OK: Oklahoma plans to submit Medicaid expansion request
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority plans to submit to the federal government a state plan amendment seeking to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma as soon as this summer. As Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt seeks to move forward with expanding Medicaid on July 1 through his SoonerCare 2.0 plan, he’s still in talks with the legislature on how to fund the expansion.
WA: Washington orders no deductibles, co-pays for coronavirus care on some health plans
Washington’s insurance commissioner issued an emergency order directing health insurance carriers with state-regulated plans, through May 4, to provide health care provider visits and novel coronavirus testing without co-payments or deductible payments to enrollees and who meet criteria for testing.
FL: Florida not following national coronavirus testing guidelines
Florida will not follow new national guidelines that allow doctors to order tests for anybody they suspect of having the new coronavirus, according to health care providers. Instead, Florida’s health leaders advised doctors to order tests only for people who fit narrower criteria.
NV: Nevada governor proposes broad pardon for low-level marijuana offenses
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, is testing the waters on whether members of a state board would issue a blanket pardon for people convicted of marijuana offenses, such as low-level possession, that are now legal. A pardon restores rights that may have been revoked as a result of a conviction.
WV: West Virginia Bible class bill heads to governor
The West Virginia Senate approved a bill that would allow county school systems to offer Bible classes in public high schools, sending the legislation to Republican Gov. Jim Justice. The legislation says the goal is to teach “knowledge of biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding the development of American society and culture.”
NM: New Mexico governor signs union bargaining law
Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed an overhaul of the state’s labor union bargaining laws pertaining to public employees, over the objections of open-government advocates who say some provisions may shield access to employment information for government and school workers.
NJ: New Jersey Senate votes to ban plastic and paper bags
Single-use bags, both paper and plastic, are again close to being banned in New Jersey. The state Senate approved a bill that would make New Jersey the first state to ban all single-use bags and Styrofoam, or polystyrene foam, takeout containers. But none of that happens unless the state Assembly passes its own version of the bill and the governor signs it.
VA: Virginia Senate, House agree on transportation funding, gas tax hike
Virginia would raise the state gasoline tax by 10 cents a gallon over two years as part of a tentative agreement by negotiators for the House of Delegates and Senate on a transportation funding package that includes regional gas taxes to pay for projects outside of major urban areas.
RI: Rhode Island senators withdraw bill to punish news outlets over reporting
Four Senate Democrats have quickly disavowed legislation they introduced that would restrict Rhode Island news outlets’ freedom to report stories, calling it the “Stop Guilt by Accusation Act.” The measure would require the media to report the outcome of court cases.
PA: Pennsylvania Senate officials scrub details from financial records
Top officials with the Pennsylvania Senate scrubbed thousands of detailed explanations about its expenses from official records provided to two news organizations, raising alarm among open records and good-government advocates. The officials did not disclose that they had removed the information.
MS: At least 24th Mississippi inmate dies since late December
One Mississippi inmate died at a Jackson hospital and another died at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, and autopsies will be done on each. At least 24 Mississippi inmates have died since late December, and the state prison system is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.
MO: Fake service animals could be collared under bill approved by Missouri Senate
The Missouri Senate has approved a plan to impose penalties on people who use phony emotional support animals. The measure follows efforts by airlines and communities to rein in the growing number of people traveling, shopping and dining in restaurants with a variety of animals.
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