Top State Stories 9/10
US: 50 states and territories announce antitrust investigation of Google
Attorneys general for 50 U.S. states and territories officially announced an antitrust investigation of Google, embarking on a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that Democrats and Republicans said may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web. Every state except Alabama and California so far has signed on to the bipartisan effort.
NY: New York governor proposes ban on flavored e-cigarettes
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, proposed legislation to ban flavored e-cigarettes statewide to protect young people from the unknown consequences of vaping. The governor’s announcement comes after a nationwide surge in mysterious, serious lung illnesses possibly related to vaping, which have been linked to five deaths.
WA: At Washington’s private psychiatric hospitals, a hidden safety record, a human cost
At Washington state’s private psychiatric hospitals, the full scope of safety incidents is effectively invisible to state regulators and the public. Even senior county officials overseeing mental health have been in the dark about problems at the hospitals to which they send patients.
CA: California vaccine bills signed by governor; protesters arrested at Capitol
California will enact sweeping new restrictions on medical exemptions for vaccines under bills signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, despite near-constant protests in the state Capitol that resulted in arrests after opponents blocked entrances to the Statehouse and temporarily shut down legislative sessions.
NJ: All New Jersey public schools offer arts education; first state to do so
All public schools in New Jersey are now offering students access to arts education, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced. He said the “historic milestone” makes New Jersey the first state in the nation offering such access at every school.
NH: New Hampshire governor to sign bill banning oil, gas drilling along shore
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, has opposed a Trump administration proposal to expand offshore drilling in the area.
OK: Oklahoma parole board increases recommendations for release
Criminal justice reform legislation in Oklahoma has generated a 1,300% leap in favorable recommendations for commuted prison sentences compared to last year, with paroles up 41%. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended commutation for 140 inmates from March through August this year and recommended parole 436 times.
LA: New audit objects to M in Louisiana Medicaid spending
Louisiana’s legislative auditor is questioning $47 million in Medicaid payments for mental health services, saying they didn’t follow the health department’s fee schedule. Auditors identified hundreds of thousands of claims that exceeded the fee schedule or didn’t meet its coding requirements.
HI: New Hawaii law requires private schools to be licensed or accredited
All private schools in Hawaii will need to be licensed or accredited by July 1, 2020, and students attending schools that do not comply will be considered truant under a bill signed by Democratic Gov. David Ige.
MA: Massachusetts high court orders clerks in ‘secret court’ cases to record all hearings
Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court ordered district court clerks to audio record all closed-door criminal hearings in the wake of a Boston Globe series about uneven justice in these proceedings. But the high court stopped short of mandating that all records of these so-called “show cause” hearings be made public when probable cause is found.
WI: Wisconsin governor takes down website tracking public records requests
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has removed a website created by his predecessor to show Wisconsin residents whether state officials are promptly responding to requests for public information. The website was created by former Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 in the wake of a failed attempt by Walker and Republican leaders to keep private almost all records related to lawmaking.
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