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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/20

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/20

FL: Florida passes ‘anti-mob’ bill targeting protests

miamiherald.com

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed legislation that will enhance penalties for committing crimes during protests. The new law also will allow people to sue local governments for property damage.

CO: Colorado governor signs two gun bills into law

denverpost.com

One of the Colorado bills requires people to secure their firearms when they’re not in use or face a Class 2 misdemeanor charge. The other mandates that lost or stolen firearms be reported to authorities within five days; violators would face a civil infraction.

ID: Idaho Senate fails to override governor's veto on emergency powers

apnews.com

The Republican-dominated Idaho Senate failed to override GOP Gov. Brad Little’s veto of a measure seeking to curb a governor’s power to respond to emergencies such as the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate voted 23-12, failing by one vote to get the two-thirds threshold needed.

NJ: Despite veto, New Jersey ends many mandatory minimum sentences

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed a landmark New Jersey criminal justice bill that would end mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent crimes after a controversial amendment was added to it. But Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, a Democrat, immediately issued a directive that would end many of the mandatory minimum sentences.

NY: New York governor faces inquiry over use of state resources for pandemic book

nytimes.com

The New York state attorney general has opened an investigation into Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s use of state resources as he wrote and promoted his recent pandemic memoir. The investigation followed disclosures that junior staff members and senior aides worked on Cuomo’s book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

CA: California says it’s time for giant carbon vacuums to combat climate change

latimes.com

Solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars will go far in helping California and the Biden administration meet their aggressive climate goals—but not far enough. As time runs short, scientists and government officials say the moment to break out the giant vacuums has arrived.

OK: Debate flares over diversity training for Oklahoma lawmakers

oklahoman.com

Two racially insensitive incidents at the Oklahoma state Capitol have ignited a conversation about whether state lawmakers should undergo racial sensitivity training. House Democrats want Republican House leaders to implement diversity and inclusion training for state lawmakers. 

AK: Alaska Senate removes member from Judiciary Committee leadership role

alaskapublic.org

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy had previously told state Sen. Lora Reinbold, a fellow Republican, that he was tired of her misinformation on the pandemic and would no longer respond to her as committee chair. She was removed by a near-unanimous vote.

AZ: Arizona governor bans vaccine passports

azcentral.com

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order forbidding state and local governments in Arizona from requiring vaccine passports to access services or facilities. Ducey's directive allows schools, health care facilities and businesses to keep collecting documentation of vaccination.

CT: Connecticut will lift all COVID business restrictions, except masking 

courant.com

Connecticut will lift all COVID-19 restrictions except for its mask mandate on May 19, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont announced. The state plans to move forward in two stages, both contingent on declining coronavirus metrics and rising vaccination rates. 

WV: West Virginia lifts social gathering limit, allows maskless exercising

apnews.com

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice lifted a limit on the number of people who can gather for social events and tweaked the state’s face-covering mandate to allow people exercising indoors to go maskless. The Republican governor had already lifted most other restrictions on businesses and public life, leaving in place an indoor mask mandate.

HI: Hawaii plans vaccine passports for inter-island travelers first

civilbeat.org

Hawaii residents traveling between the state’s islands may be the first users of a vaccine passport program that is expected to roll out in the next several weeks. Under the proposed policy, inoculated residents would be able to skip the currently required test and quarantine.

VT: Vermont governor allows COVID relief bill to become law without signature

vtdigger.org

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, has allowed a COVID-19 aid package including funding for infrastructure projects, struggling businesses and the state’s mental health system to become law without his signature. 

TX: Texas Republicans vow to defy gun rules

texastribune.org

The push to steel Texas against new federal rules comes as gun violence nationwide has sparked calls for an assault weapons ban and stronger background checks. Legal experts say the move is largely symbolic.

MD: Maryland will move thousands of state workers to Baltimore to boost downtown

baltimoresun.com

Under a plan to relocate a dozen state agencies announced by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, about 3,300 Maryland state workers will relocate to leased office space in downtown Baltimore. Hogan framed the move as “a shot in the arm” for the economy of downtown Baltimore, which is reeling from the pandemic and the departure of several corporations in recent years.

DE: Delaware won’t reopen its public health dental clinics

delawarepublic.org

Delaware closed its Public Health Dental Clinics at the onset of the pandemic and has now decided to close them indefinitely. Officials cite the declining number of patients seen at the clinics in recent years.

KY: Kentucky sees dramatic increase in overdose deaths, fueled by pandemic isolation

kentucky.com

Kentucky’s number of overdose deaths increased at one of the highest rates in the nation in 2020, according to federal data, confirming a dreaded prediction that many people working in addiction recovery saw coming.

 

Palliative Care Push New Gun Restrictions
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