Top State Stories 4/19
CA: US appeals court upholds most of California’s ‘sanctuary’ laws
A federal appeals court decided unanimously that most of California’s so-called sanctuary laws can continue to be enforced, rejecting the bulk of a lawsuit brought by the Trump administration. The decision, authored by a Republican appointee on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, was a sweeping victory for California.
NC: Governor vetoes North Carolina ‘born alive’ bill
North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a measure backed by social conservatives that addresses a doctor’s responsibilities if a later-term abortion results in an infant born alive. Cooper’s veto message said it was designed to chip away at the constitutionally protected right to an abortion.
CO: Audit slams Colorado city’s homelessness strategy
Denver’s city auditor found that the local government’s fight against homelessness has had a “lack of a cohesive overall strategy,” and that the staff of a coordinating agency for nonprofits has been stretched thin. The Colorado city administration agreed to a series of changes.
OR: Oregon appeals court rules juvenile sentencing law unconstitutional
The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled the state is violating the U.S. Constitution when it sentences juveniles convicted of aggravated murder. The court found issue with a sentence of life in prison without considering that youth offenders are developmentally different than adults convicted of the same crime.
IA: Iowa Republican lawmakers want to restrict Democratic AG’s powers
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is fighting a last-minute effort by some Republican lawmakers to restrict his powers. Their proposal would require his office to get permission to join out-of-state lawsuits. If it became law, the attorney general could only prosecute non-Iowa suits if requested by the governor, the General Assembly or the Executive Council, which also includes the governor.
OK: Oklahoma legislature approves ban on taxing plastic bags
The Oklahoma legislature has approved a bill to prevent cities and towns from imposing a fee on single-use plastic and paper bags. The bill will now proceed to the governor’s office.
AZ: Arizona lawmakers approve tough driver cell phone ban
The Arizona House of Representatives approved a bill that would ban any use of handheld cellphones while driving in the state. The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who has indicated his support. Victims of distracted driving crashes have been pushing for a law for years.
VT: Vermont governor won’t sign marijuana bill without saliva testing provision
Republican Gov. Phil Scott said for the first time that he would only support a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana sales if Vermont lawmakers also legalized roadside saliva testing.
NY: New York’s congestion pricing: Who pays and who doesn’t
New York will make history in 2021 when it becomes the first American city to charge drivers entering its busiest neighborhoods. Local proponents of congestion pricing say its goals are to discourage vehicles from driving below 60th Street in Manhattan and to raise funds for the city’s beleaguered subways.
CT: Connecticut governor rejects capital gains tax hike
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, is rejecting proposals for increasing taxes on the wealthy. Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, also a Democrat, recently mentioned possibly instituting a separate, higher rate for capital gains — as is currently done in Massachusetts. But Lamont said that was a non-starter with him.
TN: Tennessee Senate approves bill to double campaign contribution limits
In primary and general election, Tennessee senators could receive a maximum of ,200 from a single person, ,600 from an individual political action committee and an aggregate total of ,800 from all PACs.
MD: Maryland governor calls special General Assembly session for May 1
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is calling state lawmakers back to Annapolis on May 1, so the House of Delegates can elect a new speaker. A special session is needed to fill a leadership void left by the death of Speaker Michael E. Busch.
MO: Statewide vote on St. Louis city-county merger gets thumbs down from Missouri Senate
The Missouri Senate voted to disapprove of an effort to place a St. Louis city-county merger question on the November 2020 ballot. The nonbinding resolution, approved on a 26-5 vote, denounces a statewide vote on the merger, but it takes no position on consolidation itself.
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