Top State Stories 2/24
US: Don’t send them here: Local officials resist coronavirus plans
The scramble to find places to quarantine American coronavirus patients is beginning to run into resistance from local officials who do not want the patients housed in their backyards.
ID: Transgender group to sue over Idaho birth certificate bill
The National Association of Transgendered People is planning to sue after an Idaho committee recommended a bill forbidding the changing of genders on a birth certificate. Currently, the bill goes against a 2018 federal court order that struck down a similar one.
UT: Utah bill on fetal remains highlights abortion battle lines
Abortion opponents are pushing Utah legislation that would mandate that health providers cremate or bury fetal tissue after a pregnancy termination or miscarriage, saying the remains deserve more “dignity and respect” than medical waste.
MN: Despite M, many Minnesota school districts in the red
The biggest single spending increase in last year’s bipartisan two-year budget deal was a million boost for schools — so why are so many Minnesota school districts facing budget deficits?
FL: Florida cracks down on turtle smugglers
Florida wildlife officials are increasingly concerned the state’s turtles are being scooped up by smugglers feeding an international demand for the freshwater and terrestrial reptiles. Undercover operations have recovered thousands of turtles.
MA: Massachusetts may vacate 27,000 drunken driving convictions
More than 27,000 people found guilty of drunken driving in Massachusetts between June 2011 and last April may be able to have those convictions vacated because of faulty breath test machines and efforts by former state officials to cover up the extent of the problem.
AK: Alaska lawmakers look at further limits to brewery taprooms
Under a proposed deal, Alaska would will further restrict the number of brewery taprooms. In return, existing taprooms would be allowed to stay open until 10 p.m. — two hours later than currently permitted — and could host four music concerts a year, something currently banned.
SD: South Dakota governor opposes bill to drop vaccination requirements for students
Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem opposes a bill eliminating the vaccination requirement for students. “Vaccinations have literally saved millions of lives over the years,” she said.
OR: In Oregon, a holdout juror can’t block a conviction. That may not last
Oregon is the last state in the nation where a jury can convict a defendant without a unanimous vote. The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether that is constitutional.
HI: Local-born Hawaiians leaving in droves
Hawaii’s disappearing young people are driving much of the public policy debate these days. In a broad effort to stop the population drain out of the state, the legislature is pushing a package of bills this session to make Hawaii more affordable.
NY: New York governor wants to map genomes for Alzheimer’s research
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to commit million to help jump-start the genetic mapping of 1 million people who have or are at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Empire State Development, which helps startups, and three state medical schools would map the genomes over five years.
GA: Porch pirates could get five years in prison under new Georgia bill
A Georgia bill would make mail theft and porch piracy distinct crimes under law. Currently, taking someone’s packages or letters would be charged under the general theft statute. If the bill passes, stealing a package from someone’s doorstep would be a felony.
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