Top State Stories 5/10
FL: Florida governor signs bill mandating communism lessons in class
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill designating Nov. 7 as “Victims of Communism Day,” when public school teachers in Florida will be required to dedicate at least 45 minutes to teaching students about communist leaders around the world and how people suffered under those regimes.
MI: Investigation into voting machine breaches in Michigan grows
An ongoing investigation into allegations of unauthorized access to voting equipment in Michigan has expanded, indicating election deniers may have carried out a potentially extensive campaign to breach voting technology in the state in the wake of the tumultuous 2020 election. The investigation is focused on alleged activities that occurred after the election and had no bearing on the 2020 presidential election results.
ID: Idaho lieutenant governor calls for law to end rape, incest exceptions for abortion
Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, a Republican, has called on lawmakers to remove exceptions for rape and incest survivors from the state’s abortion ban, which could go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Her statement follows one from a GOP committee chair declaring he would hold hearings to determine whether to outlaw abortive medication and emergency contraception such as Plan B.
NJ: New Jersey governor vetoes bribery bill, calls for tougher language to close ‘loopholes’
New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy opted to conditionally veto a bill that would make bribery laws apply to candidates for public office and elected officials who have not yet taken office, asking for it to be revised with stricter language.
CO: Colorado schools with ‘Thunderbird’ mascot set to get one-year reprieve from K monthly fines
Colorado schools that could face ,000 monthly fines over “Thunderbird” mascots are poised to be granted a one-year reprieve to come into compliance with a 2021 state law banning American Indian nicknames.
WA: Washington has 50 dams in ‘poor’ condition that need repairs
An Associated Press analysis tallied 50 high-hazard dams listed in poor condition in Washington state. In 2016, only one dam was listed in unsatisfactory condition and in need of immediate repairs.
MA: Massachusetts governor warns of ballot challenges if immigrants without legal status get driver’s licenses
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker indicated he fears that allowing residents without legal immigration status to get driver’s licenses—a measure that passed the legislature by a veto-proof margin—could lead to illegal voting in state elections.
NY: New York attorney general backs bill to provide abortion funding
New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, threw her support behind a bill to provide funding to support abortion access for people coming to New York from states where access to a safe abortion is restricted, or was likely to be imperiled based on the potential demise of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.
PA: Pennsylvania is investigating unusual type of hepatitis in children
The Pennsylvania Department of Health said it is investigating multiple reported cases of unexplained hepatitis infection in previously healthy young children.
IN: Indiana sued over mental health services for incarcerated people
Indiana’s disability rights watchdog is suing the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, accusing the state agency of failing to provide mental health services to incarcerated people deemed unfit for trial.
WI: Wisconsin doctors consider opening an abortion clinic over the Illinois border
A group of Wisconsin doctors is discussing creating a clinic just over the state’s border in Illinois to provide Wisconsin women with close access to abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The group is looking to one of just a couple of states in the Midwest where abortion access is not expected to diminish or be removed completely.
OK: How a lack of data hinders Oklahoma criminal justice overhaul efforts
Oklahoma doesn’t collect data on the average jail stay or racial makeup of its detention centers or track decisions made by 27 district attorneys’ offices. Lawmakers who support criminal justice changes say the absence of aggregate data makes it difficult to quantify and tackle a host of issues, from pretrial incarceration of nonviolent offenders to the availability of diversion programs in rural areas.
NV: If Roe goes, Nevada’s clinics would be strained by influx of out-of-state patients
Access to abortions in Nevada would remain unchanged because of a 1990 statewide ballot measure that codified the right to an abortion within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Neighboring states such as Arizona, Idaho and Utah are among states poised to either restrict or outright ban abortion, leaving Nevada as possibly the closest alternative to legally obtain an abortion.
CA: California may chop late fees that add hundreds of dollars to traffic tickets
California is poised this year to make changes to what some call “hidden” court fees, hundreds of dollars often tacked onto traffic tickets and minor violations that can increase their cost nearly tenfold. But so far, state officials disagree on how far to go.
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