Stateline

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/7

What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/7

NY: New York governor calls first-in-the nation state of emergency for gun violence

timesunion.com

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would enact a state of emergency for gun violence, declaring it a second epidemic that New York must face the way it did COVID-19. It’s the first such emergency order for gun violence of any state in the country, Cuomo said.

TX: Texas legislature prepares for 2nd round of voting rights battle

houstonchronicle.com

The Texas legislature is returning for a special session and a second round of debate on a strict new voting bill. During the regular session House Democrats walked out of the chamber to stop the bill from passing, but the next version could be more restrictive.

CO: Colorado will ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene

denverpost.com

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a law banning polystyrene packaging and single-use plastic bags in Colorado starting Jan. 1, 2024. The law allows several exemptions, including for restaurants, shops and businesses with three or fewer locations in the state.

CT: Connecticut governor signs climate change law to protect shoreline

courant.com

Environmentalists hailed Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont for a new climate change law that helps prevent flooding, gives towns more power to fight climate change and provides $30 million to expand the state’s Green Bank for infrastructure projects in the effort.

AL: Alabama closes COVID vaccine sites as state demand plateaus

foxnews.com

Several mass vaccinations sites in Alabama, the state with the second lowest vaccination rate in the country, closed because no one showed up. 

LA: Black lawmakers back federal probe into abuse, cover-up at Louisiana State Police

theadvocate.com

Some state lawmakers of the Louisiana Black Caucus are sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to order an investigation into “systemic violations of constitutional rights” within the state’s police department.

IL: New Illinois law aims to improve Medicaid, slash costs for some families 

chicagotribune.com

Illinois residents on Medicaid will have access to more services, and some families with children in a state health insurance program may no longer have to pay premiums, under a bill Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law.

ME: New Maine law boosts pay for long-term care workers

mainepublic.org

A Maine proposal to raise the pay for long-term care workers has been signed into law. The measure boosts pay to 125% of the minimum wage for what are now called “essential support workers”—those who care for people with disabilities, people with behavioral health challenges, or older adults.

CT, NJ, NY: Connecticut, New Jersey and New York are warring over how to split $14B in transit aid

northjersey.com

Connecticut, New Jersey and New York have been at odds for six months over the federal stimulus funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and American Rescue Plan Act, according to letters penned between the state agencies and obtained through a public information request.

OK: Cannabis boom in rural Oklahoma stokes fears of foreign investors, crime

tulsaworld.com

Law enforcement officials and some lawmakers contend that a good deal of the marijuana being grown by producers licensed by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is being illegally shipped out of state for old-fashioned street sales.

CA: California will pay victims of state-sanctioned sterilization

apnews.com

California is poised to approve reparations of up to $25,000 to victims who were among the thousands of people—some as young as 13—who decades ago were sterilized because state officials deemed them unfit to have children. This will make California at least the third state after Virginia and North Carolina to pay victims of the eugenics movement that peaked in the 1930s.

VA: Virginia’s state retirement trust fund reaches historic high at $100B

richmond.com

The Virginia Retirement System Trust Fund has topped $100 billion, a historic high that represents a dramatic turnaround from a year ago, when poor investment performance in the stock market caused a dip in pension funds for hundreds of thousands of public employees.

KS: Kansas outperformed budget expectations, has highest ending balance on record

kansascity.com

Kansas overcame bleak expectations to collect 9.3% more tax revenue than expected in the 2021 budget year, the Department of Revenue reported. The $8.9 billion general revenue haul outperformed expectations by $758 million, leaving Kansas with its highest ending balance since at least 1980.

DE: Delaware lawmakers want climate efforts to help marginalized communities

delawarepublic.org

Delaware lawmakers are creating an environmental justice task force to ensure infrastructure projects benefit marginalized Delawareans. State lawmakers want to ensure any federal funding goes to the communities most negatively affected by climate change and pollution.

HI: Hawaii legislature overrides governor’s objections, defunds tourism authority

civilbeat.org

In a rare rebuke of a Democratic governor, Hawaii lawmakers overrode five measures that Gov. David Ige vetoed, among them a bill that would yank dedicated funding for the state’s tourism marketing agency and change the formula for how counties get tourism tax dollars.

RI: Rhode Island governor vetoes energy bill

providencejournal.com

Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Dan McKee vetoed a bill pushed by a single renewable-energy developer—and big political contributor—that could have shifted millions of dollars in the costs of solar and wind projects from developers to ratepayers.

GA: Groups seek increase in language access to Georgia redistricting process

ajc.com

About 14% of Georgia’s 10.7 million residents are estimated to speak a language other than English at home, and some organizations have questioned why the General Assembly is conducting town hall meetings on the contentious process of drawing new political districts only in English.

AK: Alaska governor won’t seek to block $4B Permanent Fund transfer

alaskapublic.org

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, will not seek to block a $4 billion transfer of Alaska Permanent Fund earnings into the fund’s constitutionally protected principal. Dunleavy attempted to veto the transfer last week, but because of a mistake in the veto process, the item was not crossed out in the final version of Alaska’s state budget.

OH: New Ohio anti-hazing law will toughen penalties, expand fraternity accountability

cleveland.com

In response to high-profile fraternity deaths at Ohio universities in recent years, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation toughening the state’s anti-hazing law.

WI: Wisconsin zoos will vaccinate animals against COVID

wpr.org

Badgers at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, are among the animals susceptible to the respiratory disease and will be inoculated with an experimental vaccine authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The animal medical company Zoetis plans to donate more than 11,000 doses to zoos across the country, including in Madison and Milwaukee.

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