Top State Stories 6/14
OH: Ohio governor signs bill slashing training requirements to arm teachers in schools
As expected, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that will allow teachers and other staff to carry guns in school after 24 hours of training, down from the 700 hours required under a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling.
NE: Judge strikes down Nebraska ballot initiative procedure
A federal judge barred Nebraska from rejecting proposed ballot initiatives for failing to gather support from 5% of voters in 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, which has been required for more than 100 years. The judge agreed with medical marijuana supporters that the requirement is unconstitutional.
NJ: New Jersey governor coaxes businesses to state with abortion rights pitch
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy recently sent letters to dozens of companies based in states with laws against abortion, urging them to relocate to New Jersey because it offers protection as a “dangerous potential new reality dawns for women.”
PA: Pennsylvania legislative panel punts on gun bills
A Pennsylvania House panel punted on considering a slate of gun-control bills, instead sending them to another committee and in the process throwing cold water on a Democratic-led effort to force a vote on the legislation in the wake of multiple mass shootings, including one in Philadelphia.
NV: ‘Big Lie’ looms over Nevada’s legislative primaries
An analysis found that 16 candidates in about a third of Nevada legislative primaries have publicly cast doubt on the election process or expressed their support for the “Big Lie”—a substantial number that experts warn could be a sign of growing support for fringe movements and anti-democratic sentiments.
TN: Tennessee Supreme Court declines to rehear school voucher case
The Tennessee Supreme Court has declined to rehear the case challenging the constitutionality of Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s controversial school voucher program. Two county governments asked the court to rehear the case following its May 18 ruling that found the program does not violate the state constitution’s home rule provision by only applying to districts in those counties.
CA: Overworked California firefighters struggle with PTSD, suicide, fatigue, intensifying wildfires
Cal Fire, California’s firefighting agency, faces a mental health crisis. As wildfires intensify, thousands of overworked California firefighters carry a heavy load of trauma, pain and grief.
HI: Hawaii moves to improve transgender health insurance coverage
A Hawaii bill that is awaiting Democratic Gov. David Ige’s signature would prevent insurers from denying gender-confirming treatments due to “cosmetic” exclusions.
GA: Georgia secretary of state’s office begins defense in voting suit
A lawyer for Georgia’s secretary of state office began pushing back against claims in a federal lawsuit that the state had illegally obstructed voters from casting ballots in recent elections.
WI: Wisconsin lawmakers let ‘forever chemical’ water standards go into effect
Republicans will allow standards for “forever chemicals” to take effect in Wisconsin after years of heated debate over the topic. Legislators will not object to the standards suggested by the Natural Resources Board earlier this year, and they will be sent to the state Department of Natural Resources for implementation.
LA: Special redistricting session appears on in Louisiana after court removes stay
A federal appeals court panel in New Orleans lifted its stay of a lower court’s ruling that found Louisiana’s congressional map was racially gerrymandered. It means a revised version of the U.S. districts is due to the federal court in one week while appellate judges decide the merits of the case.
OK: Oklahoma lawmakers cautious about conflicts after legislator’s indictment
After a top Oklahoma Republican legislator was indicted for allegedly changing state law for his family’s personal benefit, more state lawmakers this year opted out of voting on bills that could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
TX: Texas House Speaker pitches spending more than M for mental health, school safety programs
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, pitched redirecting more than million in state funding to quickly boost mental health and school safety programs before school starts again. His plan came in response to a million request from GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who oversees the Senate, to immediately purchase bulletproof shields for school police departments.
MD: Maryland pledges M to fight beach road congestion
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced million in funding to help relieve Maryland’s summer beach traffic.
MA: Massachusetts sets sales tax holiday for August
The Massachusetts legislature set the dates of this year’s sales tax holiday weekend, choosing Aug. 13 and 14, when shoppers will get a break from state sales tax on most retail items less than ,500.
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