Top State Stories 6/2
CA: Reparations could include tuition, housing grants, California task force says
California’s reparations task force released its first of two reports detailing the state’s history of slavery and racism and recommending ways the legislature might begin a process of redress for Black Californians, including proposals to offer housing grants, free tuition and to raise the minimum wage.
TX: Texas governor asks for legislative recommendations in response to Uvalde shooting
In a letter to legislative leaders, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told fellow Republicans that the state “must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence.” One of the topics Abbott asked lawmakers to address was “firearm safety,” even though last week he essentially ruled out gun restrictions as a response to the Uvalde massacre.
CO: Colorado becomes 1st state to ban anonymous sperm and egg donations
The days of being able to anonymously donate sperm or eggs in Colorado will soon be over. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a landmark bill that will make Colorado the first state in the nation to give donor-conceived individuals the right to learn their donor’s identity when they turn 18, and access that person’s medical history before that.
NC: Ban on LGBTQ issues being taught in K-3 classrooms passes North Carolina Senate
A controversial proposal that would ban elementary schools from teaching K-3 students about gender identity or sexuality passed the North Carolina Senate.
ME: Envelope shortage presents possible hiccup for Maine’s relief payments
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ administration estimates it will soon begin distributing 200,000 inflation relief payments per week to qualifying Maine tax filers. There’s just one potential glitch: a shortage of envelopes. Mills vowed to expedite the checks when she signed the state’s supplemental budget into law in April.
OH: Measures barring non-citizen voting, changing cash bail standards likely to be on Ohio ballot
Ohio voters likely will decide in November whether to approve two proposed state constitutional amendments—one barring non-citizens from voting in local elections and another requiring judges to consider public safety and other factors when setting cash bail for criminal defendants—following a vote from the Ohio Senate.
CT: Diesel fuel tax to rise sharply in Connecticut
Connecticut consumers could face a one-two punch beginning July 1, when state officials are expected to raise the state’s diesel tax. Six months after that, the state will impose a new highway use tax on large commercial trucks, an expense companies say will be passed on to shoppers.
MO:Enrollment ticks up in Missouri’s expanded Medicaid program, but rollout still rocky
Missouri has enrolled nearly 65% of the people it projected would qualify for an expanded Medicaid program, potentially putting the state on track to meet a goal set when voters approved the expansion two years ago. But the rollout, which began in October, continues to be rocky.
IL:Illinois broadband expansion will create 25K jobs, researchers say
Illinois’ planned expansion of broadband internet access will create thousands of jobs, boost workers’ wages and help bridge rural-urban and racial divides in online access, researchers with the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal found in a recent study.
UT:Utah families of 2 teens sue over state ban of transgender athletes in school sports
The families of two transgender girls filed a civil rights lawsuit, challenging a controversial Utah law set to ban young transgender athletes from competing in school sports that match their gender identities—a measure that “feels like an attack on our family,” a mother of one of the girls said.
WA:Seattle police stopped investigating new sexual assaults this year
Seattle police’s sexual assault and child abuse unit staff has been so depleted that it stopped assigning to detectives this year new cases with adult victims, according to an internal memo sent to the interim police chief in April. Seattle’s failure to staff the unit stands out from other local police departments and raises questions about the police department’s priorities, advocates say.
AK: Food aid groups in Alaska say need is approaching early pandemic levels
More and more Alaskans need help with food as prices spike at the gas pump and on grocery shelves while pandemic relief dollars dry up, local providers say. Agencies are now seeing demand approach what it reached in the early months of the pandemic, when providers saw a roughly 75% increase.
AR: Arkansas governor calls for discussion of gun purchases, age requirements
Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said raising the purchasing age of AR-15 style weapons should be in the conversation as the nation continues to grapple with the aftermath of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The shooter in the attack bought two guns, an AR-style rifle and a second rifle, days after he became 18 years old.
MA: Massachusetts agrees to repay thousands of defendants convicted by evidence from disgraced chemists
Massachusetts has agreed to refund millions of dollars in fees and fines paid by more than 30,000 defendants whose drug convictions had to be overturned because they were based on testing performed by disgraced state chemists. The settlement will cost the state roughly million, according to the state attorney general’s office.
NM: New Mexico launches site addressing election misinformation
New Mexico’s “Rumor vs. Reality” website outlines a host of facts about the state’s election system to combat misinformation. It points out that votes are secret, that independent post-election audits are mandatory, and that the state uses paper ballots marked by voters, ensuring there’s a paper trail in the event of a dispute.
VA: Virginia lawmakers approve budget with tax cuts, spending increases
The Virginia General Assembly passed a two-year state budget that would both cut taxes and increase spending, a rare combination that drew extensive bipartisan support in both the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House.
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