Top State Stories 8/29
US: Teacher shortage affects disadvantaged students the most
Teacher vacancies across the United States aren’t universal. A USA Today analysis of available data and interviews with experts suggests the shortages are concentrated in poor communities.
ID: Idaho doctors explain how abortion law disrupts health care
Idaho’s trigger law will affect pregnancies where the fetus has an anomaly that’s not compatible with life. These situations are not uncommon, said one doctor. “For example, they’re born without a head or they’re born without a face or they’re born with a severe heart defect. … They’re not going to live.”
WY: Wyoming lawmakers seek to restrict secretary of state’s authority
A Wyoming legislative committee passed a motion to draft a bill to create a separate office to administer the state’s elections. The effort was in direct response to state Rep. Chuck Gray, who campaigned heavily on unsupported claims about voter fraud, securing the Republican nomination for secretary of state.
MA: How a broad Massachusetts privacy law protects perpetrators
A WBUR investigation found that Massachusetts’ uniquely broad privacy law, intended to protect the privacy and safety of victims of domestic and sexual violence, has instead protected perpetrators and police. The Massachusetts law requires police to keep all reports and arrests related to sexual and domestic violence secret, something no other state does.
CA: More California cities enact rent control to protect tenants, upsetting apartment owners
Rent control has long been a tool to protect people from being priced out of their homes, but with California’s rents rising amid a hot real estate market, more cities are turning to the protections. This has won praise from tenant groups and opposition from apartment owners’ organizations.
IN: Indiana refinery fire causes regional fuel emergency
The U.S. Department of Transportation has declared a regional emergency for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin after a fire shut down the BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana, the largest in the Midwest, though there hasn’t been an impact on gas prices so far.
NY: New York teachers can vest in pensions after five years like other public employees
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and lawmakers agreed to allow state and local employees to become vested in the public pension system after five rather than 10 years of employment. Now, teachers are learning that they, too, will qualify.
WV: West Virginia legislature poised to tighten purse strings
West Virginia’s Amendment 2 on the fall ballot would give the legislature the power to reduce or eliminate personal property and business inventory taxes — with prospects of blowing a million-plus annual hole in the budgets of counties, cities and public schools.
MD: Maryland’s B highway project gets approval
Maryland’s proposal to widen portions of the I-495 Capital Beltway and I-270 near Washington, D.C., under a billion public-private partnership has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
NV: Amid fears of voting machines, Nevada approves hand counting
As parts of rural Nevada plan to count ballots by hand amid misinformation about voting machines, the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office approved regulations for counties to hand count votes starting as soon as this fall’s midterm elections.
GA: Georgia preps for America’s shift to electric vehicles
Georgia has become a leader in electric-vehicle manufacturing by luring factories that will create thousands of jobs. Now state officials must figure out how to build the charging infrastructure needed to handle the explosive growth of electric cars and trucks that’s expected to transform driving in Georgia and across the nation in coming years.
NJ: New Jersey has not installed emergency flood rules a year after Ida
Three months ago, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration briefed environmentalists, local leaders, and developers on a plan to install emergency rules for new construction in flood-prone inland parts of New Jersey — areas that were battered last summer by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, an event that killed 30 people in the state.
MO: Missouri to ban sexual images in school library books
A new Missouri law outlaws books with sexually explicit images from school libraries. It will be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a ,000 fine for librarians and other educators to give students access to such material.
LA: Louisiana to provide K vouchers to ease reading woes
Louisiana is preparing to launch a scaled-down version of a program to aid students with reading problems. Families can qualify for ,000 vouchers, which can be used for tutoring services for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
VA: Virginia governor announces plan to reverse law phasing out gas vehicles by 2035
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that he is already working to repeal a law that would ban the sale of new gas and diesel-powered cars in Virginia by 2035.
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