Top State Stories 4/18

By: - April 18, 2019 12:00 am

CA: California dispute threatens plan to protect Colorado River

A dispute between two major California water agencies is threatening to derail a hard-won agreement designed to protect a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West. The action came the same day President Donald Trump approved federal legislation to implement the plan, which Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming spent years negotiating.

WA: Washington state moves closer to a crackdown on vaccine exemptions

Spurred by a measles outbreak that has sickened 74 kids in Washington this year and the biggest national resurgence of the disease in at least five years, the Washington state Senate voted to remove parents’ ability to exempt their children from a vaccination for personal or philosophical reasons.

FL: Bill banning ‘sanctuary cities’ in Florida narrowly approved by Senate committee

The bill would prohibit ‘sanctuary cities’ in Florida and require state and local law enforcement to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

SC: South Carolina blocks Trump drilling plan

The South Carolina Senate took a major step in the fight against coastal oil drilling, agreeing overwhelmingly to block the petroleum industry from establishing refineries, pipes and other infrastructure to support drilling. The vote signaled the increasing unpopularity of President Donald Trump’s plan to allow seismic drilling and testing along the Atlantic coast.

NC: Grand jury investigates North Carolina ballot fraud

A federal grand jury meeting in North Carolina is weighing whether to recommend criminal charges in the tainted congressional race. The state elections board turned over documents to the grand jury in Raleigh.

GA: Medical marijuana oil sales signed into Georgia law

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill to grow and sell medical marijuana in the state, a milestone for patients who can use the drug but had no way to buy it. The oil will be sold to the state’s growing number of registered medical marijuana users — 9,500 so far.

CT: Connecticut bill mandating diaper changing stations in men’s rooms advances

A bill cleared the Connecticut Senate that would require publicly accessible buildings to have at least two diaper-changing tables, with at least one accessible to men. If approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, it would take effect Jan. 1.

OK: Controversial abortion ‘reversal’ bill sent to Oklahoma governor

A controversial anti-abortion rights bill that would require Oklahoma physicians to inform patients that a medically induced abortion may be reversible is headed to the Republican governor’s desk. The idea is based on a single 2012 study that has been criticized for lack of a control. No other studies indicate medically induced abortions may be reversible.

OR: Former Oregon first lady to pay $50,000 to settle ethics case

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has reached a tentative agreement with former First Lady Cylvia Hayes that requires her to pay $50,000 to settle ethics violations tied to her work as a consultant and an unpaid adviser to then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat. 

AL: Bill modernizing sex education law passes Alabama Senate

The Alabama Senate passed a bill that changed portions of the state’s sex education law. The bill would make the state’s decades-old sex education law more medically accurate and seeks to erase any discriminatory and stigmatizing language from the law.

TN: Tennessee governor’s charter school commission proposal passes House

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s proposal to create an independent review board to approve charter school applications has passed in the House, despite initially facing concerns about local school districts’ control in the process. More than a dozen Republicans voted against the measure. 

MT: Montana Legislature passes bill for greater public access to private lands

The bill allows Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to negotiate agreements with private landowners for the public to access otherwise inaccessible public lands. With a total annual spending authority of $500,000, a maximum of $15,000 could be spent per agreement.

MO: Effort to limit ballot initiatives advances in Missouri House, stalls again in Senate

Although its path forward may be blocked in the Senate, a proposal to begin charging fees to file ballot initiatives advanced in the Missouri House. After an election cycle that saw nearly 400 petitions filed to change state law, supporters say the fee might limit the number of frivolous initiatives.

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Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.