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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/1

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/1

US: Election skeptics roil secretary of state elections

apnews.com

Republican secretaries of state face a delicate test with voters: Touting their work running clean elections while somehow not alienating GOP voters who believe the false claims of fraud fueled by former President Donald Trump and his allies.

FL: Federal judge rules parts of Florida voting law unconstitutional 

tampabay.com

A federal judge ruled that multiple parts of a voting law signed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last year are unconstitutional, striking down various provisions and prohibiting the legislature from passing future forms of voter laws without first getting approval from a court. 

NY: Judge strikes down New York Democrats’ redistricting maps, setting up high-profile appeal

timesunion.com

A New York Supreme Court justice threw out Democratic-drawn maps, saying the process was both faulty and riddled with political bias that led to gerrymandered maps. The ruling is expected to be appealed to the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, for a final decision. 

AR: Arkansas requests emergency motion for stay of blocked voting laws

arkansasonline.com

Arkansas officials filed an emergency motion to block a judge's order that struck down four laws regulating voting procedures. The judge said the laws were overly restrictive, but the motion dismisses criticism that the laws will harm voters as “pure speculation.”

SD: South Dakota governor wants unused rental funds to go to tribes

argusleader.com

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, said the state is returning $81.5 million in emergency rental assistance funds to the federal government and is asking that a portion of the money be redirected to three tribal nations.

ID: Companies to reimburse Idaho workers for travel costs to get an abortion in another state

idahostatesman.com

Two companies with employees in Idaho will cover travel expenses for workers who seek abortions after one of the most restrictive laws in the nation takes effect April 22.

WA: New Washington state police accountability law can now include past misconduct

crosscut.com

The body that licenses police officers in Washington state has decided to apply a new police accountability law to past misconduct, instead of only to officer misconduct that occurred after the law took effect last July.

SC: South Carolina lawmakers vote to fast-track transgender athlete ban

postandcourier.com

The South Carolina House of Representatives moved toward fast-tracking legislation intended to bar transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports on the same day supporters of the transgender community hoped to shed light on their discrimination. 

OR: Most of Oregon's federal infrastructure money to go toward road maintenance, safety upgrades

oregonlive.com

The bulk of Oregon’s dollars from a massive surge of federal funding will go toward fixing and maintaining highways and making safety upgrades to roads, the state’s transportation commission decided.

AL: Experienced Alabama teachers would get double-digit raises under plan advanced in legislature

al.com

Alabama lawmakers advanced a plan to raise the salaries of experienced public school teachers by 10% to 20%, ramping up an effort to attract more to the profession and keep seasoned educators in classrooms.

MS: Mississippi House and Senate OK each other’s redistricting plans

apnews.com

The Mississippi House and Senate approved each other’s redistricting plans that are likely to maintain Republican majorities in each chamber.

NJ: New Jersey governor tests positive for COVID

nj.com

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has tested positive for COVID-19 but is feeling well and not showing symptoms, his office announced.

OH: Ohio House votes to end health insurance copay tactic that's 'ruining a lot of families'

dispatch.com

The Ohio House voted to ban a practice known as a copay accumulator, in which health insurers refuse to count any copay assistance patients may receive from drugmakers, churches, nonprofits or family members toward the patient's annual maximum out-of-pocket payment.

TN: Tennessee governor looks to combine grocery tax holiday with ‘professional privilege’ cut

tennessean.com

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee wants to pair a grocery sales tax holiday with a reduction in taxes for lawyers, lobbyists and investment advisers. Lee’s updated budget proposal includes a one-month sales tax holiday on groceries.  

DC: DC mayor plans $10M effort to help Black homeowners

washingtonpost.com

Washington, D.C., Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser will launch a “strike force” this summer to decide how to spend $10 million to bolster Black homeownership, marking the city’s latest effort to help longtime residents amid growing disparities.

MO: Missouri House scraps Senate-approved congressional districts 

stltoday.com

The Missouri House jettisoned a Senate-approved blueprint for the state’s congressional maps, with House members again urging senators to meet to work out differences. 

MN: Minnesota review faults law enforcement response to unrest after Floyd killing

mprnews.org

A newly released after-action report offers a stinging analysis of Minnesota law enforcement’s response to the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. The analysis was commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. 

WI: Wisconsin governor vetoes bill that would have enhanced penalties for rioters

madison.com

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a Republican bill that would have created mandatory minimum sentences for people participating in riots. Evers said the bill, which would have defined "riot" and enforced penalties for participating in them, would have infringed on Wisconsinites' First Amendment rights.

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