By: - January 17, 2020 12:00 am

FL: Florida court sides with governor on convict fees

The Florida Supreme Court ruled it is fair that convicted felons in Florida must pay off all fines and fees before having their right to vote restored, siding with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican legislature. 

NM: New Mexico gets its first arrest based on genealogy

There’s been an arrest in a four-year-old unsolved rape thanks to forensic genealogy — the first arrest of its kind in New Mexico. Investigators used new techniques to trace DNA to a genealogy website used by the defendant’s distant family members.

PA: Youth groups are skirting Pennsylvania background check law

Pennsylvania requires anyone working with children — from swim club volunteers to youth soccer coaches to Boy Scout leaders — to undergo background checks. But there’s little enforcement and few ways to know who isn’t complying with the law.

MN: New Minnesota primary system raises voter privacy concerns

Minnesota’s new presidential primary system, run and paid for by the state, is expected to be logistically smoother. But for many voters, there’s a big trade-off. The new system also records voters’ party preference and provides that data to the chairs of each major political party.

CO: Colorado bill would ban discrimination against natural hair

Colorado lawmakers have introduced a bill to protect people from discrimination based on hair traits historically associated with race. It would apply to public education, employment, housing, public accommodations and advertising. The bill is similar to those passed in other states preventing discrimination against natural hair.

WA: Washington Supreme Court limits governor’s greenhouse gas rule

The Washington State Supreme Court has invalidated key portions of a rule imposed by the administration of Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, that caps greenhouse-gas emissions by fuel distributors, natural-gas companies and other industries. The court ruled that the state’s efforts to enforce the state Clean Air Act went beyond what had been authorized by the law.

WV: West Virginia House passes “born alive” abortion bill

The West Virginia House approved a bill that would penalize physicians who don’t provide medical care to a baby born after an abortion attempt. Lawmakers passed the bill 93-5 despite questions about what use it would serve, since existing laws protect newborns and the state bans abortions after 20 weeks.

MD: Maryland governor wants to cut income taxes for retirees

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he plans to introduce legislation that would eliminate state income taxes on retirees who make less than $50,000 a year, as well as a reduction of 50% to 100% for retirees who make less than $100,000 a year.

WI: Assembly signs off on slate of bills aiming to speed up adoption process in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a series of bills seeking to move up the timeline for adoptions in the state. Backers of the bills said they would make Wisconsin “an adoption friendly state,” while critics say the bills focus too much on ways to terminate parental rights, which would disproportionately affect communities of color and low-income individuals.

NY: New York adoptees get access to birth certificates

New York has become the 10th state to allow adopted adults unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. Previously, adoptees had to get a court order to access their birth records, a rule designed to protect the privacy of parents who relinquished their children.

NJ: New Jersey agency favored companies over state interests in tax breaks, investigators conclude

New Jersey did not benefit as much as it could have when awarding millions of dollars in tax breaks and tended to favor the interests of the companies applying for reductions on their tax bills instead of taxpayers, according to a task force hired by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to investigate the state’s two expired corporate tax incentive programs.

MO: Missouri push for Medicaid expansion could conflict with GOP work requirement efforts

Republican lawmakers once again are pushing to make Missouri’s Medicaid recipients find jobs if they want to keep their health coverage. But it’s not clear how this latest effort would be squared with a proposal to extend benefits to additional low-income people.

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.

Stateline staff
Stateline staff

Stateline’s team of veteran journalists combines original reporting with a roundup of the latest news from sources around the country.