Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/6

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/6

MS: DOJ launches civil rights investigation into Mississippi prisons

clarionledger.com

The announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division comes a month after deadly riots and a statewide prison lockdown thrust Mississippi into the national spotlight and brought renewed scrutiny into the state's long-troubled prison system. 

NY: Trump freezes global entry enrollment in New York over immigration law

nytimes.com

The Department of Homeland Security temporarily barred New Yorkers from enrolling in Global Entry and similar programs that allow travelers to speed through borders and airport lines, escalating a conflict between the Trump administration and the state over a law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

US: Bipartisan governors warn Trump rule could lead to big Medicaid cuts

apnews.com

Governors of both major political parties are warning that a little-noticed regulation proposed by the Trump administration could lead to big cuts in Medicaid, reducing access to health care for low-income Americans. Democrat Kate Brown of Oregon and Republican Charlie Baker of Massachusetts criticized the plan in official comments on behalf of National Governors Association.

VT: Vermont House fails to override governor's veto of paid family leave by one vote

vtdigger.org

Democrats in the Vermont state House failed by a razor-thin margin to override Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of a paid family leave program. In a major loss for Democrats, the House voted 99-51 in favor of overriding the veto — one short of the 100 needed.

CA: 'Census' forms sent to some California residents actually GOP fundraisers

sacbee.com

Some Northern California voters are receiving documents that resemble U.S. Census Bureau forms, but they are in fact fundraising appeals from the Republican National Committee. The document is labeled “2020 Congressional District Census,” with the words “DO NOT DESTROY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT” on the envelope.

TN: Companies offer rebuke of Tennessee’s anti-LGBT adoption law

apnews.com

Almost three dozen big companies including Amazon, Nike and Nissan and more than 100 small businesses in Tennessee predicted economic backlash from a newly enacted state adoption law and other proposals that target LGBT people, with one company saying plans to add jobs in Nashville are “in doubt” over the legislation.

WI: Sexual assault victims blast Wisconsin GOP over rape kit legislation

jsonline.com

Victims of sexual assault and prosecutors of the crime accused Wisconsin GOP lawmakers of purposefully blocking legislation that would stop rapists. Assembly Republicans are moving a proposal that differs from a bill the state Senate already passed, doesn't have support from the state Department of Justice and includes provisions well-known to divide lawmakers.

AL: Alabama governor calls for prison overhaul

apnews.com

Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey said the state must reinvent its corrections system as it grapples with a prison crisis. Prisons are expected to be a central focus on the legislative session after the U.S. Justice Department last year said violent and crowded conditions in Alabama prisons violate the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

PA: Pennsylvania will expand coverage of treatments for advanced cancers

spotlightpa.org

The Pennsylvania state House gave final approval to a bill that would abolish the heavily criticized “fail first” approach for stage IV cancer, which requires patients to show no improvement with cheaper, insurance-approved drugs before moving on to more innovative approaches. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf intends to sign the bill into law.

HI: Hawaii lawmakers work to keep the mentally ill out of jail

civilbeat.org

The Hawaii legislature is considering major policy changes aimed at redirecting people with serious mental illness who commit nonviolent, low-level crimes out of jail and into mental health treatment. The details behind a trio of proposals are still being worked out by lawmakers, but the political will appears to be building to stop criminalizing mental illness.

FL: Florida felons still can’t vote as 2020 election looms. Here’s why.

tampabay.com

Two Florida GOP lawmakers said they won’t follow a federal judge’s recommendation last fall that they revisit how they implemented a 2018 ballot measure intended to let nonviolent felons register to vote. That decision to not take action until a federal lawsuit is settled will essentially prevent thousands of felons from registering to vote in the 2020 election.

WY: Financial stability takes spotlight in upcoming Wyoming legislative session

jhnewsandguide.com

Wyoming’s legislative session begins Monday, marking the start of a monthlong debate over how to tackle the financial challenges the state faces in an era of declining revenue from coal, oil and gas. With many legislators averse to enacting new taxes or increasing existing ones, belt-tightening is typically the preferred tactic for closing funding gaps.

MD: Maryland elections officials forced to shut down voter data network

baltimoresun.com

A network designed to transmit Maryland voter data to state officials during elections had to be shut down during the 7th Congressional District primary because it was causing significant delays at polling sites, the Maryland State Board of Elections said. State officials were using the network for the first time on an election day during a special primary in the district.

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