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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/24

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 6/24

TX: Texas unlikely to adopt red flag provision of bipartisan gun bill

texastribune.org

Red flag laws likely remain a nonstarter among Republican leaders in Texas, where GOP Gov. Greg Abbott faced a conservative backlash after he asked the legislature to consider them four years ago.

MA: US Supreme Court decision could put Massachusetts gun laws at risk

bostonglobe.com

The U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a New York firearm law left Massachusetts lawmakers searching for a fix that could help maintain the state’s strict gun safety regime. Legal experts expect the ruling to quickly affect the state, one of five besides New York that have laws that the court considers “analogues” to the standard struck down by the ruling.

LA: Louisiana enacts new law to protect police whistleblowers 

lailluminator.com 

Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed into law a bill to protect police whistleblowers from retaliation. The measure received unanimous support in both chambers of the legislature. 

KY: Kentuckians can now report price gouging at the gas pump

kentucky.com

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency, activating the state’s price gouging laws against retailers who take advantage of Kentuckians at the gas pump with inflated prices.

IA: Iowa expands fireworks options, but some worry standards are unsafe

desmoinesregister.com

Local governments are scrambling this year to catch up with a recently changed Iowa law regarding fireworks. The changes could mean more fireworks retail locations. At the same time, fire safety officials warn, the guidelines the state uses for fireworks storage are outdated.

OH: GOP lawmakers propose slashing early voting, but their rural voters like the option

cincinnati.com

GOP lawmakers are pushing to limit early voting, but Ohio's rural voters—who predominantly vote Republican—use the option. Nearly 6 in 10 voters in rural counties cast their ballots before Election Day in 2020. 

CA: California’s top military brass rocked by homophobia, antisemitism, indecent exposure scandals

latimes.com

Current and former California National Guard members say there is a widespread perception in the organization that high-ranking officers who engage in misconduct are protected from significant discipline. 

UT: Attorneys for transgender students seek to block Utah school sports ban from taking effect

sltrib.com

Attorneys for transgender student-athletes in Utah are trying to get a Salt Lake City court to block the enforcement of a bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing.

HI: Hawaii minimum wage increase, tax rebate bills become law

staradvertister.com

Democratic Gov. David Ige signed a bill to ensure that thousands of Hawaii workers will receive more money starting in the next few months and continuing for years. Ige also signed a bill that will deliver $100 or $300 cash rebates to individual tax filers depending on their income.

PA: Pennsylvania Republicans’ attempts to overturn 2020 election draws scrutiny in congressional, FBI probes

inquirer.com

Pennsylvania Republicans’ efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results—in both their state and others—have come under scrutiny in parallel probes by both congressional and federal criminal investigators.

TN: Thousands of older Tennesseans soon could get access to home health care

wpln.org

Tennessee lawmakers expanded home-based programs in response to a recent study by the state comptroller, which determined that the state likely would save money by expanding TennCare services that help keep seniors in their homes, rather than paying for them to live in pricey nursing facilities. 

NE, MA: Nebraska tribe wins tomahawk from Harvard University

apnews.com

A tomahawk once owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civil rights leader, has been returned to his tribe in Nebraska after being housed for decades in a museum at Harvard University. Members of the Ponca tribe visited the Massachusetts university for the ceremonial return of the artifact.

WI: Utilities say Wisconsin coal plants will operate longer due to supply constraints

wpr.org

Several Wisconsin coal plants will remain online years longer than planned as supply constraints caused by COVID-19 delay plans to transition away from fossil fuels, two of the state's largest utilities announced. That means it will take longer for renewable energy to replace coal-fired power plants.

DE: Delaware legislature closes gap in protective order system

delawarepublic.org

The Delaware legislature approved a bill that would allow residents to seek protective orders against anyone who has sexually assaulted them—not just relatives and romantic partners. Under current Delaware law, victims of sexual assault can seek protective orders only if they are related to or have dated the perpetrator.

NC: US Supreme Court rules on part of North Carolina’s voter ID case

newsobserver.com

The constitutionality of North Carolina’s voter ID law is still up in the air—but Republican lawmakers won a related legal fight at the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices didn’t rule on the voter ID case itself, but they did rule that GOP leaders can intervene in the case as defendants.

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