Top State Stories 6/6
US: Big city mayors, furious about shootings, fear sweeping gun limits are out of reach
Mayors across the United States describe being caught in an exasperating partisan impasse, charged with managing the country’s carnage but pushed to the margins when trying to fix it.
FL: Special Olympics drops COVID vaccine mandate after Florida threatens hefty fine
Florida threatened to fine Special Olympics International .5 million for requiring 5,500 participants at the USA Games in Orlando to be vaccinated against COVID-19, prompting the organization to drop the mandate.
WA: Washington hires climate epidemiologist
The Washington state Health Department has hired the state’s first official climate change epidemiologist. Department representatives declined to share the name of the new hire, who starts July 1. Climate change epidemiologists try to determine how the climate affects health outcomes within a population.
NM: New Mexico’s red flag law seldom used 2 years after passage
In all, nine petitions have been filed across New Mexico for court orders allowing gun seizures, according to data provided by the state Administrative Office of the Courts. And only five of those nine cases resulted in one-year orders being approved.
MI: Swim-up bars could be allowed in Michigan this summer
State lawmakers have proposed legislation that would change Michigan’s law to allow swim-up bars at public pools, including hotels and other tourist attractions. Two bills would allow public swimming pools in Michigan to serve food and beverages to swimmers under certain safety guidelines.
SC: South Carolina agency gave chicken farmers improper breaks from pollution rules, court says
In a rebuke with substantial implications for the state’s booming poultry industry, South Carolina’s second-highest court says environmental regulators gave chicken farmers improper breaks from rules intended to prevent water pollution.
WY: Photos, video show Wyoming state Senate candidate close to Capitol during insurrection
Newly released photos and video show a Wyoming state Senate GOP candidate near the U.S. Capitol on the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection. The images show Casper real estate investor Bob Ide on the west side of the Capitol in front of the platform for Joe Biden’s inauguration in the early and late afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021.
MN: Minnesota to spend M on mental health
Concerns about the well-being of children and students after two years of the pandemic helped push .7 million in new mental health funding through the Minnesota legislature’s finish line. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill into law.
OK: Empty clinics, no calls: The fallout of Oklahoma’s abortion ban
Just months ago, Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics were working overtime, scheduling record numbers of appointments as patients from Texas—where abortion has been severely restricted since the fall—streamed across the border. Now the clinics are desolate, after Oklahoma late last month became the first state in the country to effectively outlaw abortion.
WI: Black student enrollment at Wisconsin’s flagship public university has barely budged in 50 years
The share of Black students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has hovered around 3% since 1975, even as the percentage of Latino and Asian students has grown. White students make up more than 80% of the student body.
IN: Indiana Supreme Court sides with governor on emergency powers
The Indiana Supreme Court came down in support of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in a constitutional dispute over whether state lawmakers can call a special session when the governor declares an emergency, as Holcomb did in 2020 for the pandemic.
CT: Federal court upholds Connecticut law on disclosing police records
A federal appeals court has upheld part of a 2020 Connecticut police accountability law that allows public disclosure of state trooper personnel files and internal investigations.
US: In races to run elections, candidates are backed by key 2020 deniers
Key figures in the effort to subvert the 2020 presidential election have thrown their weight behind a slate of Republican candidates for secretary of state across the country, injecting specious theories about voting machines, foreign hacking and voter fraud into campaigns that will determine who controls elections in several battleground states.
IL: Illinois governor says state now in compliance with DNA law in rape cases
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the Illinois State Police no longer has any DNA evidence from sexual assault cases that has not been tested within six months, a significant improvement from a backlog that existed for years.
LA: Louisiana legislature signs off on tiered system for convicted juveniles
The Louisiana legislature passed a bill that would sort juveniles convicted of crimes into risk categories that could be used to segregate high-risk youth in secure facilities. It comes after a series of escapes and violent actions at the state’s youth correctional facilities.
TX: Texas lieutenant governor calls for spending M to buy bulletproof shields for school police
Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who leads the Texas Senate, called on state leaders to move around million in the state budget to buy bulletproof shields for school police officers following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde. “If all responding law enforcement had bulletproof shields last week, lives may have been saved,” Patrick said.
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