Arkansas enacted 20 additional restrictions on abortion during this year’s legislative session, more than any other state. The new laws include a ban on abortions except when the life or health of the mother is in danger—which is being challenged in court—as well as new requirements around abortion facilities, medication abortions and the reporting of rape and incest.
Eight of the nine senior managers who earned too much to qualify for pandemic-related hazard pay at New Jersey’s state-run veterans nursing homes received it anyway, according to records obtained by The Wall Street Journal. The records show that the state veterans affairs agency misappropriated federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order banning evictions in Kansas ended last week, but community aid and tenant advocacy groups said they don’t expect a statewide spike in evictions. That’s partially because formal and informal displacements have continued throughout the pandemic.
Montana GOP Republican legislators this session tackled voting rights, transgender restrictions, emergency powers and free speech—issues that groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity have pushed nationwide with model bills.
Surry County officials in North Carolina have approved a ban on Coca-Cola vending machines in its government buildings, in protest of the Georgia-based company’s recent opposition to that state’s new voting law.
The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13analyzed 39 body camera videos from the three largest police departments in Utah’s Salt Lake County. In 20% of those videos, suspects had their hands up or were facedown when they were bitten. A majority of those involved Salt Lake City police.
Washington’s new five-day automated smoke forecast is accessible as part of the Department of Ecology’s online smoke map. Users can anticipate average daily air quality conditions in 53 separate zones across the state, each pegged to real-time air quality monitors.
A bill that would eliminate New Hampshire’s role in conducting background checks for those purchasing handguns is headed to the governor’s desk. The state House approved legislation that would abolish the state police “gun line,” and instead put the FBI solely in charge of performing background checks using the National Information Criminal Background System.
While Alaska hasn’t seen the same boom as some places in the Lower 48, where remote workers flooded vacation destinations in droves, a smattering of people have found the state an ideal place to settle. The most common critique among workers was the expensive yet comparatively slow internet in Alaska.
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that three $1 million cash prizes and 15 full scholarships to Kentucky schools will be awarded by drawing to vaccinated Kentucky residents in July and August.
Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is facing a new lawsuit in the fight over Medicaid expansion in Missouri. The two St. Louis-area residents who filed a lawsuit are asking a judge to include their litigation with a previously filed lawsuit set to get underway June 18.
The Florida Department of Health is ending its daily coronavirus reports used by health experts, doctors and the media to track COVID-19 infections and deaths, turning to a weekly summary of the pandemic’s impact.
Despite an announcement from the New York Health Department saying masks would no longer be required in schools, the state Education Department has told school board presidents across New York that masks are still the rule—for now.
After five years, Connecticut lawmakers have reached a wide-ranging compromise on legalizing recreational marijuana that Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont will sign if passed by the legislature. Final approval, however, remains uncertain because the measure requires votes by the House and Senate as they face adjournment later this week.
Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who as a candidate vowed to veto any partisan redistricting plan for the legislature, signed into law new partisan-drawn districts for the General Assembly and state Supreme Court designed to maintain his party’s control in Illinois.
Colorado lawmakers have proposed a permanent change in the allocation formula in the state’s annual school funding bill—it would send more money to districts to teach students who come from low-income families or who are English language learners. The School Finance Act also would restore funding to grant programs that were cut last year.
There will be no special legislative session this summer for the Wyoming legislature to decide how to spend federal coronavirus funds, Republican Gov. Mark Gordon announced. Gordon and legislative leaders said that instead, they will work with a special “strike team” formed by Gordon to develop a plan on how to best spend the money.
Oregonians with drug or alcohol addictions have been particularly vulnerable to the pandemic’s effects, in some cases struggling to keep up an already difficult recovery process. A spike in relapses and overdose deaths, experts say, has been the predictable outcome.
A conservation corridor with links to existing protected areas is planned for a remote region in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula. The expansion will create a mostly contiguous 19,000 acres of conserved forestland when combined with neighboring Craig Lake State Park.
Rhode Island took another step toward making COVID-19 vaccines even easier to get by setting up its first drive-thru vaccination clinic over the weekend. The Rhode Island Department of Health collaborated with the town of Smithfield and Fidelity Investments to set up the clinic.
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