Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/18

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/18

WA: Washington bill would ban most single-family-only zoning

crosscut.com  

Legislation moving through the Washington legislature would clear the way for duplexes and other multi-household homes in almost all areas of the state currently set aside for single-family homes. Proponents say the change would increase housing availability and reduce carbon emissions, while opponents say it would remove local control from planning decisions.

NM: New Mexico bill would allow Canadian drug imports

santafenewmexican.com

A bill that would create a potential pathway for New Mexico to import prescription drugs from Canada is now on its way to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is expected to sign it. Supporters say it could lower consumers’ drug costs.

OK: State legislators look to legalize needle exchanges in Oklahoma

oklahoman.com 

A bipartisan group of Oklahoma legislators say needle exchanges would reduce the spread of hepatitis C and HIV. Oklahoma is the worst state for the number of people living with hepatitis C infections, according to national health data released last year.

UT: New bill would ban e-cigarettes in Utah schools

sltrib.com

Fearing “alarming rates of addiction,” a Utah lawmaker wants to require all schools to draft policies banning electronic cigarettes and start teaching students to avoid them as early as the fourth grade.

FL: Controversial school topics targeted by Florida bill

tallahassee.com

A Florida Senate panel narrowly backed a proposal to allow parents to keep their children out of class on days when subjects they may disagree with are taught — including evolution, sex education and human influence on climate.

CA: California lawmakers consider apology for internment of Japanese

sacbee.com

A Southern California lawmaker wants the legislature to apologize for the role it played in carrying out policies that discriminated against Japanese Americans before and during World War II. The bill catalogs a history of California state officials working to identify and remove Japanese Americans from their communities.

NY: New York rape kits sit untested in labs, despite law

timeunion.com 

As of August 2019, more than 1,500 kits were still in the possession of New York State Police, according to records obtained by the Albany Times Union. A law passed in 2016 placed requirements on how much time law enforcement and crime labs had to collect, process and return the kits.

WI: Wisconsin drug pricing bill makes headway

wpr.org

Pharmacy benefit managers are in the crosshairs of Wisconsin lawmakers under pressure to control rising drug prices. A bipartisan bill would regulate PBMs and allow pharmacists to sidestep “gag rules” to tell customers about cheaper drug options, including paying cash if their insurance copayment is larger.

PA: Pennsylvania officials worry about new voting machines, new law in 2020 elections

pennlive.com

Sweeping reforms to Pennsylvania election laws this year are about to coincide with what are expected to be historic election cycles — the April primary and the November general. Some election officials say they are apprehensive, given all the changes in place, that the upcoming elections can be executed without mishaps.

MD: Maryland House approves $2.2 billion in school construction money

baltimoresun.com

The measure is designed to address the concerns of counties across Maryland that say they’re struggling to keep up with aging school buildings in desperate need of repair. The $2.2 billion would be distributed to counties over five years from bonds issued by the Maryland Stadium Authority. 

GA: Georgia bill spurs debate over higher fines for distracted driving

ajc.com

State troopers have issued tens of thousands of tickets since Georgia’s latest distracted driving law took effect in 2018. But plenty of drivers are still watching their phones instead of the road. Now state lawmakers may try another tactic to pry the phones from motorists’ hands: doubling the fines for distracted driving.

CT: Connecticut state lawmaker proposes 45% pay boost for legislators

courant.com

Connecticut state legislators have not received a pay raise during the past 20 years, but the deputy speaker pro tem says they should. He is proposing that the current base pay of $28,000 for the part-time job jump to just over $40,600 a year.

MO: Missouri opioid tracking bill passes House, still faces roadblocks

apnews.com

The Missouri House approved a bill that would allow doctors to track prescription drugs in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic. All other states have adopted a monitoring program.

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