Top State Stories 8/12
MA: Massachusetts governor signs major climate bill
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a major climate bill into law that will accelerate the clean energy transition by boosting offshore wind and solar and — in a first for Massachusetts — allowing some cities and towns to ban the use of fossil fuels in new buildings and major renovations.
WV: West Virginia governor declares state of emergency in state jails
With regional jails over capacity and staffing for correctional officers well below capacity, West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency on staffing in the state’s jails and correctional facilities. Justice used that authority to have the West Virginia National Guard assist in staffing the facilities throughout the state.
US: Over B announced for roads, bridges, bike lanes across US
U.S. transportation officials announced .2 billion for local infrastructure projects, paving the way for new bridges, roads, bike lanes, railways and ports in scores of communities across the country. The competitive grants are more than double the amount awarded the previous year under the same program.
IA: Iowa governor asks court to lift injunction against abortion law
The law in question was approved by Iowa state lawmakers in the spring of 2018, and it requires physicians to perform an ultrasound before an abortion “to determine if a fetal heartbeat is detectable.” Attorneys for Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds planned to file a court brief asking an Iowa judge to lift a 2019 injunction blocking enforcement.
CA: With California expected to lose 10% of its water within 20 years, governor calls for urgent action
With California enduring historic drought amplified by climate change, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom released a new plan to adapt to the state’s hotter, drier future by capturing and storing more water, recycling more wastewater and desalinating seawater and salty groundwater.
MO: Missouri to invest M in electric vehicle charging stations
Missouri transportation officials are preparing to spend more than million on electric vehicle charging stations as part of a national plan to boost the number of battery powered cars and trucks on the road. Missouri has lagged behind other states in charging station build-out.
NY: Cuomo sues New York state for legal fees in sexual harassment case
Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo filed a lawsuit against state Attorney General Letitia James, a fellow Democrat, accusing her administration of wrongly rejecting his request to have the state pay for his legal counsel in a federal claim filed by a State Police investigator who accused him of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching her.
MN: Huge liquor tab: Excessive drinking costs Minnesota B a year
Minnesotans run up an annual tab of nearly billion in costs associated with excess drinking, according to a study published by researchers from the Minnesota Department of Health. That amounts to nearly ,400 for every resident of the state. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is believed to be the first to calculate the costs of drinking for a single state.
FL: Scammers vie for slice of Surfside building collapse settlement fund in Florida
More than 450 people have filed what appear to be fake claims for their piece of the .1 billion settlement reached in the Surfside condominium collapse class-action case in Florida, according to an attorney who is receiver for the condo association.
CT: Connecticut essential worker bonuses could be reduced as demand grows
Connecticut officials’ plan to give ,000 bonuses to many essential private-sector workers is likely to be scaled back. The state comptroller announced that roughly 47,000 workers already have requested applications through the program’s first six days. It’s not mathematically possible for the million program to award more than 30,000 grants of ,000 each.
WI: Wisconsin legislature joins lawsuit seeking to block absentee ballot ‘curing’
The Republican-led Wisconsin legislature took legal action seeking to stop local clerks from filling in missing information on absentee ballot envelopes — a process referred to as ballot curing. The legislature, represented by independent counsel, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought against the Wisconsin Elections Commission last month by three voters and the Republican Party of Waukesha County.
MD: Maryland to drop free HOV access for electric vehicles
Electric vehicles will no longer get a free pass on Maryland’s high-occupancy-vehicle lanes beginning this fall. Since 2010, drivers of plug-in electric or hybrid vehicles had been allowed to use HOV lanes in the state regardless of the number of passengers.
AR: Arkansas governor signs accelerated tax cuts, school safety funding into law
The tax measure signed by Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson would lower the top individual tax rate to 4.9% and reduce the corporate income tax rate to 5.3%. In addition to tax cuts, Hutchinson approved setting aside million to fund a grant program schools can use to improve safety.
LA: Louisiana officials find problems with more nursing home evacuation sites
The Louisiana Department of Health has concluded most of the unlicensed shelters that nursing homes from hurricane-prone parishes planned to use as evacuation sites are unfit for that purpose.
DE: Delaware helpline provides free legal advice to those seeking an abortion
The Delaware Department of Justice launched a helpline for those who live in and outside the state that provides free legal advice about abortion access. Lawyers from a dozen private Delaware law firms will answer legal questions pro bono. The helpline, which officials say is only the second of its kind in the country, is now open.
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