By: - April 21, 2021 12:00 am

MN: Minnesota passed new deadly force standards for police. Some want to change them again.

In the months after police killed George Floyd, Minnesota lawmakers negotiated a wide range of policing overhauls. After Daunte Wright was killed by a former Brooklyn Center officer last week, Minnesota lawmakers have once again debated changing the state’s current policing standards, even as they have highlighted new accountability measures they passed in 2020.

DC: Biden administration says it ‘strongly supports’ District of Columbia statehood

President Joe Biden’s administration issued a policy position in support of District of Columbia statehood, forcefully backing legislation to make it the 51st state ahead of a House vote scheduled for this week. 

AZ: Arizona governor dispatches National Guard to border; declares state of emergency for 6 counties

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, will dispatch National Guard troops to the southern border in response to a recent surge in migrant arrivals there. Ducey also declared a state of emergency in four border counties and two others.

NJ: 7 new laws boost protection for sexual assault victims in New Jersey

The laws New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed include measures to set up a three-year pilot program in the office of the attorney general that aims to repair the harm caused by sexual assault. Also, police departments must name sexual assault liaison officers and provide victims of sexual assault with an initial incident report and the chance to review it and offer corrections.

WA: Early start to Washington’s wildfire season has officials worried

The Washington Department of Natural Resources responded to 91 fires last week and is gearing up for what could be a bad season by issuing a temporary burn ban on state lands in some parts of Western Washington.

ME: Maine secretary of state wants voting law changes

Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, said she supports a host of election law overhauls in the state that would make it easier to vote. She said she will testify in favor of the changes before the Maine legislature.

DE: Delaware House committee considers trio of election bills

One Delaware bill would allow politicians to use their campaign funds to pay for child care during the election season. One would implement automatic voter registration at the Department of Motor Vehicles, a bill that’s already passed the Senate. The third bill would move the primary date from September to the same day as the presidential primary in July. 

MI: Michigan weighs electoral college changes

Michigan lawmakers heard testimony in support of awarding electoral college votes by congressional district, a plan Republicans say would force candidates to consider more conservative rural areas. Democrats said the plan would disenfranchise urban voters.

ND: North Dakota offers COVID vaccines to Manitoba truckers

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, announced a new vaccination rollout project in partnership with Manitoba to bring vaccinations to an estimated 4,000 Manitoba-based truck drivers crossing the border beginning April 21. This is the first program between Canada and an American state.

IL: Vaccine hesitancy in Illinois fuels a massive supply imbalance

Four months into Illinois’ mass vaccination program, a Tribune analysis of state and local data found deep imbalances in vaccine supply and demand. The state for weeks kept sending doses to places where it was a struggle to sign up enough people to get vaccinated, while other areas—such as greater Chicago—scrambled to meet demand. 

VT: Large numbers of incarcerated people in Vermont refuse COVID vaccines

Prisons have been a hotspot in Vermont’s COVID-19 crisis, yet a surprising number of incarcerated people and staff members have refused vaccinations. Figures released this week say 737 incarcerated individuals have received at least one dose of a vaccine, but 411 have refused vaccination—a refusal rate of 35.8%.

CT: Connecticut House passes bill to eliminate religious exemption for required school vaccines

After years of failed attempts, the Connecticut legislature moved closer to ending the state’s religious exemption for required school vaccines. The measure, which was the subject of more than 16 hours of debate in the House of Representatives, contained a compromise that would allow students who have existing exemptions to keep them. 

IN: Indiana deal gives local officials say over health orders

Indiana lawmakers have reached an agreement on limiting the authority of county or city health departments by allowing local elected officials to overturn orders or enforcement actions issued during emergencies. 

NV: Nevada Senate passes proposal that would expand birth control access

The Nevada state Senate voted unanimously in favor of a proposal that would allow pharmacists to provide birth control without authorization from a doctor or health care provider with a traditional prescription pad. In 12 states and Washington, D.C., lawmakers have passed laws allowing pharmacists to provide hormonal contraceptives.

OK: Oklahoma legislature passes 3 bills that would restrict abortion access

The Oklahoma Senate sent GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt three bills that would restrict access to abortion, including one that would suspend doctors’ medical licenses for performing the procedure and another that would bar abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, with no exceptions for rape.

AL: Alabama governor signs bill allowing college athletes to be paid for use of name, image, likeness

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed legislation that allows college athletes in Alabama to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness. The bill goes into effect July 1.

ID: New version of Idaho abortion ban advances

An Idaho Senate panel advanced a measure that would outlaw nearly all abortions in Idaho by banning them once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The legislation makes providing an abortion to a woman whose embryo has detectible cardiac activity punishable by up to five years in prison.

LA: Louisiana bill would strip gun permit requirement

A Louisiana Senate committee passed a bill that would allow anyone 21 and up to carry concealed firearms without training or a permit. The bill now heads to the full Senate.


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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.