Top State Stories 4/12
FL: In unusual move, legislature says governor will map Florida congressional districts
Florida’s GOP legislative leaders announced that they are not crafting a new congressional map but will defer to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to draft maps that will be to his liking.
ME: Maine House advances ban on sludge spreading linked to chemical contamination
Maine could be the first state to ban sludge spreading linked to contamination from a group of chemicals known as PFAS or forever chemicals after the Democratic-led House of Representatives advanced a bill contested by legislative Republicans and sewer districts.
MN: Minnesota House Democrats pitch B boost in annual education spending
Minnesota’s divided legislature is offering two competing visions on how to spend some of the state’s projected $9.3 billion surplus on education—one involving a massive boost and the other a sliver of that amount focused exclusively on literacy. House Democrats this week unveiled a package that would spend more than $3 billion over three years, while Senate Republicans’ plan totals about $30 million.
CA: California public school enrollment spirals, dropping by 110K students this year
California public school enrollment has dropped for the fifth year in a row—a decline of more than 110,000 students—as K-12 schools struggle against pandemic disruptions and a shrinking population of school-age children, among other factors.
WA: Developer pushes for Washington’s first offshore wind farm
A Seattle-based wind energy developer submitted an unsolicited lease request to the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management to build what would be Washington’s first floating offshore wind farm about 43 miles off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula. The proposed site would provide 2,000 megawatts of clean energy to 800,000 homes, according to the developer.
MI: Michigan schools get creative in spending federal COVID relief funds
District and charter schools across Michigan have $6 billion in federal pandemic relief funds to spend, but some of the planned uses are not explicitly pandemic-related, according to spending proposals submitted to the state. Among them: a playground ball pit, metal detectors and a nutrition room with smoothie service.
KY: Kentucky governor vetoes bill to let lawyers bring guns to court
Citing its potential danger, Kentucky Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a bill that would let attorneys carry guns anywhere in the state, including in courtrooms. Republicans, who have supermajorities in the House and Senate, could override the veto, but it is not clear that they will.
SC: South Carolina officials worry about handling more calls as suicide hotline moves to 3-digit number
With the country’s main suicide hotline transitioning to a three-digit number in the coming months, South Carolina’s mental health organizations are worried the state will not be able to handle an increased number of calls.
GA: Georgia elections chief asks for investigation into noncitizen voting
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said he has asked law enforcement and local elections officials to investigate people who may not have been U.S. citizens when they tried to register to vote.
SD: South Dakota hopes for more teens seeking summer jobs
From municipal pools to private water parks, recreational facilities in South Dakota are raising wages hoping to draw teens back to summer jobs this year. Last summer many couldn’t open for lack of staff.
MS: Mississippi governor signs bill to expand work release pilot program
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves announced he signed into law a bill to expand an existing pilot program that allows for nonviolent individuals serving the final year of a sentence to take jobs in local communities.
AK: Alaska constitutional convention opponents launch early campaign
A new bipartisan group, citing unusual interest in Alaska’s once-per-decade constitutional convention ballot question, has launched a campaign to convince voters to reject a convention that could significantly change the state’s laws and government. The campaign, called Defend Our Constitution, was launched by a group of Republicans, Democrats and independents in a teleconference.
VT: Vermont regulators deny 10% rate hike for 2 hospitals
Vermont regulators have rejected a 10% mid-year rate increase for two hospitals, including the state’s largest, that administrators sought to cover what they called historic inflationary pressures. Regulators instead approved much smaller increases for the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington and Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.
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