What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/26
TX: Federal judge says Texas can’t ban 18- to 20-year-olds from carrying handguns
A federal court struck down a Texas law that bars most 18- to 20-year-olds in the state from obtaining a license to carry a handgun or carrying a handgun for self-defense outside their homes. Two plaintiffs and the Firearms Policy Coalition Inc. filed a lawsuit against the state to challenge the statute.
AR: Court: Arkansas can’t ban treatment of transgender children
A federal appeals court said Arkansas can’t enforce its ban on transgender children receiving gender-affirming medical care. Arkansas was the first state to enact such a ban, which prohibits doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.
NY: Two New York state workers plead guilty to stealing $1.6M in pandemic benefits
A former New York State Department of Labor employee pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges, admitting that he and a co-worker used their computer access privileges and inside knowledge to steal more than $1.6 million in pandemic-related unemployment insurance benefits.
CO: Colorado will provide free education to students pursuing careers in health care
A state effort to ease Colorado’s dire shortage of health care workers will offer tuition-free training for several thousand students, providing a much-needed boost to hospitals and clinics. The Care Forward Colorado Program will invest $26 million of federal COVID stimulus funding into the program for two years.
CA, FL: California governor pledges $100K to unseat Florida governor
For months now, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis have been waging a war of words. Newsom put some cash behind the rhetoric, pledging $100,000 to the campaign of DeSantis’ Democratic gubernatorial opponent.
ND: Judge blocks North Dakota abortion ban again
For the second time in a month, a Bismarck judge has blocked North Dakota’s near-total ban on abortion a day before it was due to take effect. Without the injunction, abortion would have become illegal across the state Friday.
MT: Doctors testify against vaccine changes for Montana child care centers
Public health officials and medical professionals testified against a Montana health department proposal that would weaken vaccination requirements at child care centers for children and staff. Under the proposed changes, children would be allowed to attend without vaccinations against polio, measles, diphtheria and other diseases if they receive a religious exemption.
NJ: Don’t discriminate against tenants with criminal records, New Jersey warns 30 landlords
Authorities have put 30 landlords across New Jersey on notice that they’re running afoul of a landmark law barring housing providers from asking about criminal history on applications in most cases, the state’s acting attorney general said.
MI: Michigan’s cannabis testing industry like ‘Wild Wild West’
A November recall — the state’s largest — of many products tested by Viridis Laboratories exposed the shortcomings of the testing industry and how it’s regulated in Michigan, raising concerns over how much consumers can trust what’s on a product’s label.
MA: Effort to repeal drivers’ licenses for undocumented has enough support to make Massachusetts ballot, Republicans say
Conservative opponents of a law that allows undocumented Massachusetts residents to apply for driver’s licenses say a repeal measure is poised to make the ballot in November. Opponents have expressed concern over people without legal status getting documentation reserved for citizens or using a driver’s license to illegally vote.
WA: Washington governor, senator say Snake River dam removal possible, but not yet
Successfully breaching the four Lower Snake River dams will require extensive preparation and bipartisan support, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, both Democrats, said in a cautious statement summarizing the findings of a joint report on dam removal and salmon recovery.
FL: Florida governor orders toll discounts for commuters on state roads
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered discounts of up to 25% for frequent commuters on state toll roads. Starting Sept. 1, the discount will run for six months.
HI: Signature issues on Hawaii primary ballots left thousands of votes uncounted
About 2,500 Oahu ballots received during the recent election in Hawaii ultimately weren’t counted because of nonmatching or missing signatures. That compared with about 1,700 two years ago and represented a 47% jump.
SC: South Carolina employees to receive up to 6 weeks paid parental leave
South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster celebrated a new law providing state employees up to six weeks of paid parental leave while its sponsors promised to push for more next year.