Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/12

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/12

ME: Maine legislature sustains sports betting veto

apnews.com

A proposal in the Maine legislature to legalize sports betting died when it failed to win enough support to override Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ veto. Mills was “unconvinced” that the majority of Mainers were ready to “legalize, support, endorse and promote betting on competitive athletic events.”

NV: Nevada Democrats switch to scannable paper ballots

thenevadaindependent.com

Nevada Democrats will replace their app-based early voting process for the caucus with a scannable paper ballot that will be scanned at the end of each day. These are the first concrete details to emerge about the new process the party is designing in the wake of Iowa’s disaster last week.

VA: Assault weapon ban advances in Virginia

richmond.com

A bill to ban assault weapons cleared the Virginia House, a victory for gun control activists and a setback for the thousands who protested in Richmond last month. The bill is the eighth and final gun control measure pitched by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to clear the House, but parts of the package met defeat in the Senate.

IA: Iowa lawmakers file medically assisted suicide bill

kcci.com

Two Iowa state legislators have introduced a medically assisted suicide bill. Under the bill, terminally ill Iowans with six months or less to live would be able to request medication to die peacefully in their sleep.

NJ: New Jersey Senate OKs campaign cash for child care

northjersey.com

Candidates and public officeholders in New Jersey would be able to use campaign funds raised from donors to pay for certain child care expenses, under a bill the state Senate passed 35-0. Only a handful of states, like Utah and Minnesota, explicitly allow officeholders to use campaign funds for child care.

KY: Kentucky House panel OKs tax hike on vaping

kentucky.com

A Kentucky House committee approved a bill that would raise nearly $50 million over the next two years with a new excise tax on vaping products and a hike in existing taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes.

WI: 81,000 absentee voters in Wisconsin to receive two ballots

jsonline.com

Tens of thousands of Wisconsin absentee voters will soon receive not one but two ballots to use in the spring election, laying the groundwork for potential confusion among voters. State law requires ballots for federal races to be mailed 47 days before the April 7 spring election, a date that falls two days after the spring primary election.

PA: Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to end ‘honor system’ that keeps agency contracts hidden

spotlightpa.org

A Republican House lawmaker wants Pennsylvania to end an “honor system” that allows agencies to keep big-dollar contracts from the public, closing a loophole highlighted by Spotlight PA. Under state law, all agencies and departments are required to publish contracts worth at least $5,000 to an online search tool for government spending maintained by the treasurer’s office.

SD: South Dakota lawmakers weigh mental health treatment in jails and homes

apnews.com

The Department of Social Services is asking South Dakota lawmakers to allow criminal defendants who have been found mentally unfit for trial to be treated in jails or their homes.

AZ: Ballot harvesting ban Arizona presidential primary stays

apnews.com

A federal court has ruled that a 2016 Arizona law barring anyone but a family member or caregiver from returning another person’s early ballot will remain in effect while the state appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ban on ballot harvesting will remain in force through the March 17 presidential primary.

MO: Missouri Senate bill would require DNA testing for all felony arrests

columbiamissourian.com

A Missouri bill would require people 17 and older to have DNA collected after any felony arrest. State law currently requires DNA collection and testing only upon arrest for certain felonies, such as murder and rape. Only 18 states collect DNA for all felonies.

HI: High cost of living hurts Hawaii teacher recruitment

civilbeat.org

While competitive with other teacher salaries around the country, Hawaii’s teacher pay drops drastically when adjusted for cost of living, according to a new study. Officials hope the report, which was distributed to state lawmakers, will make a convincing argument for additional funding to boost teacher pay.

GA: As Georgia struggles to protect seniors, agency mum on more inspectors

ajc.com

The cornerstone of Georgia’s program to protect seniors in assisted living and personal care homes is a platoon of state employees that licenses and inspects facilities and investigates complaints of abuse and neglect. But that team has struggled to keep up with an expanding workload.

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