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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/9

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/9

KS: Kansas governor calls for permanent free school lunch

cjonline.com

Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly joined a growing chorus of officials, agencies and education organizations calling on the U.S. Congress to permanently extend the free school lunch waiver, which expires June 30.

TX: Texas teachers don’t want to be armed, union survey finds

texastribune.org

A survey of nearly 4,000 K-12 teachers in Texas found that most do not want to be armed while in class or be expected to intercept a gunman at school, according to the state’s teachers union. Of those, 76% answered “no” when asked, “Do you want to be armed?” About 90% of all school employees who responded said they are worried about a shooting happening at their school.

MO: Supply chain woes hit hospitals, forcing Missouri to alter pharmacy rules

stltoday.com

Missouri state officials took steps to address a supply chain bottleneck affecting the availability of a chemical used by hospitals when CT scans are conducted. In an emergency rule, they gave pharmacies more latitude in how they handle and package Iohexol, which is used to help doctors get a clearer view of what is occurring inside a body during a diagnostic scan. 

FL: Florida governor vetoes Everglades bill that advocates said would harm water quality

tampabay.com

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a controversial bill that would have changed the state’s policy for Everglades restoration and that critics had derided as catering to the sugar industry around Lake Okeechobee.

WV: West Virginia governor closes door on gas tax freeze

wvgazettemail.com

West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice shot down the possibility of a gas tax holiday in the state. After he opened the door to a potential freeze of the 37.5 cent tax per gallon of gas, Justice walked back those comments in a news briefing two days later.

MN: Minnesota hospital systems declare gun violence a ‘public health crisis’

startribune.com

Ten Minnesota hospital systems pledged to confront the rising problem of gun violence, including mass shootings like those at a Texas public school last month and locally at a Buffalo, Minnesota, clinic last year. Chief executives of all 10 systems said gun deaths have reached epidemic levels that threaten communities in general but also the safety of medical facilities.

MA: Massachusetts lawmakers agree to make mail voting permanent; not same-day registration

bostonglobe.com

Massachusetts legislative leaders reached a compromise on a sweeping elections law bill that would, for the first time, make no-excuse voting by mail permanent in the state, formally embracing a pandemic-era change. But the package stripped out a provision to establish same-day voter registration.

ID: Idaho Democrats call for special session to pause gas tax

idahostatesman.com

Idaho’s gas tax is 32 cents per gallon. A six-month pause on the tax would cost the state $180 million, the Democratic lawmakers said. In Idaho, only the governor has the constitutional authority to call a legislative session. GOP Gov. Brad Little is reviewing the Democrats’ request.

NY: New York legislature passes puppy mill bill

buffalonews.com

The New York legislature passed a bill that would prohibit New York's pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits, seeking to stop the flow of puppies that could be coming from puppy mills. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, has not indicated whether she will sign it.

NV: Nevada Supreme Court to decide fate of ranked-choice voting, open primary ballot initiative

thenevadaindependent.com

In a last-chance appeal before the Nevada Supreme Court, opponents of a proposed ballot question calling for adopting open primaries and ranked-choice voting in Nevada elections argued the initiative is too broad and should not be allowed to proceed to the ballot.

GA: Coalition wants to bring regional hydrogen hub to Georgia

ajc.com

A coalition of Georgia business, academic and political leaders is pitching Georgia to the federal government as a potential hub for the development of hydrogen as a viable energy source.

ME: $50M in improvements slated for Maine’s state parks

apnews.com

Maine is planning a $50 million campaign to make improvements to its state parks. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said the investment is happening as the state’s 48 state parks and historic sites have experienced record attendance.

CO: Colorado lawmakers who voted for reproductive rights bill should not take communion, Catholic bishops say

denverpost.com

The Colorado Catholic Conference representing Colorado bishops sent a letter asking state lawmakers who voted for an abortion rights bill to voluntarily not take communion until they publicly repent and receive forgiveness through confession.

WA: Washington students can get excused absences for mental health

seattletimes.com

Students in Washington will be able to take time off from school for mental health reasons beginning next school year, under a new state law and rules approved by the state superintendent’s office. Absences will be excused for students experiencing symptoms related to mental illness or challenges with their mental health condition, and for medical appointments related to mental health.

DE: Delaware lawmakers fail to override cannabis veto, killing chances of legalization

delawareonline.com

Delaware House Democrats failed to override Democratic Gov. John Carney’s veto on legal marijuana possession, resulting in a stunning blow to legalization efforts. This was the closest Delaware has been in a decade to legalizing and creating a recreational marijuana industry.

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