US: Democratic governors call for unemployment for federal employees
The Democratic governors of Michigan, New York and Washington asked the Trump administration to let states offer unemployment benefits to federal employees who are working without pay during the partial government shutdown that began nearly a month ago.
MN: Minnesota legislators begin pushing marijuana legalization
In Minnesota, two pro-legalization statewide candidates won 5 percent of the vote in November, granting them major party status. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz is the first Minnesota governor to publicly support legalizing recreational marijuana, giving activists fresh hope the state might pass the measure this year.
AK: Why the U.S. census starts in Alaska’s most remote villages
Ever since Alaska joined the union as the 49th state in 1959, the most remote parts of the most northern state have gotten a head start on the national head count.
NM: New Mexico considers legalizing medically assisted suicide
It’s the first test of an assisted suicide bill since the election last year of New Mexico’s Democratic governor and a larger Democratic House majority. Current law that withstood a Supreme Court challenge in 2016 makes it a felony for a physician to assist patients in ending their life.
VA: Virginia Senate OKs Amazon package, rejects minimum-wage bill
The Virginia Senate easily approved state tax incentives of up to million over the next 15 years for Amazon to build a headquarters facility. It also narrowly rejected a proposal for a minimum wage.
WI: Experts say Wisconsin pre-existing conditions bill wouldn’t work
With Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin set to take up a bill that would require health insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, the question remains: Would the requirement work if the Affordable Care Act were struck down? Insurance experts contend that it would not.
OH: Ohio pleads for more foster parents
Ohio has launched a public awareness campaign to boost interest in foster care and adoption. The announcement by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine comes at a time when nearly 16,000 children are in the custody of Ohio county children services agencies.
TN: Tennessee governor says it’s legal to investigate whether immigration law is being violated
Tennessee Republican Gov.-elect Bill Lee says he will direct his legal team to investigate whether the state’s most populated county is following a new law that prohibits local authorities from requiring a warrant or probable cause before complying with federal immigration detainers.
MD: Lawmakers urge Maryland governor to meet over historically black universities lawsuit
Maryland’s black lawmakers are asking Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to meet with them to discuss settling a long-running lawsuit that alleges the state fostered segregation at its public universities.
ND: North Dakota cottage foods law reheats in 2019 session
In 2017, North Dakota’s Food Freedom Act expanded direct-to-consumer sales of baked goods and canned items, including refrigerated foods such as lemon meringue pie, without requiring licensing, labeling or kitchen inspections. The debate hit the rocks when the state Department of Health began a rule-making process that cottage food proponents criticized as onerous.
CT: Environmental coalition presses Connecticut governor on electric cars
Clean energy activists are asking Gov. Ned Lamont to make Connecticut more hospitable to electric vehicles. In a letter to the Democratic governor, the Connecticut Electric Vehicle Coalition and EV Club of CT are pressing for policies that promote the use of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
MA: New day care inspection system in Massachusetts brings high caseloads and shorter visits
The new day care inspection system in Massachusetts requires more frequent visits to each facility, giving operators no notice at least once a year. But it has come at a cost: The inspectors, who were already monitoring two to four times the caseloads specialists recommend, now spend far less time at most sites.
AR: Arkansas Ethics Commission pushed to ‘breaking point’
The Arkansas Ethics Commission received a record 146 citizen complaints against candidates and others during the 2018 election cycle, a 45 percent increase over the 2012 election cycle.
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