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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/26

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/26

CA: California governor orders ban on new oil fracking by 2024

calmatters.org

California will stop approving new oil fracking by 2024 under an executive order that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced with little fanfare following months of confusing mixed messages. The order is a blow to oil companies in California, but a limited victory for environmentalists who have been pushing Newsom to do more to combat climate change.

WA: Overtime bill for Washington agricultural workers marks historic change for industry

seattletimes.com

Under a bill that passed both chambers of the Washington legislature with bipartisan support, all agricultural workers will start receiving overtime pay in 2022 and have a 40-hour workweek by early 2024.

WI: Wisconsin governor vetoes bill that would have barred mandatory vaccinations

jsonline.com

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed bills that would have prevented state and local health officials from requiring people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and from closing churches because of the pandemic. It was the second time in less than two months that the Democratic governor vetoed such measures.

MN: In some Minnesota schools, students return but police do not

startribune.com

In some Minnesota school districts, armed officers have been replaced by "support liaisons" who hope to put a new face on safety. School boards voted last year to discontinue the use of school resource officers in the wake of George Floyd's death, but because of the pandemic it has taken months for students to begin seeing what school safety looks like without them.

DE: Delaware could be 1st state to give students time off for civic activities

delawarepublic.org

A new bipartisan bill in the Delaware General Assembly would give children one day off from school each year for civic education. Under the bill, the first of its kind in the country, children could use the day to attend a protest, visit Legislative Hall (the home of Delaware’s legislature) or speak in support of legislation.

FL: Florida governor signs gaming compact with Seminole Tribe 

miamiherald.com

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a $500 million gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that would bring mobile sports betting to the state and allow for Las Vegas-style casinos at all tribal facilities. 

IL: Illinois House backs bill that would make Juneteenth an official state holiday

chicagotribune.com

The Illinois House unanimously approved a bill that would make Juneteenth National Freedom Day the 13th official state holiday, a day after the state Senate approved its own version of the bill. If either chamber approves the other’s bill, it will head to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.

MO: Missouri governor will hold a fundraiser with medical marijuana companies

missouriindependent.com

Individuals and companies that were awarded lucrative medical marijuana licenses by the state will gather this week to raise money for Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson.

OH: Ohio House budget is the latest GOP rebuke of governor’s priorities

cleveland.com

Before Ohio House Republicans put the final touches on their version of the state budget, they stripped many of GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s top priorities. It was just the latest example of the legislature’s lack of deference to DeWine, who’s ostensibly the leader of the state party and heading into what could be a tough reelection campaign year in 2022.

HI: Hawaii House approves bill that would ban intentional balloon releases

apnews.com

Under legislation aimed at protecting the environment and reducing waste, people in Hawaii would no longer be able to intentionally release balloons into the air, lawmakers said. The bill passed a final reading in the House of Representatives and is next headed to Democratic Gov. David Ige. 

GA: Permanent daylight-saving time bill is signed into law in Georgia

ajc.com

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law switching Georgia to daylight saving time year-round, but the change will go into effect only if Congress lifts a federal prohibition on states making daylight saving time permanent. 

OR: Pandemic decimated Oregon's low-wage jobs

oregonlive.com

More than one in 10 Oregon jobs paying below $35,000 a year disappeared in the early weeks of the pandemic. During the same period, though, Oregon actually added jobs paying more than $64,000 a year.

MI: Activists target Michigan school boards in fight against COVID restrictions

mlive.com

Conservative activists are encouraging parents to resist mask mandates and COVID-19 health orders in school districts across Michigan. School board meetings have faced crowds of protesters demanding their districts reject emergency epidemic orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

AK: Alaska leaders unveil plan to use federal windfall to fund ferries

alaskapublic.org

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, and state lawmakers say a nearly $77 million windfall from federal pandemic relief will help stabilize Alaska’s beleaguered ferry system. The funding would allow the state to fund the Alaska Marine Highway System for the next year and a half.

MD: Maryland seeks review of medical examiner’s work after Floyd testimony

baltimoresun.com

Maryland is calling for a review of work by former chief medical examiner Dr. David Fowler after he testified that Derek Chauvin was not responsible for George Floyd’s death. A letter signed by 431 doctors said the conclusion brings all his work into question. 

CO: Colorado farmers face one of the driest planting seasons in 2 decades

cpr.org

What makes this April stand out is how much of Colorado is an extreme or exceptional drought—nearly a third of the state. In the 21-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, only Colorado’s 2013 drought shows more extreme or exceptional conditions in April.

KS: Kansas governor vetoes bill that would have lowered legal age for carrying concealed weapons

kansaspublicradio.org

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, has vetoed a bill that would have lowered the legal age for carrying concealed weapons. The legal age is 21, but the majority-Republican legislature wants to allow permits once people turn 18. 

MT: Montana governor signs bill nullifying federal gun laws

apnews.com

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a law that prohibits state and local law enforcement in Montana from enforcing federal bans on firearms, ammunition and magazines.

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