NJ: New Jersey Democrats try bold power grab
Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey are carrying out a power grab in an unusually public fashion: They are seeking to make Republicans a permanent minority by essentially writing gerrymandering into the constitution. Even some national Democratic leaders have criticized the plan.
TX: Harvey a ‘wake-up call,’ Texas panel says
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott convened a panel to focus on rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. In its new report, the panel recommended steps to prepare for the next big storm, including improving local disaster response and considering preventive infrastructure projects.
VA: Virginia GOP asks Supreme Court to stop new map
Republican leaders in the Virginia House have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and block a lower court’s efforts to redraw the House map for the 2019 elections. Democrats have accused Republicans of stalling for time and have urged the courts to proceed with a map correcting constitutional flaws.
KS: Kansas driver’s license data held overseas
Kansas drivers who renew their licenses, registration or tags online are giving permission for their personal information to be stored outside the United States, even though state law forbids the practice. The state contractor says all data is stored in the United States, but a page on its website says it can store personal information in foreign countries.
MI: Abortion pill restrictions OK’d by Michigan House
The bill approved by Michigan’s Republican-led House would permanently prohibit doctors from using an internet web camera to prescribe medication to induce an abortion, setting it on a likely course for GOP Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.
WI: Wisconsin governor uses special power to seal deal
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, using powers that his Democratic successor would not have under legislation approved last week during a lame-duck session, executed a million deal to save nearly 400 jobs at a Kimberly-Clark Corp. plant.
GA: Medical marijuana farming, sales proposed in Georgia
Georgia lawmakers are recommending that the state government pass laws next year to allow hemp farming and cannabis oil distribution. The proposals from two Republican-led committees would help provide medical marijuana to Georgia’s 6,000 registered patients.
WA: Washington state governor proposes capital gains tax in new budget
Democratic Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing a new capital gains tax and an increase in business taxes on services as part of his next two-year budget that looks to increase spending on the state’s mental health system and the environment, including efforts to help the state’s struggling orca population.
FL: Florida Senate calls on county elections official to resign
The Florida Senate will not take action on Broward County’s embattled supervisor of elections after her suspension last month, determining that her resignation is unconditional, the Senate president said. The supervisor planned to step down, but after the governor suspended her, she rescinded her decision.
PA: Pennsylvania, No. 2 gas producer, to curb air pollution
Pennsylvania is aiming to curb air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from its vast natural gas fields, with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration proposing new rules even as the Trump administration moves to relax federal ones. Wolf’s proposal is with a review committee, the first step in a lengthy process.
MA: Massachusetts governor to return donation
Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker last month accepted ,500 from the firm of a registered lobbyist and longtime ally of Vice President Mike Pence toward his inauguration, violating a self-imposed cap per donor. Baker advisers say they’re now returning most of the contribution.
CA: California regulators to set new rules for power shutoffs to prevent fires
The California Public Utilities Commission said it will look at the conditions under which planned blackouts occur, and whether there should be metrics for when intentionally cutting power is appropriate. Commissioners also will examine how utilities coordinate with first responders at the local and state levels, among other issues.
ND: Wary of new ethics rules, North Dakota lobbyists rethink plans for legislator receptions
Some lobbying groups are rethinking plans to hold legislator socials after North Dakota voters passed a ballot measure etching new ethics rules into the state constitution. The canceled events appear to be some of the first tangible effects of the measure, which was supported by almost 54 percent of voters last month.
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