuses U.S. of ‘secret plutonium smuggling’

apnews.com

Nevada wants a federal judge to declare illegal what it calls the U.S. government’s “secret plutonium smuggling operation” and order the removal of weapons-grade material already shipped to a security site north of Las Vegas over the state’s objections.

IL: Sports betting is coming to phones in Illinois

chicagotribune.com

Earlier this year, Illinois legislators wrote online wagering into the bill that legalized sports betting. The Illinois Gaming Board is supposed to finalize license application rules by this week. Online sports betting has become the default option in the handful of states that offer it — in New Jersey, second only to Nevada as a sports gambling market, 86% of wagers are made that way.

NY: New York governor takes aim at high prescription drug prices

timesunion.com

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a $100-per-month cap on insulin copayments and a state investigation into rising drug prices. The Democrat also intends to establish a commission to study drug importation from Canada.

ME: Maine governor inaugural committee fined for late fundraising

apnews.com

The Maine Ethics Commission fined the inaugural committee of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills $2,000. Democratic Senate candidate Betsy Sweet, meanwhile, agreed to repay more than $8,000 in taxpayer money used to fund her 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

OK: Oklahoma schools vying to keep 4-day weeks despite new limits

oklahoman.com

Supporters of four-day school weeks say newly proposed rules from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, responding to legislation passed this year, would force nearly all districts operating on shortened weeks to resume five-day schedules.

AR: Panel plans 2.5% raises for Arkansas lawmakers, top officials

nwaonline.com

The panel that sets state elected officials' salaries approved 2.5% raises for Arkansas’ constitutional officers and members of the General Assembly.

AL, LA, SD: Alabama AG files lawsuit to block new push for Equal Rights Amendment

al.com

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop what he says is a belated and illegal attempt to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which was proposed by Congress in 1972 to prohibit discrimination based on sex but was not ratified by the required number of states. The attorneys general for Louisiana and South Dakota joined Marshall in the lawsuit.

MT: Montana city scrubs tourism campaign that some called racist

billingsgazette.com

Two Montana billboards read “Onward Pioneer” and one said “Conquer New Endeavors” and featured photos of white people recreating. One of the “Onward Pioneer” billboards is on the Crow Reservation. The tagline for the campaign: “Today is ours for the taking — and tomorrow too.”

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