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

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

LA: Louisiana committee advances bill to make abortion a crime of murder

theadvertiser.com

A Louisiana legislative committee advanced a bill to make abortion a crime of homicide in which the mother or those assisting her in terminating the pregnancy can be charged. The measure cleared the House Appropriations Committee on a 7-2 vote despite at least one of the representatives voting in favor acknowledging the bill is unconstitutional.

DE: Delaware governor signs bill expanding access to abortion medications

delawarepublic.org

Delaware Democratic Gov. John Carney signed a bill expanding the types of medical professionals who can prescribe medications to end pregnancies. Advanced practice nurses and physician assistants can now prescribe them along with doctors.

TN: Tennessee to make homeless camps on public land a felony

apnews.com

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee declined to sign a bill criminalizing camping by homeless people and in parks and other local public property, but let it become law without his signature. The felony is punishable by up to six years in prison.

NM: New Mexico governor seeking US disaster status for wildfire

apnews.com

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, asked President Joe Biden to declare a disaster as firefighters scrambled to clear brush, build fire lines and spray water to keep the largest blaze burning in the United States from destroying more homes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

MA: Massachusetts town votes for topless beaches; AG has final say

bostonglobe.com

Nantucket, Massachusetts, residents have voted to allow people to go topless on town beaches this summer. After about 30 minutes of back-and-forth comments from residents, the motion was approved with a 327 to 242 vote. The measure must be approved by the state attorney general’s office before it becomes law.

OK: With Supreme Court considering Roe v. Wade, Oklahoma governor signs abortion ban into law

oklahoman.com

Following news that the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn longstanding abortion rights protections, Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed legislation that immediately implemented a Texas-style abortion ban. The new law will allow private citizens to sue anyone who "aids or abets" a person seeking an abortion after a cardiac activity is detected or about six weeks into pregnancy—often before a woman knows she is pregnant.

OH: Ohio governor will seek to revive anti-abortion bill  if Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

cleveland.com

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said that if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Attorney General Dave Yost will ask a federal judge to stop blocking a state law effectively banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

NY: New York braces for ‘cascading’ impact if abortion rights law is overturned

timesunion.com

In New York, which has some of the strongest abortion protections in the nation, advocates and local abortion providers say they are bracing for a surge in demand from out-of-state patients if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

MI: Supreme Court abortion order draft could spur Michigan Democrats to vote

freep.com

In Michigan, where a decision to overturn Roe could effectively restore a 1931 state law that bans abortion, it could be a key wedge between Democrats and Republicans. And that's true in races not only at the top of the ticket, but also in dozens of races for Congress and for the state legislature, where districts have been redrawn to be more competitive.

HI: Hawaii lawmakers pass ban on flavored e-cigarettes despite intense opposition

civilbeat.org

Hawaii’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes will land on the governor’s desk, having survived a rollercoaster legislative session that saw the bill near death on multiple occasions.

AK: State Supreme Court affirms governor's decision that drained fund for Alaska college scholarships

alaskapublic.org

The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision against a handful of Alaska college students who sued the administration of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, challenging a decision that drained Alaska’s $410 million Higher Education Investment Fund. The decision means the Alaska Performance Scholarship program and WWAMI, the state’s equivalent of medical school, do not have a dedicated funding source and must compete with other programs in the state’s annual budget process.

MO: Missouri House panel backs new plan for congressional seats 

apnews.com

A Missouri House committee advanced a new plan for dividing the state’s congressional districts, seeking to break a standoff with the Senate and avoid the need for court intervention to adopt voting districts for this year’s elections. 

OR: Housing crisis remains a top concern for Oregon voters

opb.org

In a poll of residents about what they see as the most important problem facing Oregon today, 29% of respondents statewide answered homelessness. Housing was once considered a bit of an afterthought at the state level, but now the state plays a very large role in determining what the future of housing in Oregon will look like.

MT: A third of Montanans worry about housing affordability, poll finds

montanafreepress.org

Seven in 10 respondents to a poll commissioned by the University of Montana described a lack of affordable housing as an “extremely serious” or “very serious” problem facing the state.

IL: Illinois educators, union leaders demand end to standardized student testing 

chicagotribune.com

With Illinois expected to unveil a new standardized testing program in the coming months, educators, union leaders and parents have joined forces to oppose more frequent interim assessments, which they say would waste valuable classroom instruction time and offer no benefits to student learning. 

WY: Wyoming National Guard recruitment, retention falls

trib.com

Wyoming National Guard leaders expressed concerns to state legislators about declining candidate recruitment and retention. Military officials said they anticipate a continued decline in the number of members enlisted by the end of fiscal 2022, which they attribute, in part, to the negative impact of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

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