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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/10

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 2/10

IL: Illinois governor will lift indoor mask mandate, but rules remain for schools 

chicagotribune.com 

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker will lift the state’s indoor mask mandate for most public places on Feb. 28 if the state’s largest coronavirus surge continues to subside. He is not dropping masking rules for schools, however, as his administration seeks to overturn a court ruling that called into question his legal authority for mandating face coverings, quarantines and, for school staff, vaccinations or testing. 

MO: Missouri House endorses pared-back plan for state worker raises 

stltoday.com 

The Missouri House scrapped part of Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s request to give all state workers raises, instead endorsing a pared-back plan that leaves some of the state’s lowest-paid employees on the sidelines. 

CO: Colorado’s pension system missed out on millions in investments

coloradosun.com

Colorado’s pension system missed out on millions of dollars in potential investment revenue as a result of lawmakers’ decision last year to park money in a low-interest bank account. The state has more than $30 billion in unfunded future obligations to pensioners.

CA: Tax cuts for restaurants, small businesses on the way under fast-tracked California law

sacbee.com

California will give new tax cuts to businesses and new relief to restaurants under a package of bills Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed. The measures will provide roughly $6 billion in relief, including $5.5 billion in tax credits and deductions.

VT: Vermont House passes tax credit for children under 6

apnews.com

The Vermont House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill that would create a $1,200 tax credit for the parents or caregivers of each child under age 6. The legislation would cost the state an estimated $48 million and provide benefits to 51,000 children.

KS: Kansas passes congressional map over governor’s veto

kansascity.com

The Kansas House overrode Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto to enact a congressional map splitting Wyandotte County for the first time in 40 years. It is all but certain to face a court challenge amid allegations that the reconfigured district boundaries amount to racial gerrymandering.

AZ: Arizona teachers worry 'show what you're teaching' bill will pile more weight on heavy workloads

azcentral.com

An Arizona bill would require teachers to post all of their curriculum online. Any materials about “nondiscrimination, diversity, equity, inclusion, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, bias” would have to be made available for parent review 72 hours before they appear in front of students.

GA: Georgia Senate panel approves bill that would ban mailing abortion pills

ajc.com

The Georgia legislation would require pregnant women to see a doctor in person before being able to obtain mifepristone, the abortion pill. A doctor also would have to perform an ultrasound.

FL: New fight erupts over bill that would change Everglades funding in Florida 

miamiherald.com 

A Florida bill that would change state policy toward Everglades restoration—pitting the Republican Senate president’s priorities against those of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—advanced through its single committee stop despite hours of passionate protest from clean water advocates. 

OR: Oregon secretary of state kills effort to set campaign contribution limits in 2022

oregonlive.com

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, announced she will disqualify three proposed ballot initiatives that would have capped donations for all state elections and mandated transparency on who truly pays for political ads.

ID: Idaho bill would cut candidate filing period to 1 week

idahocapitalsun.com

A Republican-sponsored bill in the Idaho legislature would halve the amount of time candidates have to file for office, potentially giving short notice to political challengers for this primary election. The bill would apply to forms that candidates for precinct, state, district or county offices must file.

MS: Mississippi House approves partially restored voter initiative process

clarionledger.com

The Mississippi House of Representatives voted to partially restore the state's ballot initiative process. The state Supreme Court nullified the old process in May 2021 when it struck down a medical marijuana initiative.

NM: Hydrogen incentives get cold reception in New Mexico

apnews.com

A panel of state legislators rejected a bill that would have provided new financial incentives in New Mexico for the hydrogen fuel that is derived from natural gas. A Senate panel suspended the bill from further consideration on a 7-2 vote amid lengthy and impassioned public comments.

IA: Iowa House subcommittee kills classroom camera bill

iowacapitaldispatch.com

A controversial bill to install cameras in Iowa classrooms will not move forward after a House subcommittee declined to meet on the proposal. Under the bill, the cameras would have broadcast to a secure website, allowing only parents and guardians to watch the class in real time.

HI: Hawaii ex-lawmakers are accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes

staradvertiser.com

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a former Hawaii Senate majority leader and the vice chair of the House Committee on Finance, both Democrats, with taking thousands of dollars in bribes to promote and kill legislation related to cesspool and wastewater policy to benefit an industrial services company and its affiliates.

SC: South Carolina employers could get state tax break for hiring veterans, formerly incarcerated people

postandcourier.com

South Carolina employers could get a state tax credit for hiring veterans or formerly incarcerated individuals under a bill advancing in the House that aims to train workers while linking those released from prison to a stable job. 

KY: Under Kentucky resolution, COVID antibodies would be considered equal to vaccines

kentucky.com

An emergency joint resolution that would require Kentucky to formally recognize a positive COVID-19 antibody test as equivalent to being fully vaccinated received preliminary approval from a health and welfare legislative committee.

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