Top State Stories 8/20
CA: California governor signs police shooting bill
California tightened its rules for when police officers can open fire on suspects, giving the state one of the toughest use-of-force standards in the country. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that directs police to “use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life.”
AZ: New law would make Arizona cities pay for raising the minimum wage
A new law will require Arizona to calculate the cost to the state when cities and counties raise the minimum wage. If the state pays more for services, such as care for people with disabilities, in communities with a higher minimum wage, legislators could force local governments to cover the additional costs.
NJ: New Jersey governor asks state high court to let ‘aid in dying’ law continue
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has asked the state’s highest court to overturn a restraining order that froze the state’s new “aid in dying” law and blocked physicians from writing a prescription to enable patients with six months or less to live to end their lives.
TX: Conflicts of interest deny poor Texans right to good lawyer
For decades, Texans who can’t afford a lawyer have gotten caught in a criminal justice system that’s crippled by inadequate funding and overloaded attorneys. A growing body of caseload data — and a recent lawsuit — point to an even more fundamental hazard: the unchecked power of Texas judges.
OH: Ohio keeps animal protections despite federal shift
Despite weakened federal safeguards, Ohio will protect animal and plant species at risk as before. A Department of Natural Resources official said the state will keep applying its usual rules for classifying species challenged in the state, even if their federal status changes.
MS: Inside one Mississippi prison, inmates set each other on fire and gangs rule
Though violence and gangs have been well-known problems for years in Mississippi, they are worse than they’ve ever been, the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting and ProPublica found. Problems are particularly bad at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, which has become a violent tinderbox.
WI: Life expectancy falls in Wisconsin because of opioids, alcohol and suicide
Life expectancy for a baby born in Wisconsin appears to have fallen over the past five years from 80.2 years to 80 years, according to a report by the nonprofit Wisconsin Policy Forum. The study found that Wisconsin’s drug and alcohol deaths have more than tripled from 593 in 1999 to 1,985 in 2017.
MA: Massachusetts plastic bag ban tied up in legislature
Some supporters of a Massachusetts bag ban fear that a loophole in the current version of the bill would let retailers offer thicker-weight plastic bags to customers. The revised bill also does not require retailers to charge a fee for paper bags.
NH: New Hampshire governor’s veto reignites voting law dispute
New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of legislation that sought to loosen the definition of residency for voting has reignited a partisan war over election law reform.
CO: Federal rule would end food assistance for 33k in Colorado
Colorado currently uses “broad-based categorical eligibility,” which means that people earning less than twice the poverty line are eligible for food assistance and free school lunches. A newly proposed federal rule would limit that, so the cut-off for free lunches and food stamps would be 130% of the poverty line.
ME: Maine governor calls lawmakers to vote on infrastructure
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is calling Maine lawmakers back to work next week so they can vote on a state borrowing package that will be critical to ongoing highway and bridge repair and renovations, expansion of broadband internet connections and other critical public services.
MN: Court defeat could cost Minnesota treasury M
Minnesota could be on the hook for million in the short term plus a future dip in tax payments after a loss in court over the way it had taxed some trust accounts for decades.
MD: Maryland Democrats vow to move ahead with school funding
Democrats vowed to move forward with finding funding to make Maryland schools “world class,” rejecting Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s remarks to county officials that raised the specter of massive tax increases to pay for the plan’s goals.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.