MN: Bill would boost marketing of Minnesota agriculture exports to Cuba
A bipartisan bill to set aside ,000 to promote agriculture products to Cuba was due for a hearing today before the House Agriculture Finance Committee. The move comes after U.S. officials announced in December steps to begin normalizing relations with the communist island nation after decades of hostility.
NE: Judge strikes down Nebraska’s gay marriage ban; state quickly appeals
In a historic opinion striking down Nebraska’s gay marriage ban, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon defended the rights of children being raised by two moms or two dads. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals now will take up the ban.
TX: Texas GOP leaders say they won’t expand Medicaid
Leading Texas Republicans asked the Obama administration for greater flexibility to administer Medicaid — a move that has gotten little traction in the past — while reiterating that they would not participate in an expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act.
KY: Legislature passes bill deregulating telephone service in Kentucky
The Kentucky General Assembly gave final approval to a telephone deregulation bill that frees AT&T and other landline phone companies from having to provide basic phone service to every home in the state.
OH: Ohio sues BP, saying it filed false clean-up claims
Ohio state officials have filed suit against BP, claiming the oil giant wrongfully collected more than million in state reimbursements to clean up storage tank leaks.
LA: Jindal’s budget would force major layoffs in Louisiana education department
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed budget would force layoffs of about 100 of the state Department of Education’s roughly 300 workers, the state school superintendent said. The Jindal administration disputed the figures, saying the department’s 17 percent cut is in line with reductions at other agencies as the state seeks to close a .6 billion shortfall.
CA: State court says California can’t ban all sex offenders from living near schools and parks
California’s voter-approved law to keep convicted sex offenders from living near schools and parks violates parolees’ constitutional rights, the state’s highest court has ruled, saying the blanket ban has done more to leave offenders homeless than to protect children.
WA: billion transportation package passes Washington Senate
Over the objections of most of the chamber’s Democrats, the state Senate passed a billion transportation package, including an 11.7-cent gas tax increase.
OR: Oregon would fine cyclists for not wearing reflective clothing
The bill’s sponsor has also proposed licenses for cyclists.
AR: Campus gun bill heads to Arkansas Senate
The Arkansas House approved a bill that would allow public college faculty and staff members with concealed-carry permits to carry weapons on campus. Several representatives spoke against the bill, citing concerns about taking away local control from colleges and universities.
SD: If youth minimum wage becomes law, state would save only ,000
Lowering South Dakota’s minimum wage for workers under 18 would save state government, one of the largest employers, only about ,000 a year, according to a legislative analysis.
WI: Scott Walker budget gives governor more control over hiring
Republican Gov. Scott Walker would get more control over the agency that oversees Wisconsin’s merit hiring system, under his proposed budget bill.
UT: ‘Right to try’ bill on way to governor
A bill to allow terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs and devices that have yet to receive full approval from regulators is on its way to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
FL: School uniform policy would earn districts extra cash under bill
School districts with a student uniform policy of solid pants, skirts or shorts and collared shirts would be eligible for -per-student from the state under a bill proposed by the House K-12 subcommittee.
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