By: - February 19, 2020 12:00 am

NJ: New Jersey governor proposes requiring sexual harassment policies for firms

All employers in New Jersey would have to put in place policies and training to prevent harassment and discrimination under a proposal by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. Murphy also wants to require public reports that could help policymakers better understand the prevalence of harassment from boardrooms to break rooms.

CA: New penalty, extended deadline drive increase in California health insurance sign-ups

California’s health insurance marketplace saw a 41% jump in new sign-ups from last year, from nearly 300,000 to more than 418,000. In total, over 1.5 million people signed up for or renewed insurance plans through the marketplace, known as Covered California.

MS: Mississippi cut corrections by $215 million. Horrid conditions, violent deaths have followed.

State leaders and lawmakers have cut the Mississippi Department of Corrections budget by $215 million over the past six years. Over the past nine months, the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman has seen at least 16 violent deaths, joining the ranks of some of the world’s deadliest prisons per capita. 

GA: Georgia bill advances for police to make arrests for hemp or marijuana

Police across Georgia would be empowered to arrest people for possession of small amounts of green leafy substances, even if they can’t tell whether it’s illegal marijuana or legal hemp, under a bill that passed a state House committee. The bill would make it a crime to transport hemp plants without paperwork showing it was produced under a farming or processing license.

AL: Alabama lawmakers move to block smoking in cars with kids

The Alabama House passed a bill to prohibit smoking or vaping in vehicles carrying children 14 and younger. The bill would impose a fine up to $100 for violations.

OK: Private school voucher transparency bill heads to Oklahoma governor

The Oklahoma House passed the final version of a bill that would identify the number and amount of scholarships awarded to each participating private school. The bill would require the number of scholarships denied and suspended to become publicly available, as well.

MN: Bipartisan agreement at Minnesota Capitol: Enough with the robocalls

Minnesota legislators in both parties hope to crack down on spam and spoof calls, but the telecommunications industry warns it’s easier said than done.

WI: Wisconsin Assembly passes bipartisan package of bills aimed at improving water quality

Assembly lawmakers passed a $10 million package of legislation aimed at improving water quality across Wisconsin. Lawmakers approved 13 bills that would reduce bacteria, nitrates, poisonous lead and long-lasting chemicals in groundwater.

MD: Maryland bill would ban plastic bags from stores 

Plastic carryout bags would essentially be a thing of the past in Maryland if a bill in the General Assembly gathers enough lawmaker votes. The bill would ban plastic carryout bags at the “point of sale” next year and require stores to charge customers a 10-cent fee for a “durable” carryout bag, such as paper bags.

VT: Vermont senators consider requiring utilities to buy more local renewables

Vermont senators are considering a bill that would require utilities to buy more of their electricity from newer, local renewables — a proposal supported by environmental advocates and solar developers.

IN:  Indiana panel backs ban on drivers using handheld phones

A proposal to ban drivers from using handheld cellphones on Indiana roads is advancing in the state legislature. A Senate committee voted 8-1 to endorse the bill that permits cellphone use only with hands-free or voice-operated technology, except in emergencies.

RI: Rhode Island attorney general wants judge to dismiss lawsuit over lifetime contracts

Rhode Island’s attorney general is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit by 16 cities and towns to block what, in their words, is the “financially irresponsible lifetime contracts law″ that Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo signed at the behest of the state’s public employee unions last spring.

CT: Advocates say proposal to ban flavored vaping products in Connecticut doesn’t go far enough

In a bid to curb vaping among young adults, Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has moved to ban flavored e-cigarettes — including menthol — and cap the level of nicotine that vaping products may contain. But anti-tobacco advocates want a broader prohibition on flavored tobacco goods, including menthol cigarettes and fruit-flavored cigars.

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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.