Top State Stories 5/23
CA: A lot less pot sold in California than first estimated, analyst says
Most cities in California have refused to allow pot businesses, and there are tough rules for those who want state licenses to grow, distribute and sell marijuana. Both factors have contributed to lower-than-projected sales, which are expected total .9 billion this year instead of the initial estimate of .8 billion, according to a cannabis research firm.
RI: Rhode Island House votes to end ‘gay or trans panic’ defense
With two dissenting votes, the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed legislation that, in effect, bars jurors from considering “gay or trans panic” as a legal defense for a violent act against someone who is gay or transgender.
AZ: Arizona seeks to limit teaching evolution in schools
The Arizona Department of Education has proposed removing the word “evolution” from some K-12 education materials and describing it as a “theory” in others. In one area on life science for high school students, “evolution” would be replaced with the words “biological diversity.” Some educators and scientists are outraged by the proposed change.
CO: Colorado governor reauthorizes civil rights commission
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed a bill reauthorizing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission until 2027, capping what had been months of partisan clashing and down-to-the-wire negotiations on the panel’s future.
OK: 10-year-old gets Oklahoma Legislature to name official state raptor
Ephraim Bowling is the kind of kid who, in his mom’s words, has a lot of wild ideas. But on Nov. 1, the 10-year-old’s wild idea to name an official Oklahoma state raptor will go into effect. It will be the red-tailed hawk.
IL: Illinois House speaker denies retaliating in sexual harassment case
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat, has denied allegations he retaliated against a Democratic lawmaker who questioned his handling of sexual harassment allegations in his political and government organizations.
MA: Overdoses decline in Massachusetts, but chiefly among whites
Deaths from opioid overdoses in Massachusetts continued to decline during the first three months of 2018, dropping by an estimated 5 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the state Department of Public Health. The decline affects primarily white people.
WA: Washington state firefighters committed sexual harassment, report finds
An investigation into complaints of bullying and sexual harassment at Spokane, Washington, Fire Department Station 2 found five officials violated city policies. The city’s Human Resources Department report says they engaged in workplace bullying and sexual harassment of temporary employees.
TX: Texas police chief goes after NRA after Santa Fe shooting
After yet another school shooting, this one in Texas, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has taken on the nation’s gun lobby, the National Rifle Association. “Maybe if they came out and had to make the notifications,” he said, “and see the bodies of dead police officers … all these people that are supposed to be the party of law and order will start caring.”
CT: With eye to elections, Connecticut governor signs pay-equity law
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, signed a bipartisan pay-equity bill at a celebration skipped by Republicans and colored by the Rhode Island Legislature’s failure to deliver other items on an election-year agenda at least partly geared to working women: a minimum wage, paid family medical leave, and an overhaul of sexual harassment laws.
FL: Florida’s early voting ban on campus challenged in court
A new lawsuit accuses the administration of Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, of making it more difficult for young people to vote by preventing early voting at public buildings on state university campuses. The complaint filed by the League of Women Voters seeks to strike down a controversial interpretation of Florida’s early voting laws.
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