Top State Stories 9/7
CA: California lawmakers approve groundbreaking internet privacy law for kids
A bipartisan group of legislators in California pushed forward a first-in the nation bill that would protect kids’ privacy. Passed unanimously out of the legislature, the bill could become a model for other states — or provide a roadmap for Congress, which is considering its own privacy bill.
NM: New Mexico judge orders commissioner who joined Jan. 6 riot removed from office
New Mexico District Judge Francis Mathew has ordered Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin removed from his post and disqualified from holding public office ever again after finding Griffin’s participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol amounted to insurrection.
MS: Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi defends record after governor’s comments
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba defended his record after Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said the city had presented no plan to the state on what funds are needed to fix the city’s water system. Lumumba, careful not to jeopardize the “unity” he has sought between city and state government during the crisis, took to the lectern Tuesday afternoon and proceeded to defend his record.
MA: Massachusetts Democratic AG to face Trump-backed GOP candidate for governor
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who rocketed to prominence as the state’s litigator-in-chief against Donald Trump before clearing the Democratic field for governor this year, officially captured the party’s nomination, setting up an acrid general election fight with Geoff Diehl, a Trump acolyte whom GOP voters embraced as their gubernatorial nominee.
MD: Mobile sports betting on the way to Maryland
By the end of this year, Maryland gamblers may be able to place mobile sports bets. The state Sports Wagering Application Review Commission began accepting applications from mobile sports betting businesses.
MT: Montana’s COVID response pushed this hospital to the brink
A year after COVID-19 arrived, GOP lawmakers in Montana passed the nation’s most extreme anti-vaccination law. Not even cancer ward nurses could be required to get the shots. Inside one hospital a mile from the statehouse, doctors were forced to make the kinds of choices Americans had long feared.
AK: Alaska’s new eviction diversion program would resolve disputes before court
Alaska’s court system is launching an eviction diversion program, aimed at resolving disputes between landlords and tenants before they end up in court. The grant-funded initiative will provide landlords and tenants with information on things like legal assistance, mediation, financial counseling and rental assistance.
MO: Missouri governor shuts door on marijuana special session
A spokeswoman for Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson said he will not expand the scope of his upcoming special session next week so lawmakers could consider legalizing recreational marijuana. Parson has called a legalization question that will appear on the November ballot a “disaster,” casting it as a boon for corporations over regular people.
LA: Louisiana’s gas tax cannot meet state’s road and bridge needs, audit says
Revenue from Louisiana’s gasoline tax is insufficient to meet road and bridge needs, the state’s legislative auditor said in a report. The audit noted that the state’s 20-cents-per-gallon gas tax has not been changed since 1990 and is not indexed for inflation, like it is in 22 other states, including Arkansas, Alabama and Florida.
HI: Lack of working video cameras at Hawaii prisons complicates abuse investigations
More than 40% of the video cameras at a women’s prison in Hawaii apparently aren’t working, a problem that makes it far more difficult to investigate and prosecute allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct at the facility.
OR: As Amazon expands in eastern Oregon, regional carbon emissions soar
Even as carbon emissions have soared along with power use, Amazon has accumulated tax breaks worth more than million for its data centers in eastern Oregon. That’s created a disconnect between state policies designed to encourage clean energy and tax breaks that set no such requirements for major energy consumers.
MI: Michigan reports uptick in COVID hospitalizations, ICU patients in the last week
Michigan reports 15,854 new COVID-19 cases, according to a weekly report from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. The state reported a total of 1,189 COVID-19 hospitalizations across Michigan hospitals, an increase of 237 from the previous week.
WY: Wyoming GOP asks secretary of state to stay through general election
Wyoming Republican Party leaders are calling on Secretary of State Ed Buchanan to remain in office through the November election, but Buchanan says he still plans to depart this month. Buchanan told the Star-Tribune that it “looks like” he will leave his post on Sept. 15 to take a job as a judge in his hometown.
NE: Voter ID, minimum wage make Nebraska ballot
Nebraskans will decide this November about whether to require people to present identification to vote and whether to raise the state’s minimum wage. Both petitions garnered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
OK: Most Oklahoma state legislative races are uncontested
Nearly 70% of Oklahoma’s state legislative elections will be decided without a single vote cast in November, as a growing number of rural and suburban Democrats opt not to run.
TX: Texas state police officers face formal investigation over Uvalde shooting response
Five Texas Department of Public Safety officers who responded to the Uvalde school shooting in May will face an investigation into their actions at Robb Elementary, the agency said. The officers were referred to the inspector general’s office, which will determine if they violated any policies in their response to the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.
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