VA: Virginia lawmakers pass legislation to ban LGBTQ discrimination
State Sen. Adam Ebbin, a Democrat who became Virginia’s first openly gay legislator in 2003, saw his bill, dubbed the Virginia Values Act, pass in a bipartisan 30-9 vote. It would prohibit discrimination in public and private employment and in housing based on someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The House passed a similar bill earlier.
OK: Oklahoma House passes bill to revoke licenses of doctors performing abortions
In its first meaningful action of the 2020 legislative session, the Oklahoma House passed along party lines legislation that would effectively ban almost all abortions in the state by revoking the licenses of doctors performing the procedure, except in situations threatening the life of a woman.
TN: 177K Tennessee children cut from state insurance for incomplete paperwork
Two-thirds of Tennessee children who lost their state insurance coverage over a 3½-year span ending last May did so for incomplete or unreturned paperwork — not because the government determined they were ineligible — according to a new audit of TennCare.
IA: DNC chairman calls on Iowa Democratic Party to recanvass caucus results
The top official for the Democratic Party said he wants the Iowa Democratic Party to audit its caucus results, after state party officials botched the rollout of data. Local candidate supporters, county officials and media outlets have said some of the released results are inaccurate.
WV: West Virginia governor signs physical disabilities voting bill
West Virginians with physical disabilities should soon be able to vote through electronic absentee ballots under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice.
ME: Maine Senate overrides governor’s rejection of legalized sports betting
The Maine Senate handed Democratic Gov. Janet Mills her first veto override when it voted to oppose her rejection of legalized sports betting. The measure, passed by the legislature in 2019, would open the door to both in-person books and online sports betting in Maine, but the House also will have to override Mills with a two-thirds vote for the bill to become law.
AL: Judge says Alabama judicial elections don’t discriminate
A federal judge upheld Alabama’s method of electing appellate judges by statewide vote, rejecting claims that it is racially discriminatory and ensures an all-white court. Only two African American judges have ever been elected to the Alabama Supreme Court and none have been elected to the civil and criminal appellate courts.
FL: Florida legislature nears approval of requiring parental consent for abortion
After the Florida Senate approved it, a bill that would reinstate a parental consent law declared unconstitutional 30 years ago — requiring minors seeking abortions to first get consent from a parent or guardian — is just a House vote and pen stroke away from becoming law. The House is expected to pass it next week and the governor to sign it.
OR: Thousands protest Oregon cap-and-trade bill with rally in Salem
Hundreds of truckers from across Oregon formed a multi-city convoy and joined hundreds more outside the Capitol to rally against a carbon emissions cap-and-trade bill. At least 2,000 people, many of them rural residents led by the group Timber Unity, filled the Capitol steps and mall.
NV: Trump reverses stance on Nevada nuclear waste site
President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he has listened to Nevadans’ concerns on Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste facility and is committed to finding alternatives. “The president changed his mind,” said a senior administration official familiar with the matter.
MS: Players in Mississippi welfare embezzlement case got millions but helped few
Officials at a Mississippi nonprofit that ran a statewide program for low-income families allegedly stole millions from a federal program intended to provide basic assistance and work supports to the nation’s poorest residents. It is the largest public embezzlement scheme in state history, according to the Office of the State Auditor.
TX: Majority of Texans want state to step up role in affordable housing
Two-thirds of Texans think state government should be more involved with providing affordable housing, according to a new Texas Lyceum Poll, contrary to the general political will of conservative state lawmakers. That includes about half of Republican respondents.
NM: New Mexico chile farmers struggle with foreign competition
New Mexico stores are buying chile, the signature peppers that originate in New Mexico, from Mexico. Even farmers may sell imported peppers to concentrate on more profitable crops. State chile growers are fighting back with a certification program.
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