Top State Stories 2/28
TX: Texas governor asks retailers to take all Russian products off their shelves
In an act of solidarity with Ukraine, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, asked Texas retailers to voluntarily remove all Russian products from their shelves. Abbott tweeted that he had made the request of members of the Texas Restaurant and Texas Package Stores associations, as well as all other retailers.
MO: Missouri lawmakers look to ban eviction moratoriums
Missouri lawmakers are seeking to get ahead of any future eviction moratoriums, proposing several bans on the enforcement of local and national orders. The proposals specify that eviction moratorium orders can only be upheld if allowed by state law, a response to the many pauses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
AZ: Arizona House approves bill that bans close range recordings of police
A bill passed by the Arizona House that would ban people from taking close-range recordings of police without permission has raised concerns of violating people’s First Amendment rights.
NY: New York governor lifts mask mandates for schools
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, announced that the state school mask mandate will end on Wednesday, meaning children in New York can now attend their classes without face coverings—unless localities issue their own mandates.
MN: Redistricting creates new ‘powerhouse’ districts for Minnesota tribes
The Minnesota lines now encompass all seven of the state’s Anishinaabe tribes in the northeastern 8th District in Congress, instead of splitting them between two seats. Where three tribes were once drawn into two state Senate seats, they are now in one.
PA: Pennsylvania wine and liquor stores ban Russian alcohol
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has directed its state alcohol stores and website to stop buying and selling Russian-sourced products in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The move came hours after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf sent a letter to the board to identify Russian-sourced products.
ID: Idaho lieutenant governor speaks at conference organized by White nationalist
Idaho Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial candidate Janice McGeachin, a Republican, spoke at a far-right conference organized by a well-known White nationalist. Called the America First Political Action Conference, the gathering held in Orlando was organized by Nick Fuentes, who has supported Russia’s authoritarian leader, voiced support for preserving American White identity and been labeled a “white supremacist” by an FBI agent.
MI: Even in water-rich Michigan, no guarantee of enough for all
The Great Lakes region is striving to shed its worn-out Rust Belt image by developing a “blue economy” that leverages its abundant fresh water. But lead pollution, deteriorating infrastructure and chemical contamination pose challenges.
AK: Expecting an influx of oil money, Alaska lawmakers say they’re interested in saving for later
High oil prices have Alaska revenue officials expecting hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue, but the experience of a seven-year slump in prices has state lawmakers preparing to save. Members of the coalition in charge of the House said they’re interested in saving some of the influx, even if it means reducing the Permanent Fund dividend below levels requested by GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
WV: West Virginia legislature advances bill to ban abortion for fetal disability
West Virginia lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prevent people from getting an abortion because they know or think their child will be born with a disability. The bill would apply to any and all disabilities except in the case of medical emergencies and for severe fetal conditions that are “incompatible with life outside the womb.”
WY: Wyoming Senate passes crossover voting bill
A bill intended to keep voters from changing parties to influence the outcome of primary elections won approval from the Wyoming Senate. The bill would specify that people wishing to change party affiliation would have to do so about three months prior to a primary election or between the primary and general elections.
CT: Legislative proposal would enshrine abortion freedom in Connecticut Constitution
A legislative committee endorsed a proposal to enshrine the right to abortion in the Connecticut Constitution. The concept is in its earliest stages—the language of the proposed constitutional amendment has yet to be drafted—but it has already drawn support from Democrats and criticism from Republicans.
UT: Utah governor bans Russian-branded products from state liquor stores
GOP Gov. Spencer Cox issued an executive order to remove all Russian-produced and Russian-branded products from state liquor stores and require the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity to review state procurements for any other economic relationships with Russia.
WA: Washington redistricting panel admits it broke the law
The commission in charge of redrawing Washington state’s political district boundaries has admitted that it broke the law last year by conducting its negotiations in secret. As part of a settlement, the Redistricting Commission agreed to adopt new rules that aim to prevent a repeat of last year’s opaque, closed-door mapmaking process.
VA: Virginia Education Department rescinds diversity, equity programs in response to governor’s order
The Virginia Department of Education has rescinded a wide range of policies, memos and programs established to further diversity, equity and inclusion in schools in obedience to an executive order from Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
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