What We're Reading: Top State Stories 1/20
FL: Florida Supreme Court upholds gun law banning local restrictions
Florida lawmakers can fine local government officials who attempt to restrict gun and ammunition sales under a state law upheld by the state Supreme Court.
MO: Religious leaders sue to overturn Missouri’s abortion ban
More than a dozen faith leaders filed suit to overturn Missouri’s abortion ban, arguing state legislators acted based on their personal religious beliefs and violated the separation of church and state protected in the Missouri Constitution.
WI: Wisconsin legislators approve constitutional amendment on bail for April ballot
A constitutional amendment will be included on the Wisconsin spring election ballot asking voters to give judges more discretion when making bail decisions. The state Assembly approved the proposal in a bipartisan vote 74-23, with 10 Democrats joining Republicans in supporting the measure.
ME: Feds advance Maine's application for first-in-the-nation floating offshore wind project
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills announced that a federal agency has determined that Maine's application to lease federal waters for an offshore wind research project can proceed. The project would be the first of its kind in the United States and would include up to 12 offshore wind turbines on floating platforms pioneered by the University of Maine.
TN: HIV funding stopped for Tennessee nonprofits
Starting May 31, community organizations and nonprofits that received funding from the Tennessee Department of Health for HIV/AIDS tracking, prevention and treatment will no longer get those funds, according to emails obtained by The Commercial Appeal and interviews with those organizations.
MD: Maryland governor releases funds for abortion training
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat, began his first full day in office by releasing funds approved by the General Assembly but withheld under the previous Republican administration, including millions of dollars to offer training for abortion providers.
DC: District of Columbia braces for barrage of Republican intervention in local governance
Already, over the past week and a half, U.S. House Republicans have vowed to block District of Columbia legislation allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections. They also have singled out D.C. in an abortion bill that would permanently prohibit the district and the federal government from using taxpayer money to subsidize abortions and taken aim at D.C.’s once-in-a-century overhaul of its criminal code.
MN: Committee passes bill requiring carbon-free electricity in Minnesota by 2040
A bill that would speed up Minnesota’s transition to clean electricity cleared its first committee hurdle at the state Capitol. The measure, which would require the state’s utilities to use only carbon-free sources to generate electricity by 2040, passed along party lines and now heads to the House floor.
WY: Medicaid expansion clears its first hurdle in the Wyoming House
Medicaid expansion has crossed its first hurdle in the Wyoming legislature. This year's Medicaid expansion bill passed the House Revenue Committee in a 6-3 vote. The measure still has to make it through several votes in the House and Senate before it can become law.
NE: Nebraska governor backs flat tax, end to Social Security taxes
Nebraskans would pay income taxes at a flat 3.99% rate and taxes on Social Security benefits would be eliminated immediately under a legislative package proposed by Republican Gov. Jim Pillen.
SC: South Carolina senators advance bill to resume executions by ‘shielding’ drug suppliers
Legislation that would enable executions to resume by lethal injection is advancing in the South Carolina Senate as lawmakers await a ruling on whether death by firing squad or electrocution is constitutional.
WA: Washington lawmakers again trying to tax wealth
State lawmakers introduced a measure to tax Washingtonians who have more than $250 million. The state would tax 1% of the fair market share of a Washington resident’s wealth, such as stocks, bonds or other assets, but the first $250 million would be exempt.
KY: Kentucky governor plans pay raises to fill jobs at state’s beleaguered juvenile justice centers
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he plans to spend tens of millions of dollars raising the pay of youth workers at the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, where understaffed juvenile detention centers have been plagued by riots, assaults and escapes.
TX: Texas regulators approve controversial electricity market overhaul
The Public Utility Commission of Texas voted to make a substantial change to the state’s electricity market to improve reliability. The change is meant to help produce enough power when extreme heat or cold drives up demand and electricity production drops because of a lack of sun or wind or equipment breakdowns at gas- or coal-fired power plants.