By: - March 21, 2022 12:00 am

AR: Judge strikes down new Arkansas voting laws

A state judge ruled that four new Arkansas voting laws related to mail-in voting, voter ID and polling place rules violate the state constitution by placing undue burdens on voters. In granting a permanent injunction, the judgesaid Arkansas legislators’ fears of voter fraud could not justify the voting restrictions without proof of the conduct the laws were purportedly passed to address.

OH: Ohio Republicans discuss impeachment of chief justice after map ruling

Ohio House Republicans are discussing whether to impeach Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor after the state Supreme Court rejected a third set of legislative maps and effectively ended all hope of a full primary on May 3.

NM: New Mexico governor seeks economic relief in special session

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, called for a special legislative session the first week of April, saying she wants lawmakers to consider providing economic relief to New Mexicans as inflation persists and gas prices remain high.

TN: Tennessee bills aim to protect victims of domestic violence from defendants on bail

Two new bills pending before the Tennessee General Assembly would impose harsher release conditions on people facing charges related to especially lethal acts of domestic violence—strangulation and threats with a firearm.  

IL: Children’s behavioral health initiative to streamline services, Illinois governor says

Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a children’s behavioral health initiative to oversee coordination across state agencies with the aim of making specialized support and resources more easily available to children and families. 

MI: Michigan governor promised to open her office to records requests. She hasn’t.

Michigan is a national outlier in that both the governor and the legislature are exempt from the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, but Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said during her 2018 campaign that she would treat requests to her office for public records as if she were subject to FOIA, even though she is not. But she has not done that.

AK: Alaska bill seeks to address low graduation rates by allowing tribes to set curriculum

A proposed bill in the Alaska Senate seeks to address high school dropout rates by putting the education plans in the hands of tribes. The bill would create a pilot program for Alaska Native tribes to begin running their own public schools through a compact agreement with the state. These agreements would allow tribes to create K-12 curriculums.

CT: Connecticut lawmakers push bill to forgive unemployment ‘overpayments’

Connecticut legislators are set to consider a bill this session that would provide financial relief to individuals who received unemployment benefits during the pandemic but were later ordered to repay all, or part, of that money to the state. 

TX: Texas ban on straight-ticket voting stands after ruling from federal appeals court

Texas’ ban on straight-party voting will remain on the books after a slate of rulings from a federal appeals court found that the plaintiffs in three challenges to Texas’ election laws should have sued local election officials instead of the secretary of state.

MO: Missouri attorney general drops mask mandate lawsuits against schools, St. Louis

Missouri’s attorney general has dismissed most of the more than 40 lawsuits filed against school districts over mask mandates during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a lawsuit against the city of St. Louis. 

WA: Washington redistricting panel withheld text messages, possibly breaking the law

Washington’s Redistricting Commission already admitted it broke the law by negotiating new political district maps in secret last year. Now, it appears the commission engaged in even deeper levels of secrecy. Dozens of text messages between commissioners and legislative staff were not released as public records when sought as part of a public records request.

OR: More than .2B in Oregon Paycheck Protection Program loans yet to be forgiven

Oregon businesses and nonprofits received nearly 116,000 loans totaling more than $10 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program in 2020 and 2021. About an eighth of the money, or more than $1.2 billion, has yet to be forgiven. Some business owners have been left in limbo due to glitches and delays in the process of applying for forgiveness.

SD: South Dakota stops daily case reports

New COVID-19 cases in South Dakota dropped to levels not seen since July 2021, prompting the state Department of Health to cease reporting daily updates on the disease. Weekly reports will start March 23.

MN: ‘Right to repair’ push in front of Minnesota legislators

A “fair repair” bill before the Minnesota House would force manufacturers, from John Deere to Apple, to share directions, diagnostic equipment and parts with owners and independent repair shops. It has cleared two key committees in the Democratic-led House and is headed for likely passage. A bill in the Republican-led Senate has yet to get a hearing.

NJ: Push to ban smoking in Atlantic City casinos gaining support in New Jersey legislature

Though smoking has been banned inside of most public buildings in New Jersey for 16 years, Atlantic City casinos remain an exception. The gambling halls can still allow patrons to light up in designated sections. But the latest effort to bar smoking completely inside casinos has been gaining steam in the state legislature.

DE: Federal funds to retain nurses, staff at Delaware health agency

Almost $17 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used for Delawareans impacted by COVID-19, Delaware Health and Social Services workers at 24/7 facilities, the expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, and to provide housing assistance for vulnerable Delawareans.

MD: Maryland redistricting challenges keep candidates in limbo

A series of legal challenges to Maryland’s Democratic-created maps has postponed the state’s primary from June 28 to July 19 and created uncertainty about what congressional and state legislative districts will ultimately look like.

NY: Five New York county officials caught COVID at conference

At least three elected officials have tested positive for COVID-19 following the New York State Association of Counties’ annual conference, including Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. Two other officials told the Times Union they tested positive following the event.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

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.