Top State Stories 10/9
AR: Arkansas sees ‘epidemic’ of teen vaping
Words like “epidemic” and “crisis” are now being used by Arkansas leaders when it comes to vaping among young people. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge sent warning letters to vaping sellers reminding them of laws prohibiting shipping products into the state, with possible fines of up to ,000.
CA: Californians get extra tenant protection
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed one of the strongest tenant protection bills in the country, putting into place a statewide rent increase cap of 5% plus inflation and restricting when landlords can evict renters.
TX: Texas Republicans grapple with diversity
Come next fall, there might not be a single person of color among Texas Republicans in the U.S. House. The party stands divided over whether to actively recruit candidates of color.
FL: Judge says Florida legislation made felons afraid to vote
A federal judge raised serious constitutional questions about the Florida legislature’s crackdown on Amendment 4, saying lawmakers created a “mess” that has left felons afraid to register to vote. The judge has yet to rule on a request to temporarily stop a law requiring felons to pay restitution before registering.
NH: New Hampshire AG to hire more prosecutors after spike in homicides
New Hampshire is on pace to possibly have more homicides this year than in any year on record, and the state is hiring more prosecutors to help with the caseload. Only once since 1969 has New Hampshire experienced more homicides than it has so far this year.
VA: Virginia Confederate monument case marches on
The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, plans to appeal a court ruling preventing the city from removing two downtown Confederate monuments. The state court is scheduled to determine attorney’s fees in the successful lawsuit blocking the removal, which was filed by area residents.
MA: Massachusetts contains health care costs, but consumers keep paying more
Massachusetts met its self-imposed goal of controlling health spending last year, according to a new state report — but the cost burden on consumers continued to rise at a worrying pace.
MI: Michigan may make state parks fee the default option for vehicle registration
Lawmakers are considering whether to make an optional fee for state parks access the default option when Michigan drivers complete their vehicle registration. Supporters say the move would provide a needed boost of money for the state’s natural attractions.
SD: South Dakota’s hemp bill takes shape
Lawmakers have begun writing a bill legalizing industrial hemp in South Dakota in 2020. The legislative Hemp Study Committee is building off the failed 2019 bill that would have legalized industrial hemp.
GA: Supreme Court appears divided on Georgia man’s gay rights case
U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared divided on a Georgia man’s argument that a decades-old civil rights law protects millions of gay, lesbian and transgender Americans. Gerald Bostock claims he was fired from his job because he is gay.
MS: Mississippi, first in school-age vaccines, lags in immunization rates for teens, adults
The one bright spot on Mississippi’s otherwise bleak health care landscape has been its reputation as a leader in childhood immunizations. Last year, 99.6% of kindergartners were fully immunized, by far the highest rate in the country.
WI: Wisconsin Assembly GOP allow Democrat in wheelchair to call into meetings
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos relented and agreed to let a paralyzed Democratic lawmaker who uses a wheelchair to phone into committee meetings after an advocacy group for people with disabilities threatened a lawsuit.
NJ: New Jersey just made it easier to get family leave, temporary disability
New Jersey residents expecting babies just got a boost under a pair of new laws. The laws are designed to speed up and ease the process of collecting cash from the state’s temporary disability and family leave insurance programs.
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