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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/24

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/24

MI: Michigan's GOP-led investigation rejects Trump's claim that election was stolen

freep.com

An investigation led by Michigan Republican lawmakers found no basis for claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a Michigan Senate report concluded.

CA: US Supreme Court limits California union recruiting in favor of property rights

calmatters.org

In a blow to labor, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a decades-old California rule inspired by César Chávez that allowed union organizers to meet with farmworkers at their place of work. Commercial growers applauded the conservative court’s ruling to uphold property rights, while union representatives vowed not to be deterred.

MO: Judge rules against Medicaid expansion in Missouri, but decision will be appealed

kansascity.com

Missouri’s voter-approved Medicaid expansion is unconstitutional because it infringes on lawmakers’ authority over spending, a state judge ruled. The plaintiffs plan to appeal.

AK: Alaska's second legislative special session starts with looming government shutdown

alaskapublic.org

Alaska legislators are converging on Juneau for the second special session as they attempt to avert a government shutdown. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, cited the failure of a vote related to the budget bill as a cause of the possible shutdown, and four more House members would have to vote for the budget to go into effect on July 1 to prevent the shutdown on that day.

IA: Iowa governor’s carbon panel excludes environmental groups

iowacapitaldispatch.com

Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, has appointed a task force on carbon sequestration that is devoid of representatives of Iowa environmental groups that have long studied the issue. The panel has representatives of agricultural companies, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, companies that promote carbon trading, Iowa State University, state agencies, biofuels interests and the parent of MidAmerican Energy.

MN: Minnesota will ban 'forever chemicals' in food packaging

startribune.com

Minnesota is set to ban "forever chemicals" in food packaging such as burger wrappers and takeout containers, joining a handful of other states with such bans on the harmful pollutants. The ban on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, called PFAS, is part of the long-awaited environment finance bill legislators are racing to pass to avoid a government shutdown July 1.

OH: Ohio Senate passes bill overhauling school report card grades

cleveland.com

What started out as a bill that would allow parents of high schoolers to opt out of the ACT and SAT college admissions tests emerged from the Ohio Senate as legislation that would also replace the A to F report card grades for schools and districts with a new star performance rating system.

ME: Maine lawmakers pass series of bills that would tackle pollution from ‘forever chemicals’

pressherald.com

Maine lawmakers have passed a sweeping set of bills aimed at addressing the growing problems posed by “forever chemicals” that have shut down several farms and contaminated dozens of private wells across the state.

NM: New Mexico officials seek hazardous designation for PFAS

apnews.com

New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency urging the government to list so-called “forever chemicals” as hazardous waste under federal law. The petition says the move would provide a regulatory path for states across the nation that are dealing with contamination at military bases and other locations.

CO: Colorado ends tax breaks for wealthy, big businesses

denverpost.com

Gone are some tax breaks for wealthy Coloradans and the large insurance and oil and gas sectors, among other businesses. Here to stay, at least for a couple of years, are $200 million in property tax cuts. All three new laws take effect immediately.

NJ: New Jersey lawmakers advance $46.4B budget, up 15% over last year

apnews.com

New Jersey lawmakers advanced a record $46.4 billion budget—a 15% increase over last year—that boosts the state’s public pension payment, allocates hundreds of millions for tax givebacks and sets aside almost $4 billion to cover debt.

WI: Wisconsin legislature passes 'Second Amendment sanctuary' legislation

jsonline.com

The Wisconsin legislature sent a constitutionally questionable bill to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers that attempts to prevent federal gun laws from having any effect in Wisconsin. The governor is unlikely to sign the legislation.

IL: Illinois’ only national scenic river gets protection

chicagotribune.com

Efforts to protect the only national scenic river in Illinois are closer to reality after the owner of an abandoned power plant agreed to excavate toxic waste that was dumped into the flood plain for more than a half century. 

WA: Washington hopes focused approach will increase vaccine uptake

seattletimes.com

While vaccination numbers and equitable distribution of shots have gone up significantly because of mass vaccination sites, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said a focus on certain regions in the state can help address a recent slowdown.

OR: 47% of Oregon lawmakers say they're vaccinated

oregonlive.com

Approximately 47% of Oregon legislators indicated they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. None was willing to say they were unvaccinated, but 7% declined to answer the question and 46% didn’t respond at all.

UT: Utah’s response to ozone pollution problem? Blame China

sltrib.com

Salt Lake City, Utah, isn’t meeting federal ozone standards and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is about to issue a higher non-attainment classification for the region. Utah’s elected leaders and regulators are asking the EPA to hold off because they contend some of Utah’s ozone concentrations—as much as 10%—can be traced to emissions emanating 7,000 miles away in Asia.

WY: Wyoming governor reintroduces meat processing grant program

cowboystatedaily.com

Republican Gov. Mark Gordon relaunched the Wyoming Meat Processing Expansion grant program, which allocates up to $2 million in federal CARES Act funds to increase Wyoming’s local food supply chain security and capacity across the state. 

CDC Extends National Eviction Moratorium State Park Investments
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