Top State Stories 3/17
WY: Wyoming governor signs law that would ban abortions
A bill that would ban abortions in Wyoming should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn its landmark ruling Roe vs. Wade has been signed into law by Republican Gov. Mark Gordon. The law would make abortions illegal except in cases where the mother faces serious risks of death or irreversible physical impairments or in the case of rape or incest.
HI: Hawaii Supreme Court denies redistricting challenge
New maps for Hawaii’s legislative districts will stay as they are after the state Supreme Court denied a legal challenge to those maps. The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission, which drew the maps, has faced accusations of gerrymandering and political favoritism.
TX: National Guard troops were dispatched to famous Texas ranches as part of border mission
The dispatching of troops to the sprawling private ranches, far from the border, raises questions about the use of National Guard troops, who have widely decried the mission as aimless, political and oversized. The cost of the effort already has ballooned to billion a year.
MO: Missouri could make it harder to get out-of-state abortions
First-of-its-kind Missouri legislation that could be debated next week seeks to make it illegal to “aid or abet” abortions outlawed in Missouri, even if they are performed in other states. Like a Texas law passed last year, the measure would put enforcement in the hands of residents, who could file lawsuits against those they believe have violated it.
MN: Minnesota Senate panel OKs bill to cancel voter-approved rent control measures
A Minnesota Senate committee approved a bill that would not only remove voter-approved pathways for rent control in Minneapolis and St. Paul but make the change retroactive to Nov. 1 of last year. While the bill is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled House, it speaks to the concerns among Senate Republicans about ordinances passed in each city last year.
IA: Iowa Senate panel supports move to permanent daylight savings time if bordering states do too
An Iowa Senate committee voted to require bordering states to move permanently to daylight saving time before Iowans could stop changing their clocks twice a year. The change addresses concerns that problems might arise if Iowa establishes a time zone different from neighboring states.
WI: Assembly speaker rejects election decertification call in Wisconsin
The speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly met with Republican activists who want to overturn the state’s 2020 U.S. presidential election, but he said afterward that he still believes such a move would be legally impossible.
AR: Arkansas voter law challenge hears 1st testimony
The legal challenge to four new Arkansas voter laws saw its first day in court, with the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs claiming the laws deliberately make voting harder—and sometimes impossible—for voters who are poor, minorities or have certain health problems. Supporters of the Republican-sponsored laws say they strengthen election integrity and bolster public confidence.
ID: Idaho’s all-day kindergarten bill hits trouble on House floor
The sudden about-face illustrated that one of Republican Gov. Brad Little’s cornerstone K-12 bills has run into trouble on the Idaho House floor. One source of confusion: What happens to literacy budgets for schools that do not have the classroom space to offer all-day kindergarten?
AZ: Arizona Senate panel passes bills fortifying ‘parental rights’
An Arizona Senate panel passed Republican-sponsored bills that would increase parents’ power to veto school materials. The bills are part of a string of legislation introduced this year by Republicans who say it would increase parental rights.
AL: Alabama Republicans claim national school counselor standards ‘indoctrinate’ students
A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of American School Counselor Association national standards in Alabama public schools. The bill came just weeks after the Alabama Republican Party’s meeting where committee members approved a resolution with a similar goal.
MI: Michigan House Democrats propose banning guns at polling places
Legislative Democrats in Michigan unveiled a slew of new election policy proposals, including keeping guns out of polling places and banning petition signature gatherers from intentionally lying to people while soliciting signatures.
TN: Tennessee lawmakers put brakes on proposal that could reduce the amount of gun-free zones
Tennessee lawmakers postponed consideration of a bill that the Tennessee Department of Safety and gun control advocates say would essentially outlaw state, local or private businesses from prohibiting guns on their premises. Child care centers, jails, hospitals and libraries are all gun-free zones in Tennessee.
AK: Alaska governor calls for big dividends as revenue forecast increases by billions
Alaska’s state government now expects to raise .6 billion more this year and next than it expected to back in December. Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican, urged the legislature to send some of the money to Alaskans in the form of permanent fund dividends.
KS: Kansas attorney general, advocates at odds over move to ban sanctuary cities
Kansas legislators are set to wade into the ongoing debate on immigration policy at the urging of GOP Attorney General Derek Schmidt by considering a bill that would restrict local governments that wish to block law enforcement from working with federal immigration officials.
DC: DC mayor proposes increase in police funding, more traffic cameras
Washington, D.C., Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed a billion budget that included increasing funding for some of her top priorities, including boosting the police force’s budget by 5% and spending another half-billion dollars to spur the construction of new housing developments in the city.
US: Lake Powell hits historic low, raising hydropower concerns
Lake Powell’s fall to below 3,525 feet puts it at its lowest level since the lake filled after the federal government dammed the Colorado River at Glen Canyon more than a half century ago—a record marking yet another sobering realization of the impacts of climate change and megadrought.
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