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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/28

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/28

WA, OR: Pacific Northwest heat wave shatters temperature records

nytimes.com

A heat dome has enveloped the Pacific Northwest, driving temperatures to extreme levels—with temperatures well above 100 degrees—and creating dangerous conditions in a part of the country unaccustomed to oppressive summer weather or air-conditioning. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for virtually all of Washington and Oregon, as well as sections of California, Idaho, Montana and Nevada.

CO: Supporters of Colorado's pay-transparency law eye changes

coloradosun.com

Democratic state lawmakers behind a law requiring companies to include a salary range in any job posting are eyeing changes to the policy following reports that out-of-state employers are refusing to hire Coloradans to work for them remotely because of the provision.

GA: Justice Department sues Georgia over new voting law

ajc.com

The U.S. Justice Department sued Georgia over a new election law that includes restrictions on voting, setting up a legal showdown over Republican-led changes that President Joe Biden and other Democrats cast as disproportionately harmful to Black voters.

MN: Police accountability advocates disappointed by deal at Minnesota Capitol

startribune.com

Under the deal, Minnesota police would have new regulations on no-knock warrants and how they work with confidential informants, and there is an updated expectation for mental health crisis teams to help respond to some emergencies. But many of the more controversial proposed policing changes were left out of the bill. 

LA: Louisiana state worker insurance will cover obesity surgery

apnews.com

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed legislation that allows the state’s health insurer to cover weight loss surgeries, excluding skin removal surgery, for no more than 300 state workers, including teachers and retirees, who are obese, annually. Individuals who are eligible must have a body mass index of at least 40, and pay 20% of the costs for preoperative services, in addition to a $2,500 co-pay. 

MO: Missouri Senate abandons plan for Medicaid limits on birth control, renews crucial tax

kansascity.com

The Missouri Senate voted to renew a tax critical to funding Medicaid, but without divisive provisions that could have prohibited Medicaid coverage of certain forms of birth control and would have blocked payments to Planned Parenthood. The measure now heads to the House. 

CT: Overdose deaths surged in Connecticut during the pandemic and could get worse

courant.com

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, continued disruptions to recovery programs and a deadly, fentanyl-laced drug supply continue to drive increasing opioid overdose deaths in Connecticut, medical experts and harm reduction advocates say. 

MI: Michigan school boards tussle over critical race theory

freep.com

The idea that schools will bring critical race theory into classrooms has brought rancorous debates to Michigan school board meetings over the past month. Across the state, commenters at school board meetings have falsely conflated equity programs with critical race theory, the more complex concept typically discussed in higher education circles.

WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court tosses lawsuit against ballot boxes

madison.com

The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed an election lawsuit brought by a conservative businessman who aimed to halt the use of absentee ballot boxes in future elections. 

DE: Why lawmakers failed to legalize marijuana in Delaware

delawareonline.com

The Delaware marijuana bill won’t be voted on this year because of a dispute among Republicans, the bill's authors and Black lawmakers over a proposed business licensing program, as well as lobbying efforts from police and Democratic Gov. John Carney, who opposes the bill. 

CA: California extends eviction moratorium extension

calmatters.org

California renters, who are still struggling to pay the rent even as the pandemic wanes, will be shielded from eviction through Sept. 30  under a last-minute deal announced by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders. 

AK: Alaska House Speaker expresses confidence in effort to prevent shutdown

alaskapublic.org

Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes, a Republican, expressed confidence that the House will vote to avert much of the state government shutting down. The House failed to pass a clause in the budget bill that would make the bill effective on July 1, the start of the budget year. 

MT: Montana tackles structural barriers in task force on missing Indigenous peoples

montanafreepress.org

The Montana Missing Indigenous Persons Task Force, originally created in 2019, was reauthorized by the state legislature this year and received $10,000 to operate through the biennium. Representatives from tribal nations have been working with state and federal law enforcement advisers to pinpoint gaps in the system when someone is reported missing. 

IA: Iowa State Patrol’s lack of body cameras makes it an outlier

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa State Patrol troopers, who stop more than 150,000 motorists a year, provide security at the state Capitol and staff high-profile events, don’t wear body cameras. The deficiency was obvious after an April 8 protest at the Capitol when troopers arrested a Black high school student on allegations she assaulted an officer, but lacked video of the alleged assault. 

OH: Bill that would require party labels for Ohio judicial candidates clears legislature

cleveland.com

A bill that would require November ballots to list the partisan affiliations of Ohio Supreme Court candidates is now headed to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk.

IL: Bill headed to Illinois governor could set up a wave of annual property tax hikes 

chicagotribune.com

Legislation headed to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk could set the stage for a wave of annual real estate tax increases across Illinois by giving local taxing bodies the ability to make up for refunds they’ve issued due to erroneous property overassessments by shifting those costs onto the rest of their taxpayers.

FL: Florida governor signs emergency order allowing federal aid after condo collapse

miamiherald.com

Seventeen hours after the deadly partial collapse of the Champlain Towers condominium in Surfside, Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Miami-Dade County, enabling federal rescue, housing and financial assistance.

ME: State employees’ union clashes with Maine governor over pay

bangordailynews.com

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and Maine’s dominant state employees’ union are struggling again to reach agreement on a contract, largely over pay-raise disputes and remote work as a contract deadline approaches this week.

MS: Company purchases 26 Mississippi wastewater, water systems

apnews.com

The Great River Utility Operating Company now owns 26 water and wastewater systems throughout Mississippi, and plans to invest over $8 million to improve the systems.

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