Top State Stories 2/9
MN: Minnesota Democrats seek to limit no-knock warrants after police shooting
Democrats in the Minnesota House highlighted a legislative proposal that would limit the broad use of no-knock warrants by police throughout the state. Lawmakers want to take quick action on the issue following the fatal police shooting of Amir Locke in Minneapolis.
GA: Investigation finds less double voting in Georgia than alleged
After the hectic 2020 Georgia primary, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger made a bombshell allegation that 1,000 people potentially voted twice. A year and a half later, an investigation by his own office has found substantially less double voting than he had suspected.
KS: Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine COVID prescription bill approved by Kansas lawmakers
A group of Kansas senators charged with steering public health policy bundled unvetted provisions to a bill that would promote ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as off-label drugs for COVID-19, despite medical authorities warning that neither drug has proven safe and effective for that use.
CA: New COVID sick leave would leave out at least 1 in 4 California workers
A bill on its way to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom would require large employers in California to offer workers up to 80 hours of COVID-19-related paid sick leave. But the bill, which the legislature passed, doesn’t apply to small employers with 25 or fewer workers.
UT: Conspiracy theories upend hearing on bill to expand Utah’s digital driver license program
Members of the public said a bill to expand Utah’s use of digital driver licenses could eventually lead to vaccination passports, tyranny imposed by the United Nations or concentration camps. The Utah House Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Committee adjourned without acting on the bill.
NY: New York expected to roll back mask mandates, joining several other states
Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to drop New York’s stringent indoor mask mandate on Wednesday, ending a requirement that businesses ask customers for proof of full vaccination or require mask-wearing at all times, according to The New York Times.
VT: Vermont House approves ‘Reproductive Liberty’ amendment
Lawmakers in the Vermont House of Representatives approved a proposal to amend the state constitution to protect reproductive rights, including abortion. The proposal will go before state voters in November.
OH: Ohio Supreme Court again rejects Republicans’ state legislative maps
The Ohio Supreme Court once again has struck down new state legislative maps as unconstitutionally slanted toward Republicans under the state’s anti-gerrymandering rules. The court gave the Ohio Redistricting Commission until Feb. 17 to draw new maps.
VA: Virginia Democrats join GOP on amendment to allow parents to opt out of school mask mandates
Democrats in Virginia’s Senate signaled support for making school masks optional by July, a turnaround after weeks of objecting against GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s efforts to end mask mandates right away.
CO: Denver City Council approves .9M more for tent sites for homeless
Denver City Council members committed another .9 million toward a program that offers people living on the Colorado city’s streets temporary shelter in ice fishing tents on fenced-in sites with portable toilets, power and Wi-Fi.
OR: Oregon secretary of state to audit rental assistance program
The Oregon Secretary of State’s office will audit the state’s rental assistance program. The program struggled to keep up with the number of applications, and some renters said they were left waiting for weeks with pending requests or without any updates on their applications.
NM: New Mexico House approves bill aimed at predatory lending
New Mexico House legislators have approved legislation aimed at discouraging predatory lending by lowering the state cap on annual interest rates for storefront loans and doubling the maximum size of small installment loans to ,000, with repayment periods of up to two years.
AZ: Bipartisan bill would protect gay and transgender Arizonans
A bipartisan Arizona bill would extend the state’s non-discrimination policies to the LGBTQ community in employment, housing and public accommodations.
AL: Alabama bill would make drunken drivers pay child support
A bill newly introduced in the Alabama legislature would require drunken drivers to pay child support if a parent or guardian is killed in a wreck. The payments would be required until the child reaches 19 years of age.
WY: Runoff elections are back on the table in Wyoming
A Wyoming legislative committee last year failed to advance legislation that would institute runoff elections if no one candidate received more than 50% of the vote. GOP Rep. Chip Neiman has filed a bill that revives the idea.
SC: South Carolina House Republicans advance elections bill to ban ballot drop boxes, expand audits
The South Carolina House amended an elections-related bill it passed last year to add a series of controversial election security measures opposed by Democrats, who said the changes on short notice took them by surprise.
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