WI: Wisconsin lawmakers approve stripping governor’s power
The Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature has approved a bill aimed at limiting the power of a newly elected governor and attorney general — both Democrats — before they take office.
FL: Confusion clouds restoration of Florida felons’ voting rights
Florida voters last month restored the right to vote to most convicted felons who complete their sentences. But confusion still hovers over implementation. The state has stopped transmitting documents counties use to remove felons from the rolls, and one official said more research is needed on how to carry out the will of the people.
NJ: New Jersey governor ignored rape claims, accuser says
A top official in the administration of Democratic New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy described in testimony the lack of urgency among Murphy aides after she accused a member of his campaign of sexual assault. The narrative marked the first day of hearings into how Murphy’s administration has handled a case that threatens to thwart his agenda and cast a stain over his progressive image.
NC: Alleged fraud clouds North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district vote
North Carolina has held special elections to fill vacant congressional seats when, say, a member has resigned. But, if the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement calls for a new election for the 9th Congressional District, it will apparently be the first time in state history that alleged fraud has caused voters to go to the polls a second time to decide the same congressional race.
CO: Feds threaten reprisals if Colorado city goes ahead with supervised drug-use facility plan
Denver leaders have approved a law that would allow the city to host a supervised drug-use facility, where people could use heroin and other drugs under the supervision of a medical professional. But such sites remain illegal under federal law, as the Colorado city was reminded in a letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the local office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
MI: Michigan Senate votes to drain wetlands regulations
Senate Republicans in Michigan have approved a plan to deregulate many smaller wetlands, streams and inland lakes, championing personal property rights despite environmental concerns. The legislation would redefine wetlands and limit oversight by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on waterways that cover less than five acres.
LA: Louisianans offered buyouts for 2016 flood
Officials with Restore Louisiana, a state task force overseeing the recovery from historic 2016 floods, announced that homeowners residing in floodways can receive up to ,000 in buyout money if they are willing to move out of their disaster-prone homes. Officials have identified about 450 homeowners who meet the requirements.
CA: California lawmakers pitch substantial new spending on low-income housing
Low-income housing developments in California could receive an infusion of public subsidies under proposals unveiled this week by state lawmakers. New bills call for new funding for low-income housing through a revival of an urban redevelopment program and by increasing tax credits to fund new projects.
MD: Maryland AG subpoenas Trump businesses
Dozens of subpoenas were issued to businesses affiliated with President Donald Trump and others in a lawsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia that alleges the president violated a constitutional prohibition on profiting from his post by doing business with foreign governments.
WA: Assaults increase at Washington state psychiatric hospital
Thousands of nurses, mental health technicians and security guards have been assaulted by patients at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Washington, leaving patients, their families and health care workers fearful. Disability claims by injured staff topped million in less than three years.
IL: Nation’s first charter school teacher strike underway in Illinois
Hundreds of educators at Chicago’s Acero charter school network have walked off the job, halting classes for 7,500 predominantly Latino students and launching the nation’s first strike over a contract at the publicly funded schools. Charters work in separate legal territory from traditional schools in Illinois, allowing unions greater flexibility to call strikes.
DC: D.C. Council approves ‘pay to play’ ban on contractor donations
Sweeping changes to the District of Columbia’s campaign-finance regulations could soon become law, after the D.C. Council gave final approval to a bill aimed at curbing the influence of government contractors in local politics.
RI: Hundreds of felony cases have slipped away in Rhode Island
Prosecutors in the Rhode Island state attorney general’s office never pursued about 1,300 felony cases brought by police from 2009 through 2015, and the statute of limitations is up on 900 of those cases. The lack of prosecution came to light with weeks left until a new administration takes the helm.
OH: Ohio groups oppose GOP ballot issue changes
Concerned that direct democracy is under fire by Ohio lawmakers, dozens of groups statewide are standing opposed to a proposal that would require constitutional amendment petitions to be filed more than seven months before the election, and make those signatures valid for only 180 days after they are collected. Supporters say the change is aimed at protecting the state constitution from big money and out-of-state influences.
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