Top State Stories 12/20
LA: Louisiana law may equal more felons voting
A new Louisiana law taking effect in March aimed at restoring voting rights to some former felons still under supervision may reinstate the rights to tens of thousands more people than expected.
NY: Why New York is ‘voter suppression land’
Despite its reputation for sterling progressivism, New York has some of the most restrictive election laws in the nation. That may finally end next year, now that Democrats have captured the state Senate, giving the party control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s seat for the first time in a decade.
ND: Sunday shopping ban targeted in North Dakota
North Dakota lawmakers are taking another crack at undoing the state’s ban on Sunday morning shopping, allowing retailers to choose whether to open their doors that morning.
US: Migrant kids in custody top 5,000, AP finds
As the year draws to a close, some 5,400 detained migrant children in the United States are sleeping in shelters with more than 1,000 other children. Some 9,800 are in facilities with 100-plus total kids, according to confidential government data obtained and cross-checked by the Associated Press.
CA: Feds undermine California over driverless cars
California is moving to impose stringent safety and privacy regulations on autonomous vehicles. Car companies have responded by championing a measure in the U.S. Congress to force California and other states to yield rule-making authority to the Trump administration.
WA: Google, Facebook to pay K for Washington state violation
Google and Facebook have agreed to pay $455,000 to settle allegations that they failed to keep proper records about who was paying for campaign ads on their sites, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.
AZ: As Arizona detentions soared, so did complaints
In Arizona, where over 800 immigrant kids are being held, the state’s largest provider of shelters has been forced to shut down two facilities over improper background checks for employees.
DC: D.C. officials ignored surge in African-American overdoses
For the past four years, the nation’s capital has undergone its worst public-health crisis since the arrival of AIDS: an explosion of fatal drug overdoses among African-Americans.
VA: Virginia aims to ensure thorough 2020 census
With representation from Native American, LGBT, religious, educational, business, healthcare, Asian, African-American and undocumented immigrant groups, Virginia’s Complete Count Commission has about 14 months to spread the word about the census count that’s required by the U.S. Constitution.
OH: Ohio governor forbids gender-identity discrimination
Twenty-five days before leaving office, Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich suddenly barred discrimination in state employment based on gender identity — a change of heart from when he took office nearly eight years ago.
MS: Public school enrollment declines in Mississippi
Certainly, some of the decline in Mississippi is due to outmigration. But there appears to be more to the story. Look to charter schools.
TX: As most states raise minimum wage, Texas refuses to budge
This year alone, 18 states increased their minimum wage and 30 states now have a minimum wage that exceeds the federal rate of $7.25 an hour. Many of Texas’ major cities have boosted pay, too. Will the state follow suit?
NJ: New Jersey governor calls for expanding voter access
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he plans to push for a broad expansion of voter access in 2019 and for a review of how legislative districts are drawn in the state. The Democrat said he wants to explore enacting in-person voting up to 30 days before an election and an online registration process.
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