Top State Stories 10/13
GA: Thousands of Georgia voters’ eligibility challenged before election
The eligibility of tens of thousands of Georgia voters has been contested under a provision of last year’s election law that allows any resident to challenge the qualifications of an unlimited number of voters within their county.
FL: Hurricane Ian prompts Florida lawmakers to pump up emergency fund by M
Because of the far-reaching impacts of Hurricane Ian across Florida, state lawmakers unanimously approved a request from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to transfer an additional million into the million Emergency Preparedness and Response fund they gave him this year.
IL: In a pilot program, select Illinois residents may use SNAP benefits in restaurants
A pilot program in Illinois allows food stamp holders who are older adults, experiencing homelessness or have disabilities to buy hot meals at restaurants. Critics have long complained the federal law doesn’t allow benefits to be used for purchasing prepared food, such as a rotisserie chicken at a grocery store.
CA: California AG will investigate Los Angeles redistricting in wake of leaked audio
California Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta said that his office would investigate the Los Angeles redistricting process that took place last fall. The announcement comes after councilmembers were heard using racist language in secretly recorded audio during the redistricting process.
IA: Iowa to dramatically cut back on restaurant inspections
Iowa is planning to dramatically scale back the routine inspection of restaurants and other food-service establishments by making only one onsite inspection every five years. Currently, most Iowa restaurants are subjected to at least one routine inspection every three years.
MS: Mississippi medical marijuana regulation ‘stuck in constipation mode’
Dozens of licensed cultivators in Mississippi have about 80,000 marijuana plants growing. Around 1,100 patients have signed up for medical marijuana, and 96 doctors or nurse practitioners are working to certify them. But the State Department of Health has zero investigators — and only three staffers — overseeing Mississippi’s new medical marijuana program.
IN: Indiana’s top court will rule on abortion
The Indiana Supreme Court will take jurisdiction over a lawsuit that put a temporary hold on the state’s near-total abortion ban. The court also denied an emergency request by the state to undo that hold.
NJ: Huge health insurance hikes could spur New Jersey property tax hikes, layoffs, local leaders warn
New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is under fire from local government leaders and some state lawmakers as municipalities and counties in New Jersey grapple with an unprecedented double-digit rate increase on premiums for state health benefit plans.
NY: New Yorkers to get unexpected checks from the state
Some New Yorkers will get an unexpected windfall when they check their mail in the coming weeks: checks from the state. Child and earned income tax payments are being sent to about 1.8 million New Yorkers, designed to relieve pandemic and inflation-related expenses, officials said. Most of the checks, with average payments of about , should arrive just as voters head to the polls.
MT: Montana state library commissioners approve updated logo
After uneasiness about the Montana library system brand’s alleged resemblance to the LGBTQ Pride flag, the commission voted 4-2 to adopt the logo with a slightly altered color spectrum.
PA: Pennsylvania prisoners are giving their own money to families hurt by gun violence
A group of Pennsylvania prisoners, many of them serving life sentences for gun crimes, is pooling together their own funds to help Philadelphia families who lose a child to gun violence.
AK: Alaska governor will vote ‘yes’ for constitutional convention
In what appears to be a first for a sitting governor, Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy said he will vote “yes” in November for a state constitutional convention. The question of whether there shall be a constitutional convention appears on the Alaska ballot every 10 years. Prominent conservatives are calling for a convention as a way to restrict or end abortion access, to change how judges are chosen in Alaska and to reshape public education.
MI: Michigan Republican lawsuit seeks court order rescinding new election challenger guidance
With the midterm election fast approaching, Michigan Republicans hope a court order will nix new instructions for election challengers and poll watchers issued after the 2020 election when allies of former President Donald Trump flooded the counting room in Detroit and demanded election workers stop counting ballots.
TN: GOP-led Tennessee ballot proposal to test labor interest
Tennessee lawmakers have offered a ballot amendment that asks voters whether to change the state constitution to add Tennessee’s existing law that bans a company and a union from contracts that require workers to pay dues to the union representing them.
TX: Texas’ land rush may be hitting the brakes
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, purchases of rural real estate ramped up as buyers headed to the hills and plains and coasts of Texas. But this year, the number of rural land sales dropped by almost 27% in the first half of 2022, according to a new study by the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University.
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