What We're Reading: Top State Stories 5/26
OK: Oklahoma implements nation's most restrictive abortion ban
Oklahoma implemented the strictest anti-abortion law in the nation as Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed legislation to prohibit most abortions beginning at fertilization. The new law allows private citizens to sue anyone who "aids or abets" a woman seeking an abortion at any point in her pregnancy.
TX: Texas was supposed to make schools safer to prevent a shooting like Uvalde
A raft of Texas laws created in the wake of the May 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting asked schools to be more proactive in identifying potential threats and in providing mental health resources. The state gave districts more money for security and demanded better training if someone did arrive on a campus with a weapon.
CA: California advances gun control bills amid Texas school massacre
As news traveled around the country of a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, California lawmakers were advancing a package of gun control bills, including one supported by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom that would co-opt the structure of Texas’ abortion ban to crack down on illegal firearms.
FL: Florida lawmakers approve property insurance, condo reforms
The Florida legislature approved sweeping changes to the financially struggling property insurance industry, with supporters offering no guarantees it would save homeowners any money. It also approved a condominium bill that would require mandatory inspections and reserves to cover any necessary repairs and maintenance.
NY: New York governor calls for raising age to 21 for assault rifle purchases
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul called on state lawmakers to put forth legislation that would raise the age from 18 to 21 for someone to legally purchase an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon in the state, a reaction to the mass shootings at a Texas school this week and a Buffalo grocery store earlier this month.
WI: Wisconsin launches statewide sexual assault tracking system
A statewide system to track kits that contain evidence following a sexual assault went live, Wisconsin’s attorney general announced. The online system allows abuse survivors to track the location of their kit through the testing process.
MN: Minnesota lawmakers approve $93M for mental health
Minnesota lawmakers approved nearly $93 million for mental health initiatives just minutes before adjourning. The bill would create a pilot program establishing mental health urgency rooms and provide ongoing funding for mobile crisis units and school-linked mental health services.
CO: Controversial new Colorado law promises to fight fentanyl with new felonies and more
Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law controversial legislation to combat fentanyl. The measure directs $29 million toward harm-reduction tools including testing strips and lifesaving opioid antagonists such as Narcan and naloxone and expands drug addiction treatment in jails.
SD: Marijuana back on South Dakota ballot
South Dakota voters will again decide via ballot box in November whether they want marijuana legal in their state. Approved petitions propose legalizing cannabis possession and cultivation for adults 21 and older.
HI: Hawaii public schools may need to prepare for shootings, says head of state board
Hawaii’s public school system has no specific policy requiring schools to prepare teachers or students for an active-shooter scenario. However, the head of the state Board of Education said that the time has come to consider one.
WA: Washington governor tests positive for COVID
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” including a cough, his office announced. Inslee is fully vaccinated and has had two booster shots. He is working from home and consulting with his doctors to set up antiviral treatments.
OR: Oregon poised to pay residents for staying off meth
More than $500,000 in requests for incentives to help people quit drugs have been included in 20 approved grant applications from Oregon providers. The funding comes from a successful ballot measure that decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs and diverted hundreds of millions of marijuana tax dollars per biennium to treatment and recovery services.
OH: Ohio Supreme Court again invalidates redistricting map
The Ohio Supreme Court rejected a resubmitted legislative redistricting plan from the Ohio Redistricting Commission and gave it until June 3 to pass a new map. However, the decision likely means a federal court will order the state to hold a legislative primary using the rejected map, which has now twice been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.
NJ: New Jersey governor calls for stricter gun laws, tries to shame GOP after deadly Texas shooting
A day after a gunman killed 19 young students and two adults at an elementary school in Texas, New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy called again for legislative leaders to send him a package of new gun regulations and to "immediately" post every GOP proposal to loosen the state's strict gun laws for a vote.
WV: West Virginia, opioid manufacturers reach settlement on eve of trial verdict
West Virginia reached a $161 million settlement with two pharmaceutical manufacturers, the state’s attorney general announced. Instead of presenting closing arguments, he told a circuit judge his office reached an agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc. and a group of companies owned by Allergan Finance.
NE: Labor shortage leads to service cuts at Nebraska DMVs
Due to a shortage of driver examiners at the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, about 30 DMV offices across the state, mostly in rural areas, have closed temporarily or seen hours cut back.