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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/4

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/4

MD: Maryland prepares to increase abortion capacity

baltimoresun.com

Democratic legislators had already begun preparations for Maryland to accept more abortion-seekers from out-of-state. As of July 1, a new law will allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midwifes—not just physicians—to perform abortions in Maryland.

TN: Tennessee governor won’t release records on execution error

apnews.com

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee has refused to release records that could illuminate his decision to abruptly halt the execution of Oscar Smith last month, citing attorney-client privilege and the disputed “deliberative process privilege.” In the statement granting Smith a reprieve, Lee said there had been an “oversight” in the preparation of the drugs to be used for Smith’s execution. 

SD: South Dakota governor may call special session for abortion legislation

argusleader.com

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem says she’ll call a special session if Roe vs. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Such a decision would trigger a 2005 law that outlaws abortions in the state. Noem's office declined to share specifics of what the governor might call on the legislature to do.

AK: Alaska confirms 1st case of highly contagious bird flu

alaskapublic.org

Alaska’s first case of a highly pathogenic avian influenza strain has been confirmed. According to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the virus case was in a noncommercial flock of chickens and ducks in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

HI: Hawaii homeowners must tell prospective buyers if sea level rise threatens their property

civilbeat.org

This week Hawaii became the first state to require real estate sellers to disclose to potential buyers if their property is threatened by sea level rise.

KS: Stakes rise for anti-abortion measure on Kansas ballot in light of US Supreme Court leak

cjonline.com

The stakes for an August anti-abortion constitutional amendment in Kansas have been heightened considerably by news that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in a draft opinion. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it would leave the abortion issue up to voters.

LA: Louisiana House votes to remove Confederate state holidays

apnews.com

The Louisiana House voted to officially remove Robert E. Lee Day and Confederate Memorial Day from a list of state holidays. The bill heads to the state Senate.

OR: In Oregon, Democrats say they'll protect access to abortions

oregonlive.com

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, issued a strong statement in support of abortion access on Twitter, writing, “Americans should have access to abortion –– full stop." House Speaker Tina Kotek and state Treasurer Tobias Read, the two leading Democratic candidates running for Oregon governor, released similarly strong statements.

MO: Missouri poised to launch suicide hotline for farmers 

stltoday.com 

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is moving to launch a hotline for farmers facing mental health challenges. The state Department of Agriculture is seeking companies to operate a call center aimed at addressing concerns about suicide and stress that are unique to the farming industry. 

MI: Michigan governor moves to protect abortion rights

freep.com

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is calling on the Michigan Supreme Court to leapfrog lower courts and decide whether the right to an abortion is protected by the state constitution. If the state Supreme Court does so, it would essentially nullify a 1931 state law that criminalizes most abortions in Michigan.

SC: South Carolina Medicaid director says more mental health counselors needed in schools

postandcourier.com

South Carolina schools should have more control over how to provide student mental health services, according to recommendations from a Department of Health and Human Services review.

WY: Wyoming abortion clinic still scheduled to open despite leaked US Supreme Court opinion

trib.com

A planned Casper, Wyoming, abortion clinic is still scheduled to open this summer despite a leaked draft opinion showing the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. It would be the second clinic to offer abortions in the state. Wyoming has a trigger law that would ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

WI: Nearly all abortions would be illegal in Wisconsin if leaked court opinion stands

jsonline.com

If a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion obtained by Politico holds and Roe v. Wade is overturned, a 19th century state law would go back into effect that bans Wisconsin doctors from performing abortions except when saving the life of the mother. Doctors could be charged with felonies for performing abortions and face up to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

VT: Vermont governor vetoes pension legislation

apnews.com

Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed a bill that was given unanimous preliminary approval last week by both the House and Senate to modify the state’s pension system. In a sharply worded veto message, Scott said he felt the legislation did not include enough structural change “to solve the enormous unfunded liability problems the state faces.”

ME: Maine governor vows to defend abortion rights after draft US Supreme Court opinion leaks

bangordailynews.com

Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has vowed to defend abortion rights as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to strike down Roe v. Wade.

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