Top State Stories 5/13
MI: Michigan breaks grim record: More drug overdose deaths than ever, again
With 3,040 lives lost, Michigan recorded more drug overdose deaths than ever last year, breaking the previous record from 2020, according to new provisional data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2021 death toll represents a 9.3% increase in overdose deaths from 2020.
CA: California commission rejects plan for desalination plant
The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously against a controversial plan by the company Poseidon Water to build a huge desalination plant in Huntington Beach, despite worsening drought and repeated calls from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to tap the Pacific Ocean as a source of drinking water.
GA: Suicides of 125 incarcerated in Georgia prisons point to another crisis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution identified 125 incarcerated people who have died by suicide in facilities managed by the Georgia Department of Corrections since the beginning of 2017. Most of those deaths—89—have occurred since 2018, when the suicide rate in Georgia prisons already had surpassed the national average.
DE: Delaware legislature passes bill to legalize marijuana, but veto could loom
After years of failed attempts, the General Assembly has passed a bill to legalize the possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana, clearing the path to potentially establish a recreational weed industry in Delaware. The bill now heads to Democratic Gov. John Carney’s desk, where its fate is unknown.
UT: Utah governor says he opposes abortion restrictions beyond trigger law
Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said a law banning residents from traveling out of state for abortions would be a bridge too far. “I don’t think we should penalize women at all for anything,” Cox said.
VT: Vermont House and Senate lawmakers approve deal on child tax credit
Vermont House and Senate lawmakers have hammered out a final deal on a million tax cut package that would include a new refundable child tax credit and moved quickly to send the bill to Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s desk.
CO: Colorado legislature approves air quality bills
The Colorado legislature passed a package of bills, including one that would invest million in electric school buses, that environmental advocates celebrated as a positive step toward lessening air pollution and the harmful effects it has on people’s health.
MO: Missouri lawmakers send funding boost for charter schools to governor
Following a three-year legislative push, charter school advocates won a key victory as Missouri lawmakers approved a measure to increase the schools’ funding. The Republican-led House voted 116-29 to pass the bill, which calls for at least million more for those schools per year.
IL: Audit of Illinois child welfare agency finds failures to proper provide medical care, track abuse
Illinois’ long-troubled child welfare agency under Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has failed to ensure adequate care for children in its charge and has not properly tracked cases referred to it by people who are legally required to report suspicions of abuse or neglect, according to a newly released audit.
LA: Hurricane Katrina survivors in Louisiana are being sued for using elevation grants for other repairs
Louisiana has sued about 3,500 people—about one in every nine people who received an elevation grant—for failing to use the grants to raise their homes after hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005, an investigation by The Advocate | The Times-Picayune, WWL-TV and ProPublica found.
MD: Maryland governor signs cyberattack bills
The Maryland cyber measures make permanent some aspects of an executive order Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed in 2019, while providing additional resources and rules to aid county and state governments, school systems and local health departments against digital attacks.
OK: Watchdog finds Oklahoma tourism deal cost taxpayers .4M
Amendments to a lucrative contract between Oklahoma and a barbecue restaurateur to build and operate restaurants at six state parks ballooned the cost of the project by .4 million, the head of a state watchdog agency told House lawmakers.
MN: Minnesota Democrats try to force Senate vote on codifying abortion rights
The Minnesota Senate blocked a series of votes on bills aimed at codifying the right to an abortion and funding family planning and leave programs. Senate Democrats sought to move the proposals from committees to the floor for a vote, citing an urgent need to address the bills due to the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion rights.
WA: After 7 years, Washington tribal history curriculum still not fully implemented
In 2015, the Washington legislature required school districts to teach kids about the histories, cultures and governments of federally recognized tribes in the state. Nearly seven years later, however, it is unlikely any of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum has been fully implemented across all grade levels in any district.
SC: South Carolina Senate compromise resurrects early voting bill; House OKs
South Carolina senators unanimously approved a compromise that would allow the state to hold true early voting, and the House quickly approved the bill, raising the possibility voters could head to the polls for two weeks before the June 14 primary.
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