Top State Stories 4/14
TX, DC: 1st bus of migrants arrives in Washington, D.C., from Texas under governor’s new plan
About 30 people from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua traveled to the U.S. capital as part of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s controversial new plan to transport migrants to D.C. It’s a response to the Biden administration’s decision to end Title 42, a pandemic-era emergency health order that allowed immigration authorities at the border to deny entry to migrants, even those seeking asylum.
WA: Washington health board votes against adding COVID vaccines to school-required immunizations
COVID-19 vaccines will not be required for students to attend K-12 schools in Washington state this fall, the state Board of Health decided in a unanimous vote. Some of the main reasons the advisory group and board agreed not to require COVID-19 vaccines for students stemmed from accessibility and implementation concerns, rather than vaccine effectiveness issues.
KY: Kentucky Republicans override governor’s veto of sweeping abortion bill
The Republican-led Kentucky General Assembly voted handily to override Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of a bill that opponents say will effectively end abortion access in the commonwealth. It takes effect immediately.
NE: Nebraska governor signs tax cut bill
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, signed off on a “historic” property and income tax cut package. Ricketts said the bill will provide $900 million in annual tax relief.
FL: Seawalls in Florida are getting higher and stronger
With thousands of miles of Florida coastline facing two feet of sea level rise by 2060, some cities and counties are calling for raising the standard heights of seawalls. And many of the seawalls to come promise to be not only stronger and more durable but also better designed to both absorb waves and reduce damage to the adjacent sea or bay bottom.
MO: Missouri House pitches using budget surplus for tax breaks
The Republican Missouri House budget leader proposed using some of a more than $3 billion budget surplus to give out widespread income tax credits. The late-session proposal is aimed at doling out tax credits worth what workers owe in state income taxes.
NM: New Mexico boosts its free college program, at least for now
New Mexico is expanding its free college program by providing students with more flexibility, including attending college part-time and allowing them to use federal grants for personal expenses. Most of the $75 million expansion of the program relied on one-time federal pandemic relief and is authorized for one year.
MA: Massachusetts House unveils nearly B budget
Acknowledging that surplus tax collections and federal aid have kept Massachusetts afloat through the pandemic, House leadership unveiled a nearly $50 billion budget for fiscal year 2023. Speaker Ron Mariano, a Democrat, said the budget will reinvest in lower- and middle-class residents and gird the post-COVID-19 economy for “tough times” in the future.
PA: Pennsylvania Senate hearing shows depth of anti-pot sentiment
A Pennsylvania Republican state senator held a hearing on what panelists described as the perils for children and youth of adult-use pot legalization. The hearing of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee represented a counterpoint to a series of three other hearings billed as preparation for a bill legalizing recreational cannabis for adults.
NJ: COVID booster rates up in New Jersey, but thousands in health care forgo shot as deadline passes
While COVID-19 booster rates among New Jersey health care workers have increased recently, thousands of hospital and nursing home employees still had not received the shot when Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s extended deadline passed. It’s unclear if any disciplinary action will be taken against those workers.
DE: Marijuana legalization bills are released from Delaware House committees
Legislation to legalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana cleared the Delaware House Health and Human Development Committee. A second bill on regulating and taxing legal marijuana cleared the House Revenue and Finance Committee.
MS: Mississippi governor signs bill creating state broadband office
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law the Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi Act, which will direct hundreds of millions in federal dollars to expand broadband internet access across the state, where some have estimated 40% of the state lacks access.
WV: West Virginia program hopes to fast-track students into teaching with financial incentives
West Virginia is trying to graduate and retain more teachers by paying for public high schoolers’ dual credit courses, pushing them to earn teaching degrees in just three years of college and, while they’re still in college that third year, paying them for teaching.
ME: Maine governor touts training for health care workers
A $21 million initiative aimed at strengthening Maine’s health care workforce by connecting employers and individuals with training and education programs has launched, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said.
OR: Oregon unemployment falls below 4% for the first time since pandemic hit
Oregon’s jobless rate fell again last month, dropping to 3.8%, down from 4.0% in February. Unemployment is at the lowest level since COVID-19 upended the state’s economy and is near the historic lows that predated the pandemic.
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