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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/1

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/1

NJ: COVID hospitalization rates rise among younger New Jerseyans

nj.com

Younger people infected with COVID-19 in New Jersey are being hospitalized at higher rates as the number of new daily virus cases continues to climb. COVID-19 hospitalizations in New Jersey are up 28% over the past two weeks, and new models showed the pandemic’s latest wave may not peak until mid-May.

AZ: Founder of company hired to conduct Arizona county election audit promoted election fraud theories

azcentral.com

The head of a Florida-based technology company who has used social media to promote a range of election fraud claims and conspiracy theories has been hired by the Arizona Senate to oversee the recount of Maricopa County's 2.1 million general election ballots.

FL: Florida proposes school bonuses

miamiherald.com

Proposed $1,000 bonuses for Florida classroom teachers and principals would be a reward for educators who kept the state’s schools open. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis called open schools "a huge, huge success."

MD: Maryland moves toward repealing police ‘bill of rights’

washingtonpost.com

Maryland is moving toward repealing its far-reaching law that codifies workplace protections for police officers accused of misconduct, an action that no other state with a Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights has taken in nearly half a century. But questions remain over what will replace the state statute.

NC: North Carolina governor encourages state residents to get a vaccine and free doughnuts

newsobserver.com

In a video, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, listed the reasons to get a COVID-19 vaccine: Protect yourself, protect your family, protect your friends ... and get a free Krispy Kreme doughnut. The doughnut company has promised a free doughnut to anyone who shows a COVID-19 vaccine card. 

CT: Connecticut lawmakers endorse bills that would overhaul local zoning rules to address racial segregation

courant.com

A key legislative committee endorsed a pair of bills that would overhaul Connecticut’s zoning rules in an attempt to promote the construction of more affordable housing and address racial segregation.

GA: Georgia legislature approves law that would ban cities from cutting police funding

ajc.com

In response to two Georgia municipalities considering cutting their police budgets last year, the General Assembly approved a bill that would prohibit local governments from substantially decreasing funding for law enforcement.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns statewide mask mandate

jsonline.com

The Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from issuing any new public health emergency orders to mandate face masks without the approval of the Republican-controlled state legislature. 

CO: Colorado could provide public housing benefits regardless of immigration status

denverpost.com

Colorado is one signature away from providing housing benefits to residents regardless of immigration status—a first-of-its-kind policy in the U.S., according to state officials.

UT: Utah pilot project explores digital driver licenses

sltrib.com

The Utah Department of Public Safety is set to launch a pilot project that will explore the use of digital driver licenses, or a state identification card that can be stored on a phone. 

NV: Nevada legislation aims to reduce disparities in youth marijuana arrests

nevadacurrent.com

A Nevada measure says minors convicted of possessing or using marijuana or alcohol should not be subject to imprisonment. Under the measure, the minors would be required to complete counseling or community service—a proverbial “second chance,” according to proponents. 

MN: Minnesota’s Asian American community calls for legislative action

startribune.com

Minnesota's Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are joining state and federal Democratic lawmakers in urging new legislation to improve hate crime reporting and police training in the state. 

DE: Gun legislation heads quickly to Delaware Senate floor

delawarepublic.org

Two bills being considered in Delaware would create a permitting process to purchase a gun and would ban high-capacity magazines.

NY: New York becomes 16th state to legalize recreational marijuana

timesunion.com

The New York law immediately legalizes possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and over. Roughly 40% of the tax revenue raised will be reinvested in communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

WV: West Virginia Senate advances gun-rights resolution

wvgazettemail.com

The West Virginia Senate approved a measure that would expand the state constitution’s right-to-bear-arms clause to prohibit cities and counties from adopting gun ordinances that are stricter than state law. 

VA: Virginia governor moves to speed up marijuana legalization

richmond.com

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, is moving to accelerate marijuana legalization in Virginia, backing changes to the legislation that would do away with penalties for possession of an ounce effective this summer. 

AR: Arkansas governor ends mask mandate

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted the statewide mask mandate and extended eligibility for coronavirus vaccines to all residents age 16 and older. In an about-face from his comments a week earlier, Hutchinson also said cities can adopt ordinances requiring masks. 

CA: New California law requires hospitals to stockpile protective medical equipment

sacbee.com

A California state law taking effect this week requires hospitals to have at least a three-month supply of gowns, masks, respirators and other personal protective equipment on hand. 

MT: Montana lawmakers advance bill that would nullify federal gun bans

apnews.com

A measure that would prohibit state and local law enforcement officials in Montana from enforcing federal bans on firearms, ammunition and magazines is nearing passage in the state legislature just a week after President Joe Biden urged Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

GA: Overhaul of citizen’s arrest law heads to Georgia governor’s desk

ajc.com

Georgia is on track to become the first state to repeal a Civil War-era law that allows most residents to arrest someone they suspect of committing a crime.

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