Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/5

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/5

LA: Louisiana House committee rejects bill that would keep transgender girls from playing sports

theadvocate.com

The Louisiana House Education Committee rejected a bill that would have banned transgender athletes from participating in women’s and girls sports.

TX: ‘This is my home.’ Texas lawmakers consider statewide ban on camping in public places

star-telegram.com

Texas lawmakers are considering a statewide ban on camping in public places, a proposal that opponents say would criminalize people experiencing homelessness without offering housing solutions. The legislation would make camping in a public place without consent a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.

AZ: Arizona governor signs bill allowing community colleges to offer some 4-year degrees

azcentral.com

All community colleges in Arizona can now offer four-year programs under the bill signed by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey. Public universities can respond to community colleges that seek to add programs, but the new law "does not allow a public university to prevent a community college from offering a baccalaureate degree."

NJ: Men outnumber women on nearly all of New Jersey’s powerful state boards

nj.com

New Jersey can’t appoint more women and minorities to its public boards until it gets more details about the hundreds of seats that are open, one of the state’s top lawmakers said in reaction to a NJ Advance Media report on the gender imbalance on powerful state boards and commissions.

MA: Asian American Republicans say the party discriminates against them in Massachusetts

bostonglobe.com

More than two dozen Asian American Republicans are alleging discrimination by the Massachusetts state party, claiming GOP Chair Jim Lyons is trying to keep them out of the political process in elections for two seats on the Republican State Committee.

NC: North Carolina Senate bill would give blanket approval to biogas projects at state hog farms

newsoberver.com

A North Carolina Senate committee approved a bill that would grant blanket permission to the state’s hog farmers to begin harvesting and selling methane gas from hog waste lagoons—a move popular with farmers but criticized by environmentalists, who say it would further contaminate communities with large Black and Hispanic populations.

ID: After an Idaho intern reported a rape, lawmakers went after her identity

apnews.com

The harassment began soon after a report by a 19-year-old intern, who said an Idaho lawmaker raped her, became public. One state representative sought a copy of the police report and made inquiries into how the young woman herself could be referred for criminal charges for making the report. Another shared links to a far-right blog post that included the intern’s name, photo and personal details about her.

MN: Minnesota Republicans are wary of including police overhauls in public safety omnibus

duluthnewstribune.com

As state lawmakers begin the process of negotiating a public safety and criminal justice bill package, legislative Democrats are pushing for an overhaul of Minnesota’s policing and criminal justice system, while Republicans are shying away from transformative policies.

MT: Montana governor will ditch federal jobless benefits, replace with return-to-work bonus

montanafreepress.org

With Montana employers hurting for workers, GOP Gov. Greg Gianforte says the state will end federally subsidized $300-a-week expanded unemployment benefits in favor of a one-time $1,200 bonus for Montanans who reenter the workforce.

MS: 25% of Mississippians are vaccinated against COVID. ‘Step up,’ state doctors say.

sunherald.com

More than 800,000 Mississippians, or 25%, are fully vaccinated, but doctors say Mississippi vaccination rates continue to lag behind other parts of the country.

ND: North Dakota police officers will begin using body-worn cameras

usnews.com

Fargo, the largest city in North Dakota, paid $2.8 million for police officers to wear body cameras by August. The officers will receive training by July.

WI: Dropoff in vaccinations prompts effort to inform, cajole more Wisconsinites

jsonline.com

State health officials say Wisconsin has seen a "precipitous drop" in demand for COVID-19 vaccinations, mirroring trends across the country. The plateau is prompting new efforts to inform and persuade the 2.1 million people left in the state who are eligible but have not yet received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

ME: Maine bills on tribal sovereignty will likely be delayed until next year

pressherald.com

Maine lawmakers resumed discussions of proposals that would overhaul the strained relations between the state government and tribal nations, but appear unlikely to address the long-standing issues before next year.

RI: Bag ban, other bills aimed at plastic pollution advance in Rhode Island legislature

providencejournal.com

Efforts to curb trash pollution are moving forward in Rhode Island, with bills taking aim at balloons, plastic bags and plastic straws winning key approvals in the House and Senate. The Senate passed bills that would enact statewide bans on single-use plastic bags and plastic straws, while the House approved legislation that would prohibit the release of groups of balloons inflated with helium or other gases that are lighter than air.

WV: West Virginia tax collections top estimates, even before extended deadline

wvgazettemail.com

West Virginia tax collection in April topped estimates by a fraction of a percent, a notable accomplishment, considering the deadline for filing state income taxes was pushed back from April 15 to May 17.

AR: Arkansas governor OKs limits on agencies’ race, sexism training

apnews.com

Without signing it, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson allowed legislation to become law that will prohibit Arkansas state agencies from teaching employees, contractors or others to believe “divisive concepts,” including the idea that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist.

DC: District of Columbia may reserve some medical cannabis licenses for formerly incarcerated people 

washingtonpost.com

The Washington, D.C., City Council is considering a bill that would instruct the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, which oversees the District’s medical cannabis program, to reserve at least one dispensary license, one cultivation center license and one testing lab license for businesses that are majority-owned by people who were previously incarcerated for drug crimes whenever new licenses are next approved.

FL: Florida lawmakers aim to strengthen punishments for abuse of older adults, people with disabilities

tampabay.com

Florida’s legal system would have more power to act against people who abuse older adults or people with disabilities and seek to profit from their actions, under newly approved legislation awaiting a signature from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

CA: California wants more jail inspectors—with power

sacbee.com

California is moving to strengthen its power over how county sheriffs are running their local jails, amid a national debate over accountability for law enforcement and ending ‘inhumane’ conditions in lockups around the state.

GA: Georgia governor signs ‘teacher pipeline,’ other education bills

ajc.com

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a half dozen education-related bills into law. One of them was a priority for the Republican governor, who has a daughter who is a future teacher. Deemed a “teacher pipeline” bill, it seeks to increase the size of the teacher workforce through a variety of means.

WA: Washington governor pauses reopening plan

seattletimes.com

No county will move back or forward in Washington’s COVID-19 reopening plan for at least two weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, announced. “I have made this decision, in consultation with the state Department of Health, because we are in an evolving situation, unlike any other during this pandemic,” Inslee said.

OR: Oregon leaders vote to expedite emergency shelter process

apnews.com

A lack of adequate shelter beds has long plagued Oregon. State lawmakers passed a bill that would make it easier and quicker for communities to create emergency shelters and temporary housing.

MI: Michigan bill would compel athletic trainers to report child abuse

freep.com

A new Michigan Senate bill would require athletic trainers, physical therapists and assistants to physical therapists report known or suspected child abuse to appropriate authorities. The move is part of a legislative package in response to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse and misconduct case that continues to plague Michigan State University and the gymnastics world.

CO: Colorado bill would prohibit insurer use of discriminatory data

apnews.com

Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit insurance companies from using consumer information collected from outside sources such as social media and court and home ownership records, if used in a discriminatory way to determine insurance rates.

WY: 95% of Wyoming is abnormally dry, or worse

wyofile.com

The pervasive dryness may have significant near-term impacts on grazing and irrigation, and could result in downstream calls on Wyoming water as early as next year, experts say.

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