Top State Stories 2/28
OK: Permitless gun carry bill signed by Oklahoma’s new governor
Oklahoma residents will be able to openly carry firearms without a background check or training under a bill signed into law by the new Republican governor. People in the country illegally and those convicted of certain crimes would not be able to carry firearms without a license.
NV: Federal lawsuit seeks to ban legal prostitution in Nevada
A Texas woman who says she was forced into prostitution at a legal Nevada brothel has filed a lawsuit seeking to outlaw all bordellos in the state under a century old U.S. law prohibiting the transport of women across state lines for prostitution.
CA: California’s biggest county could severely restrict solar energy projects
San Bernardino is California’s largest county by area and a hotbed for the state’s solar industry. But local officials may pump the brakes on solar, which developers say could disrupt ambitious climate change policies passed by state lawmakers. Local residents say the restrictions would protect their quality of life.
NY: New York lawmakers move to fix state Human Rights Law
New York lawmakers are seeking to end the “severe or pervasive” threshold for sexual misconduct to be considered illegal, and prevent employers from using a defense that may create a loophole when a supervisor harasses an employee but the person does not formally report the misconduct.
UT: Utah bill would ban abortions based on Down syndrome diagnosis
The Utah legislature appears to be one procedural Senate vote away from banning abortions based on a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The bill includes requirements for online educational resources that would be implemented immediately, while the restriction on abortions would be delayed until similar laws in other states are upheld by the courts.
MS: Half of Mississippi’s rural hospitals at risk of closing, report says
Mississippi has more rural hospitals at risk of closing than any other state in this country, meaning the most medically underserved state could soon lose even more doctors. Thirty-one of Mississippi’s 64 rural hospitals are at “high financial risk,” according to a report from independent consulting firm Navigant.
KY: Kentucky lawmakers take ‘a wrecking ball’ to Open Records Act
A Kentucky House panel vastly expanded the scope of a bill to weaken the state’s Open Records Act, adding new sections that would help the legislature shield its own documents from public view and limit the right to file records requests to state residents.
MA: Massachusetts ban on food waste lacks teeth, critics say
Five years ago, Massachusetts launched the nation’s most ambitious effort to curb commercial food waste, banning universities, hospitals and large businesses from sending discarded food to landfills. But critics say that state regulators have failed to enforce the restrictions, leading to a widespread lack of compliance.
GA: Hemp farming bill passes Georgia House
The Georgia House overwhelmingly approved a measure allowing farmers to grow hemp for CBD oils and other products. The 163-3 vote calls for Georgia to join the 41 other states that already permit hemp cultivation.
RI: Rhode Island workers who serve people with developmental disabilities rally for pay raise
Under the banner “Demanding Dignity,” legislators, advocates, labor leaders and family members of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities filled the Rhode Island House library to urge passage of legislation that would raise to the minimum wage of workers who provide services to thousands of those individuals.
MT: Compromise would abolish criminal statute of limitations for sex crimes against kids in Montana
A compromise in the Montana legislature has emerged to eliminate the statute of limitations for criminal charges against people accused of sex crimes against children and to lengthen, but not eliminate, the limit on filing civil claims.
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