The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons is poised to roll out an online system for clemency applications this year, potentially relieving a bottleneck from an antiquated paper-based system that can leave applicants—those convicted of a crime seeking a pardon or commutation—in limbo for years.
Alabama legislators are considering a bill that would make it illegal to create secret compartments in vehicles to hide drugs, weapons and even people from law enforcement officers.
Getting an abortion without government interference is now guaranteed in Colorado after Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill enshrining that right in state law. Under the law, Coloradans will be able to get an abortion in the state, regardless of whether the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
The Georgia General Assembly approved a bill giving the Georgia Bureau of Investigation stronger police powers over elections, authorizing the statewide agency to launch investigations into allegations of fraud.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, ending a legal and legislative tussle with Democrats, signed a map of Maryland’s congressional districts.
An independent report commissioned by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and Nevada legislative leaders has recommended an action that advocacy groups long supported but was never implemented—that the state should deliberately reduce its prison population to address current and future pandemics.
Tennessee Republicans are advancing legislation that would strictly regulate the dispensing of abortion pills, including imposing harsh penalties on doctors who violate the rules.
The Louisiana Senate approved a bill that would give the state Department of Natural Resources more flexibility in how much it can spend to plug and restore abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells in a given fiscal year.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department said its investigation of two Tulalip Tribe members for alleged shellfish trafficking was proper and didn’t violate tribal sovereignty, and that larger concerns about hostility toward treaty rights are unfounded. Still, treaty rights organizations, tribes and others are pressing state leaders to address their concerns.
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul's recent announcement that funding for a new Buffalo Bills stadium included $418 million secured from the Seneca Nation brought immediate rebuke from the nation's president, who cast it as a "sweetheart deal" for the company that employs Hochul's husband. Hochul's office denies there is a conflict of interest.
Oregon voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 to decriminalize hard drugs after being told it was a way to establish and fund addiction recovery centers that would offer people aid instead of incarceration. Yet in the first year after the approach took effect in February 2021, only 1% of people who received citations for possessing controlled substances asked for help via a new hotline.
Mississippi legislators worked late to fund state government at an unprecedented level and also to spend the bulk of $1.8 billion in federal pandemic stimulus Congress provided to the state.
Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson floated the possibility of additional relief for taxpayers because of high gas prices and inflation as the state’s surplus for the fiscal year approached $500 million.
The Washington, D.C., Council will consider allowing anyone age 21 or older to obtain medical marijuana. The proposal aims to prop up medical marijuana businesses and tamp down on so-called gifting businesses, in which entrepreneurs get around the congressional prohibition on selling recreational marijuana in D.C. by giving a free “gift” of the drug with a purchase of some other item.
For more than 10 years, lawmakers have been considering a massive overhaul of Alaska’s laws governing the sale of alcohol in the state. People who’ve been watching the annual battle over a revision of the state’s alcohol laws see signs of progress this year.
Illinois plans to use $17 million in federal coronavirus relief money to fund Freedom Schools, a literacy and cultural enrichment program rooted in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, as part of an effort to close the achievement gap for struggling students.
Maine lawmakers are closing in on final approval of a proposal to provide tax credits to help grow child care providers in the state.