Top State Stories 5/9
WI: Wisconsin GOP eyeing shift in control of election oversight
Wisconsin Republicans are exploring a push to shift election oversight, including certification of results, from a bipartisan election commission to the secretary of state’s office. The change is raising concerns that it would allow the party to rally behind candidates who embrace former President Donald Trump’s lie that the last presidential election was stolen.
TN: Tennessee plans to boycott banks, financial institutions that divest from fossil fuels
The Tennessee legislature approved a bill that would prevent the state from working with banks or financial institutions that won’t work with fossil fuel companies—with an exception for when the state is unable to find an alternative. The bill responds to the growing movement of financial divestment from coal, oil and gas.
AR: Arkansas governor opposes national abortion ban
Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on ABC’s “This Week” program that he would oppose a national ban on abortion because he believes the issue should be left to the states. Last year, Hutchinson signed a near-total ban on abortions in Arkansas, allowing the procedure only in instances when the life or health of the mother is in danger.
DC: Bill would make DC ‘sanctuary’ city for those seeking abortion
A new bill would prevent the District of Columbia from aiding in any interstate investigation seeking to penalize people for coming to the city to get or perform an abortion. It also would create a private right of action against parties that “successfully bring Texas-style bounty claims” against anyone engaging in the protected conduct.
CA: California’s water conservation has been a bust so far. Will drought restrictions work?
Almost a year after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom pleaded with Californians to voluntarily cut their water use by 15% amid a worsening drought, water conservation figures are still nowhere near that mark.
TX: Texas Republicans say if Roe falls, they’ll focus on adoptions and preventing women from seeking abortions elsewhere
Texas GOP leaders and members of the legislature said it is now time to turn their attention to strengthening the social safety net for women and children and investing in foster care and adoption services. But some more conservative members of the House said they also would want to ensure strict enforcement of an abortion ban and to prevent pregnant Texans from seeking legal abortions in other states.
VT: Vermont governor vetoes clean heat standard bill
Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed a bill that would have created a clean heat standard for Vermont to help the state reduce emissions from heating buildings to meet the state’s climate change commitments.
NJ: New Jersey budget fight brewing after governor grabbed power to spend B in federal COVID money
New Jersey lawmakers have less than eight weeks to negotiate a state budget, and one glaring question lingers: Will Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy give the state legislature a say in spending billions in federal coronavirus relief money?
MT: ‘Come Home Montana’ campaign hits housing angst
Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s signature pledge to bring home Montana’s kids and grandkids, now backed by a ,000 marketing campaign, has run headlong into angst over Montana’s “crazy real estate market.”
MN: Archaic rules make motherhood a challenge in Minnesota politics
While women are a rising force in Minnesota politics and governing, the written and unwritten rules of political life haven’t kept pace. Despite gains, women say they must still navigate ways of doing business put in place when men dominated politics but that don’t work now and may be keeping more women from seeking office.
DE: Constitutional right to clean environment up for a vote in Delaware legislature
Delaware’s House lawmakers will consider a constitutional amendment later this month that would guarantee residents a right to a clean and healthy environment. The bill’s sponsor says it would provide a stronger legal framework to enforce existing environmental regulations and give residents grounds to sue if they think the state does not adequately protect their right to a clean environment.
MA: Massachusetts Senate approves immigrant driver’s license bill by veto-proof margin
After years of debate, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill to allow people without legal immigration status to get driver’s licenses. The vote, 32-8, was enough to override a possible veto from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and came after the House passed a similar bill with a similar veto-proof margin earlier this year.
WY: Roe’s end would spark legal questions in Wyoming over abortion ban exemptions
Wyoming is poised to ban nearly all abortions within its borders, after a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion indicates Roe v. Wade will likely be overturned. But lawmakers and lawyers say that though the state has a trigger ban in place, Wyoming’s laws are vague when it comes to implementing it.
MI: Michigan AG: ‘Scary’ circumstances could be ahead for women
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said that a “really scary set of circumstances” would be ahead for women in the state if a U.S. Supreme Court ruling revives a 1931 state law that criminalizes abortion. While Nessel has said she won’t enforce the 91-year-old law, the policy would lead to women who procure abortions through medication being charged, and doctors could become afraid of helping those facing miscarriages.
WA: Large black bear eludes state officials in western Washington
Though dozens of people have sent in tips, a black bear in Washington continues to evade capture by wildlife officials hoping to find the portly animal. Searching for this black bear, which has avoided capture for more than two years, has taken on greater urgency because the bear is “unnaturally large,” and wildlife officials are worried about a collar he’s wearing that has become too tight.
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