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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/7

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/7

AK: Alaska lawmakers, candidates, governor call for state to sell Russia investments

adn.com

Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has directed state agencies “to identify and divest, if and when appropriate, from Russian assets,” and called on the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. to do the same. There has been a growing outcry from elected officials and candidates for office urging state officials to sell Russian investments to punish that nation for its invasion of Ukraine.

UT: Utah governor says he’ll veto transgender youth sports ban

apnews.com

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, said that he plans to veto legislation that would ban transgender student-athletes from competing in girls sports. In vowing to veto the bill, Cox directly addressed transgender student-athletes, who he said found themselves the subject of political debate through no fault of their own.

FL: Florida Senate passes elections bill that’s not as substantial as GOP governor wanted

tampabay.com

Florida Republican state senators moved forward with a slate of election changes that includes creating a first-of-its-kind elections security office under the control of the governor. The measure would create an elections security force, but it’s not as substantial as what Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted.

WA: All job postings in Washington state could soon include salary information

seattletimes.com

Washington employers soon would have to disclose the starting salary for open positions to job applicants—at the beginning of the recruiting process—if a bill that recently passed both chambers of the state legislature becomes law.

MO: Missouri lawmakers look to throw a little shade on the Sunshine Law

stltoday.com

Some public records could become less public under several proposals from Missouri lawmakers. A handful of measures would tackle different provisions of the Missouri Sunshine Law, affecting the cost, lifespan and accessibility of various government records.

MA: Massachusetts cuts autopsy rates to one of lowest in nation

bostonglobe.com

Facing an escalating caseload, the Massachusetts chief medical examiner’s office has sharply reduced how often it conducts autopsies in recent years, opting instead for faster, less-intensive examinations and driving autopsy rates to one of the nation’s lowest levels among similar offices.

OR: Federal judge blocks Oregon’s 1st-in-nation ban on homebuyer ‘love letters’

oregonlive.com

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking Oregon’s first-in-the-nation ban on so called real estate “love letters,” or personal notes from prospective homebuyers to home sellers, saying it violates the First Amendment by restricting free speech too broadly. The judge said Oregon’s goal was laudable, but the bill was overly inclusive.

NM: New Mexico governor urges state to divest from Russia

krqe.com

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is calling on the agency charged with investing New Mexico’s funds to pull millions of dollars of investments with potential ties to the Russian government. As much as $16 million in state investment funds were wrapped up in investments that may have ties to Russia.

CT: Committee advances Connecticut aid-in-dying bill

courant.com

A Connecticut bill that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients cleared a key committee, but the measure’s fate in an abbreviated legislative session remains uncertain.

GA: Georgia House approves bill to control how race is discussed in schools

ajc.com

Following a playbook used by Republicans in other states, the Georgia House approved legislation that would limit what could be said about race during classroom discussions.

HI: Hawaii oil refinery suspends buying Russian crude oil

staradvertiser.com

The owner of Hawaii’s oil refinery said island consumers should not expect oil supply disruptions or significant price increases as a result of its decision to suspend purchases of Russian crude oil in response to the war in Ukraine.

NJ: New Jersey governor lifts COVID public health emergency as state surpasses 30K deaths

northjersey.com

As New Jersey marked the two-year anniversary of its first confirmed case of COVID-19, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy ended the statewide public health emergency, calling for a “more normal way of life” as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to drop. 

OH: Feds deny Ohio’s request to delay sending military ballots as primary chaos continues

dispatch.com

The U.S. Department of Defense denied Ohio’s request to delay sending ballots to military and overseas voters amid the chaos of trying to hold a primary without finalized statehouse and congressional maps.

WY: Juvenile justice data collection bill passes Wyoming legislature

trib.com

Wyoming has one of the highest rates of juvenile incarceration in the nation. But a dearth of data makes it difficult to understand exactly what’s happening. Advocates hope the problem will be addressed through the new legislation.

TN: Man on death row in Tennessee to be executed after state’s 2-year hiatus

tennessean.com

After a nearly two-year hiatus, Tennessee is set to resume capital punishment with five executions scheduled for this year and the first set to take place next month. Oscar Franklin Smith, 71, who is scheduled to die on April 21, was convicted in the 1989 triple slaying of his estranged wife and her two teenage sons.

AZ: Lawmaker wants to limit Arizona's authority over imperiled Mexican gray wolves

azcentral.com

The Arizona House has passed a bill that would bar the state Game and Fish Commission from prohibiting a person from killing a wolf if the person feels threatened or if their livestock or pets are threatened. Wolf advocates say Mexican wolves are federally protected species and the states is overstepping its purview.

NE: Nebraska mental health services suffer as interpreters lose Medicaid funding

journalstar.com

Nebraska Medicaid providers are no longer reimbursing in-person language interpretation services. The change has interrupted mental and behavioral health services for many Iraqi immigrants. 

CO: Colorado bill for new behavioral health agency seeks sweeping safety net changes

9news.com

One of the most ambitious reforms in the 232-page Colorado bill would prohibit publicly funded mental health safety net providers from refusing to treat clients based on their insurance status, level of aggression, involvement in the criminal justice system or the complexities of their cases.

OK: As oil prices rise, Oklahoma's big producers remain reluctant to boost production

oklahoman.com

As oil prices have climbed to 10-year highs, some Republican politicians in Oklahoma have been pushing for more production to ease pain at the pump. But energy companies in the state say they will stick to long-range plans focused more on returning money to shareholders than growing production.

ID: Idaho transgender kids fear losing health care

idahostatesman.com

A bill that would criminalize medical providers in the state for providing gender-confirming care for transgender children sailed through a committee hearing in the Idaho legislature and now awaits a vote by the full House. 

AR: Arkansas crash fatalities jumped by nearly 25% in 2020

arkansasonline.com

The increase in fatal crashes in Arkansas came despite pandemic restrictions that kept many people at home. But AAA says reckless drivers increased their bad habits with fewer cars on the road.

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