WI: Wisconsin Republicans look at ways to curb next governor’s powers
As Wisconsin Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers moves ahead with his transition into office, Republican senators were meeting privately to discuss ways to limit his power as governor. Republicans are returning with majorities in both the Senate and Assembly, while Evers and Democrats will control all the constitutional offices, including attorney general.
NC: North Carolina GOP supermajority will write a new voter ID law before more Democrats take office
Republican state legislators in North Carolina plan to write more laws this month to take advantage of the last weeks that they hold a veto-proof majority.
TX: Texas may have again illegally reduced special education funding
Disability rights advocates have dug up documents appearing to show Texas spent $41.6 million less on kids with disabilities in 2017 than the year before, raising the prospect of yet another federal financial penalty.
OH: Ohio GOP legislative leaders consider tougher standards for ballot issues
Following another statewide ballot issue fight sparked by a group from outside Ohio, Republican legislative leaders may soon take action to make it tougher to get constitutional amendments on the ballot, or to pass them.
CO: Colorado soon to allow X as sex identifier on drivers’ licenses
Colorado residents who do not identify as male or female will be allowed to choose X as the symbol to represent their gender on their driver’s licenses when an emergency rule goes into effect this month. The Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees the Division of Motor Vehicles, decided to make the change after two court cases found in favor of Colorado people attempting to change their sex on government identification.
NE: Medicaid expansion funding mandate moves from voters to Nebraska Legislature
Nebraska’s nonpartisan legislature was revamped in a fashion that close observers believe increases the number of senators who could be described as politically moderate. The next chapter for Medicaid expansion will be written in the 2019 legislature, where some opponents already have hinted at slow-walking or even attempting to block funding.
CA: ‘Bond fatigue’ may have defeated California’s water bond
California voters rejected a water bond for the first time in almost 30 years, disregarding pleas from its backers that the money would fix crumbling infrastructure, bring clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities and kick-start badly needed environmental restoration projects. One possible reason for the defeat: other bonds on the ballot for children’s hospitals, homeless people and affordable housing.
KS: Kansas LBGT state workers to get job discrimination protections back
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender state employees across Kansas will again have protections from on-the-job discrimination once Democrat Laura Kelly becomes governor. Kelly reaffirmed plans to reinstate an executive order providing a protection from discrimination that former Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, rescinded in 2015.
NJ: New Jersey governor signs new gun control law
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed a gun control bill into law that bans “ghost guns” that can be assembled with untraceable components at home. The measure, which also outlaws controversial 3D-printable guns, gives New Jersey the distinction of having the nation’s toughest ban on the untraceable firearms, the governor said.
MI: Michiganders can still be arrested for marijuana after Proposal 1
Even though Michiganders have voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it’s still considered an illegal substance by the federal government. That means some marijuana enforcement, arrests and convictions will continue, according to a statement from U.S. attorneys in Michigan.
VA: Why the number of juveniles behind bars in Virginia is down sharply
New guidelines for treatment of youth in the Virginia juvenile justice system have reduced the number of minors behind bars as well as incidents of violence there, the Department of Juvenile Justice says in a new report. The department is also moving to ensure decisions about incarceration are not affected by a youth’s race or locality, with a new standardized decision process.
VT: Vermont’s new Democratic supermajority comes with high expectations
Democratic leaders in Vermont no longer have the luxury of blaming an intransigent governor if they fail to pass bills implementing a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave. With a new supermajority able to override vetoes, they will also be expected to come up with legislation on priority issues such as affordable health care and child care access.
AR: Letter advises pause of Arkansas Medicaid work rule
Concerned about the number of Arkansans who have lost health coverage, a federal advisory panel urged a top federal official to temporarily stop the state from enforcing its work requirement for Medicaid expansion enrollees.
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