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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/9

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/9

FL: Florida lawmakers pass bill that would limit teaching on sexual orientation

orlandosentinel.com

Florida lawmakers approved legislation that would limit classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has signaled that he will sign the bill, saying he thinks it will shield elementary-age children from inappropriate lessons about sex. The measure has been dubbed by opponents as the “don’t say gay” bill.

HI: Hawaii becomes last state in the nation to end indoor mask mandates

staradvertiser.com

Democratic Gov. David Ige announced that Hawaii’s statewide indoor mask requirement will end on March 25. The governor cited declining COVID-19 case numbers as motivation for the decision. Hawaii is the last state to end its indoor mask mandate.

IA: Iowa Senate votes to drop confirmation process for many governor appointees

iowacapitaldispatch.com

Dozens of the governor’s appointees would no longer go through a Senate confirmation process under a bill advanced by the Iowa Senate. Democrats opposed the change, arguing the confirmation process is an essential check on the governor’s power.

MI: Michigan lawmakers pass bill that would require regular updates to petition drives

freep.com

During an election year that has seen a surge in petition drives to usher in major changes to Michigan law—from voter ID rules to the minimum wage—state House lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that would require regular updates to the public on the status of those campaigns. The state Senate previously approved the bill with unanimous support.

WA: Washington state legislature OKs missing Indigenous women alert

apnews.com

The Washington state legislature approved an alert system to help identify and locate missing Indigenous people. The system, which the state attorney general said is the first of its kind in the nation, will be similar to so-called silver alerts that are currently in place for missing vulnerable adults.

WY: Bill prohibiting use of electronic devices to stalk people clears Wyoming committee

cowboystatedaily.com

The Wyoming bill would build on existing stalking laws to also make stalking by electronic devices, such as global positioning systems and Apple AirTag, illegal. Stalking crimes involving such devices are increasing, speakers told a House committee.

SD: GOP infighting derails South Dakota vaccine bill

apnews.com

Republican proposals to allow more worker exemptions from employer vaccine requirements were derailed when South Dakota GOP legislators couldn’t reach an agreement.

WI: Republican lawmakers reject governor’s plan to give every Wisconsin resident $150

jsonline.com

Republican lawmakers who control the state legislature ignored Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' call to convene a special legislative session to take up legislation that would have given each Wisconsin resident $150. The lawmakers quickly gaveled in and gaveled out of the session the governor ordered.

DE: Delaware Senate advances paid leave measure

delawarepublic.org

Delaware is another step closer to becoming the 10th state to enact a paid family and medical leave program after a bill to do that passed. All GOP senators voted against it. The bill would create a type of state paid leave insurance program funded by a small payroll tax split between workers and employees.

PA: Pennsylvania Supreme Court weighs mail voting law

spotlightpa.org

The fate of Pennsylvania’s popular vote-by-mail law now lies in the hands of the state’s highest court, which heard competing arguments on whether it violates the state constitution and should be struck down.

MO: Missouri House backs plan to bar hospitals from limiting visitors

stltoday.com

Hospitals and nursing homes in Missouri would lose some of their ability to restrict visitors during a pandemic under legislation that won preliminary approval in the House.

CO: Colorado officials delay industry greenhouse gas cuts

coloradosun.com

Colorado officials won’t pass rules cutting greenhouse gas emissions from large manufacturers until 2023, disappointing environmental advocates who say mandatory targets for 2025 and 2030 are slipping out of sight. Air quality officials say that schedule was superseded by a new law passed last summer that gives them more sweeping powers to cut emissions by 20%. 

KY: Kentucky bill would let public employees, students keep COVID vaccination status private

kentucky.com

A bill that would bar public entities from requiring employees or students to disclose whether they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 passed out of a Kentucky House committee with strong Republican support.

AR: Arkansas governor signs law enforcement funding bills

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill requiring the state police to make all certified law enforcement officer classifications eligible for pay increases if additional general revenue money becomes available. Hutchinson also signed a bill providing one-time stipends to city and county law enforcement officers and probation and parole officers.

TN: Tennessee bill would ban most abortions, allow private residents to sue providers

tennessean.com

A Tennessee Republican lawmaker seeks to ban most abortions in the state and allow private residents to sue abortion providers under a new bill that copies a restrictive law passed in Texas last year. The proposal would ban abortions except to prevent the death or "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function" of the pregnant woman.

NJ: New Jersey governor’s budget includes property tax rebates, free state parks

nj.com

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a proposed $48.9 billion state budget that lifts spending in New Jersey to a new high while vowing to make the state more affordable. The budget includes property tax rebates, waivers on state park fees and big spending on pensions and schools.

OH: Ohio lawmakers move to extend voting deadline for military members

cleveland.com

Ohio lawmakers are taking steps they believe will prevent the state from being sued by the federal government for failing to meet an upcoming deadline to mail absentee ballots to military members.

UT: Bill updating what Utah students learn about sexual assault fails

sltrib.com

The Utah bill would have required the Board of Education to develop curriculum teaching students “sexual assault resource strategies” and “sexual violence behavior prevention.”

IN: Public comment on Indiana bill stymied by spam filter

indystar.com

As many as 70,000 emails sent to Indiana lawmakers about a contentious critical race theory bill went undelivered. At least one lawmaker is calling for a change to the state’s cybersecurity policy. 

AL: Alabama lawmakers advance another ‘divisive concepts’ bill that could effect colleges, grant funding

al.com

Another bill seeking to restrict teaching on race, gender and religion earned swift approval from Alabama Republican legislators in a Senate committee.

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