CA: California utility board votes unanimously to investigate planned blackouts
The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to order an investigation into the intentional blackouts by Pacific Gas & Electric and other utilities that left millions without power over the course of several days in October.
WI: Lawsuit could purge 234K names from Wisconsin voter rolls
More than 234,000 Wisconsin voters would be unable to cast their ballot unless they register again before the next election under a lawsuit that liberals fear could dampen turnout among Democrats in the 2020 presidential race.
NY: New York county clerks revolt over licenses for immigrants
A handful of New York clerks say they will refuse to grant driver’s licenses, heading for a political clash when the state law takes effect next month. Some also are threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement if applicants show up without documentation.
MN: Minnesota sees surge in distracted driving despite new hands-free law
Motorists across Minnesota can’t seem to put down their smartphones despite a new law requiring the use of hands-free technology. Citations soared by nearly 18% in September compared with August, the first month the law took effect.
NJ: New Jersey governor pushes taxpayer-funded bank. No state has done that in a century.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy took the first steps to make New Jersey the first state in a century to open a state-owned bank. He signed an executive order to form a 14-member board to oversee the taxpayer-funded institution, which was a centerpiece of his campaign in 2017.
OH: Ohio House passes bill it says will protect student religious liberties
The Ohio House approved 61-31 legislation that would protect student rights to religious expression in public schools, including prayer, school assignments, artwork and clothing. Critics said the U.S. Constitution and state law already guarantee religious freedom and school guidelines should be decided by local district officials.
OR: Oregon wildfire council delivers pricey recommendations
The wildfire council appointed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has released a report calling for billion in investments to mitigate growing wildfire issues. The document featured 37 recommendations in four separate areas.
GA: Paper ballots recounted to check election results in Georgia
A recount of ballots printed out by Georgia’s new voting system confirmed the accuracy of electronically counted election results, state election officials said. But critics say the state’s audit proved nothing, and they believe ballots created by computers remain vulnerable to tampering and inaccuracies.
PA: County resists Pennsylvania’s push for new voting machines
A Pennsylvania county is signaling that it won’t go along with Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s insistence that counties buy new voting systems as a security measure in 2020’s election, when the state is expected to be a premier presidential battleground.
DC: Soda industry kicks off fight against proposed District of Columbia ‘soda tax’
A move in the District of Columbia Council to impose a new tax on sodas and sugary drinks is drawing pushback from the powerful and well-funded soda industry.
NC: Court paves the way for removal of North Carolina Confederate statute
The Winnie Davis Chapter of the N.C. United Daughters of the Confederacy failed to prove there would be “irreparable harm” if the monument were removed from Chatham County’s courthouse square pending a decision about whether the county can do that under North Carolina law, a Superior Court judge ruled.
TX: Texas education board likely to approve African American studies course
After years of bitter debate over whether ethnic studies courses are racially divisive, the Texas State Board of Education appears poised to approve its first African American studies course next year. The board’s seeming consensus marks a tremendous shift.
WA: Washington on path to elect first two Muslim women to office
Two very different communities in Washington state are on the verge of making history following this year’s general election. Varisha Khan is leading her race for a seat on the Redmond City Council, while Zahra Roach has clinched a seat on the Pasco City Council, making them first two Muslim women, both Democrats, elected to public office in the state.
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