CA: California governor to cut back on high-speed rail plan
In his first State of the State speech, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the state to scale back the focus of its high-speed rail project to focus on one portion in the Central Valley. He said there “simply isn’t a path” to build high-speed rail to connect the northern and southern parts of the state.
OR: Oregon senators pass first-in-nation statewide rent control
The Oregon Senate voted to make Oregon the first state in the nation to adopt statewide rent control and make it harder for landlords to evict tenants without a reason. Democrats have made it clear this bill is a priority and, with a majority in both chambers, its sponsors are moving it at a breakneck speed through the legislature.
FL: Arming teachers was a non-starter in Florida. But that was last year. Now it’s not.
A bill expanding the existing “Guardian” program passed through a key committee, which means it could be one of the first bills the entire Florida Senate will consider once the legislative session begins March 5.
NY: How 7 women helped put sexual harassment on New York’s agenda
New York state lawmakers will hold their first public hearing on sexual harassment since 1992. The hearing is the result, in large part, of the Sexual Harassment Working Group, which is made up of seven former legislative employees who say they experienced or reported sexual harassment in Albany.
WI: Wisconsin governor to join group committed to Paris climate accord
Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he is signing on with U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of mostly Democratic governors who want to implement the Paris climate accord at the state level. The announcement is the latest sign his administration is taking a much different approach to global warming than his Republican predecessor, Scott Walker.
CT: Connecticut governor promises a ‘debt diet’
Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont promised to reduce borrowing by the state of Connecticut by more than million annually, committing to a “debt diet” before a gathering of business leaders. The move, if successful, would be a dramatic change after years of borrowing for projects in all corners of the state.
KY: Kentucky bill would limit what solar customers earn from excess energy
Critics say a bill that would limit what Kentuckians can earn from excess energy produced by solar panels would be devastating to Kentucky’s fledgling solar industry, while utilities say it would ensure solar customers help pay to maintain Kentucky’s energy grid. Last year the bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
SD:South Dakota moves to collect data on missing and murdered indigenous women
A bill from South Dakota Republican Rep. Tamara St. John would require the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation to standardize the reporting and investigation of missing and murdered indigenous women. The bill received the unanimous support of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now goes to the Senate floor for a vote.
NV: Nevada police department to stop turning low-level offenders over to ICE
Sherriff Joe Lombardo, head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, has directed the jail to not turn over undocumented immigrants who are booked for minor traffic crimes or misdemeanors, police lobbyist Chuck Callaway told a meeting of the Nevada Assembly Judiciary Committee.
MS: How Mississippi aid rules hinder college access for working-class families
In 2017, more than half of Mississippi state aid went to students from financially stable homes who were likely to attend college regardless of the aid. Legislators, university and college presidents have spent the past year reviewing Mississippi aid and possible solutions including a complete overhaul of the system.
ND: North Dakota House passes bill outlawing DUI checkpoints
North Dakota House lawmakers approved a bill that would prohibit law enforcement from using checkpoints to catch drunk drivers. The bill would require police to have “reasonable suspicion” for halting a driver.
IA: Iowans wouldn’t need a permit to carry a gun under this proposal
Iowans would no longer need a permit to carry a firearm or to buy a gun in a person-to-person sale under a bill under consideration by the Iowa Senate. Anyone wishing to buy a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer would still be required to have a valid permit to carry and complete a federal background check.
UT: Utah could join other states in calling for a Constitutional Convention
A Utah resolution would allow the state to join with other “guardians of liberty” in invoking Article V of the U.S. Constitution and convening to restrain the federal government’s abuses of power through state amendments. A Senate committee voted to forward it to the full Senate. The resolution’s sponsor says 12 other states have issued such a call.
NC: Governor names first black woman to lead North Carolina Supreme Court
The next chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court will be Cheri Beasley, Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced. Beasley, who has been on the court since 2012, will make history as the first black woman to be the state’s top judge.
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