By: - February 17, 2022 12:00 am

TX: Texas sues CDC to stop mask mandates on planes

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne of Texas, both Republicans, are suing the Biden administration to end mask mandates on planes. The lawsuit argues that the mandate imposes a “restriction on travelers’ liberty interests” and that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not have the authority to introduce such a blanket preventive measure.

CA: San Francisco voters oust 3 school board members

San Francisco voters overwhelmingly supported the ouster of three school board members in the city’s first recall election in nearly 40 years. The recall divided the city, with a grassroots effort of frustrated parents and community members pushing for the trustees’ removal over the slow reopening of schools during the pandemic and the board’s focus on controversial issues such as renaming 44 school sites.

IL: Illinois Democrats join GOP to block governor’s effort to set school mask rules  

Bucking Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a handful of Democratic state lawmakers joined Republicans to block a rule aimed at ensuring school districts that aren’t party to an ongoing lawsuit continue enforcing mask requirements and other restrictions, adding another layer of confusion to an already chaotic situation.  

MA: Massachusetts House OKs driver’s licenses for residents without legal immigration status

The Massachusetts House approved a bill that would allow residents without legal immigration status to get driver’s licenses. Buoyed by support from law enforcement, the measure won enough votes in the heavily Democratic chamber to overcome a potential veto from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

NY: ‘Tinder Swindler’ bill makes its way through New York legislature

The New York Senate passed legislation that would require financial institutions to warn customers about potential romantic scams. The bill making its way through the legislature was fueled in part by Netflix’s “The Tinder Swindler,” a documentary about a con artist who stole an estimated $10 million from women he met on the Tinder app.

AL: Alabama lawmakers advance bill to end permit requirement for a concealed handgun

After a long debate, an Alabama House committee advanced a bill to repeal the state’s requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Advocates for the repeal, which is opposed by sheriffs and police, say the requirement to undergo a background check and pay a fee to the county sheriff to carry a concealed handgun infringes on the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

CT: Connecticut House GOP ups the ante in tax-cutting debate  

Connecticut House Republicans unveiled state legislators’ most aggressive tax-cutting plan to date, pitching a combination of ongoing and one-time relief worth more than $700 million and centered on middle-income households and small and mid-sized businesses.  

FL: Groping someone could result in stronger criminal charge under proposed Florida law  

The Florida Senate has approved proposed legislation that would create the new crime of indecent battery, intended to target those who grope people, 16 years and older, in a sexual manner. The bill would recognize unwanted sexual touches as a separate offense, rather than a simple battery.  

MO: Missouri Senate panel restores funds for governor to give state workers a $15 minimum wage


A key Missouri Senate panel moved to restored Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s ability to raise all state workers’ pay to $15 an hour, after the House pared down the proposal over opposition to a state employees’ minimum wage.  

PA: Philadelphia indoor vaccine mandate ends; mask requirement stays

The vaccine mandate for indoor dining in Philadelphia is officially no more (at least for now) under a newly instituted system for determining COVID-19 mitigation measures, but the city’s mask mandate for public spaces is still in force. So far, the reaction from both diners and restaurateurs is mixed.

OH: Ohio secretary of state warns of jeopardy to May election due to redistricting uncertainty

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, has warned Ohio legislative leaders that the May election could have significant problems if it isn’t moved, due to the continued litigation challenging new state legislative and congressional lines.

WI: University of Wisconsin System to end mask mandate by spring break

University of Wisconsin System interim President Tommy Thompson said widespread vaccinations and waning case numbers on system campuses and across the state justify the move.

MN: Minnesota legislators renew bipartisan sports betting push

A bipartisan Minnesota Senate proposal would allow in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and racetracks, and online gaming through vendors that the tribes oversee. It would mark one of the largest expansions of for-profit gambling in state history. 

DE: Delaware attorney general files dozens of felony charges for gun crimes

Authorities are cracking down on illegal guns as they look to curb gun violence in Delaware. Democratic Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced she’s bringing 87 felony charges against five people accused of making straw firearms purchases.

WA: Nearly 50 superintendents call on Washington state to lift school mask mandate

Nearly 50 superintendents from Eastern Washington school districts signed a letter calling on state leaders to lift the mask mandate for schools—although some districts are getting rid of the requirement anyway. Flouting of the state’s mask rule for schools comes as other states have relaxed mask mandates in school settings and as Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is considering a timeline for scaling back statewide indoor mask orders.

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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.