Top State Stories 6/13
IL: Illinois governor signs law making abortion a ‘fundamental right’
Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law sweeping new abortion rights legislation, establishing the procedure as a “fundamental right” for women in the state. Lawmakers approved the legislation amid an increased sense of urgency among advocates looking to protect abortion access as a series of states recently passed laws essentially banning the practice.
WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstates most GOP lame-duck laws
The Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated most of the lame-duck laws Republican lawmakers approved in December to trim the powers of the state’s top Democrats. With a pair of 4-3 orders, the high court canceled a trial that was to commence this week and put back in place almost all the lame-duck laws while it considers an appeal.
ME: Maine governor signs medication-assisted suicide bill
Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to obtain prescriptions for lethal doses of drugs, making Maine the latest state to legalize medication-assisted suicide.
TX: Texas vaccine exemption rates reach all-time high
Health officials are watching pockets of Texas closely because of the number of parents requesting exemptions under Texas’ broad vaccine exemption law. Texas is one of 16 states that allow parents to bypass vaccine requirements for enrolling their kids in school by claiming a conscientious exemption, along with citing medical or religious concerns.
NE: Nebraska may allow mountain lion hunting season
A proposed season would provide a harvest opportunity for up to eight mountain lions in two sub-units within the Pine Ridge of northwestern Nebraska. It could allow the mountain lion population to remain resilient and healthy, while halting growth or moderately reducing the population size.
NJ: New Jersey lawmakers call for action against school bus company
Lawmakers and parents are calling for action in light of an NJ Advance Media investigation into a private school bus company with a dangerous safety record that is transporting thousands of kids in New Jersey every day. The bus company has the highest crash total of any private company in the state.
OH: Ohio holds off on adding anxiety, autism to medical marijuana list
The State Medical Board of Ohio has tabled discussion on a recommendation to add anxiety and autism as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The board’s medical marijuana committee had recommended the conditions for approval. The board also rejected petitions to add depression, insomnia and opioid use disorder.
NY: Facing ruin, New York taxi drivers to get M break
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who is running for president, announced the city is eliminating as much as million in fees to taxi medallion owners, and drivers will be able to obtain financial counseling from a new “driver assistance center.”
MA: Massachusetts lawmakers advance ‘millionaire tax’ amendment
The Massachusetts legislature advanced a constitutional amendment calling for an additional tax on the state’s highest earners, while skirting any discussion of replacing Massachusetts’ current flat tax system with a graduated income tax. Backers say the 4% surtax on individual annual income that exceeds million would generate up to billion in revenue.
DC: M D.C. sports gambling contract includes politically connected subcontractors
Washington, D.C., officials proposed a million sole-source contract to manage online sports gambling and the lottery, a deal that would benefit several politically connected individuals as well as executives of a company that the city ousted from running a homeless shelter.
MD: Maryland governor names 11 to UMD medical board plagued by contracting scandal
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan named his first batch of new appointees to the troubled board of directors at the University of Maryland Medical System, the first step toward reorganizing the board.
OK: In Oklahoma, pregnancy for black women can be a matter of life and death
Black mothers in Oklahoma were 2.9 times more likely to die during or shortly after pregnancy than white mothers from 2009 to 2017, state health department data analyzed by the Frontier shows.
AR: Arkansas appeals court race biased, suit contends
Nearly three decades after a legal settlement was reached to increase the number of black judges in Arkansas, a group of civil rights advocates and attorneys filed a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination in Arkansas’ system of electing appellate court judges.
FL: Florida governor corrects Pulse Nightclub proclamation that didn’t mention LGBTQ community
The initial proclamation from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that “the entire state of Florida has come together to stand boldly with Orlando and the Central Florida community against terrorism” but made no specific reference to the Hispanic or LGBTQ communities, which comprised the vast majority of victims.
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