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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/10

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/10

CA: EPA restores California’s authority to set its own auto pollution rules

latimes.com

The Biden administration reinstated California’s authority to set motor vehicle pollution standards stricter than the federal government. That includes tighter restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

US: Calls to suspend gas taxes across US grow as prices surge

apnews.com

With gas prices at record highs across the U.S., an increasing number of governors and state lawmakers are calling for the suspension of gas taxes to provide relief to motorists who are facing the prospect of even higher pump prices as the country cuts off Russian oil imports.

DC: Congress keeps ban on legal DC marijuana sales in budget

washingtonpost.com

In a setback for Washington, D.C., leaders, Congress retained a budget provision preventing the city from commercializing marijuana, dashing the city’s hopes for pushing through legislation to regulate recreational pot. The spending package also kept a longstanding restriction that would ban the District of Columbia from using local funds to subsidize abortions for low-income women.

VT: Vermont House approves giving $644,826 in Ukraine aid

burlingtonfreepress.com

The Vermont House has passed a bill that would send $644,826 to Ukraine. The money includes $1 for every Vermonter. Added to that amount is the $1,749 in Russian liquor sold by the state between Feb. 24, the date Russia invaded Ukraine, and March 2, when Vermont officially took Russian liquor off shelves.

TX: Texas flagged 27K mail ballots for rejection in March 1 primary

apnews.com

More than 27,000 mail ballots in Texas were flagged for rejection in the first test of new voting restrictions enacted across the U.S., jeopardizing votes cast by Democrats and Republicans alike and in counties big and small.

WV: West Virginia state school board opposes measure that would cede education policy to legislature

wvgazettemail.com

The West Virginia Board of Education has officially weighed in against a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the legislature final say over all state school board policies. Currently the board does not have to submit its policies to lawmakers for approval.

NJ: New Jersey bars investment ties to Russia over Ukraine invasion

nj.com

New Jersey has barred public entities in the state from doing business with the Russian government and companies with ties to it, under a bipartisan bill Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

CO: Colorado county clerk indicted on felony charges

coloradosun.com

Embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, a Republican, has been indicted by a Colorado grand jury on a mix of felony and misdemeanor charges. Peters has been under investigation since last summer after she allegedly facilitated a security breach of her county’s election system.

KS: GOP lawmakers in Kansas pushing for ban on all mask mandates

apnews.com

Republican legislators in Kansas are trying to prohibit state and local mask mandates during disease outbreaks, advancing such a ban along with proposals aimed at discouraging local restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.

MA: Massachusetts House nixes GOP effort to suspend gas tax

bostonglobe.com

The Massachusetts House rejected a proposal to suspend the state’s 24-cents-a-gallon gas tax amid record high costs at the pump, batting down a GOP-led effort Democratic leaders called a “political stunt.”

NM: New Mexico governor signs $1B budget expansion

apnews.com

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, signed a $1 billion annual budget expansion for state government that shores up spending on public education, health care and infrastructure while boosting salaries for bureaucrats, state police and public school educators.

CT: Connecticut nursing home background-check bill sees strong opposition

ctmirror.org

A Connecticut bill that would require long-term care facilities to check whether prospective residents have a criminal history or are on the sex offender registry before they are admitted drew some heated opposition at a committee hearing from organizations representing providers and an advocate for abolishing the sex offender registry.

MO: Missouri senators furious as faction tries to add obscenity crime to sex assault bill

kansascity.com

A bipartisan majority in the Missouri Senate denounced a hard-right group of members known for aggressive tactics. The anger came after the Conservative Caucus tried to amend a sexual assault survivors’ bill to make it a crime for teachers to provide obscene materials to K-12 students.

NC: North Carolina senators fail to override governor’s veto of school masks bill

newsobserver.com

The North Carolina Senate failed to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of a bill that would make masks optional in all public schools in the state. Most schools had already lifted them.

SC: South Carolina could soon join states seeking to amend US Constitution

postandcourier.com

South Carolina is steps away from joining a list of states seeking to change the U.S. Constitution through a first-ever national convention, despite concerns it could backfire and result in a complete rewrite of American rights.  

NV: Judge rules sales, gaming tax petitions must be taken off Nevada ballot

thenevadaindependent.com

A Carson City judge has ordered two teacher union-backed tax initiatives be taken off the Nevada ballot this year, reversing the Republican secretary of state’s plan to keep them there.

MS: Mississippi House leaders kill postpartum Medicaid extension

apnews.com

Republican leaders of the Mississippi House killed a bill that would have let mothers keep Medicaid coverage for a year after giving birth, up from the current

WA: Washington state Democrats agree on $17B transportation package

seattletimes.com

Democrats in the Washington state House and Senate have agreed on what will likely be the final framework for funding a bevy of major transportation projects over the next 16 years. The overall package would cost nearly $17 billion.

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