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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/14

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/14

TX: Texas Supreme Court deals final blow to federal abortion law challenge

texastribune.org

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that state medical licensing officials do not have authority to enforce the law, which bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. This was the last, narrowly cracked window that abortion providers had left to challenge the law after the U.S. Supreme Court decimated their case in a December ruling.

ME: Maine looks to set limits on collection of biometric data

apnews.com

A proposal before the Maine Legislature would require companies to get consent before they collect biometric information such as facial features, voices and fingerprints. It would also ban companies from selling biometric data and set rules about how long they are able to keep it.

US: Republican attorneys general in six states want DirecTV to bring back One America News Network

bloomberg.com

Republican attorneys general from Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas sent a letter to DirecTV, urging the satellite-TV provider to reverse its decision to drop the conservative One America News Network. The officials called DirecTV’s decision “highly troubling and disappointing,” saying that the service was bowing to pressure from “powerful left-wing voices.”

WY: Road to table: Wyoming’s got a new app for claiming roadkill

apnews.com

Wyoming wildlife and highway officials rolled out the app—possibly the first of its kind in the U.S.—this winter when Wyoming joined the 30 or so states that allow people to collect roadkill for food.

TN: Tennessee lawmakers consider taking the Texas abortion bill a step further

wpln.org

The language in the Tennessee proposal appears to go a step further than a new Texas law, which allows private citizens to sue anyone involved with providing an abortion. The Texas law still allows for medication abortions up to six weeks of pregnancy. Tennessee’s proposal—as written now—is an outright ban, except when the mother’s life is endangered. 

AZ: Arizona Republican lawmakers want to expand concealed carry, other gun laws

azcapitoltimes.com

The Arizona House approved several pro-gun bills backed by Republican lawmakers. Among them are bills would require gun safety lessons in schools, exempt firearms from sales tax, limit public contracts with companies that discriminate against gun businesses and expand the places where people can carry a concealed handgun.

NV: Georgia bill to allow permitless carry of handguns clears state House

ajc.com

For the second time in less than two weeks, Republican lawmakers in the Georgia House and Senate have passed legislation that would let Georgians carry a concealed handgun without first getting a license from the state.

OK: Oklahoma lawmakers want to exempt all military retirement from state income tax

tulsaworld.com

Oklahoma Republican lawmakers are pushing two measures that would end the personal income tax on military retirement benefits at a cost to the state of nearly $5.7 million. Oklahoma has about 36,000 retired service members.

MT: Montana moves to endemic approach to COVID

billingsgazette.com

Citing lower case counts and less strain on hospitals, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, said the state will move to managing COVID-19 as an endemic disease like the flu and wind down some of the state operations Montanans have come to know over the past two years.

PA: Pennsylvania infrastructure funding system leaves some of the worst bridges behind investigation finds 

post-gazette.com

A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette investigation has found that dozens of bridges in poor condition in Pennsylvania are left in dire need of overhauls year after year, while scores of other spans in far better shape attract hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements.

CA: California’s ambitious high-speed rail at a crossroads

nytimes.com

In 2008, when the bond measure passed, the high-speed rail project symbolized the California’s ambition to build and think big. But in the years since then, it has become something else: an alarming vision of a nation that seems incapable of completing the transformative projects necessary to confront 21st century challenges.

AK: Alaska governor proposes suspending motor fuel taxes through June 2023

alaskapublic.org

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, has proposed suspending the state’s motor fuel taxes until June 2023. Dunleavy joined a growing number of governors and legislators who’ve supported a break in their state’s fuel taxes.

WV: West Virginia Legislature misses deadline for bill to restrict how race is taught in schools

apnews.com

The West Virginia Legislature’s Republican supermajority failed to pass a controversial bill restricting how race is taught in public schools because they missed a midnight deadline in the final moments of the 2022 session..

MI: High expulsion and suspension rates in Michigan leave lasting scars on homeless students

mlive.com

Discipline policies in Michigan school districts disproportionately affect students struggling with trauma and who need of additional support. Students who had experienced homelessness were suspended or expelled at rates that were two times higher than the 8% statewide average for all students.

CO: Can Colorado keep mobile homes affordable?

denverpost.com

Democratic lawmakers in Colorado have brought a bill that includes statewide rent stabilization for mobile home parks—a radical move for a legislature that just three years ago killed a bill that would have allowed local governments to cap rent increases.

NY: Report: 1 in 3 New York households in environmentally disadvantaged areas

timesunion.com

About 35% of households in New York state live in environmentally “disadvantaged communities” according to a draft plan that outlines how the benefits of shifting to green energy should be distributed.

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