What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/4
IA: Iowa Supreme Court upholds finding that state discriminated against transgender worker
In affirming a jury award and related lower court decisions in the case, the justices rejected Iowa’s argument that granting a transgender worker access to a men’s restroom would have generated controversy in the workplace.
FL: Florida lawmakers raid $100M from affordable housing for program that doesn’t exist
Amid a statewide housing crisis, the Florida legislature swept $100 million out of a nationally respected affordable housing rental assistance program for low-income families into a home-buying program that exists in name only.
MS: Lawmakers aim for more emergency rooms in rural Mississippi
Mississippi lawmakers in both chambers passed a bill aimed at bolstering health care in rural areas. The bill would permit the construction of freestanding emergency rooms in rural counties, which would not have to be attached to hospitals.
CA: California court strikes down law requiring board diversity
A California judge found that a state law mandating publicly traded companies include people from underrepresented communities on their boards is unconstitutional, ruling in favor of a conservative group seeking an injunction against the measure.
DC: DC mayor wants to restore slashed funding for police in schools
Washington, D.C., Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget calls for keeping police officers in schools, setting up another clash with the D.C. Council, which voted last year to phase out police in school buildings.
MA: Massachusetts AG backs legal sports betting as lawmakers mull bill
Massachusetts Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, who once backed repealing the state law legalizing casino gambling, said she supports legalizing sports betting in the state and expressed confidence the legislature would pass legislation that has stalled in the state Senate.
TN: Tennessee House passes enforcement mechanism for transgender athlete ban
Tennessee House Republicans passed legislation that would require state education officials to withhold public funds from districts that allow transgender students to participate in school sports.
GA: Georgia legislature approves Juneteenth holiday for state employees
The Georgia Senate gave final approval to a bill that makes Juneteenth a paid day off for state employees.
US: Battle heats up over remaining federal rental aid
The U.S. Treasury Department is beginning to reallocate some $46.5 billion in rental assistance from places slow to spend to others that are running out of funds. Many states have in recent months returned tens of millions of dollars in unused rental assistance because they have so few renters—but only Nebraska has flat out refused the aid.
TX: Law requiring dozens of unpaid hours in training pushes Texas teachers to the brink
K-3 teachers in Texas have until 2023 to complete a 60-hour Reading Academies course to keep the job. It’s taking some 120 hours on their own time to finish.
AZ: Immigrants' mugshots, personal info could become public in Arizona when convicted of crimes
A bill that would create an open-access database in Arizona with mugshots and personal information of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony is being read on the Senate floor. Critics indicate it could lead to further discrimination among the migrant community in the state.
IL: Illinois Democrats unveil anti-crime measures focusing on victims, communities
Illinois Democratic lawmakers outlined anti-crime measures amid pressure from rising violence and Republican critics, promising more in the final days of the legislature’s spring session.
OH: Ohio to begin early voting for May primary election without state legislative races
Races for the Ohio House and Senate and state central committees for the Ohio Republican and Democratic parties were pulled from the May 3 election. A special make-up election for these races is expected to occur later this year.
AR: Arkansas can use federal COVID aid to hire prosecutors, public defenders
State officials have confirmed that Arkansas can use $7 million in federal coronavirus aid to bolster the ranks of overburdened public defenders and prosecutors.
NY: New York legislature lobbied on alcohol-to-go
The proposal to allow restaurants to offer alcohol-to-go has a strong advocate in New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who included it in her proposed 2022-23 budget. But alcohol-to-go is gone from the Assembly and Senate's own spending bills. Furious lobbying is going on.
MN: Minnesota governor signs bill ending state investments in Russia
Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill approved unanimously by the legislature that directs the State Board of Investment to divest Minnesota’s pension funds from Russia, where holdings were worth $53 million prior to the attack, according to recent estimates.