VT: Vermont governor vetoes paid family leave bill
Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation that would establish a statewide paid family leave program, dealing a major setback to Democrats who have made the policy a party priority in recent years.
CA: California faces .2B budget hit after feds reject Medi-Cal proposal
The federal government has notified the administration of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom that it is rejecting California’s Medicaid financing proposal, a decision that could cost the state $1.2 billion. Newsom’s administration plans to continue talks over changes that might win federal approval.
DC: District of Columbia opioid deaths surging again, reversing decline
Fatal opioid overdoses are on the rise again in the District of Columbia, an alarming development for public health officials who had celebrated what previously appeared to be a downward trend in the city’s drug deaths.
FL: Assault weapons ban misses Florida ballot deadline
Florida voters won’t get a chance to vote this fall on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban assault weapons after the initiative failed to get enough signatures. Organizers said they’re now setting their sights on the 2022 election.
NY: New York lawmakers consider ban on retail pet sales
The bill would apply to the 80 or so licensed pet store businesses in New York state, not to breeders who sell the animals directly. If passed, New York would follow states like California, Maryland and Maine, as well as nearly 350 local municipalities countrywide that have some version of a retail ban.
PA: Pennsylvania rejects Trump’s new Medicaid offer
Pennsylvania will not apply for a Medicaid block grant proposed by the Trump administration that would include a limit on how much the federal government contributes, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said.
LA: Louisiana executions stall for a decade amid legal quandary
Louisiana cleans its execution chamber at the state penitentiary daily, but it’s been more than a decade since a condemned prisoner has laid on the chamber’s black-padded gurney to die. Sixty-eight people sit on Louisiana’s death row, with no execution dates set. The state has joined a trend of falling execution numbers across the country.
DE: Delaware lawmakers look to crack down on revenge porn
The Delaware Senate passed a bill to make a uniform set of rules and civil remedies for victims of revenge porn. The bill defines how much privacy people can expect when it comes to “intimate photos and videos,” who qualifies as a victim and under what circumstances they can sue. It goes next to the House.
OR: Oregon grew record weed crop in 2019, but prices still spiked
Oregon weed farmers produced another bumper crop in 2019, their biggest ever. That would seem to put downward price pressure on the market, but strong demand from processors — who use pot to make edibles and oils — led to a rally in the second half of 2019, boosting prices.
WA: Washington looks to end ICE courthouse arrests
In the latest push to stop the arrests of undocumented immigrants at courthouses, the Washington state legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit federal immigration agents without a warrant from making arrests within one mile of a courthouse. If signed, the legislation also would require judicial warrants to be reviewed by a court before being used.
KY: Kentucky bill would require police chase policies — in secret
Over the course of a single week last fall, seven Kentuckians lost their lives in a series of violent car crashes — each stemming from a high-speed police chase. A bipartisan new bill filed in the Kentucky legislature is putting a spotlight on the tragedy. But pursuit policies would be kept secret from the public.
TX: GOP super PAC builds massive Texas voter registration organization
The group Engage Texas disclosed that it raised $2.3 million in the second half of 2019, bringing its total haul to $11.8 million since its formation in June. It paid staff salaries to nearly 300 people over the past six months — dramatically up from the 18 staffers with which it started.
MO: Missouri killed a record number of feral hogs, but it might not be enough
Thanks to an aggressive trapping program, Missouri and federal officials killed more than 10,000 feral pigs in 2019, a 12% jump compared with the year before. Still, it’s unclear if there are fewer of the swine, with progress negated by people who deliberately move and release the animals for commercial hunts or their own recreation.
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