Top State Stories 3/25
AZ: Arizona bills restricting transgender youth surgery, sports participation headed to governor’s desk
Arizona Republican lawmakers voted along party lines to pass two measures that would ban gender-related surgery for people under 18 and ban transgender girls from participating on women’s athletic teams at public or private schools, including at the collegiate level. It is now up to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, to decide whether they become law.
OH: Amid redistricting uncertainty, Ohio pulls state legislative races from May primary ballot
Ohio GOP Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s top elections official, has ordered county boards of election to remove state legislative races from the ballot for the upcoming May primary due to the ongoing legal fight over redrawing the district maps.
TX: Texas investigates ‘off-label’ use of puberty blockers as fight over transgender care flares
Texas GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating whether two pharmaceutical companies marketed certain drugs to treat transgender youth experiencing gender dysphoria. At issue are two drugs that federal regulators have approved to treat minors experiencing early puberty, but that are sometimes recommended by doctors “off label.”
VT: House favors commission to study history of eugenics, racism in Vermont
The Vermont House voted in favor of establishing a state commission to study the history of racism, discrimination and eugenics in state statutes. The bill builds on a resolution passed last year—a four-page, unanimously supported apology for a 1931 law that legalized eugenics via sterilization in Vermont.
WI: Wisconsin governor signs law making threats against health care workers a felony
Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed into law a bill advocated by local hospitals that makes threatening or committing acts of violence against those working in health care a felony. He signed another that permanently allows hospitals to provide in-patient level care in the home.
NC: An eye doctor’s legal battle could upend North Carolina’s health care industry
A North Carolina eye doctor is challenging a decades-old law that lets state government officials carefully restrict which health care providers can build hospitals or offer certain services, plus whether they can buy new equipment and, if so, how much money they can spend.
OK: Oklahoma governor to decide on bill to ban transgender athletes from women’s, girls sports
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, will get the final say on a bill that would block transgender athletes from competing in girls or women’s sports. Republicans in the Senate gave final passage to legislation that would bar transgender athletes at K-12 schools or universities from participating on sports teams or in individual sporting events.
VA: Virginia governor calls lawmakers back, pushing tax cuts
Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he’s summoning the General Assembly back into session to pass a state budget, and he launched a pricey TV ad campaign to pitch tax cuts to Virginians and increase pressure on lawmakers to act.
ME: M relief fund for lobster fishers gets strong support in Maine House
A proposal to create a $30 million fund to help lobster fishers comply with new federal requirements designed to protect endangered right whales received overwhelming and bipartisan support in the Maine House.
WA:Washington entomologist proposes giving invasive hornet a less-offensive name
A Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist plans to submit a formal application to the Entomological Society of America to change the name of an invasive hornet species to “giant hornet.” In early 2020, fear of the species unofficially known as a “murder hornet” or “Asian giant hornet” collided with growing anti-Asian hate and xenophobia in the United States.
MS: Mississippi governor says he’s ‘married’ to income tax phaseout
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves insisted that legislators pass a bill to phase out the state income tax, but other Republicans who lead the House and Senate remained far apart on the issue.
CT: Connecticut governor signs bill suspending 25-cent per gallon gasoline tax
Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont signed emergency legislation that will suspend a 25-cent per gallon state gasoline tax from April 1 to June 30 to give motorists some relief at the pump.
MO: Missouri Senate passes congressional map after weeks of bitter Republican infighting
The Missouri Senate approved a congressional map, ending weeks of Republican infighting over how far to go in drawing GOP-leaning districts for partisan advantage. The map was the result of a compromise among Republicans, including between GOP leaders and some members of the Conservative Caucus, a hard-right group.
DE: Delaware plans to provide taxpayers $300 as gas prices rise
Lawmakers plan to provide $300 in direct payments to Delaware taxpayers, as the state looks to take advantage of its $1 billion surplus. The plan, which has the support of Democratic Gov. John Carney, consists of sending the direct payment to every resident who filed a 2020 tax return.
MA: Gas tax suspension vote fails in Massachusetts Senate
A forced vote on a proposal to suspend the 24-cent gas tax in Massachusetts overwhelmingly failed in the state Senate. Most Democrats voted against it. The Republican pushing the cut said it would have gone only through Labor Day, during the state’s peak travel season.
NY: New York City lifts vaccine mandate for pro athletes, performers
New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams’ decision to lift the vaccine mandate for pro athletes and performers came after an intense lobbying effort by the teams and owners. He said lobbying efforts played no role in his decision, and that he made it for economic reasons; sports and entertainment generate jobs and tax dollars.
PA: Hundreds of Philadelphia’s elected leaders didn’t vote last year, and others don’t live where they say they do
Of the 3,000 Democratic committee people elected in 2018 in Philadelphia, at least 10% haven’t voted since the 2020 general election—or even longer, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer analysis of committeeperson data and voter records. Some had moved or died. Others simply sat out the last two, or more, elections.
SD: Decline in mussels shows poor river health in South Dakota
Mussels do the quiet work of filtering water in South Dakota’s rivers and streams. Recent surveys show found only 17 of the 36 species once known to live in state waters, a 53% decline.
MD: Maryland to help Baltimore fight violent crime
Maryland plans to beef up a Baltimore Police Department warrant task force, pay for additional federal prosecutors and send state troopers to take over traffic patrols so police can concentrate on violent crime. Much of the help was requested by Baltimore officials.
SC: South Carolina Senate debates private school choice for low-income students
The South Carolina Senate is debating a bill that would give some low-income or disabled students money so they could pick a private school or public school outside their district.
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