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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/27

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 7/27

ID: Idaho abortion ban goes into effect in 30 days

idahostatesman.com

The Idaho abortion ban — which would make it a felony for health care providers to perform abortions except to save the life of the mother or in instances of rape or incest that are reported to law enforcement — is set to go into effect Aug. 25. GOP Gov. Brad Little’s office confirmed the date.

NM: Rising New Mexico gun violence prompts scrutiny of state laws

abqjournal.com

The number of firearm-related deaths in New Mexico has increased in recent years, prompting legislators to approve new laws expanding background check requirements and allowing guns to be seized from individuals deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others. But more law enforcement training and better data-sharing efforts are needed to make the laws effective, backers said during a legislative hearing.

WV: West Virginia abortion ban advances without rape, incest exception

apnews.com

As West Virginia’s Republican supermajority continued advancing a sweeping abortion ban bill, Democrats failed for the second time in two days to garner enough support to add exceptions for rape and incest victims.

OR: Oregon to start delivering free ACs as temperatures climb

statesmanjournal.com

Earlier this year, Oregon lawmakers approved $5 million to buy and distribute free air conditioning units to Oregonians who get medical services through government programs, such as Medicare. Oregon has received 1,000 machines, but Liz Gharst, a health policy communications officer for the Oregon Health Authority, said it wasn't "feasible" to say how many people had received a unit.

KS: Abortion opponents push to remove ballot drop boxes ahead of Kansas amendment vote

kansas.com

A coalition of abortion opponents is using false voter-fraud conspiracy theories to pressure local Kansas officials into restricting voting access ahead of the nation’s first post-Roe statewide referendum on abortion rights. Their efforts have — for now — been thwarted by state and county Republican officials who reject their claims of voter fraud.

OK: Oklahomans still can’t register to vote online

oklahoman.com

When Oklahoma lawmakers passed a bill in 2015 authorizing online voter registration, most viewed the measure as a modern solution to boost the state’s persistently low voter participation rate. Nearly seven years later, the state’s online registration platform remains a work in progress.

WA: Heat wave could hit 113 degrees in one Washington city

seattletimes.com

Heat alerts blanket the Pacific Northwest, including much of Washington state, with temperatures set to spike to 110 degrees in the days ahead. Especially hot will be the Columbia River Basin, where temperatures in Kennewick could spike to 113 degrees Thursday and Friday.

NJ: Prying records loose from local governments in New Jersey could take 2 years, report finds

nj.com

If a resident is trying to get a town’s budget, county’s payroll or contracts from a state agency but hitting roadblocks, the Government Records Council in New Jersey is supposed to help resolve the issue “as expeditiously as possible.” Just don’t hold your breath.

MI: Group delivers signatures to put $15 minimum wage on Michigan's 2024 ballot

freep.com

A group aiming to have voters decide on raising Michigan's minimum wage to $15 an hour in the 2024 election submitted signatures to the state Bureau of Elections. One Fair Wage Michigan says it delivered more than 610,000 signatures, which will have to be validated by Bureau of Elections staff.

IL: Marijuana sales and tax revenues in Illinois jumped 50% in the past year

chicagotribune.com

Recreational marijuana sales and tax revenue due in Illinois both shot up 50% in the past fiscal year, the state reported. Licensed state dealers generated $445 million in taxes due from about $1.5 billion in cannabis sales in the year ending June 30. 

LA: Louisiana judge denies AG’s request to let abortion ban go into effect

lailluminator.com

A Baton Rouge judge has denied the Louisiana attorney general’s request to have the state’s abortion ban go into effect pending his appeal of last week’s loss in court, meaning that abortion will stay legal – for now.

AK: Alaska saw a major spike in opioid overdose deaths

adn.com

This year, employees and volunteers with the Alaska's Project HOPE program assembled and distributed 12,000 naloxone overdose kits to numerous agencies, public health centers, public syringe exchanges, individuals and nonprofits. Those involved in overdose prevention efforts say the state’s strategy of distributing as many kits as possible has become increasingly important as Alaska’s overdose rate has risen sharply to among the highest in the nation.

UT: Utah lawmakers ask for delay in redistricting lawsuit

fox13now.com

The Utah legislature is asking a judge to halt a lawsuit challenging the state's redistricting process while the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case out of North Carolina. The case involves redistricting where a court overturned that legislature's congressional map.

FL: Florida’s transportation agency faulted in contract deal

tampabay.com

When the Florida Department of Transportation asked companies last year to bid on a multimillion-dollar contract to take over call centers for its SunPass tolling facilities, the agency had a key requirement: Bidders had to have at least 10 years of experience doing similar work. But the department later chose a company that wasn’t incorporated until 2016.

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