Top State Stories 8/31
MS: Mississippi governor can’t say when Jackson will have clean water
Tractor-trailer loads of bottled water are rolling in, Mississippi is rounding up some private contractors and a rented emergency pump should be running soon, but Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said he can’t say when Jackson will have clean, plentiful drinking water on tap again. Thousands of homes and businesses in the capital city have little or no running water, and that after a month of residents being warned to boil it before drinking and years of warning that it contains harmful contaminants.
IN: Indiana sued over abortion ban
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s new near-total ban on abortions, which currently will go into effect Sept. 15.
TN: Tennessee legislator tells state colleges and universities to drop LGBTQ policies
The chairman of a key Tennessee House panel is unilaterally ordering state universities to suspend any policies making LGBTQ students a protected class. Because a federal court has put related federal guidance on hold, Republican state Rep. John Ragan said colleges and universities could be violating state law.
TX: Texas gas companies face fines up to M for failing to prepare for extreme weather
A year and a half after a severe winter storm nearly collapsed the state’s power grid, oil and gas regulators in Texas approved new rules that would require natural gas companies to properly prepare their equipment for extreme weather.
NJ: New Jersey schools to provide maps of buildings to help police during emergencies
In an effort to increase security, New Jersey will use .5 million in federal funds on a statewide initiative to produce digital maps of all schools — public and private — for law enforcement to access to get more details about a school campus during emergencies, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced.
CO: Judge grants temporary order preventing Colorado county from enforcing gun control measures
A temporary restraining order issued by a U.S. district court judge prevents Boulder County, Colorado from enforcing most of a newly instituted gun control ordinance banning assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
WY: Wyoming legislature discussing Medicaid expansion again
Wyoming lawmakers are considering extending postpartum coverage offered through Medicaid, under a provision of the federal America Rescue Plan Act. Normally, women are disenrolled from the Wyoming Medicaid plan 60 days after giving birth.
UT: Utah senator wants to require background checks for clergy
A Utah lawmaker wants government-mandated background checks for church leaders and volunteers who work with young people — an effort, he said, that could prevent predators from grooming children for sexual abuse. State Sen. Keith Grover, a Republican, acknowledged that there will likely be questions about whether his proposal is an infringement on religious freedom
MO: Opponents of planned solar energy project cheer Missouri Supreme Court decision
Opponents of a proposed solar energy project in Missouri are cheering a new court ruling that halted a tax break for companies building the facilities.
LA: Demand grows for campus food pantries at Louisiana colleges
College students in Louisiana are going hungry. Most of the state’s colleges and universities have a food pantry of some kind, although some do not offer fresh foods. Food pantries also cannot address the entirety of students’ nutrition needs. A new law seeks to remedy that.
MA: Massachusetts biotech companies thrive during pandemic
The Massachusetts biotechnology industry appears to be thriving, despite a national stock slump and the ongoing COVID pandemic. A report from the industry group MassBio found more than 106,000 people worked at drug companies and life science research institutions in 2021 — 13% more than the previous year.
NY: Updated New York gun laws to take effect
Existing concealed carry permit holders outside of the New York City area will not be subject to the state’s new gun training requirements that go into effect Sept. 1, according to guidance issued by New York State.
MT: At least 10 Native American children missing in 2 weeks in Montana
From Aug. 16 to Aug. 30, at least 10 Native American children — ages 11 to 17 — were reported missing in Montana. Experts say they generally see an uptick in missing persons cases during the summer when the weather is warm, and school is out of session.
WI: Wisconsin borrowers must pay state income taxes on forgiven student loan debt
President Joe Biden offered a loan forgiveness plan, but the discharge of student loan debt is taxable income under current Wisconsin law, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Wisconsin is one of 13 states whose tax codes stray from the federal government, according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
OK: Oklahoma Supreme Court puts recreational marijuana ballot dispute on hold
The Oklahoma Supreme Court put on hold a legal dispute over whether a recreational marijuana initiative will go on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot. The court suspended activity in the case until the expiration of a 10-day period for the filing of objections to either the initiative petition signatures or the ballot title.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.