By: - June 16, 2021 12:00 am

IL: Illinois is poised to become the first Midwest state to ban coal-burning power plants 

Illinois, one of the nation’s largest producers of coal, is on the verge of becoming the first Midwest state to ban energy companies from burning the lung-damaging, climate-changing fossil fuel to generate electricity. The end of gas-fired power might not be far behind. 

CT: Connecticut budget would withhold money from towns with Native American school mascots 

Under a provision in Connecticut’s proposed state budget, towns will forfeit their allotments of the slot machine revenue the state receives annually from Native American tribes if its sports teams use “any name, symbol or image that depicts, refers to or is associated with a state or federally recognized Native American tribe or a Native American individual, custom or tradition.” 

FL: Florida Cabinet clears way for highway through Everglades wetlands 

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet rejected a legal ruling that loomed as a massive roadblock to Miami-Dade County’s controversial plan to run a major highway through wetlands fringing the Everglades.

TX: Texas governor signs ‘anti-critical race theory’ bill into law

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a measure into law that bars certain concepts related to race and racism from being discussed in the classroom. Critics and educators say the new law will make it harder to teach about America’s true past and present. The law will go into effect in September.

AZ: Election official impersonators are knocking on Arizona doors, sheriff warns

People are knocking on the doors of Yavapai County residents in Arizona and asking how they voted in the last election, while falsely claiming to represent the county recorder’s office, sheriff’s office officials said. The mysterious survey comes after the U.S. Department of Justice warned the Arizona Senate against plans to canvass voters’ homes as part of an unprecedented review of November’s election.

NC: North Carolina Republicans unveil major energy legislation to reduce coal production

North Carolina Republican state lawmakers unveiled energy legislation, drafted for months in secret with industry representatives, that would hasten the state’s transition away from coal power plants. The legislation could come at the cost of incentivizing state regulators to permit a highly controversial pipeline amid concerns about the environmental impact of its construction.

CA: California needs 1.2M electric vehicle charging stations

California already has more than 73,000 electric chargers, but a report from the California Energy Commission projects the state will need 1.2 million public and shared private chargers by 2030 to support the number of electric vehicles on the road.

KS: Kansas state of emergency ending after Republicans refuse to consider extension

Kansas’s COVID-19 state of emergency, in place for 15 months, will come to an end as top Republican lawmakers canceled a meeting to consider an extension sought by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. Over the past year, the governor and state officials have relied on the declaration to deploy the National Guard, suspend regulations and speed vaccinations.

CO: Colorado governor promises to phase out pandemic powers

Early in the pandemic, Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said he’d be as happy as anyone to lighten the heavy hand of state government once COVID-19 was retreating. Having created, amended or extended roughly 400 executive orders since March 2020, Polis says he’s ready to let go of the unprecedented authority he’s maintained.

NY: New York COVID restrictions lift as state reaches 70% vaccinated

All of New York’s COVID-19 restrictions have been removed as the state passed the threshold of a 70% vaccination rate for adults, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. He said businesses can keep some restrictions in place if they wish.

NJ: New Jersey residents face Dec. 31 deadline to start paying utility bills

New Jerseyans who haven’t been paying their gas, electric or water bills during the pandemic will have to enroll in a payment plan by the end of the year or face shut-offs, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

MT: Montana advocates not thrilled with law to compensate wrongfully imprisoned

Montanans who spent years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit now have a new path to get compensation for being wrongfully locked away—but those who fought for the law are less-than-thrilled about the final product. Among other last-minute changes, anyone who pursues a claim must sign away their right to sue the state or local prosecutors for civil-rights violations or other damages in court.

ME: Maine may stop foreign government-owned companies from ballot campaign spending

The Maine legislature is on the verge of enacting a bill that would bar companies owned by foreign governments from spending money on ballot campaigns. The bill was inspired by money that Hydro-Quebec has put into the upcoming referendum over Central Maine Power’s transmission line project.

PA: Pennsylvania voting overhaul passes House committee with only GOP support

A bill that would make significant changes to Pennsylvania’s election process moved through committee with Republican support only, setting the stage for a struggle with the legislature’s Democratic minority and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration over its intricacies.

DC: Senate committee to hold DC statehood hearing

D.C. statehood advocates are hoping to break new ground with a favorable vote out of committee, even though odds are steep that the Washington, D.C. Admission Act can clear the Senate filibuster to pass the full chamber.

LA: Louisiana steers federal money to infrastructure projects

Louisiana lawmakers charted the spending of nearly .7 billion in federal pandemic aid, creating a complex network of programs to send money to ports, water systems, tourism marketing efforts and broadband projects in underserved areas.

ND: More than 100K acres have burned in North Dakota so far this year 

Nearly 1,400 fires have burned 100,000 acres across the state, the North Dakota Forest Service and the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services reported. Wildfire numbers this year “dramatically” increased compared with 2020, according to State Forester Tom Claeys.

OR: Oregon lawmakers could allow cities and counties to triple their marijuana tax

Cities and counties in Oregon could more than triple the sales tax they charge on recreational marijuana sold within their borders under a bill scheduled for a vote in a state Senate committee. Local governments would still need local voter approval to increase the tax from its current maximum of 3% up to 10%.

AK: Credit rating agencies see improved outlook for Alaska

As the budget situation worsened in recent years, rating agencies downgraded Alaska’s credit rating 10 times between 2016 and 2020. But the rating agencies see improvement in Alaska’s outlook, as the past year has seen oil prices stabilize and investment growth has added to the Alaska Permanent Fund.

NM: New Mexico rolls out same-day voter registration program

Democratic-backed efforts to expand voter access in New Mexico are coming to fruition, with the rollout of same-day voter registration. The first trial run took place in a low-turnout special congressional election on June 1, allowing voters to register at early voting centers in the final weeks of balloting and Election Day.

MI: Sick time use by Michigan state employees dropped nearly 19% during pandemic

State employees called in sick less often when working from home, preliminary data from the Michigan Department of Civil Service shows. The reduction in state employee use of sick time was close to 19%, records show.

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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.