What We're Reading: Top State Stories 4/5

Top State Stories 4/5

CA: More than a million undocumented immigrants have received California driver's licenses

A 2013 law required California DMV offices to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants as long as they could prove their identity and residence within the state. As of March 31, the law had led to 1,001,000 undocumented immigrants receiving licenses. 

NJ: New Jersey drug overdose deaths on record pace

Drug deaths are on a pace to become the sixth-leading cause of death in New Jersey, with a jaw-dropping 765 suspected deaths already recorded in 2018. The statistics from the state attorney general’s office show that drug deaths could surpass 3,000 this year, far more than the 2016 and 2017 numbers. 

TN: Bump stock ban proposal fails in Tennessee

An effort by Democratic lawmakers to ban bump stocks in Tennessee has failed. The device was used to kill 58 people and injured more than 500 others in Las Vegas in October. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam had supported the measure. 

MD: Maryland legislators approve record-breaking package to lure Amazon

Maryland legislators approved the biggest incentive package, by far, in the state’s history, part of an effort worth up to $8.5 billion to lure Amazon to  build its second headquarters in the state.

OK: Oklahoma House rejects more education funding; teachers continue Capitol sit-in

When Oklahoma Republicans finally passed a massive tax hike for hundreds of millions of new dollars for public schools and teacher pay raises, they thought they would get a thank you. Instead, they got a teacher strike for a better deal. The protests continued for the fourth day amid a movement in red states from West Virginia to Kentucky to Arizona to press for more money in classrooms. 

NY: Homeless people outside New York City push New York state for more help

A growing coalition of homeless people, tenants and their advocates is pushing the state legislature to expand to all of New York state tenant laws and other protections available only in New York City and a few other counties. A state law specific to the city prevents people from being cut off public assistance for failing to make required appointments to work, attend drug treatment or visit social workers. 

AK: Gun control bill stalls in Alaska House committee amid opposition from NRA

The legislation aims to limit access to guns for people deemed dangerous by police officers or judges — before they can commit a crime. Some supporters argue that it could help address Alaska's high rate of suicides, while some critics characterize it as a knee-jerk reaction that wouldn't affect underlying problems of mental illness. 

ND: Federal judge orders changes to North Dakota voter ID law

 An attorney challenging North Dakota's voter ID law welcomed a federal judge's ruling that expands Native Americans' options at the polls but eliminates voter affidavits. The order prevents the state from mandating that IDs include a "current residential street address" and expands the valid forms of ID to include more tribal documents.

IA: Iowa Senate OKs bill opening door to hemp production

The production and marketing of industrial hemp would be authorized in Iowa in compliance with federal law under a bipartisan bill passed by the Iowa Senate. The Iowa Legislative Services Agency said the bill responds to action by Congress that allows universities and state agriculture departments to begin cultivating industrial hemp for research.

MI: Bid for part-time Michigan Legislature dies for lack of signatures

A proposal to convert Michigan’s Legislature to a part-time body died for lack of enough valid signatures to get on the November ballot. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states, including Michigan, have full-time legislatures. 

AR: Arkansas senator, attorney general back death for drug dealers

Echoing a recent call by President Donald Trump, both U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said they were open to the idea of executing drug dealers as a method of combating the opioid crisis. 

UT: Utah teenager spams anonymous tip line

Police in Utah say a 16-year-old girl who thought an anonymous tip app created to help protect Utah students was "stupid" attempted to shut it down by submitting numerous false reports. 

NE: Bill advances to swap Nebraska’s Bryan, Morton statues at U.S. Capitol with Cather, Standing Bear 

Nebraska’s proposed statue swap is moving ahead. William Jennings Bryan and J. Sterling Morton, who have been in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall for more than 80 years, would be replaced by celebrated author Willa Cather and Chief Standing Bear, the Ponca chief whose lawsuit led to legal recognition of Native Americans as people.

Border Crossings Up From 2017 Felon Disenfranchisement