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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/29

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What We're Reading: Top State Stories 9/29

CA: California governor signs bill aimed at helping farmworkers organize

latimes.com

After previously indicating he might veto the measure, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law that will make it easier for California’s agricultural laborers to join unions, a hard-fought win for the United Farm Workers.

TN: Tennessee lawsuit shows Walgreens ignored warnings about overprescribing opioids

tennesseelookout.com

In 14 years, Walgreens pharmacies in Tennessee sold more than one billion opiate painkillers — enough to supply every child and adult in the state with 175 pills of the addictive narcotic, the drug company’s own records revealed.

TX: Texas court confirms the AG can’t unilaterally prosecute election cases

texastribune.org

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, cannot unilaterally prosecute election cases. The state’s highest criminal court upheld its earlier ruling that the attorney general must get permission from local county prosecutors to pursue cases on issues like voter fraud.

GA: Groups may send prefilled absentee ballot applications in Georgia upon request

ajc.com

Voting organizations are allowed to send partially filled-out absentee ballot application forms to Georgia voters who go online to request them, according to a document filed in federal court. The filing resolves part of a lawsuit over the state’s voting law passed last year that prohibits organizations and governments from mailing multiple absentee ballot applications to voters.

WV: West Virginia to head hydrogen energy hub that critics see as boondoggle

wvgazettemail.com

A new, West Virginia state-led coalition consisting of more than 40 entities across Appalachia has formed to pursue billions of dollars in federal funding to develop a hydrogen-based energy and economic development hub. But many clean energy advocates have pointed out that a study found that that greenhouse gas emissions from the production of blue hydrogen are “quite high.”

IN: Judge blocks Indiana law requiring fetal burial, cremation

indystar.com

A federal judge has barred Indiana from enforcing a law that forced health care providers to bury or cremate fetal tissue. Indiana's attorney general will appeal.

AR: Arkansas pregnancy resource centers to receive state money

arkansasonline.com

Fourteen Arkansas pregnancy resource centers will receive state funding, according to a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Pregnancy resource centers are nonprofit groups that educate people about alternatives to abortion and provide free pregnancy tests, medical referrals and infant supplies.

SD: South Dakota cuts grocery taxes

argusleader.com

Currently, South Dakota is one of three states that impose a full sales tax rate on food. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem proposed repealing the 4.5% tax, which would require passage by lawmakers next year.

MD: Report details toxins dumped in Maryland waterways

marylandmatters.org

Industrial facilities dumped at least 94,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, including PFAS, into Maryland’s waterways, according to a new report.

KY: Sexual misconduct is top reason most Kentucky teachers lose their license, investigation shows

kentucky.com

A review of 194 teachers whose teaching license was voluntarily surrendered, suspended or revoked by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board from 2016 to 2021 show the vast majority — 61% — trace back to sexual misconduct.

OR: Hospitals sue Oregon Health Authority over failure to provide mental health facilities

oregonlive.com

Three of Oregon’s largest hospital systems have sued the state over its failure to provide adequate care for mentally ill patients, which they say has forced the hospital systems to house patients in need of treatment for months.

MI: Michigan lawmakers weigh $846M in economic development incentives

freep.com

Michigan Republican and Democratic lawmakers are poised to send more than $846 million in taxpayer dollars to a special fund with the intention of providing the money to private businesses that pledge to locate or expand in the state.

WI: High-speed electric charging stations coming to Wisconsin’s highways

jsonline.com

Wisconsin drivers’ slow embrace of electric vehicles is expected to accelerate rapidly as auto makers ramp up production, consumer rebates take hold and the state readies the launch of a $78.5 million program to build out a network of publicly accessible high-speed charging stations.

OK: Oklahoma Senate rebuffs governor’s latest calls for tax cuts

oklahoman.com

Members of the GOP-led Oklahoma Senate once again rejected Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt’s calls to cut taxes amid high inflation. Senate leaders shrugged off Stitt’s request that the Oklahoma legislature eliminate the state’s 4.5% grocery sales tax during a special legislative session.

Property Tax Liens Health Groups Urge States to Spend Juul Settlement Dollars on Tobacco Prevention
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