Editor’s Picks From Around the Web
IN: Indiana’s new ‘religious freedom’ law draws sharp opposition
Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that prohibits governments in Indiana from “substantially burdening” a person’s ability to exercise religion. Opponents, from the NCAA to drug maker Eli Lilly and Co., fear it will allow business owners to refuse service to gays, lesbians and bisexuals based on religious beliefs.
ID: Idaho’s GOP House leaders propose sweeping tax bill
The top Republican leaders of the Idaho House introduced a multifaceted bill to eliminate the sales tax on groceries, increase the gasoline tax 7 cents a gallon and set a flat tax rate for higher-income earners.
CA: California legislators OK $1 billion drought relief measure
Although California is entering its fourth year of drought, most of the funds would be directed to long-term efforts such as strengthening flood controls, improving water recycling and building desalination plants to produce clean water from the ocean.
KS: School districts try to block Kansas’ new school finance law
Lawyers representing 48 Kansas school districts petitioned a court to block a new school finance law just signed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback that would repeal the state’s 23-year-old school finance system and set up block-grant funding for the next two years.
WI: Does Wisconsin really want to ‘repeal the weekend’?
A bill being proposed by two Wisconsin legislators would allow people employed in factories to voluntarily work seven days in a row with no 24-hour rest period.
CO: Colorado bill to allow transgender people to change birth certificates advances
Transgender people in Colorado could change the gender listed on their birth certificates with a doctor’s note under legislation up for debate by state lawmakers.
MT: Montana Democrats, Republicans push Medicaid expansion bill to a vote
A coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans voted to bring a key Medicaid expansion bill to the floor of the Montana Senate for a vote with the expectation it would pass.
OR: Oregon bill would close loophole on background checks for guns sales
The bill would expand background check requirements to gun transfers between private individuals, whether through the Internet or personal contact. Backers say it would close a loophole that has made it easy for convicted felons and others prohibited from having guns to get them.
LA: Oil spill money looked at for Louisiana colleges
To offset budget cuts, higher education leaders are eyeing some of the money Louisiana is expected to get from BP to pay for economic damage caused by the 2010 oil spill. Those dollars are separate from other civil penalties from violations of environmental laws, which are required to be set aside for coastal restoration and protection projects.
AK: Alaska senators introduce plan to save money by reducing jail population
Two senators from opposite sides of the political spectrum jointly introduced legislation Wednesday aimed at changing Alaska’s expensive, overburdened “revolving door” of a correctional system.
MN: Minnesota House considers religious exemptions to autopsies
A bill heading to the House floor would requires medical examiners to notify a family of a planned autopsy and gives the family grounds to object on religious grounds – though autopsies could proceed if there’s a “compelling state interest.” At least eight states allow religious objections to autopsies.
NV: Nevada bill would ban smoking in cars with children present
A coalition of heath organizations offered its support today to a bill that would make it illegal in Nevada for adults to smoke tobacco in a car with children present.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.