What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/20
US: Midwestern states agree to collaborate on expanding hydrogen production, use
Seven Midwestern states announced a coalition designed to help develop a hydrogen market in the region, with the goal of creating more jobs and reducing emissions of carbon and other pollutants. They are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
TX: Texas judge rules that people under felony indictment have the right to buy guns
U.S. District Judge David Counts, appointed by former President Donald Trump to Texas’ western federal district, found that a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling from June invalidates a federal law prohibiting people charged with a felony from obtaining a gun. In June, the high court struck down New York’s concealed carry law and held that courts should uphold gun restrictions only if there is a tradition of them in U.S. history.
MT: Judge chides Montana for defying order on birth certificate gender changes
A Montana judge issued a scathing ruling saying state health officials made “calculated violations” of his order to temporarily stop enforcing a law to prevent transgender people from changing the gender on their birth certificate unless they had undergone surgery.
TN: Tennessee lawmakers promise to seek more crime lab funding in wake of high-profile case
State lawmakers are expected to pour more funds into a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab after a Memphis murder shed light on the fact some rape kits are languishing for eight months to nearly a year unless they get “rush” status from local law enforcement.
ID: Thanks to climate change, new mosquito is stalking New Mexico
Found in Albuquerque and points south, the Aedes aegypti mosquito has spread rapidly across New Mexico in recent years as a result of climate change. The mosquitoes are the primary route of transmission of four critical mosquito-borne viruses: Zika, Chikungunya, dengue fever and yellow fever.
CA: Cal State says it can’t afford a staff wage hike, even if governor OKs it
A last-minute bill would force California State University to give non-faculty staff raises, costing the system almost $900 million over 10 years — money the system says it doesn’t have. Cal State may cut programs and raise tuition if it doesn’t get enough state money.
HI: Plan to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use in Hawaii takes shape
A task force dominated by state and county government officials is preparing the most comprehensive strategy yet to legalize adult recreational cannabis use in Hawaii is being prepared for state lawmakers ahead of next year’s legislative session starting four months from now.
WA: Central Washington is eyeing nuclear power again — but on a smaller scale
The nation’s first small modular nuclear reactors will likely show up in the Pacific Northwest, possibly in Idaho and central Washington’s Grant County, with a target online date of roughly 2030.
OR: Education board rejects petition to change Oregon's period-product rules
The Oregon State Board of Education rejected a petition from a southern Oregon mom who sought to change the implementation of a 2021 law that mandates period products in all K-12 bathrooms, including bathrooms for boys as young as 5. Supporters of the law said it would ensure no student who menstruates, including transgender boys, lacked free access to period products.
MI: Michigan pharmacists now will be able to prescribe birth control
Soon, getting hormonal birth control in Michigan may be as simple as stopping in at your neighborhood pharmacy. That’s because the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issued a new interpretation of the Michigan Public Health Code that would allow doctors to partner with pharmacists to directly dispense hormonal birth control.
DC: New DC pilot program will help families transition from homelessness
Washington, D.C., will spend nearly $25 million to help 600 low-income families transition out of homelessness. Among the available benefits are rent and career support, up to $10,000 in cash, and a recurring deposit of $200 in a savings account for every month a family pays their portion of rent.
AK: Alaska National Guard begins to mobilize in wake of western Alaska storm
The Alaska National Guard is activating all Guardsmen in the western region of the state and is deploying more to the area assisting with debris removal and assessing storm damage.