What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/13
TX: Texas governor says state won’t accept refugees
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said that Texas will no longer consent to resettling refugees, making it the only state so far to opt out of the federal program that for years has sent the most refugees in the country here.
PA: Pennsylvania lawmakers to take another look at redistricting
In order to change how congressional and state legislative districts are drawn before nationwide reapportionment in 2021, the Pennsylvania General Assembly needs to strike a deal by early August.
OR: Oregon house speaker calls for homelessness state of emergency
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek says Oregon’s crisis of unsheltered homelessness has reached emergency status. The Democrat is calling for a statewide emergency declaration that would allow cities around the state to more easily site homeless shelters.
MD: Maryland looks to pioneer taxes on digital advertising
In what appears to be first-in-the-nation legislation, social media companies such as Facebook and Google would face as much as a 10% tax on the revenue from digital ads that target Maryland IP addresses. Maryland’s current and former Senate presidents, both Democrats, estimate the plan could deliver more than $100 million per year.
NE: Projected drop in Nebraska prison overcrowding didn’t happen
Five years ago, Nebraska lawmakers passed a series of sentencing reforms designed to reduce the state’s chronic prison overcrowding. But instead of inmate numbers going down by about 1,000, they’ve gone up, reaching new record levels.
AK: Judge rejects Alaska governor's effort to block recall campaign
Backers of the effort to recall Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, got a win from the Anchorage Superior Court, which rejected arguments by state lawyers that the basis for recall was legally insufficient. At the hearing, a lot of the arguments from the anti-recall side were focused on the language of the ballot statement.
MO: Residency repeal for St. Louis police among first items on Missouri lawmakers’ agenda
Unwilling to tackle more controversial proposals aimed at addressing violence in St. Louis, Republicans who control the Missouri legislature are moving quickly to remove the city residency requirement for police officers.
WA: Washington should have built 225K more homes over 15 years, report says
An additional 225,600 homes should have been built between 2000 and 2015 in Washington state to keep up with growing demands for housing, according to a new report released that calls the Evergreen State the eighth worst in the United States for underproduction of homes.
SD: South Dakota lawmakers file legislation to legalize industrial hemp
After months of discussion, the industrial hemp bill is officially on the South Dakota Legislature's docket for the 2020 session. Eight legislators recently signed on as co-sponsors, all of whom were members of the legislative Industrial Hemp Committee last year.
WI: Governor announces sexual misconduct ombudsman for Wisconsin National Guard
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has named an Iraq War veteran with 17 years of experience as an Army attorney to serve as ombudsman for the Wisconsin National Guard and assist those reporting sexual misconduct.
NM: New Mexico bill would eliminate Epstein loophole
Despite accusations of sexually abusing girls at his New Mexico ranch, and convictions for similar abuse before he died, Jeffrey Epstein was not required to register as a sex offender in the state. A new bill would require anyone spending time in the state, who is registered anywhere as a sex offender, to register in New Mexico as well.
MN: Governor: $293M needed to make Minnesota's water infrastructure more resilient to climate change
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz is proposing $293 million in borrowing to help improve drinking water and wastewater facilities throughout Minnesota. It was the second proposal in a planned four-part rollout of a bonding bill that is expected to reach $2 billion. Republicans have said the number is too big.