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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/15

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/15

ID: Idaho lawmakers pass Texas-style ban on abortions

idahocapitalsun.com

The Idaho bill would allow relatives of a pregnant person to sue a medical provider who performs an abortion after cardiac activity is detected. The bill would allow the mother, father, grandparents, aunt, uncle or sibling of a fetus to sue the medical provider who performed the abortion for a minimum of $20,000. 

KY: Kentucky bill would put local politicians in charge of libraries

kentucky.com

Public library advocates are voicing concerns about spending cuts and possibly even censorship of books as the Kentucky General Assembly advances a bill to give county politicians control of libraries’ governing boards.

CO: Colorado Democrats, election officials are trying to prevent insider threats to election security

coloradosun.com

People who tamper with voting equipment or publish confidential voting system information in Colorado could face felony charges punishable by up to three years in prison under a measure introduced by Colorado Democrats and backed by state and local election officials. 

NM: Election audit prompts pushback from New Mexico auditor

apnews.com

The New Mexico state auditor is the latest top Democratic official to push back against an independent audit of the 2020 election in one rural county, as questions about irregularities and fraud continue to circulate in more conservative pockets across the United States.

MA: Hackers hit Massachusetts background-check firm used by state agencies, universities

bostonglobe.com

Computer hackers made off with highly sensitive personal records on more than 164,000 job-seekers and license applicants in a virtual “smash and grab” attack last November on Creative Services Inc., a Massachusetts company that conducts background checks on everyone from marijuana entrepreneurs to state employees, university faculty members, and workers at nuclear facilities.

AL:As gas prices skyrocket, Alabama cities and counties look at budget priorities

al.com

Officials across Alabama are preparing for budget adjustments this year if the high costs of fuel last. Road projects are already expected to be delayed in some cities, and police, fire, and public works employees could limit their time on the roads.

NE: Nebraska lawmakers support permanent daylight savings time proposal

journalstar.com

Nebraska would adopt permanent daylight savings time only if the federal government authorizes it and if the change is also adopted by at least three neighboring states. Nineteen states, including bordering Wyoming, already have adopted the switch.

AZ: Arizona is considering a bill that would allow charters to take over failing schools

azcentral.com

A bill currently working its way through the Arizona Legislature would allow out-of-state charter operators to take over D- and F-rated schools if they aren’t able to boost their rating after three years of interventions or can’t access other support measures named in the bill.

NY: New York education department unveils new standards for private schools

timesunion.com

New York State Education Department officials unveiled new educational standards for private schools at the Board of Regents' March meeting, narrowing the scope of what public school districts would have to oversee.  The draft regulations provide multiple pathways for non-public schools to demonstrate that they are providing educational programming that is "substantially equivalent" to that of public schools.

WV: West Virginia legislators pass bill to increase video surveillance of special education classrooms

wvgazettemail.com

The West Virginia Legislature unanimously passed a bill that would require public school administrators to review at least 15 minutes of footage from each special education classroom at least every 90 days. The 2019 state law that mandated cameras in these classrooms specifically forbids “regular” or “continual” monitoring of the footage.

WA: Rural Washington agencies seek federal support to fortify against cyberattacks

crosscut.com

Cyberattacks are an increasing problem for Washington state’s small and local government entities, including municipal and county governments, health care organizations and school districts. Many of these entities have an IT staff in the single digits.

HI: Hawaii seemed poised to adopt a vape flavor ban. Then came the amendments.

civilbeat.org

Activists were dismayed when the flavor ban bill left the Hawaii House health committee nearly double in length and stuffed with what they said were “poison pill” amendments meant to “tank the bill and make sure it never passes.”

 

NY, NJ: New York asks U.S. Supreme Court to block New Jersey from leaving mob watchdog agency

nj.com

In a stunning and unexpected move, New York officials went to the U.S. Supreme Court in attempt to block New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy from carrying out his threat to exit the watchdog agency created to fight mob control and corruption in one of the nation’s largest ports.

TN: Tennessee House Republicans admonish shadowy firm where they spent nearly $200K

tennessean.com

Tennessee House Republicans have moved to distance themselves from a political consulting firm at the center of a federal probe after lawmakers spent nearly $200,000 with the company. Eight campaigns and two political action committees spent money with the company, Phoenix Solutions, including one of the top Republican House Caucus' political action committees.

ME: Maine lawmakers call for National Guard probe under pressure from female soldiers

bangordailynews.com

Democratic lawmakers called for an outside probe of how the Maine National Guard responds to sexual assault and harassment following pressure from survivors of sexual abuse.

MD: Maryland Senate embraces climate change bill but drops fossil fuel limits

baltimoresun.com

The Maryland Senate is poised to pass a sweeping climate change bill that would accelerate state greenhouse gas reduction goals. But the chamber has abandoned environmentalists’ most aggressive proposal for reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

NC: Hundreds of millions in North Carolina unemployment benefits were delayed

newobserver.com

Nearly half a billion dollars in unemployment payments were late in reaching North Carolinians during much of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new state audit has found.

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