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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/27

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/27

CO: Colorado lifts SAT and ACT requirements at public colleges, bans legacy admissions

denverpost.com

All of Colorado’s public colleges and universities backed the test-score bill. Many school districts canceled these standardized tests during the pandemic, so the higher education institutions have had something of a head start to observe how the new law will work in practice.

NV: Nevada governor signs criminal justice overhaul bills into law

lasvegassun.com

A year after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, signed two criminal justice overhaul bills into law. One bill allows the state attorney general to investigate potential systemic discrimination in police departments, while the other limits the use of no-knock warrants.

LA: Push for early childhood education in Louisiana faces obstacles as governor's request is rejected

theadvocate.com

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, asked for $6 million to increase the number of students eligible for early childhood education. The Senate Finance Committee rejected the request.

OH: Ohio House passes bill that would let teleworkers seek refunds for 2021 commuter taxes

dispatch.com

The Ohio House passed a bill that would let people working from home during the pandemic seek refunds for income taxes they paid to the cities where their offices are located.

CA: 44 district attorneys sue California prison officials over early releases

sacbee.com

A group of 44 California district attorneys sued state prison officials. The DAs are trying to force a halt to emergency state rules they claim would allow the early release of 76,000 incarcerated people. 

UT: Equity guidance for Utah teachers gets tangled up in critical race theory

sltrib.com

The Utah State School Board Committee proposed guidelines that would stipulate that any curriculum that says one race, religion or gender is superior or inferior to another is strictly forbidden. The guidelines also address slavery and other historical events in a roundabout way, blocking teaching that makes a student or educator feel responsibility for the past actions of individuals from the same race, sex or religion. 

RI: Rhode Island Black history bill passes after heated debate

bostonglobe.com

On the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, the Rhode Island House passed a bill requiring that African American history be taught in state schools. But that final unanimous vote came only after a heated debate about a Republican lawmaker’s attempt to amend the bill to require education about Italian Americans, Irish Americans, and those with roots in more than two dozen other countries.

AZ: Arizona House rejects ID requirement for mail-in ballots

azcentral.com

The Arizona House voted down a bill that would have required voters to include identification with their mail-in ballots, a defeat for Republicans looking to impose more restrictive voting procedures.

AL: Alabama governor signs resolution creating commission to remove racist language from state’s constitution

al.com

Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a resolution to create a 10-member commission to revise the state’s constitution to make changes such as removing racist language and duplicative and repealed provisions. If three-fifths of the legislature approves the revised constitution next year, it will go before voters in November.

NM: New Mexico’s largest school district backtracks on COVID bonuses

apnews.com

The superintendent of New Mexico’s largest school district has backtracked on a promise to channel at least $6 million in federal relief toward staff bonuses—after state auditors warned that handing out the bonuses would probably violate state constitutional provisions against giving away taxpayer dollars.

WV: Former West Virginia delegate begins plea negotiations for US Capitol breach charges

wvgazettemail.com

A former member of the West Virginia legislature is in talks with federal prosecutors for a plea deal in the case against him for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Derrick Evans pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.

AR: Lawsuit challenges Arkansas’ near-total abortion ban

apnews.com

Abortion rights supporters filed a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ near-total ban on the procedure that’s part of an effort by conservatives to force the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Roe v. Wade decision. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood asked a federal judge to strike down the new law, which takes effect July 28, and bans all abortions except those to protect the life of the parent.

NJ: New Jersey ends capacity limits on child care, but masks are still required, governor says

nj.com

After nearly a year of caps, New Jersey is eliminating the group limits it installed in child care classes to battle the pandemic, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced as vaccinations continue to blunt COVID-19 numbers statewide.

US: New England region leads country in COVID-19 vaccinations

bostonglobe.com

In the national race to get as many people as possible vaccinated against COVID-19, New England’s roughly 15 million residents are leading the way. More than 70% of adults in every state in New England have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

PA: Pennsylvania inches closer to 70% vaccinated rate, mask ditching threshold

post-gazette.com

Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said the state has reached a “significant milestone” as it inches closer to reaching the threshold at which mask mandates will be lifted. To get to that point, Wolf’s office said, the state needs 70% of its eligible population age 18 and older to be fully vaccinated. Seventy percent of that group is now partially vaccinated. 

OR: Oregon Senate advances $9.3B school funding plan

oregonlive.com

A $9.3 billion plan to fund Oregon schools for the next two years is headed to the state House, after the Senate passed it on a bipartisan vote with little debate. The state school fund budget includes $300 million more than necessary to maintain current level K-12 services and programs, legislative analysts said.

MI: Michigan House passes bills that would increase absentee ballot fraud penalties

freep.com

Michigan House Republicans passed legislation that would establish new penalties for voter fraud related to absentee ballot applications. The bills would classify impersonating a voter, attempting to obtain multiple absentee ballots or completing an absentee ballot application with false information or a forged signature as felonies punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

WI: Top Wisconsin Republican hires former cops to investigate November election

jsonline.com

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, said he recognizes Biden narrowly won Wisconsin and is not trying to change the results with his taxpayer-funded investigation. He said he hopes it can get to the bottom of issues Republicans have raised unsuccessfully in court, such as how the state’s largest cities used more than $6 million in grants from a private group to run their elections. 

NH, MA: US solicitor general slams New Hampshire argument that Massachusetts income tax violates sovereignty

unionleader.com

The acting U.S. solicitor general sharply criticized New Hampshire’s lawsuit against Massachusetts over income taxes in a brief, writing that any lawsuit should be brought by individual workers who have actually paid Massachusetts income taxes while working from home in New Hampshire. New Hampshire filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court in October, seeking to stop Massachusetts’ collection of income taxes from people who are working remotely in New Hampshire for Massachusetts companies.

TX: Texas plan to boost internet access for families nears finish line

dallasnews.com

Texas lawmakers reached an agreement on a statewide plan that would expand broadband access into urban and rural communities, months after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott declared the issue a priority for the legislature.

After San Jose Mass Shooting, California Governor Renews Call for Gun Control Nursing Home Staff
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