Top State Stories 4/29
US: Gun thefts rise across US cities
Gun thefts are on the rise in major cities across the United States, a factor police and criminologists say is helping fuel the growing homicide rate. The number of stolen guns reported to police rose by 29% in 10 major U.S. cities over the past two years, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal.
OK: Oklahoma House passes ban on abortions after six weeks
The Oklahoma House gave final passage to a bill that copies an anti-abortion law in Texas. The bill would allow private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” a woman seeking an abortion. Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican has said he will sign all anti-abortion bills that advance to his desk.
IL: Police in Illinois punish students with costly tickets for minor misbehavior
Across Illinois, police are ticketing thousands of students a year for in-school adolescent behavior once handled only by the principal’s office—for littering, for making loud noises, for using offensive words or gestures or for breaking a soap dish in the bathroom, a Chicago Tribune/ProPublica investigation found.
CA: Millions of Californians would get $200 cash rebates for soaring gas prices under Democrats’ plan
Millions of California families would receive cash rebates of $200 per person under a plan unveiled by state Senate Democrats, with additional boosts to those enrolled in government assistance programs and subsidies provided to small businesses that could be extended for a decade.
MO: Missouri Senate OKs plan to let some food stamp recipients use benefits on hot meals
The Missouri Senate advanced legislation that would allow certain food stamp recipients to purchase hot food with their benefits. Under the measure, households with elderly or disabled members, as well as homeless households, would be able to use their benefits at restaurants that contract with the state.
GA: Automatic voter registration restored in Georgia after its quiet elimination
Without automatic registration last year, sign-ups fell off in Georgia. New voter registrations from driver’s license offices dropped 48% to 149,000 last year, and address changes decreased 51% to 175,000, according to election data.
OH: Ohio GOP lawmaker sparks outrage in abortion debate
Ohio Republican state Rep. Jean Schmidt sparked outrage during a hearing on a bill that would ban abortions when she said a hypothetical teenager traumatized by rape would have the “opportunity” to help that child become a “productive human being.”
TX: Federal lawsuit seeks to halt Texas’ border trespassing arrests
Thousands of men have been arrested on trespassing charges under Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security crackdown. A new lawsuit claims the operation violates federal law and asks the court to order the state to stop the arrests. It also argues each migrant illegally detained so far should be given $18,000 for each day they were imprisoned beyond what is allowed by state law.
TN: Tennessee lawmakers pass major education funding overhaul
Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s new K-12 education funding plan would add an additional $1 billion statewide to education funding and change how that money is distributed. Under the plan, which the legislature passed, Tennessee’s education pie would grow to around $9 billion in state and local funds.
ME: Protective pandemic gear Maine bought with federal funds went unused for months
Much of the personal protective equipment Maine purchased with federal money early in the COVID-19 pandemic stayed in storage until last summer, something a watchdog called a side effect of poor accounting during a scramble for gear.
NM, NV, UT: US energy transmission projects in Nevada, New Mexico and Utah inch closer to approval
The federal government has finished another environmental review of a proposed transmission line that would carry wind-generated electricity from rural New Mexico to big cities in the West, and similar reviews are planned for two more projects that would span parts of Utah and Nevada, the U.S. Interior Department announced.
AR: Arkansas attorney general files suit against Family Dollar Stores over rodent infestation
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, filed a lawsuit against Family Dollar Stores and Dollar Tree accusing them of selling products that were potentially hazardous, adulterated or contaminated because of exposure to a rodent infestation at a West Memphis distribution center.
NY: New York state agencies failed domestic violence victim: report
An investigation by the New York state inspector general’s office found that two state agencies failed to protect an employee from domestic violence before she was killed by her husband in September 2020. The office said the woman had recorded abuse on her work phone.
NJ: Racial, gender makeup of New Jersey’s police still well short of mirroring state’s population
Most of New Jersey’s law enforcement agencies do not mirror the rich diversity of the state—either in terms of race or gender.
MS: Mississippi governor vetoes money for golf courses and other projects
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves vetoed spending for several projects, including more than $13 million to revive a golf course and create an adventure trail at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in Jackson, the state’s capital.
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