By: - June 17, 2021 12:00 am

TX: Texas governor promises M ‘down payment’ as he details border wall plans

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a letter allocating million in emergency funding to continue the building of a wall on the Texas-Mexico border. He said the funds will be used to hire a program manager and contractors to help start building the wall and that the state is committed to adding more resources.

FL: Florida governor pardons all coronavirus restriction and mask mandate violators 

With Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis insisting lockdown restrictions and mask mandates meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 did more harm than good, the state clemency board pardoned all Floridians who were arrested or fined for violating local-government requirements about wearing masks or social distancing. 

MO: Fight over birth control looms as Missouri lawmakers prepare for special session 

State lawmakers are preparing for an extraordinary legislative session next week that could determine whether poor Missouri women continue to have access to certain family planning services through Medicaid. 

CO: Colorado governor signs bills to reduce cost of health insurance, prescription drugs

As part of Colorado Democrats’ plans to reduce health care costs, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed two bills meant to create a more affordable health insurance option and a prescription drug review board. “These are more than just nibbling around the margins of saving people money on health care,” he said.

IL: Juneteenth to become official state holiday in Illinois 

A few feet away from a rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln, Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation making Juneteenth an official state holiday. 

IA: Iowa governor signs tax cuts into law

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, signed a massive tax law that will accelerate income tax cuts, phase out the inheritance tax and property tax backfill, and fund the state’s mental health system through a state appropriation.

AR, TN: US says steel in I-40 bridge linking Arkansas, Tennessee prone to crack

The significant fracture that forced last month’s closing of the Interstate 40 bridge over the Mississippi River between Arkansas and Tennessee occurred on a steel beam that was made of a grade of steel that the Federal Highway Administration concluded was susceptible to cracks.

AZ: Arizona committees pass wildfire relief amid debate on climate change

Arizona legislative panels gave initial approval to a million plan for fighting fires, dealing with their aftermath and reducing hazardous vegetation, but not before the discussion strayed into the question of climate change and whether humans are responsible for the heat and drought conditions that result in huge blazes.

ID: Idaho cracks down on unemployment benefits

Unemployed Idahoans could get booted from a state benefits program if they fail to follow new job-seeking requirements that went into effect June 1. Workers receiving unemployment benefits now have two business days to file for a job opening after receiving a referral from the Idaho Department of Labor.

NY: New York Republicans call for end to governor’s broad emergency powers

New York Republicans are calling for an end to the broad powers granted to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo under the continuing state of emergency after he rolled back most remaining pandemic restrictions. The latest calls come less than three weeks before the state of emergency is set to expire on July 5.

OH: Ohio Senate passes bill to allow college athletes to earn name, likeness income

The Ohio Senate unanimously passed a bill that would allow college athletes to earn money from their name, image and likeness. It passed less than a month after it was introduced; some bills take nearly two years to pass. The bill would take effect July 1, but first must go to the Ohio House.

WI: Wisconsin Assembly approves transgender sports ban

Assembly Republicans approved bills that would ban transgender athletes from competing in girls and women’s athletics—proposals that have pushed Wisconsin into a national firestorm. Passage of the legislation came amid opposition from nearly 30 organizations, including the statewide body that regulates high school sports and the state’s Big Ten Conference university.

NC: Lawmakers work to remove Jim Crow-era literacy tests from North Carolina Constitution

North Carolina lawmakers are one step closer to removing a voting literacy requirement from the state Constitution—a relic of the Jim Crow era that kept many Black residents from the polls for decades. The House State Government Committee unanimously passed the bill, but the legislature needs to vote on the measure before it’s put to voters.

VA: A Virginia law that bans masks will be back in effect in July

By the end of the month, Virginia will no longer be under a state of emergency due to COVID-19, and as a result, a state law banning masks—passed in the 1950s as a way to deter the Ku Klux Klan—will go back into full effect.

NM: New Mexico fights vaccine hesitancy

New Mexico officials said misinformation and myths are top reasons for vaccine hesitancy, so they’re hosting more town halls. The state also is bringing shots to businesses, providing incentives and a lottery, and running a Trusted Voices campaign to let New Mexicans hear from people in their communities.

ME: Maine House backs ballot measure on consumer takeover of utilities

A proposal to ask Maine voters to buy out the state’s major utilities and put the electric grid in control of an elected board initially cleared the state House, though it still faces a potential veto from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

UT: Audit says Utah agriculture agency failed to follow up on hundreds of ‘critical’ food violations

A scathing state audit of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food found that lax processes and poor record-keeping left the division vulnerable to “fraud, theft and other serious risks.” The review found the department had poor oversight of its own property and fleet and within its inspection programs, and it recommended officials implement new internal controls.

NJ: New Jersey to offer extra year of special education due to COVID

New Jersey will offer an extra year of eligibility for the state’s special education program to roughly 8,700 students with disabilities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic under a bill Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law.

WV: Group that hoped to start West Virginia’s first charter school loses court case

The group that hoped to start West Virginia’s first charter school has lost its legal attempt to force the state Department of Education to allow the school to open. In a unanimous decision, the West Virginia Supreme Court declined to rule on allegations that two county boards of education didn’t follow the required review process before denying the application to open the school.

MT: Montana health laws are getting a cleanup crew

A new task force created by the legislature will comb Montana’s code for problem statutes and unnecessary regulations. Members have been tasked with recommending ways to resolve the various duplications, conflicts and inconsistencies that have taken root during decades of policy making.

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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.