Top State Stories 3/6
NM: New Mexico lawmakers approve sweeping education changes
Provisions of bills that passed the New Mexico House and Senate would raise teacher salaries by as much as 12 percent and increase spending on students from low-income and minority families through adjustments to a complex school funding formula.
MN: Breaking an environmental impasse, Minnesota governor signs bonding bill
Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed a million bonding bill that will fund a slew of infrastructure projects and likely resolve a lawsuit brought by environmental groups over what they said was a raid on a state conservation trust fund.
MD: Maryland Senate approves statewide ban on foam food containers, cups to protect environment
Maryland’s senators approved a bill that would ban polystyrene foam food containers and cups starting next year. If the bill eventually becomes law, Maryland would be the first state to enact a ban on the products.
OR: Bill would effectively abolish the death penalty in Oregon
A new House bill would allow the death penalty only in cases involving terrorism-related killings, effectively abolishing capital punishment in Oregon. Currently, crimes eligible for the death penalty include aggravated murder, such as killing a child under 12 or a police officer on duty.
GA: Medical marijuana dispensaries bill passes Georgia House
The Georgia House approved a measure allowing medical marijuana oil to be sold to registered patients, giving them a legal way to obtain a drug that they’re already allowed to use.
AR: Arkansas bill allowing no-prescription birth control OK’d
The Arkansas House has approved legislation allowing pharmacists to dispense birth control pills without a prescription, the day after the bill narrowly failed in the same chamber.
KY: Fired Kentucky prison commissioner files whistleblower lawsuit
The recently fired head of Kentucky’s prison system is alleging in a whistleblower lawsuit that he was axed for refusing to fire two employees who were the subject of “deficient” internal investigations.
FL: Florida Senate considers education homestead exemption for seniors
A Florida Senate committee took steps to create a new education property tax exemption for some of the state’s senior citizens. The measure would freeze the taxable values of seniors who are 65 or older, and who have lived in their homes for 25 years or longer.
CO: Colorado lawmakers push for allowing publicly traded marijuana companies
A bill that opens the door for out-of-state investors and private equity firms to wade into Colorado’s heavily regulated marijuana industry passed out of a House Committee. Sponsors have the support of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.
NV: Nevada bill would end exceptions for child marriages
A Nevada bill would ban marriages for children under the age of 18, with no exceptions. Eleven states have similar legislation pending. Currently, Nevada allows minors to be married at 16 and younger with judicial approval.
AZ: Arizona Attorney General says public officials broke the law by advocating against a clean energy ballot measure
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office says 28 public officials broke the law by advocating against a clean-energy ballot measure during last year’s election and is offering them a chance to settle for each.
UT: Utah House votes to support bill that would add more counselors and therapists to schools
A million proposal that would help Utah schools hire more therapists passed in the House despite ongoing concerns about the cost.
IA: Iowa considers new bill to ban deceptive trespass on agricultural facilities
With Iowa’s controversial “ag gag” law on appeal in the courts, lawmakers are considering a narrower bill that would make it a crime to trespass on agricultural facilities. Supporters say it is necessary to protect farmers from people who intend to hurt their industry while opponents say it harms free speech.
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