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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/6

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/6

US: Abortion pills stand to become the next battleground in a post-Roe America

nytimes.com

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the legal and culture wars over abortion that have consumed the country for decades would increasingly shift to a new front: the use of abortion pills. Medication abortion allows patients to terminate early pregnancies at home. Some states are moving to limit it, while others are working to expand access.

CT: Connecticut governor signs abortion law offering protections for patients, providers 

courant.com

Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has signed a far-reaching law that would expand abortion-related protections regarding lawsuits against both providers and patients who travel to the state. 

DE: Delaware House passes bill to legalize possession of marijuana

delawareonline.com

The Delaware House passed a bill that would remove all penalties for adults 21 and older possessing 1 ounce or less of weed, a historic first step as lawmakers attempt to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. This vote comes after years of multiple failed attempts with similar pieces of legislation.

TX: Texas governor sparks backlash with talk of rolling back free school for immigrant kids

dallasnews.com

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has infuriated immigration advocates and educators by suggesting Texas may challenge a longstanding U.S. Supreme Court decision that says states and localities can’t bar unauthorized immigrant children from attending public schools.

ME: Maine will consult Urban Dictionary in fight to rid roads of  ‘obscene’ vanity plates

bangordailynews.com

Urban Dictionary would be part of Maine bureaucrats’ research arsenal under proposed rules that describe how they would target “obscene” vanity license plates. The legislature passed a law last year banning plates that include or reference swear words, genitalia, encourage violence or degrade a demographic.

PA: Philadelphia will put metal detectors in middle schools; critics say that’s not OK

inquirer.com

In the face of rising gun violence, the Philadelphia School District is beginning periodic weapons screenings in all middle schools and elementary schools with middle grades. Scans will happen with handheld wands or metal detectors by district safety officers in the presence of at least one school leader, according to a letter sent to families.

NE: Heated Nebraska GOP governor primary prompts party switches

omaha.com

Thousands of Nebraskans have switched their party registration to Republican, motivated by a heated and competitive three-way gubernatorial primary.

IA: Iowa governor announces housing program for rural areas

desmoinesregister.com

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, announced that 61 communities with populations of 30,000 or less are in line to get nearly $20 million to support downtown housing projects. The money, which she said will give “466 Iowans the opportunity to live near where they work,” comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

NM, TX: New Mexico seeks opportunity in Texas border disruptions

apnews.com

New Mexico is highlighting its support for proposals that would route an international rail line through its Santa Teresa border crossing, capitalizing on Mexico’s unease with disruptions along the Texas portion of the U.S. border with Mexico.

WV: West Virginia legislative leaders back federally funded hydrogen hub

wvgazettemail.com

West Virginia’s state legislative leaders have joined their federal counterparts in pursuing an in-state hydrogen hub that would be funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Mountain State is all in, despite concern that regional hydrogen hubs planned by the White House to decarbonize the industrial sector will waste taxpayer subsidies instead, by using uneconomic technologies and failing to slash carbon dioxide emissions

CA: A top California official pushed hard for a $600M mask deal. Fraud claims followed.

latimes.com

Lawsuits stemming from the failed contracts provide a glimpse into the dealmaking—including how California Controller Betty Yee, a two-term Democrat with no formal role in the contracting process, worked behind the scenes to help a pair of political operatives land a deal that turned out to be one of the state’s most flawed. 

HI: Lawmakers tout ‘historic’ $1B in state funds benefiting Native Hawaiians

staradvertiser.com

There was no formal proclamation, but influential Hawaii lawmakers more or less proclaimed 2022 as the year of unprecedented Native Hawaiian redress from state government. 

OK: Oklahoma governor gave families $8M for school supplies; some bought video games, TVs, appliances

oklahomawatch.org

Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration handed out $8 million in U.S. Department of Education relief dollars in a plan to help students during the pandemic. While most parents spent the money on educational supplies, Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier found nearly half a million dollars in questionable purchases. The news organizations found at least 548 TVs purchased through the program worth $191,000.   

WI: Facing declining enrollment and stagnant revenue, some Wisconsin schools are cutting staff

wpr.org

Staring at stagnant revenue and declining enrollment, many Wisconsin school districts are reducing their number of teaching and support staff positions. These steps are leading, in some cases, to larger class sizes and the loss of some programs.

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