VA: Gun rights rally draws thousands to Virginia
A much-anticipated gun-rights rally attracted an estimated 22,000 people to the heart of Virginia’s capital for a passionate yet nonviolent protest of gun control legislation. Officials had raised concerns about the possibility of violent clashes or targeted attacks, but they did not materialize.
FL: Dozens of cities sue Florida over gun control
A growing number of cities in Florida are suing to challenge a state amendment that inflicts steep penalties on local governments that choose to pass gun-regulating ordinances. The amendment threatens fines and removal from office for local officials who pass gun control regulations.
NJ: New Jersey’s self-employed ‘gig’ workers protected under new laws
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed a package of legislation protecting the rights of self-employed New Jersey workers like truckers and freelance writers. The laws address some of the problems associated with businesses misclassifying workers, detailed in a July state report.
PA, NJ: Supreme Court to weigh Pennsylvania, New Jersey birth control challenge
The U.S. Supreme Court will review a Pennsylvania federal judge’s decision to block new Trump administration rules that would have let almost any employer deny birth control coverage by citing religious and moral objections. Attorneys general in Pennsylvania and New Jersey challenged the ruling.
MD: Maryland lawmakers look to tighten gun-control loopholes
The legislature’s leftward shift has some Democratic lawmakers aiming for stricter gun regulation. Bills include a ban on untraceable “ghost guns,” expansion of a 2013 ban on military-style assault rifles and more background checks.
NM: New Mexico legislature to tackle marijuana again
New Mexico Democrats plan to tackle legalization of recreational marijuana again in the session that starts this week. Last year the measure died after opposition from Democrats in state areas already suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism issues.
NE: Nebraska could tax escort services to hit human traffickers
A state lawmaker who has fought for years to restrict human trafficking in Nebraska is now trying to hit traffickers in the wallet with a proposed sales tax on dating and escort services.
NY: Environmentalists target New York state dams for removal
There are an estimated 2,000 dams in the Hudson River Estuary between New York City and Albany, New York. Many are small and obsolete, abandoned by long-shuttered factories and serving no purpose other than to thwart fish migration and harm river ecology.
AZ: Arizona lawmakers want to use casino agreements to force tribes to settle water disputes
Republican leaders at the Arizona Legislature are proposing that tribes with water disputes be forced to settle those claims before they can renegotiate the number of slots and games they offer at casinos. Nine tribes in Arizona have unsettled water rights, including the Navajo Nation.
NV: Nevada voter rolls swell as automatic registration takes effect
Thousands of new voters were added to Nevada’s rolls in January. The increase came under a new law that updates voter records whenever people complete transactions at the Department of Motor Vehicles unless they opt out.
AK: On the edge of America, census begins in tiny Alaska town
The first Americans to be counted in the 2020 census live in Toksook Bay, Alaska, a tiny community of 661 on the edge of the American expanse. Their homes are huddled together in a windswept Bering Sea village.
ND: Volkswagen settlement funds charging stations in North Dakota
Bismarck and nine other North Dakota communities will soon offer “fast” charging stations to give electric vehicle owners a speedy option for powering up their cars. Funding comes partly from a .1 million award to the state through the 2016 Volkswagen settlement.
TX: Texas considers new ways to pick judges
Voters elect Texas judges, often based only on political party and melodious names. An appointed state panel is looking for a better way.
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