Top State Stories 5/25
TX: Confronted with mass shootings, Texas Republicans have repeatedly loosened gun laws
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican leaders have signaled an openness to some gun restrictions after mass shootings but have eased gun laws in recent years. Many details remain unknown about the most recent tragedy—in which 19 children and two adults were killed at an Uvalde elementary school—which has kept some officials from immediately suggesting policy changes.
DE: Delaware governor vetoes marijuana legalization bill
Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, announced that he will veto a bill that would legalize the possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, setting up a historic showdown with the General Assembly. The veto is a major break from the state and national Democratic Party, and a three-fifths vote in each chamber would be needed to override it.
FL: Overhaul of condo laws could be coming in Florida
Florida lawmakers reached a deal to overhaul the state’s condominium laws after the catastrophic collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside last year left 98 dead. The legislative proposal would require inspections at 25 or 30 years and prohibit condo associations from waiving the collection of reserve funds to pay for routine or additional maintenance and repairs.
MO: Prepare to say goodbye to Missouri’s presidential primary election
Missouri voters won’t get a chance to head to the polls in the 2024 presidential primary if Republican Gov. Mike Parson signs legislation altering state election laws. If approved, the presidential primary election held every four years would be eliminated, and Missouri would instead only use party caucuses to select the delegates who would go to each party’s nominating convention.
GA: Georgia primary ran smoothly despite new election law
In the first statewide test of new voting restrictions, Georgia’s high-stakes primary election appeared to be running smoothly with no reports of major problems in one of the nation’s most important battleground states.
OR: Oregon risks wasting money for schools due to lack of accountability
Oregon leaders’ hands-off approach to public school spending and results has put the state at risk of wasting taxpayers’ investments and failing to improve student success, state auditors warned. Their report said Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, the Board of Education and state lawmakers have sat by for years as the state education agency did little to set meaningfully high standards for schools or districts.
MI: Signature fraud threatens candidacies of 5 Michigan GOP governor contenders
Widespread signature fraud in Michigan is threatening the candidacies of five Republicans seeking the governor’s seat as well as contenders for other state offices. A report from the Bureau of Elections names 30 signature petition circulators accused of submitting fraudulent signatures affecting at least 10 campaigns, and identifies six others accused of forging signatures that affected only a single campaign.
NJ: Abuse of disabled people in New Jersey group homes persists as accountability lags, watchdog says
The latest annual report from New Jersey’s Office of the Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families says that despite efforts by the administration of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, the frequency with which the office hears about abuse and neglect signals a persistent problem.
LA: Bid to limit medical advice by schools crushed in Louisiana House
The Louisiana House rejected a bill that would prohibit public or private schools from recommending vaccines or medical procedures for students. The proposed ban also would have applied to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state Department of Education and local school boards.
MN: Minnesota greenlights small doses of THC derived from legal hemp
The Minnesota legislature passed a sweeping set of hemp industry changes that would allow, among other things, small amounts of hemp-derived THC to be legally sold in edibles and drinks to those 21 and older.
NY: New York cancels Regents exam for 1st time in history due to Buffalo shooting
New York abruptly canceled the Regents exam in U.S. history and government, saying content in the test could compound student trauma regarding the Buffalo shooting. The tests had already been printed and were ready to be sent to schools. Students were to take it June 1.
SC: South Carolina governor signs law on policing standards 2 years after George Floyd’s death
A new law requires police agencies across South Carolina to abide by minimum standards on tactics such as chokeholds and bans putting an untrained officer on duty alone.
SD: South Dakota aims to help farmers scrambling to plant crops
South Dakota farmers still working to get crops in the ground are getting some help from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem. An executive order temporarily allows more oversize farming equipment to move along highways for the next month.
IN: Indiana legislature approves transgender sports ban, faces legal fight
Just minutes after the Indiana General Assembly overrode Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto of the state’s ban on transgender girls playing girls school sports, the first lawsuit against the measure was filed.
ID, OR: Greater Idaho movement wants to absorb more than half of Oregon
The Greater Idaho movement proposed a more modest map after two counties in southwest Oregon voted against a ballot initiative last week to join Idaho. The movement, which began in February 2020, wants to allow Oregon residents who feel like they have more in common with Idahoan values to join the state.
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