What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/15
ID: Idaho Supreme Court allows trigger law banning nearly all abortions to take effect
Idaho’s trigger law banning abortion in nearly all cases will go into effect Aug. 25, and the so-called heartbeat law allowing civil lawsuits against medical providers will go into effect immediately, following an opinion from the Idaho Supreme Court.
WI: Wisconsin Republican leader fires 2020 election investigator
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, fired Michael Gableman more than a year after Vos hired the former state Supreme Court justice to probe the 2020 election. The firing came three days after Vos survived a primary challenge Gableman supported.
CA: California governor proposes loaning PG&E $1.4B to keep nuclear plant open
California would loan PG&E Corp. up to $1.4 billion to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open for another 10 years under a proposal from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. The draft legislation circulated by his office shows Newsom’s increasing anxiety about the vulnerability facing California’s power grid in the coming years.
LA: Louisiana Supreme Court denies appeal in hotly contested abortion case, keeping ban in place
The Louisiana Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by abortion providers to block the state’s strict abortion law for the third time, delivering another blow to advocates for abortion rights as part of a roller-coaster legal battle since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
MD: Maryland lottery audit raises questions about multiple winners
A newly released audit raises concerns over potential collusion between Maryland Lottery winners and agency officials or vendors. The report reveals that 362 different players won 20 or more times each during 2020 alone, and eight won 200 times or more.
CT: Feds agree to honor Connecticut pardons, stop deportations
Federal officials have agreed to recognize Connecticut pardons as legally valid again and stop deporting people who have been pardoned for their crimes by a state board, reversing a hardline stance taken by the Trump administration, authorities announced.
NM: Ethics questioned as New Mexico cannabis regulators join the private sector
The hiring of two of New Mexico’s top cannabis regulators by an Albuquerque-based cannabis consulting firm could renew debate over whether the state should revisit its “revolving door” limits on state officials who leave for the private sector.
NV: Voter groups object to proposed Nevada hand-counting rules
As officials in some parts of rural Nevada vow to bypass voting machines in favor of hand counting ballots this November, the Nevada secretary of state’s office is proposing statewide rules that would specify how to do it, including requiring bipartisan vote counters, room for observation and the number of ballots to count at a time.
FL: Florida’s latest insurance crisis was decades in the making
Florida’s crumbling homeowners insurance market is exposing one of the state’s long-running flaws: its reliance on a single company to certify the majority of the state’s insurers.
MO: Fixing Missouri’s dangerous railroad crossings can take years — and people are dying
At least 12 people have died in the past 2 ½ years in crashes at Missouri railroad crossings that had been scheduled for repairs but were never completed, The Kansas City Star has found.
NE: Nebraska to notify residents of local tax increases
Giant pink postcards will alert Nebraska residents to property tax increases by local taxing authorities. A 2021 state law that takes effect this year is aimed at making local officials more accountable.
MN: A Black woman has never served in the Minnesota Senate. That's about to change.
Three Black women won their primary elections for the Minnesota Senate last week and are expected to prevail in November, likely sending a caucus of Black women to the chamber next year for the first time in its 164-year history.
OK: Energy firms help fund candidates seeking to regulate Oklahoma's oil and gas sector
More than one-fourth of all campaign funds received by the frontrunner for an open Oklahoma Corporation Commission seat have come from political action committees, most related to energy production, an example of how much attention this down-ballot race receives from the powerful sector it is tasked with regulating.
AK: Alaska Supreme Court rules against forward funding for education, confirms limit on legislative power
The Alaska legislature may not set multiyear budgets for public education and other state agencies unless it provides up-front funding, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled. The decision settles a three-year-old dispute between the legislature and Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
DC: DC had a plan to end chronic homelessness. Why isn’t it working yet?
The D.C. Council last year budgeted millions of dollars to permanently pay for housing for the city’s hardest-to-house residents. The city gave out an unprecedented 2,400 housing vouchers, but just 555 people have managed to use them to move into apartments, locked out by a tight housing market and D.C. Housing Authority delays.