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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/31

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 3/31

LA: In historic vote, Louisiana legislature overturns governor's veto on congressional maps

theadvocate.com

On largely party-line votes, both Louisiana chambers overrode Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of a congressional redistricting bill, marking the first time in 31 years legislators refused to accept a gubernatorial refusal of a bill they had passed.

AZ: Arizona to require additional proof of citizenship for some voters

azcentral.com

More Arizonans would need to prove their citizenship to vote, even in federal-only elections, under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. The new law will take effect 90 days after the legislature ends its session, but it appears ripe for an immediate court challenge.

OK: Oklahoma governor signs transgender athlete ban into law

oklahoman.com

The new law signed by Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt will require the parent or guardian of a student who competes on a sports team to sign an affidavit acknowledging their child's sex at birth.

ID: Planned Parenthood files petition to block Idaho anti-abortion law

idahocapitalsun.com

Idaho’s law allows civil lawsuits against medical professionals who provide abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound. Planned Parenthood said the ban would eliminate access for those who do not have the time or money to travel out of state for care.

AK: Legislators divided over what to call state payments to Alaskans

alaskapublic.org
The Alaska House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the state budget this week. One of the biggest differences over the budget is not over dollars and cents—it’s over what to call the money that will be sent to Alaskans later this year. The disagreement is over the message lawmakers want to send.

OH: Ohio Supreme Court again asks redistricting commission members why they shouldn’t be held in contempt

cleveland.com

The Ohio Supreme Court is giving members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission until Monday morning to respond to claims that they should be held in contempt because of the manner in which Republican commission members passed a fourth attempt at a legislative map earlier this week.

PA: Pennsylvania’s ‘compassionate release’ rules strand sickest prisoners

spotlightpa.org

Pennsylvania state prisons house more than 2,000 people who are over 55 and serving life in prison, where lack of access to health care and atypical living conditions age them at a faster rate. There are few ways for people getting older behind bars to get out unless their death is imminent.

MD: Maryland will appeal court ruling on congressional districts

baltimoresun.com

Maryland’s attorney general said he will appeal a judge’s decision that found a map of the state’s congressional districts drawn by Democratic legislators was too partisan.

WV: West Virginia air quality funding bill signed by governor

wvgazettemail.com

West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice has signed into law a bill designed to increase funding for state air quality regulators.

MN: Minnesota still has billions in federal pandemic relief dollars to spend

startribune.com

Minnesota state government has yet to decide how to use more than a third of its $2.8 billion in federal pandemic aid. Cities, towns and counties have through 2026 to spend their $2.1 billion.

IA: Iowa governor says state would accept Ukrainian refugees

iowacapitaldispatch.com

Iowa will send tactical gear and food assistance to Ukraine, and the state will prepare to accept Ukrainian refugees, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said. Iowa law enforcement groups will donate helmets and ballistic vests.

MT: US approves bison grazing on Montana prairie amid criticism

apnews.com

The decision allows the American Prairie group to graze bison on U.S. Bureau of Land Management property in Montana and to remove about 30 miles of fences so the animals can roam more freely. Critics worry that bison will displace cattle.

MS: Mississippi legislature passes equal pay bill. Advocates say it’s terrible.

mississippitoday.org

If Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signs an equal pay bill, Mississippi will no longer be the only state without such a law. But some advocates of equal pay for women say the measure state lawmakers just passed is worse than not having a law and they’ll urge Reeves to veto it.

WA: Comcast and other telecoms scuttle rural Washington broadband efforts

crosscut.com
Private telecommunications companies in Washington have thwarted efforts by rural public utility districts to expand broadband access by leveraging a sometimes opaque objection process.

MI: Michigan governor signs $4.7B infrastructure bill

freep.com

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, signed a bill that uses billions of dollars in federal funds to improve state drinking water, sewers, parks, roads, dams and internet service, while helping renters and homeowners financially harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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