Top State Stories 6/8
TX: Texas Republicans want to arm more school employees, but few districts are opting in
Since Texas launched its school marshal program in 2013, just 84 school districts out of more than 1,200 have armed school staff. Educators say the program’s lack of popularity shows that teachers don’t want to be the ones to defend schools from mass shootings.
CA: California imposes sweeping ban on pumping river water in San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area
As drought intensifies, the order affects many California cities and growers from Fresno to the Oregon border, including 212 public water systems.
UT: Utah lawmaker pushes to repeal the state’s ban on same-sex marriage
Utah state Sen. Derek Kitchen, a Democrat, said at a news conference he’s worried the U.S. Supreme Court may soon end the nationwide right for same-sex couples to marry. He plans to introduce legislation next year to repeal the existing Utah statute blocking the recognition of same-sex marriages.
OH: Ohio Senate likely to take up transgender sports bill that includes genital examination clause, top Republican says
The Ohio Senate is likely to take up some sort of bill banning transgender participation in girls sports later this year but won’t necessarily pass the version the Ohio House approved last week, according to a top Republican. Versions of the bill in both chambers would require students to get physical examinations if their sex is questioned.
MS: Mississippi to sell ‘blackout’ license plates to help first responders death benefit fund
“Blackout” vehicle tags are coming to Mississippi July 1. The tags are not standard Mississippi tags, but a vanity plate option. A percentage of the sale of each license plate will go toward the law enforcement and firefighters’ death benefit trust fund.
OR: State will pay cost of in-state college for Oregon tribal members
Around 700 tribal members in Oregon are expected to take part in what could be the nation’s most ambitious program aimed at reducing financial barriers that contribute to low college attendance and completion rates among Native American students. But so far, lawmakers have funded it only for the next academic year.
IN: Indiana could see rolling blackouts
Hoosiers may need to find other ways to cool off this summer besides fans and air conditioners if spikes in energy use tap out Indiana’s power grid. A rolling blackout could temporarily turn off power as a last resort.
DE: High-capacity magazine ban passes in Delaware Senate
Delaware’s state Senate voted to restrict ownership of high-capacity magazines, moving forward legislation that stalled last year. The bill would prohibit possession of magazines carrying more than 17 rounds, with exceptions for law enforcement officers, military personnel, people with concealed carry permits and several other groups.
NJ: Governor sends New Jersey lawmakers bill to expand abortion access, but it’s unlikely to pass
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has sent state lawmakers a draft of a bill that would further expand access to abortion in New Jersey as the U.S. Supreme Court possibly prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade. But it appears unlikely the Democratic-controlled state legislature will pass the measure.
FL: Florida governor signs school safety bill amid calls for special session on gun violence
On the same day Democrats began pushing for a special session on gun violence, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bipartisan bill adding to the state’s long list of school safety changes enacted since the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018.
MO: New Missouri law protects doctors who prescribe off-label drugs ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine
A new law in Missouri prohibits pharmacists from questioning doctors who prescribe the controversial off-label drugs ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for patients. Both are unproven alternatives to treating COVID-19 popular among people who have opposed vaccinations. The measure goes into effect in August.
LA: Louisiana governor calls lawmakers into special session after court rejects redistricting map
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards called the Louisiana legislature into a special session to redraw the state’s congressional redistricting map that a federal judge ruled unlawful. The map packed most of the state’s one-third Black population into just one of its six U.S. House districts.
WI: Wisconsin Supreme Court rules in favor of releasing data on COVID outbreaks at businesses
More than a year after Wisconsin’s largest business lobby sued to stop the state from releasing data on companies with COVID-19 outbreaks, a narrowly divided Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of releasing the records. The opinion asserts that Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce did not have the right to challenge the state health department’s authority to release public records.
LA, NH, VA ,WV: 4 states receive 1st federal broadband funds
More than half a billion dollars in federal funding will be sent to four states to expand broadband access as part of a sweeping national effort to bring affordable service to rural and low-income Americans, the U.S. Treasury Department announced. Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia and West Virginia are the first to benefit.
AZ: New law requires tougher background checks for Arizona massage therapists
A bill signed into law by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, will require massage therapists to undergo more thorough criminal background checks before getting their work licenses.
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