Top State Stories 3/11
FL: Florida lawmakers approve governor’s ‘anti-woke’ plan for schools, businesses
Florida lawmakers approved Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to combat “woke” ideology in corporate training and school lessons. The legislation bans schools and businesses from teaching that a person is “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
WY: Wyoming Senate approves abortion ban bill
A bill that would ban abortions in Wyoming should the U.S. Supreme Court decide to overturn its landmark abortion ruling Roe vs. Wade passed the state Senate. The bill would prohibit abortions except when the mother faces serious risks of death or irreversible physical impairments.
AK: Alaska House votes to prohibit marriage for children 15 and younger
The Alaska House of Representatives unexpectedly amended a proposed bill to ban children aged 15 and younger from being married in the state. Current state law allows children to be married as young as 14 with the approval of a judge.
AL: Alabama governor signs bill to end concealed carry permit requirement
Alabama lawmakers gave final passage to a bill to repeal the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, an idea proposed for about the last 10 years. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey has signed it into law, effective in January.
US: US cities, counties clash over how to spend millions in stimulus money
Cities and counties across the United States have found themselves in the surprisingly uncomfortable position of deciding how best to spend a windfall of federal relief funds intended to help keep them afloat amid deadly waves of COVID-19 infections.
MN: Minnesota public defense attorneys, support staff authorize 1st-ever strike
Minnesota’s criminal public defense attorneys and their support staff overwhelmingly authorized a potentially first strike, one that could come in as soon as 10 days if an agreement on new contracts isn’t reached. Public defenders say staffing shortages lead to crushing caseloads that hurt their clients, who mostly are indigent and minorities.
DE: The effort to legalize marijuana once again fails in Delaware
The quest to legalize recreational marijuana has once again failed in the Delaware General Assembly, as House Democrats could not capture the necessary votes. The legislation was the first of its kind to make it to the House floor for a vote since a similar bill failed in 2018.
OK: Oklahoma House passes election bills, spurring debate over 2020 results
The Oklahoma House passed two election bills that would block private dollars from helping pay for elections and change the personal information required to request an absentee ballot. Republican backers said the bills are key to ensuring Oklahomans have faith in the state’s election system.
KY: Kentucky lawmakers approve bill that would ban abortion after 15 weeks
Abortions would be banned after 15 weeks in Kentucky under a new Republican-backed bill that won approval from a Senate committee.
MI: Michigan moves to divest state pension plans from Russian companies
The Michigan Investment Board voted unanimously to divest the State of Michigan Retirement Systems, which provides benefits for current and retired state employees, from any institutions based in Russia or Belarus “as soon as practical.”
MO: Lawsuit says Missouri officials illegally trying to defund Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood sued Missouri officials and health agencies, saying the state’s plan to stop reimbursing the group for some medical procedures is unconstitutional and illegal.
MD: Maryland governor, lawmakers plan to pause gas tax for 30 days
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and top leaders in the Maryland General Assembly agreed to lift the state’s tax on gasoline and diesel for 30 days to help blunt sharply rising costs for motorists.
OH: Ohio governor signs bill spending M on elections workers
Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill that sets aside million to pay for overtime for elections workers and other costs associated with the time crunch for the May 3 primary election caused by delays in the state’s redistricting process.
CO: Colorado lawmakers advance abortion rights measure
Nearly 14 hours after a hearing on a bill to enshrine abortion rights into state law began, Colorado lawmakers advanced the measure out of its first committee. The proposed law is sponsored by the majority of Colorado’s Democratic representatives and senators.
NM: New Mexico governor sets sights on building hydrogen economy
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, signed an executive order she said will help establish a roadmap making clear that hydrogen will be a key focus of the state as it works to transform its energy economy.
NY: 1st New York marijuana licenses to go to those with past offenses
New York’s cannabis regulators authorized rules that would give business owners with documented marijuana offenses first dibs on opening retail dispensaries through conditional licenses that would be valid for four years.
OR: Oregon looks to distribute surplus vaccine doses before it’s too late
The Oregon Health Authority said the state currently has over 700,000 viable COVID-19 vaccine doses which they hope to get to providers around the state and into people’s arms. With demand for the vaccine beginning to wane, the health authority is working to distribute doses before they go to waste.
MT: Montana governor isn’t interested in Biden’s land conservation pitch
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, registered his opposition to President Joe Biden’s plan to conserve 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030 in a letter to the U.S. Interior Department that questioned the level of detail available in the plan and asserted that the federal government lacks jurisdiction and funding to execute the proposal.
NV: Nevada to report COVID data weekly, not daily; says current system ‘obsolete’
Amid the decreasing spread of COVID-19 and Nevada’s lowest case incidences in nearly a year, state health officials announced that the state would be reducing how often it reports COVID-19 data.
SC: South Carolina lawmakers advance bill pushing controversial ‘abortion reversal’ procedure
Lawmakers in the South Carolina House advanced legislation requiring doctors to push a controversial “abortion reversal” procedure after a similar bill stalled against a Democrat-led blockade in the Senate.
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