HI: Hawaii bans sunscreens with coral-damaging chemicals
Democratic Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law that prohibits the sale and distribution in Hawaii of over-the-counter sunscreens containing octinoxate and oxybenzone, which can make corals more susceptible to bleaching and serve as an endocrine disruptor, feminizing male fish.
NY: Few New Yorkers have criminal records sealed under new law
A recent New York state law allows people convicted of certain crimes to hide the record from public view. But so far, only 346 records have been sealed – much fewer than defense lawyers, advocates and prosecutors had expected.
SC: South Carolina budget could worsen increasing college costs
Critics of a proposal to take .5 billion of college revenue off South Carolina legislators’ budget spreadsheets fear the move could lead to rising costs in a state where college expenses paid by parents and students already rank highest in the Southeast.
NJ: New Jersey expands LGBTQ protections
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed three bills into law that offer more rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. The legislation allows birth and death certificates for transgender residents to be amended to reflect their gender identity. It also establishes a task force to ensure protections for the trans community.
NM: Train service in northern New Mexico may end
Train travel through Northern New Mexico communities might end altogether despite a long-running campaign by mostly rural communities to keep it going. Amtrak is considering ending passenger train service from Dodge City, Kansas, to Albuquerque and replacing its Southwest Chief route through that area with buses.
MA: Massachusetts lawmakers aim to make sure abortion stays legal in state
Abortion-rights advocates and Massachusetts legislative leaders are moving to repeal a 19th-century state law that criminalizes abortion, acting out of concern that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn its Roe v. Wade ruling. The bill would eliminate the state’s unenforced abortion ban, along with other old laws on contraception that have since been invalidated by Supreme Court decisions.
MO: New revelations of alleged impropriety by former Kansas governor
Emails obtained by The Kansas City Star show former Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ top campaign fundraiser working to set up a meeting in 2017 between a government official and one of the state’s most prolific donors, all while seeking a contribution to Greitens’ dark-money nonprofit. The emails appear to be evidence of coordination between the governor’s office, his campaign and A New Missouri Inc.
FL: Florida group wants open primaries
A political committee has filed two proposed constitutional amendments that would open Florida’s primary elections to all voters and have the top two finishers — no matter their party — move on to the general election. The initiatives are sponsored by a committee called Florida Fair and Open Primaries, according to information posted on the state Division of Elections website.
GA: Rural Georgia hospitals get M infusion of donations
It took three attempts, but the Legislature finally hit on the right formula to persuade Georgia corporations and individuals to donate to struggling rural hospitals. The Georgia Department of Revenue posted a notice that the million cap on tax credits to entice donors to rural hospitals had already been reached.
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.