What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/13
OK: Oklahoma governor signs near-total abortion ban
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed a bill to classify performing abortions as a felony. The new law, which takes effect in August, will punish medical providers who perform abortions with up to 10 years in prison or fines of up to $100,000. A reproductive rights group already plans to sue the state over the new law.
CA: California could shrink water use in cities by 30% or more, study finds
Green lawns, old appliances and leaky pipes all consume significant amounts of California’s water, and researchers have calculated in a new study that the state could reduce water use by more than 30% in cities and suburbs by investing in measures to use water more efficiently.
SD: South Dakota AG impeached over crash
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican, became the first state official to be impeached in a vote by the state House of Representatives. Ravnsborg faces a state Senate trial about his role in a 2020 car crash that killed a pedestrian.
FL: Florida judge approves 24-hour wait for abortions
A Florida judge has given the green light to a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, effective immediately, in what advocates called yet another blow to abortion rights. The 2015 law creating the waiting period, signed by then-Republican Gov. Rick Scott, had been in limbo for seven years as its constitutionality was debated in the courts.
MD: Maryland will help sports teams get stadium upgrades
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, signed legislation that could help secure long-term commitments from the Orioles and Ravens to remain in their current Baltimore stadiums. It allows the Maryland Stadium Authority to borrow up to $1.2 billion for upgrades to the decades-old structures.
NE,CO: Nebraska approves canal to take Colorado water
Nebraska lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that would let the state build a canal in Colorado to divert water out of the South Platte River, a project steeped in fears about the Denver area’s growing water consumption.
MI: Study finds problem with 'forever chemicals' at Michigan wastewater treatment plants
PFAS compounds, the contaminant "forever chemicals" raising public health and environmental alarms, are found in greater quantities in the treated water leaving Michigan wastewater treatment plants—the water returning to streams, rivers and lakes—than in the not-yet-treated water entering the plant, according to a new study.
VA: Virginia governor vetoes bipartisan bills while stoking political rancor
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin stoked partisan rancor with a flurry of unusual vetoes and bill amendments that political opponents and analysts saw as punishing Democrats and agitating culture-war talking points.
WI: Wisconsin can't force businesses to clean up ‘forever chemicals,’ judge rules
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources cannot enforce one of its key environmental protection tools, known as the "spills law," without first creating a definitive list of hazardous substances approved by lawmakers, a Waukesha County judge ruled.
SC: South Carolina Senate fast-tracking bill calling for wide-ranging election changes
South Carolina senators are expected to fast-track a number of wide-ranging election changes ahead of the 2022 elections after a nudge by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who said he would support the bill.
GA: Georgia governor signs bill allowing concealed carry of handguns without a license
Standing outside Gable Sporting Goods in Douglasville, where Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said he bought his daughter Lucy’s first handgun, the governor signed a bill that allows Georgians to carry concealed handguns without first getting a license from the state.
ND: North Dakota lawmakers question bill draft eyeing their property ownership
Several North Dakota lawmakers have disputed a bill proposal that would require disclosure of what property they own and would ban them from voting on funding for state entities leasing space from them.
LA: Louisiana House panel advances bill to end permit requirement to carry concealed gun
Louisiana adults would be able to carry a concealed gun without a permit or training in a bill that cleared a state House committee and seems destined for eventual easy passage in the legislature.
CT: Connecticut Senate votes to extend 4 of governor’s remaining COVID orders
Connecticut lawmakers have decided to extend four of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s remaining pandemic-related executive orders, despite concerns raised by Republicans that it’s time to end the practice.
NV: Nevada moves to beef up dignitary protection for governor amid threats
Nevada officials are moving to nearly double the protective detail assigned to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and his family, following a growing number of threats against elected officials nationwide and recent highly publicized verbal threats made against the governor.
MS: Mississippi governor signs bill criminalizing possession of pill presses
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law a bill that criminalizes the unauthorized possession and transfer of a pill press and similar pharmaceutical producing equipment.
WA: Teen drug use in Washington is down, but overdose deaths are skyrocketing
Overall, teen drug use has dropped to a relative historic low, according to Washington state’s latest Healthy Youth Survey and national data. But the drug supply is becoming more dangerous. And teen overdose deaths, which have been flat for the last decade, are now increasing rapidly.
AK: Alaska legislature not on track to finish work in 90 days
The Alaska legislature is not on track to finish its work within a voter-approved session limit of 90 days. The limit took effect in 2008, but lawmakers face no penalty for failing to meet the deadline and can continue working beyond it.