Top State Stories 2/20
CO: Catholic churches in Colorado will allow review of sex abuse allegations
Catholic Church leaders in Colorado will allow a former federal prosecutor to review decades of allegations of child sexual abuse as part of an agreement with the state’s attorney general, Democrat Phil Weiser, to evaluate how the church handles those claims. The state’s three Catholic dioceses have established a fund to pay reparations to victims.
IL: Illinois governor signs minimum wage increase
Low-wage workers across Illinois will ring in 2020 with a an hour raise after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that sets the state’s minimum wage on a path to reach an hour by 2025. This makes Illinois among the first states to approve a minimum wage of an hour.
TN: Tennessee governor vows to repeal gym tax
Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee said he will propose the repeal of an amusement tax on gym memberships in his upcoming budget, saying it is an important step toward reducing burdens on small businesses and improving the health of Tennesseans. The nearly 10 percent tax has been targeted by owners of gyms, fitness centers and health clubs.
AR: Arkansas governor signs bill cutting top income tax rate
Arkansas Republican governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law his million plan to cut the state’s top income tax rate, and said he wants legislators to address highway funding before looking at any other tax reductions during this year’s session.
CT: Connecticut governor calls for new road tolls
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, said his budget will include two options for electronic highway tolls: the trucks-only proposal he campaigned on, and a broader approach that would include all vehicles. But in an op-ed, Lamont admitted the trucks-only plan would raise too little revenue.
NJ: New Jersey governor to sign bill expanding paid family leave
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, will sign a bill into law completing a long-awaited expansion of the paid family leave program. The bill increases how much money recipients will get during time off and how long benefits can be collected. The expansions will take effect July 1, 2020.
MN: Minnesota governor proposes gas tax hike
Roads and bridges, schools and affordable health care coverage are top priorities in Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s two-year .5 billion budget proposal, a nearly 8 percent increase over the current budget. To help pay for the new spending, his plan includes a 20 cent gas tax increase. He faces pushback from Republicans.
HI: U.S. Supreme Court to hear Hawaii sewage case
Hawaii state and local leaders say the case over pumping raw sewage into the ground could greatly expand the reach of the Clean Water Act, leading to new costs and regulatory burdens. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider the case about what environmental groups say are sewage practices in Maui that have devastated coral reefs.
NY: New York governor wants all back-seat passengers to buckle up
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is proposing to extend the state’s seat belt law to require all passengers in the back seat to buckle up. Under current law, only back seat passengers younger than 16 are required to wear a restraint.
TX: Texas lawmakers look to store sensitive data in the ‘cloud’
Texas lawmakers are considering an overhaul of how the state uses its data centers, with an eye toward relying more on tech companies that own private networks of remote servers, commonly known as the cloud. Proponents say the plan could save millions of dollars and modernize vulnerable government tech infrastructure.
OH: Ohio governor expects gas tax hike
Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine will recommend increasing the gas tax to finance repairs and improve the state’s highway and bridge system. But he stopped short of saying by how much. The money is needed to address a .5 billion gap for state and local costs.
DC: D.C. moves to keep Ubers and delivery trucks out of bike lanes
Uber, Lyft,and taxi vehicles picking up or dropping off passengers, as well as delivery trucks transporting goods, would be explicitly barred from blocking Washington, D.C., bike lanes under new rules aimed at closing loopholes that could endanger cyclists.
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